Results by brand: 18th to 24th

  • What Car? Reliability Survey 2012
  • Most and least reliable cars rated
  • Top 10 - and worst - in each category, too
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Mini 18th
Last year's position 18/35
Cars needing repair work 37%
Average repair cost 390
Best model One ('07-)
Worst model Cooper ('01-'09)

Minis might be small, but they come with a big average repair bill of 390 not far off that of Land Rover. The desirable brand remains mid-table in 2012, because its best model, the One ('07-), gets a pretty average 86 RI score not good enough to take it into the top 10 superminis.

The quicker Cooper ('01-'09) model fails far more regularly than the basic Mini (41% of the time), with electrical issues cited as the biggest culprits.

Fiat 19th
Last year's position 17/35
Cars needing repair work 38%
Average repair cost 254
Best model Panda ('04-'12)
Worst model Stilo ('01-'07)

Not a good year for Fiat. Its Panda ('04-12) just makes the top 10 city cars, but the Multipla ('99-'04) doesnt enter the MPV top 10 at all.

The Panda is still a wise investment; it fails only 24% of the time, and gets a good RI score of 69. Avoid the Stilo it fails 68% of the time. Overall, Fiat's repair costs are low.

Seat 20th=
Last year's position 26/35
Cars needing repair work 39%
Average repair cost 298
Best model Panda ('06-'09)
Worst model Stilo ('05-)

Seat's Ibiza ('06-'09) looks promising in terms of reliability, judging by its 22% failure rate and tiny 90 average repair cost.

That's only good enough to put it fourth in the supermini sector, though, behind Honda, Skoda and Vauxhall. The Leon ('05-) has a huge average repair cost of 665 and a disappointing 199 RI.

Volkswagen 20th=
Last year's position 20/35
Cars needing repair work 39%
Average repair cost 339
Best model Lupo ('99-'05)
Worst model Phaeton ('03-)

Volkswagen's 20th place isn't as good as the company image suggests. Only three VWs make the top 10 in their class, and even then the best-ranked (Phaeton) is only third.

The Lupo is a better bet. Nearly 70% of problems are electrical, but it fails just 27% of the time.

Volvo 20th=
Last year's position 23/35
Cars needing repair work 39%
Average repair cost 407
Best model S40 ('96-'04)
Worst model XC90 ('02-)

The XC90 ('02-) continues to be Volvo's least reliable model. Average repair costs are 500.

The S40 ('96-'04) comes out on top for both Volvo and the small family sector, with a failure rate of just 17% and average repairs costing only 126.

Porsche 20th=
Last year's position 16/35
Cars needing repair work 39%
Average repair cost 623
Best model Boxster ('04-'12)
Worst model Boxster ('96-'04)

Early Boxster ('96-'04) models look incredible value used, but they cost an average of 923 per repair the survey's highest.

The second-generation Boxster ('04-'12) is Porsche's best model, however, failing just 37% of the time, but still averaging more than 500 to fix.

Vauxhall 24th
Last year's position 28/35
Cars needing repair work 40%
Average repair cost 303
Best model Agila ('00-'08)
Worst model Signum ('96-'04)

Vauxhall climbs four places to 24th thanks to strong results from the Agila ('00-'08), Tigra ('04-'09) and Meriva ('03-).

The Agila had the best RI score (3) this year. The Signum ('03-'08) is still the least reliable (70% failure rate), but its average repair cost of 344 isn't too painful.

Results by brand - 25th to 30th >>

See also: JD Power Dealer Satisfaction Survey >>