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Results by brand: 1st-6th

  • What Car? Reliability Survey 2012
  • Most and least reliable cars rated
  • Top 10 - and worst - in each category, too

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Honda 1st
Last year's position 1/35
Cars needing repair work 10%
Average repair cost 361
Best model HR-V ('98-'06)
Worst model Accord ('02-08)

For the seventh consecutive year, Honda tops the reliability charts. All its models score under 48 on the RI. The number of Hondas needing work has risen 1% since 2011, but the manufacturer is still 7% clear of second-placed Toyota.

Average costs are higher than some, but you'll find fail rates of no more than 14% across all its models, making Honda the most dependable manufacturer in the 2012 Warranty Direct Reliability Survey.

Toyota 2nd
Last year's position 2/35
Cars needing repair work 17%
Average repair cost 385
Best model Aygo ('05-)
Worst model Previa ('00-06)

Nine top-10 finishes, an average repair cost of 385 and just 17% of cars needing work mean Toyota takes a well deserved second place.

The Corolla ('01-'07), Auris ('07-) and Prius ('03-'09) all feature in the small family category top 10. The Aygo is Toyota's most reliable model, going wrong just 9% of the time. Ten models received an RI score of less than 100 this year.

Lexus 3rd
Last year's position 3/35
Cars needing repair work 18%
Average repair cost 433
Best model IS ('05-)
Worst model GS ('97-'05)

As a manufacturer of more expensive luxury cars, Lexus's average high repair cost of 433 isn't really a surprise.

You won't have to fork out often, though, because its cars fail just 18% of the time. The best model, the IS ('05-), beats that, failing just 11% of the time and putting it second in the executive category top 10.

Suzuki 4th
Last year's position 3/35
Cars needing repair work 19%
Average repair cost 265
Best model Alto ('97-'06)
Worst model SX4 ('09-)

Suzuki loses the joint third place it shared with Lexus last year, but still records a very strong fourth.

Its Alto ('97-'06) has an excellent RI score of 8, and the little city car fails only 10% of the time. No Suzuki exceeds a 31% fail rate, and the marque has the fewest cooling and heating problems in the survey.

Subaru 5th
Last year's position 7/35
Cars needing repair work 20%
Average repair cost 337
Best model Legacy ('03-)
Worst model Forester ('02-'08)

Moving up two places, Subaru has two of its models in the category top 10s, with the Legacy ('03-) taking first place in the family car sector. It fails just 15% of the time and has a fine RI score of 40.

Subarus suffer more axle and suspension problems than any other manufacturer.

Hyundai 6th=
Last year's position 8/35
Cars needing repair work 21%
Average repair cost 325
Best model Coupe ('02-'07)
Worst model Santa Fe ('01-'06)

Hyundai can be proud to jump up from eighth to sixth. Brakes are an issue across all models more than any other manufacturer, in fact but the failure rate of just 21% and average repair cost of 325 make Hyundai ownership relatively painless.

The Coup ('02-'07) is best, with an RI score of 22 and a 17% fail rate.

Mazda 6th=
Last year's position 6/35
Cars needing repair work 21%
Average repair cost 435
Best model MX-5 ('05-)
Worst model RX-8 ('03-)

Two generations of MX-5 ('05-) and ('98-'05) lock out the open-top sector.

The '05- MX-5 in particular has excellent figures, including an RI score of 8 and a failure rate of just 4%. Mazda's rotary-engined RX-8 is different; average repairs can reach 557, with a 36% fail rate.

Mitsubishi 6th=
Last year's position 3/35
Cars needing repair work 21%
Average repair cost 424
Best model Space Star ('98-'06)
Worst model Shogun Sport ('00-'08)

Mitsubishi has kept its sixth position. The Space Star ('98-'06) is still the best model, proving that age doesn't have to mean cost.

No Mitsubishi exceeds a 27% fail rate, even if average repair costs are quite high.

Results by brand - 9th to 15th >>

See also: JD Power Dealer Satisfaction Survey >>