2018 What Car? Reliability Survey

More than 18,000 people toold us about the reliability of their cars. Here we reveal the most - and least - dependable newer electric and hybrid cars...

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Claire Evans
30 November 2018

2018 What Car Reliability Survey

Electric and hybrid cars

Most reliable: Nissan Leaf (2011-2017) - 99.7%

What went wrong? Bodywork 3%

As it was last year, the original Nissan Leaf is the most dependable electric car on the road. No mechanical issues were reported by owners – only minor bodywork issues that were resolved the same day and fixed for free under warranty.

The Toyota Yaris Hybrid couldn’t quite replicate the clean slate of its petrol counterpart when it comes to reliability. However, only 14% had a fault and the problem areas were all minor; 7% concerned non-engine electrics, 4% bodywork and another 4% the fuel system. All cars were back on the road the same day and were fixed for free.

A mere 12% of Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs experienced a fault, and the majority of those (8%) were with the non-engine electrics. More than two-thirds of problems were sorted out the same day and almost all remedial work was covered by the warranty.


2018 What Car Reliability Survey

Least reliable: Tesla Model S - 50.9%

What went wrong? Bodywork 30%; Non-engine electrics 19%; Interior trim 7%; Suspension 7%; Air-con 4%; Battery 4%; Brakes 4%; Exterior lights 4%; Sat-nav 4%; Steering 4%; Wheels/tyres 4%

Although the Tesla Model S's electric powertrain is proving reliable, the same can’t be said of its electrical systems or bodywork. Issues reported by owners included bent seat frames, broken door handles and parking sensor failures. Just over half of the cars were out of action for at least a week and some fixes cost more than £1500.

The Renault Zoe can’t match the exemplary record of its main rival, the Nissan Leaf; 36% suffered faults, of which 21% were engine electrics. More than half of Zoes were forced off the road for more than a week, but all were repaired under warranty.

Almost a third of BMW i3s were faulty. Bodywork caused the most trouble (12%), ahead of suspension, air-con and sat-nav (all 6%). Most cars were fixed within a week, and all of them for free.


Reliability for hybrids and electric cars aged one to four
Rank Make and model Score
1 Nissan Leaf (2011-2017) 99.7%
2 Toyota Yaris Hybrid (2011-present) 98.2%
3 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (2014-present) 97.7%
4 Lexus IS (2013-present) 97.6%
5 Toyota Auris Hybrid (2013-present) 96.7%
6 Lexus NX (2009-2017) 96.6%
7 Toyota Prius (2016-present) 94.0%
8 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, PHEV and EV (2016-present) 93.8%
9 BMW i3 (2013-present) 91.0%
10 Renault Zoe (2013-present) 83.0%
11 Tesla Model S (2013-present ) 50.9%


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