2019 What Car? Reliability Survey: electric and hybrid cars

To help you choose the most dependable car, we've crunched the data on more than 18,000 vehicles, spanning 31 brands and 218 models to give each a unique reliability rating...

Toyota Yaris and Lexus CT reliability

Electric and hybrid cars

Average reliability for class 96.1%

Most reliable Lexus CT (2011-present) and Toyota Yaris Hybrid (2012-present) both 100%

What went wrong? Nothing  

Many people worry that hybrid and electric cars will be less reliable and costlier to service and repair, due to all the new technology they utilise. However, two of the three cars with a 100% reliability rating in this year’s survey come from this class: the 
Lexus CT and Toyota Yaris Hybrid. Owners of these two hybrid hatchbacks told us their cars had performed perfectly over the previous 12 months; not one experienced a problem. 

Hot on their heels and adding further credence to the Japanese manufacturers’ historic reputation is another Toyota Group model, the NX family SUV from Lexus. It, too, has an exemplary reliability record, with only 3% of cars suffering a fault and the only area affected being the non-engine electrics. All NXs could still be driven and were fixed under warranty the same day. 

Renault Zoe reliability

Least reliable Renault Zoe (2013-present) 82.3%

What went wrong? Non-engine electrics 17% Air-con 11% Battery 11% Sat-nav 11% Brake system 6% Interior trim 6% Steering 6% Suspension 6%

A high percentage of Renault Zoes had problems, including a lot of electrical gremlins. All faults were fixed under warranty, but three-quarters of cars were out of action for more than a week.  

Owners told us that 31% of plug-in hybrid Volkswagen Golfs 
had suffered a fault, with the biggest problem area being the gearbox/clutch. Although all cars were fixed for free, around three-quarters were off the road for more than a week. 

Despite its lowly ranking, the plug-in hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander has a strong reliability record. Only 13% had a problem, with the most common area being interior trim. All cars remained drivable and most were repaired in a week or less. Half of the repair work was done under warranty, but some cars cost up to £1000 to put right. 

Results for hybrid and electric cars aged up to five years old

Ranks Make and model Score
=1 Lexus CT 2011-on 100%
=1 Toyota Yaris 2011-on 100%
3 Lexus NX 2014-on 99.7%
4 Lexus RX 2016-on 99.4%
5 Toyota Auris 2013-2019 99.3%
6 Tesla Model S 2014-on 98.9%
7 Toyota Prius 2016-on 98.4%
8 Lexus IS 2013-on 98.3%
9 Kia Niro 2016-on 95.7%
10 BMW i3 2013-on 95.2%
11 Hyundai Ioniq 2016-on 95.0%
12 Nissan Leaf 2011-2018 94.9%
13 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 2014-on 93.6%
14 Volkswagen Golf GTE 2013-on 89.1%
15 Renault Zoe 2013-on 82.3%