2019 What Car? Reliability Survey: executive 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...

Hyundai i40 saloon studio front

Executive cars

Average reliability for class 91.8%

Most reliable Hyundai i40 2012-on 97.9%

What went wrong? Bodywork 5% Non-engine electrics 5%

If dependability is your priority, the Hyundai i40 is an executive car you should definitely consider. The cars we were told about only suffered minor problems that were corrected under warranty. The only downside is that all took more than a week to fix. 

Slightly more (14%) Kia Optimas had a fault, sometimes involving more serious components such as the gearbox/clutch and braking system. All cars were fixed under warranty, but some took more than a week to get back on the road. 

Volvo’s previous-generation S60 saloon and V60 estate siblings proved more durable than their German rivals. Just 18% had trouble; the most common problem area was non-engine electrics, then the engine and sat-nav. All were fixed for free and more than half were repaired that day, although some took more than a week to put right.  

Used test: Jaguar XE vs Volkswagen Arteon

Least reliable Jaguar XE 2015-on 87.6%

What went wrong? Non-engine electrics 11% Battery 7% Brake system 6% Engine 6% Exhaust 6% Bodywork 5% Engine electrics 5% Air-con 4% Interior trim 4% Fuel system 2% Suspension 2% Gearbox/clutch 1% Sat-nav 1% Steering 1%

Diesel Jaguar XEs suffered twice as many issues as petrols; in fact, owners reported issues in every one of our 14 fault categories. Some 75% of cars could still be driven and most were fixed for free, but some brought bills ranging from £500 to more than £1500. 

Even more (39%) Vauxhall Insignias had a problem, with two important areas, the braking system and engine, the most frequently concerned. More than half could still be driven and were fixed the same day, but a third cost owners from £51 to more than £1500. 

Just under a third of Mercedes C-Class models had faults, mostly with the exhaust, then the engine electrics and suspension. Around half were laid up for more than a week and a quarter were rendered undrivable. Most fixes were free, but a few owners paid up to £1000. 

Reliability for executive cars aged up to five years old

Rank Make and model Score
1.  Hyundai i40 2012-on 97.9%
2.  Kia Optima 2016-on 97.3%
3.  Volvo S60 and V60 2010-2018 96.8%
=4. Volvo S90 and V90  96.3%
=4. Jaguar XE petrol 2015-on 96.3%
6. Mercedes CLA 2013-on 95.9%
7. Ford Mondeo 2014-on 95.7%
8. BMW 3 Series petrol 2012-2019 94.3%
9. Audi A3 Saloon 2013-on 93.4%
10. Skoda Superb 2008-2015 93.2%
=11. Audi A5 2016-on 92.8%
=11. Skoda Superb 2015-on 92.8%
13. Audi A4 2015-on 92.6%
14. BMW 3 Series diesel 2012-2019  92.5%
15.  Mazda 6 2013-on 91.3%
16. Toyota Avensis 2015-2018 91.2%
17. Alfa Romeo Giulia 2016-on 91.0%
18.  Audi A4 2008-2015 90.9%
19. Volkswagen Passat 2015-on 89.7%
20. Mercedes C-Class 2014-on 87.6%
21. Vauxhall Insignia 2008-2017 85.4%
22. Jaguar XE diesel 2015-on 82.6%