2020 What Car? Reliability Survey: brands

In our exhaustive annual survey, we reveal how dependable cars up to five years old are, based on the experiences of 13,000 owners...

Reliability survey

What Car? says…

As was the case last year, overall honours go to Lexus in the brand reliability league table. Owners told us that the premium Japanese brand’s cars cost the least when it came to ifxing faults and spent the least time in the garage.

Meanwhile, Lexus’s mainstream sister brand, Toyota, ranks third this year, being pipped for second place (where it was last year) by Mitsubishi.

The ratings are based on all the responses for cars up to five years old for each brand, pushing Lexus and Mitsubishi to the fore even though not many of their models had big enough sample sizes to appear in the class league tables.

In the class charts, two models from European brands join a Japanese model on the podium by achieving a perfect reliability score. The Ford C-Max, Skoda Citigo and Toyota Aygo all gained a 100% Reliability Rating, with their owners telling us that not a single car had suffered a fault in the previous 12 months.

While we take our hats off to the Citigo and Aygo, it’s the C-Max that deserves the biggest round of applause. That’s because, being an MPV, it’s in a class that often gains the lowest reliability scores due to the fact that such cars are subjected to the rigours of family life more severely than most.

It’s also worth highlighting the strong performance of all hybrid cars. The class gained a 96.7% rating overall, and none of the cars surveyed scored less than 95%. So if you want a dependable car, it might be worth picking a hybrid.

However, you’re less guaranteed to find satisfaction if you buy an electric car. Although some were virtually fault-free, others were plagued by problems, and the differences aren’t necessarily brand-specific. Tesla has had a lot of build quality and electrical problems with the Model S and Model X; that’s why it ranks fairly low down in the brand chart, despite the fact that the Model 3 heads the electric car class.

Meanwhile, Land Rover appears to be struggling across the board when it comes to reliability, coming last in the large and luxury SUV categories and in our brand chart. The Discovery Sport and Range Rover Sport were its poorest performers, neither managing to muster a score above 75%.

Reliability by brand for cars up to five years old

Rank Brand Score
1. Lexus  98.7%
2. Mitsubishi 97.9%
3. Toyota  97.7%
4. Mini 96.8%
5. Skoda 96.4%
6. Hyundai 96.3%
7. Kia 95.9%
8. Honda  95.3%
=9. BMW 95.2%
=9 Mazda 95.2%
11. Alfa Romeo 94.6%
=12. Fiat 94.5%
=12. Subaru 94.5%
=14. Dacia 94.4%
=14. Suzuki  94.4%
=16. Citroën 93.8%
=16. Volvo 93.8%
18. Ford 93.7%
19. Seat 93.6%
20. Volkswagen 93.2%
21. Jaguar 91.8%
=22. Audi 91.5%
=22. MG 91.5%
=22. Porsche 91.5% 
25. Peugeot    91.1%
26. Mercedes 91.0%
=27. Nissan 90.1%
=27. Vauxhall 90.1%
29. Tesla    88.6%
30. Renault 87.6%
31. Land Rover 78.2%

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