2020 What Car? Reliability Survey: executive cars

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

EXECUTIVE CAR: Tesla Model 3 Performance

Most reliable executive cars

1. Tesla Model 3 (2019-present)

Reliability rating 99.4%

What went wrong? Interior trim 5%

Tesla's newest model is the most durable executive car, with just 5% of cars suffering a fault, according to owners. All cars could still be driven and were fixed in a day or less at no cost to the owners.

Owner’s view "Everything about this car is superb, and I've had none of the build quality issues of the earlier models"

2. Skoda Superb petrol (2016-present)

Skoda Superb

Reliability rating 98.3%

What went wrong? Engine 2%, interior trim 2%, non-engine electrics 2%

If you want a dependable Superb, pick a petrol model, because only 10% of them went wrong, compared with 24% of those with diesel engines. Half of the faulty cars we were told about were repaired in a day or less and 75% of them remained driveable. Even better news, all cars were fixed for free.

Owner’s view “This is my second Superb Estate. It’s well put together and has been faultlessly reliable”

3. Mazda 6 (2013-present)

Mazda 6 2.2d SE-L Nav+ auto

Reliability rating 98.0%

Only 14% of Mazda 6 owners reported a fault with their car, with the main area of concern being the infotainment/sat-nav, followed by the engine. Fortunately, all of the affl icted cars could still be driven and 75% of the problems were rectifi ed in a day or less. All repair work was carried out for free under warranty.

Least reliable executive cars

1. Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2014-present)

2019 Mercedes C-Class front

Reliability rating 87.3%

What went wrong? Non-engine electrics 11%, exhaust 6%, fuel system 4%, battery 3%, bodywork 3%, infotainment/sat-nav 3%, brakes 2%, steering 2%, engine 1%, gearbox/clutch 1%, interior trim 1%

A third of C-Classes went wrong, according to owners, who reported a wide range of issues. Faults rendered more than a third of cars undriveable, and one in four was off the road for more than a week. Although 81% of cars were fi xed for free, a small percentage of owners paid out more than £1500 in repair bills.

Owner’s view “This is the worst car I have ever bought. Faults haven’t been properly fixed and the service from the dealer has been poor”

2. Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport (2017-present)

Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport

Reliability rating 87.4%

A quarter of Insignia owners reported a fault on their car, with the gearbox/clutch causing the most concern. Other problem areas included the bodywork, engine, engine and non-engine electrics and the suspension. Nearly half of the cars couldn’t be driven and were out of action for more than a week. Thankfully, four out of five were fixed for free.

3. Audi A4 diesel (2015-present)

Audi A4 35 TDI Sport S tronic

Reliability rating 89.8%

Diesel versions of Audi’s executive saloon are marginally less dependable than petrol versions, with 24% of them going wrong, compared with 21% of petrols. The battery was the biggest issue, followed by non-engine electrics, and then the bodywork, brakes and suspension. Although most cars could still be driven, a third took more than a week to fix; 80% of work was done under warranty and only a small percentage of owners paid out £1500 or more.

The 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey is open; tell us about your car

Reliability for executive cars aged up to five years old

Rank Make and model Score
1. Tesla Model 3 2019-on 99.4%
2. Skoda Superb petrol 2016-on 98.3%
3. Mazda 6 2013-on 98.0%
4. Vauxhall Insignia 2008-2017 97.8%
5. BMW 3 Series petrol 2012-2019 97.3%
6. Ford Mondeo 2014-on 97.0%
7. Kia Optima 2016-on 96.7%
8. Audi A3 Saloon 2013-2020 96.3%
9. Volvo V60 2013-on 95.1%
10. BMW 3 Series diesel 2012-2019 95.0%
11. Jaguar XE 2015-on 94.7%
12. BMW 3 Series 2019-on 94.4%
13. Audi A4 petrol 2015-on 93.5%
14. Alfa Romeo Giulia 2016-on 93.1%
15. Skoda Superb diesel 2016-on 93.0%
16. Volkswagen Passat 2015-on 92.1%
17. Audi A4 diesel 2015-on 89.8%



Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport 2017-on

Mercedes C-Class 2014-on