2020 What Car? Reliability Survey: family 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...
Most reliable family cars
Reliability rating 99.2%
What went wrong? Interior trim 5%
Diesel-engined 1 Series models are twice as dependable as their petrol counterparts; only 5% had a fault, compared with 10% of petrols. Most of the cars could still be driven and were back on the road in less than a week, and all work was carried out for free.
Owner’s view “My car has done more than 85,000 miles and it has been ultra-reliable. It hasn’t missed a beat”
Reliability rating 98.6%
Italian brands haven’t traditionally had a strong reputation for reliability, but the Giulietta shows this is unfair. Only 12% of cars had a fault, with issues split evenly between the braking system and gearbox/clutch. All cars could still be driven and were fi xed in a day or less at no cost to the owners.
Reliability rating 97.5%
Petrol versions of the Octavia are slightly more rugged than the diesels, with 12% suffering a fault, compared with 14% of diesels. The engine and its electrical system were the main concern, followed by infotainment/sat-nav, and then air-con and bodywork. All cars could still be driven and two-thirds of issues were rectifi ed the same day, with 90% of work done for free and no bills exceeding £200.
Least reliable family cars
Reliability rating 82.7%
What went wrong? Battery 15%, air-con 5%, bodywork 5%, brakes 5%, engine 5%, infotainment/sat-nav 5%, interior trim 5%, nonengine electrics 5%, suspension 5%
Owners of diesel Leons had almost four times as many problems as those with petrol engines, with 40% of cars going wrong. A third of them were rendered undriveable, and although two-thirds of the work was done under warranty, some owners paid out up to £500.
Owner’s view “My car suffered an oil leak, and I’m nding that the interior trim and ttings aren’t as durable as I’d hoped”
Reliability rating 83.3%
A third of 308s went wrong, with non-engine electrical issues, including faulty infotainment and sat-nav systems, accounting for 20% of faults, followed by bodywork, interior trim and suspension problems that each accounted for 6% of problems. Two-thirds of cars could still be driven and were put right in a week or less. However, while 47% of work was done for free, those who paid for repairs shelled out between £51 and £1000.
Reliability rating 83.6%
Diesel Golfs suffered twice as many issues as petrol models, with 36% of them striking trouble. The most common problems related to the bodywork, followed by the battery, engine, infotainment/sat-nav, gearbox/clutch and non-engine electrics. A quarter of the faulty cars couldn’t be driven and took up to a week to repair. Nearly three-quarters of work was done under warranty, but a small percentage of owners paid out up to £750.
Reliability for family cars aged up to five years old
|Rank||Make and model||Score|
|1.||BMW 1 Series diesel 2011-2019||99.2%|
|2.||Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2010-on||98.6%|
|3.||Skoda Octavia petrol 2013-2020||97.5%|
|4.||Mercedes A-Class 2013-2018||97.2%|
|=5.||Mini Clubman 2015-on||97.1%|
|=5.||Ford Focus diesel 2011-2018||97.1%|
|=7.||Volvo V40 2012-2019||96.6%|
|=7.||Seat Leon petrol 2013-2020||96.6%|
|9.||Ford Focus 2018-on||96.4%|
|10.||BMW 1 Series petrol 2011-2019||96.1%|
|11.||Skoda Yeti 2009-2017||95.8%|
|12.||Volkswagen Golf petrol 2013-2020||95.4%|
|13.||Ford Focus petrol 2011-2018||95.1%|
|14.||Mazda 3 2013-2019||94.9%|
|=15.||Honda Civic 2017-on||94.0%|
|=15.||Skoda Octavia diesel 2013-2020||94.0%|
|=17.||Hyundai i30 2017-on||93.0%|
|18.||Audi A3 2013-2020||92.7%|
|=19.||Mercedes A-Class 2018-on||91.1%|
|=19.||Vauxhall Astra 2015-on||91.1%|
|21.||Honda Civic 2012-2017||90.2%|
|22.||Volkswagen Golf diesel 2013-2020||83.6%|
|23.||Peugeot 308 2013-on||83.3%|
|24.||Seat Leon diesel 2013-2020||82.7%|