2021 What Car? Reliability Survey: executive cars
We reveal the most – and least – dependable cars up to five years old, based on the experiences of more than 16,000 owners...
Most reliable executive cars
Reliability rating 99.2%
What went wrong? Bodywork 5%, interior trim 2%
Petrol Superbs are more, well, superb, than diesels, with 7% suffering a fault compared with 28% of diesels. Even though many cars were out of warranty, Skoda paid for 100% of repairs, and service was exemplary, with all faults fixed in a day or less.
Owner’s view "This is the third Superb I've owned in 12 years, and I've yet to be disappointed when it comes to reliability"
Reliability rating 98.4%
Only 8% of Optimas we were told about went wrong, with owners citing the exhaust and gearbox/clutch as the problem areas. All the cars could still be driven, and 50% of cars were back on the road within a week. Kia’s seven-year warranty meant that all repairs were carried out for free.
Reliability rating 97.3%
Petrol-engined 3 Series models just outrank the diesels, with a 16% fault rate compared with 25% for diesels. Non-engine electrics was the most common area of complaint, followed by bodywork, exhaust and suspension. Although 40% of cars spent more than a week in the garage, all were repaired for free.
Least reliable executive cars
Reliability rating 80.9%
What went wrong? Battery 11%, engine 9%, engine electrics 9%, exhaust 6%, non-engine electrics 6%, air-con 3%, interior trim 3%, sat-nav 3%
A diesel C-Class is less dependable than a petrol version, with 40% developing a fault, compared with 25% of petrols. It could also be an expensive car to live with: 11% of bills exceeded £1500 and only 63% of cars were repaired for free. At least most cars were back on the road in less than a week.
Owner’s view “I have been surprised and disappointed at how many faults my car has suffered, especially considering I bought it brand new”
Reliability rating 83.1%
Owners told us 26% of Giulias went wrong, with engine, brake system and non-engine electrical faults the most common complaints. Although 56% of cars were repaired for free, a shocking 22% of owners paid out more than £1500 per fault. On top of that, 45% of cars spent more than a week in the garage.
Reliability rating 87.6%
With a fault rate of 38%, diesel XEs suffered far more defects than petrol models (22%), and 19% of those issues were with the engine. Although Jaguar covered the cost of all repairs, 15% of faults rendered cars undriveable and 31% took more than a week to put right.
Reliability of executive cars aged up to five years old
|Rank||Make and model||Score|
|1.||Skoda Superb petrol 2015-present||99.2%|
|2.||Kia Optima 2016-present||98.4%|
|3.||BMW 3 Series petrol 2019-present||97.3%|
|4.||BMW 3 Series diesel 2019-present||97.0%|
|5.||Volkswagen Passat 2015-present||95.8%|
|6.||Jaguar XE petrol 2015-present||94.7%|
|7.||Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport 2017-present||94.1%|
|8.||Audi A4 petrol 2015-present||93.9%|
|9.||Volvo S60 / V60 2018-present||93.8%|
|10.||Skoda Superb diesel 2015-present||93.4%|
|11.||BMW 3 Series diesel 2012-2019||92.6%|
|=12.||Kia Stinger 2017-present||91.2%|
|=12.||Mercedes C-Class petrol 2014-present||91.2%|
|14.||Audi A4 diesel 2015-present||91.1%|
|15.||Jaguar XE diesel 2015-present||87.6%|
|16.||Alfa Romeo Giulia 2016-present||83.1%|
|17.||Mercedes C-Class diesel 2014-present||80.9%|
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