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2021 What Car? Reliability Survey: hybrid cars

We reveal the most – and least – dependable cars up to five years old, based on the experiences of more than 16,000 owners...

Used Lexus NX 14-present

Most reliable hybrid cars

1. Lexus NX (2014-present)

Reliability rating 98.6%

What went wrong? Bodywork 2%, non-engine electrics 2%

Among NX owners who participated in the survey, a mere 2% told us that their cars had gone wrong, and faults reported were minor. The costs of all necessary repairs were covered by Lexus and all cars were fixed and back on the road in a day or less.

Owner’s view "My car has been totally reliable and provides good fuel economy, which has kept running costs low"

2. Toyota RAV4 (2019-present)

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Design 2.5 AWD Automatic

Reliability rating 99.1%

Only 4% of RAV4s had any problems, according to owners, and the only areas of concern were the 12-volt battery and suspension. Half of the cars reported on were sorted out for free, with the other half costing up to £50 to put right. Even better, all repairs were completed in a day or less.

3. Honda CR-V Hybrid (2018-present)

Honda CR-V Hybrid

Reliability rating 98.8%

Just 5% of CR-Vs succumbed to problems and only the 12-volt battery was cited as a weakness. What's more, all issues were sorted out without any cost to the owner and all faulty cars were back on the road again in a day or less.

Least reliable hybrid cars

1. BMW X5 (2018-present)

BMW X5 45e front cornering - 69-plate car

Reliability rating 89.7%

What went wrong? Bodywork 10%, brakes 10%, battery 5%, engine 5%, engine electrics 5%, interior trim 5%, non-engine electrics 5%, sat-nav 5%, suspension 5%

Problems affected 25% of the hybrid X5s we were told about. All issues were resolved at no cost to owners, but 55% of the faulty cars took up to a week to fix and 27% spent more than a week in the workshop before owners got them back.

Owner’s view "My X5 has been very unreliable, and its build quality isn’t as good as I would have expected from a BMW"

2. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (2014-present)

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Reliability rating 93.8%

Yes, the Outlander and XC60 are in the bottom three, but scores that would put them at the top of other classes extol the superb reliability of hybrid cars. Only 15% of Outlanders went wrong, with non-engine electrics the main gripe. Repairs were free but took more than a week.

3. Volvo XC60 Recharge (2019-present)

Volvo XC60 T8

Reliability rating 95.4%

Although 20% of XC60s suffered a fault, all were fixed for free and 83% were back on the road in a day or less. No cars lingered in the garage for more than a week. The biggest cause for concern was non-engine electrical systems, followed by air-con and bodywork faults.

Reliability of hybrids aged up to five years old

Rank Make and model Score
1. Lexus NX 2014-present  99.8%
2. Toyota RAV4 2019-present  99.1%
3. Honda CR-V 2018-present  98.8%
4. Lexus UX 2019-present  98.4%
5. Hyundai Ioniq 2017-present 98.1%
6. Kia Niro Hybrid 2016-present 97.9%
7. Toyota Corolla 2018-present 97.6%
8. Toyota Yaris 2011-2020 97.3%
9. BMW 3 Series 330e 2016-present 96.1%
10. Volvo XC40 2017-present 95.9%
11. Kia Niro PHEV 2017-present 95.5%
12. Volvo XC60 Recharge 2017-present 95.4%
13. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 2014-on 93.8
14. BMW X5 45e 2018-present 89.7%