News

21st-15th

  • Cars and car makers unmasked
  • Their reliability revealed
  • 250 individual cars listed
Words ByWhat Car? Staff

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BMW 21st out of 35
Last years position 23rd out of 32
Cars needing repair work 32%
Average repair cost 380
Best model 3 Series Convertible (07-)
Worst model X5 (00-07)

BMW has recovered slightly from last years surprisingly poor result, but its still an odd position for a brand that was in the top 10 as recently as 2008. BMWs newest model in the survey, the 3 Series Convertible (07-), is also its most reliable. Its RI of 76 is good enough for seventh place in the open-top category. By contrast, the 3 Series (05-) isnt as durable, with an RI of 96. The X5 (00-07) has a high average repair bill of 477.

Volkswagen 20th out of 35
Last years position 19th out of 32
Cars needing repair work 31%
Average repair cost 321
Best model Polo (05-09)
Worst model Touareg (03-10)

For a brand with a reputation for build quality and durability, Volkswagens result is only average. Its best car, the Polo (05-09), just scrapes into the supermini top 10 with an RI of 32, while the Passat (99-05) repeats that feat in the family car class with an RI of 70. Meanwhile, the Touareg (03-10) is one of the worst SUVs to own, with an average repair cost of 534 and 41% of vehicles failing.

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Peugeot 19th out of 35
Last years position 26th out of 32
Cars needing repair work 30%
Average repair cost 257
Best model 207 (06-)
Worst model 807 (03-11)

After a big slide in reliability last year, Peugeot has regained some ground to finish roughly in the middle of the survey. The 207 (06-) is one of the top five small family cars, with an RI of 30 and a failure rate of 9%, but the 106 (96-04) fails to make the 10 best superminis, despite an RI of just 33. The 406 (96-04) fares better, finishing fifth in the family car class, with an RI of 60.

Mini 18th out of 35
Last years position 10th out of 32
Cars needing repair work 29%
Average repair cost 348
Best model Cooper (06-)
Worst model One (04-09)

Mini was as high as third in this list back in 2006, but it slumps further this year, falling from 10th in 2010 to 18th this time round. The newer Cooper (06-) fares better than the older cars, with an RI of 70, but that is well behind the average rating for superminis, and key rivals such as the Volkswagen Polo (05-09).Minis average repair costs are also higher than those of most superminis.

Fiat 17th out of 35
Last years position 21st out of 32
Cars needing repair work 29%
Average repair cost 241
Best model Panda (04-)
Worst model Stilo (01-07)

Once again the Panda (04-) is Fiats most-dependable car, with an RI of 54 and a failure rate of 25%. The Multipla (99-04) also performs well, finishing eighth in the MPV category. Thats the end of the good news, though, as other models are unexceptional. Still, at least Fiat has the lowest average cost of repair this year, at a reasonable 242.

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Porsche 16th out of 35
Last years position 15th out of 32
Cars needing repair work 28%
Average repair cost 690
Best model Boxster (04-)
Worst model Boxster (96-04)

Last year Porsche climbed into the top half of our reliability league, but this year theres little change in form. Ultimately, its not the number of breakdowns that causes the mid-table result; Porsche has both the highest average repair cost (an eye-watering 689) and the longest repair time of all.

Citroen 15th out of 35
Last years position 11th out of 32
Cars needing repair work 27%
Average repair cost 268
Best model Saxo (96-03)
Worst model C8 (03-10)

Citroens no-frills MPV, the Xsara Picasso (00-10), is proving reliable; with an RI of 48 and a breakdown rate of 22%, its the fourth-best people-carrier. There isnt such good news for the newer C4 Picasso (07-) MPV, which fails 34% of the time and costs owners an average of 325 in repairs. Own a C8 (03-10), meanwhile, and youve got a 50:50 chance that itll need fixing.

In focus...
Spare a thought for the BMW 7 Series ('01-'08) owner who was presented with this billFact: car parts go wrong
Stuff happens. Its a fact of life. No matter what make your car is, large components fail and cause big bills. If something like a timing belt or water pump breaks, a cars engine could be written off.

Obviously, youd expect that repairing a Peugeot would cost less than repairing a Porsche, but thats not always the case. In this years survey, the least-reliable Peugeot, the 807 (02-), produced a claim of 4975, compared with the largest claim for the Porsche Boxster (96-04) at 3310.

This years most-reliable car was the Kia Picanto, and it presented its owner with a maximum bill of less than 100. However, spare a thought for the BMW 7 Series (01-08) owner who was presented with a bill for 7239. Thats the highest claim in this years survey. Luckily, he had warranty cover.

The cost of new components is just part of the equation; the time taken to fit them can be just as expensive. Some garages now charge as much as 190 an hour to fix and repair cars, although the national average is closer to 75 an hour. Prestige brands usually have the highest labour rates and, as a rule, franchised dealers cost roughly 40% more per hour than an independent garage. Where you live in the country also makes a difference.