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25 most unreliable cars

While some cars remain dependable as years pass, others are afflicted with a wide range of faults. Here we take a look at the worst offenders up to five years old...


5. Ford Fiesta petrol (2017-present)

Reliability rating: 74.6%

The current Fiesta is so much fun from behind the wheel that we named it the Best Small Car to Drive in the last What Car? Car of the Year Awards. It’s got another, less appealing way to get your heart beating, though: it’s the least reliable small car in this year’s survey. Thirty-four per cent of Fiestas went wrong, with common problem areas including the engine and suspension.

Only 31% were fixed within a day, and 40% of owners waited for more than a week for the return of their Fiesta. Ninety-two per cent of repair costs were covered by Ford, but that left 7% of owners with bills of up to £100, and the remaining 1% had to pay between £201 and £300. 

Read our full Ford Fiesta review >>

4. Volkswagen Touran (2015-present)

Volkswagen Touran 2.0 TDI 115 SE DSG

Reliability rating: 74.1%

More than half (56%) of Tourans had an issue, in large part due to failures of the air-con, gearbox (and/or the clutch) and the non-engine electrics. It took more than a week to repair 40% of cars, and a shocking 20% of owners were left to pay more than £1500 for any work – hardly ideal for a family-hauling MPV

Read our full Volkswagen Touran review >>

3. Porsche 718 Cayman (2016-present)

Porsche 718 Cayman 2021 front cornering

Reliability rating: 73.5%

Not only does the Cayman cost a lot to fix, but it can also take a long time to put right. Fifty-three per cent of 718s went wrong, and common issues were with the bodywork, suspension and gearbox. Only 67% of repairs were free, and some bills came to a few hundred pounds, while 8% were more than £1500. Repairs took up to a week for 83% of cars, but 8% took more than a week.

Read our full Porsche 718 Cayman review >>

2. Land Rover Discovery diesel (2017-present)

Land Rover Discovery 2021 front

Reliability rating: 72.1%

A 38% fault rate is consistent with other Land Rover products, but with 36% of broken cars rendered undriveable and 42% taking more than a week to put right, it’s easy to see why the Discovery is the least dependable luxury SUV. While 73% of cars were covered by the warranty, 6% of owners paid between £1000 and £1500 for repairs.

Read our full Land Rover Discovery review >>

1. Nissan X-Trail (2014-2021)

Nissan X-Trail 2019 front tracking

Reliability rating: 59.7%

As if owners of the two-star rated Nissan X-Trail weren’t already unlucky enough, they also have to deal with the lowest reliability score in our survey. Thirty-nine per cent of X-Trail owners surveyed ran into issues with every area of the car except for the sat-nav, and most commonly with the electrical systems (engine-related and otherwise), brakes and interior trim.

The 65% of cars that didn’t break down were fixed within a week, but the 24% that did took more than a week to return to owners. So far this might not seem as horrifying as the rating suggests, but it’s the costs that let the X-Trail down: just 53% of cars were repaired for free, leaving a staggering 24% of owners with bills exceeding £1500, and the rest paying between £101 and £500. 

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