* Cars and car makers unmasked * Their reliability revealed * 250 individual cars listed...

27 July 2011

Subaru 7th out of 35
Last years position 2nd out of 32
Cars needing repair work 17%
Average repair cost 339
Best model Legacy (03-09)
Worst model Legacy (94-03)

The two generations of Subaru Legacy in this years results have wildly differing average repair costs: the newer model has an average cost of 233, but the older car could land you with an invoice for 519. Subarus Forester (02-08) SUV is the fourth best in its class.

Mazda 6th out of 35
Last years position 6th out of 32
Cars needing repair work 16%
Average repair cost 463
Best model 2 (03-07)
Worst model RX-8 (03-)

Once again the MX-5 (98-05) is the best open-top car, with a breakdown rate of 9%, while the Mazda 2 (03-07) finishes sixth in the supermini class. The Mazda 6 (02-07) is eighth in the family car class. However, owners of the sporty RX-8 wont like the fact that it has a breakdown rate of 32% and an average repair bill of 609.

Click the image below for a larger view of the table
Suzuki 3rd= out of 35
Last years position na
Cars needing repair work 15%
Average repair cost 255
Best model Alto (97-06)
Worst model SX4 (09-)

With two models in the 10 most-reliable cars, Suzuki is this years surprise package. The Alto (97-06) and the Ignis (00-03) finish in the overall top 10 and the 10 best superminis, with RIs of six and 15 respectively. The Jimny (98-) and Grand Vitara (98-05) also do well, but the SX4 saloon (09-) has a failure rate of 32%.

Mitsubishi 3rd= out of 35
Last years position 3rd out of 32
Cars needing repair work 15%
Average repair cost 428
Best model Space Star (98-06)
Worst model Shogun Sport (00-08)

In a tie for third place, Mitsubishi has equalled last years strong result. The ageing Space Star (98-06) shows newer rivals how reliable an MPV can be, with a failure rate of just 15%.

Lexus 3rd= out of 35
Last years position 4th out of 32
Cars needing repair work 15%
Average repair cost 369
Best model IS (05-)
Worst model RX (00-03)

Lexus is consistently one of the five most-reliable brands, and has delivered another strong result this year. Both generations of IS clean up in the compact executive class, but the newer IS (05-) is the better of the two, with a slightly lower RI but higher repair costs. The LS (00-03) does well in the luxury class, and two generations of the GS perform well. The only car that comes close to embarrassing Lexus is the RX (00-03); its RI of 155 is well behind the rest of the range.

Click the image below for a larger view of the table

Toyota 2nd out of 35
Last years position 5th out of 32
Cars needing repair work 14%
Average repair cost 379
Best model Corolla (02-07)
Worst model MR2 (00-07)

Toyota is no stranger to reliability awards and this year it finds itself in the silver medal position. The Corolla (02-07) is the most-reliable Toyota, with a failure rate of 8%, although that isnt good enough to fend off Volvo in the small family category. The Toyota Prius (00-03) also makes the top 10, proving that ageing technologically advanced vehicles can also be reliable. However, the later Prius (03-09) doesnt perform so well, finishing 12th overall. Despite being Toyotas least-dependable car, the MR2 (00-07) still finishes as the 10th best open-top car, with an RI of 100.

Honda 1st out of 35
Last years position 1st out of 32
Cars needing repair work 9%
Average repair cost 310
Best model HR-V (98-06)
Worst model Accord (99-03)

This is Hondas sixth straight year as the most-reliable manufacturer. Other makes might be cheaper or quicker to fix, but none of them can touch Hondas low failure rate of 9%. The only Honda to win its class is the HR-V (98-06), with an RI of six substantially better than those of its rivals. However, the rest of the companys cars perform well, and even the worst model, the Accord (99-03), finishes in the family car top 10. None of Hondas rivals is sitting still, but the Japanese firms astonishing track record proves it wont be easy to beat.

In focus...
The Freelander bucks the trend, but it can't get Land Rover off bottom spotWhy has Land Rover finished last for 10 years?
Land Rover has owned last place in our reliability survey since 2002 and has delivered some of the scariest repair bills in this years results. Whats the problem?

To date most of the firms cars have been built at one factory in Solihull, Birmingham, and theyve generally proved unreliable.

The exception is the current-shape Freelander, which is built at a factory in Merseyside thats shared with sister company Jaguar. This factory is also responsible for Jaguars most-reliable car in the survey, the X-type (01-09).

Surely that cant be a coincidence.Industry expert Professor Emeritus Garel Rhys CBE concurs. Solihull has grown over the years to keep up with the demand for new Land Rovers, he says, but this increase in production has outgrown the quality-control processes and the site is having to constantly play catch-up.

Ultimately, the plant does not have the same quality-control processes that you would find in a Honda facility.