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Least reliable family cars

The last thing you want when you've got the family in the car is to be left stranded by the roadside, So, here we take a look at the most and least dependable models...

Most and least reliable family cars 2021 - Volkswagen Golf

The five least reliable family cars

5. Volkswagen Golf (2020-present)

Volkswagen Golf 2021 Mk8 front tracking

Reliability rating: 89.5%

If you’re after a petrol-powered Volkswagen Golf, you may want to buy secondhand, because the newest version is a big step down from the previous generation in the reliability stakes, with a 5.1% lower rating. A third (33%) of owners encountered had a problem, with 42% of them caused by the non-engine electrics or the sat-nav system.

No cars were left undriveable and no one had to pay for repairs. However, 40% of owners waited more than a week for their car to be fixed, while 25% waited up to a week, and 35% got their cars back the same day.

Read our full Volkswagen Golf review >>

4. Volkswagen Golf diesel (2013-2020)

Volkswagen Golf front - 67-plate car

Reliability rating: 89.4%

Previous-generation diesel Golfs went wrong twice as often as their petrol counterparts, with 34% of cars developing faults, most commonly with the battery or the exhaust system.

Thirty-eight percent of cars were rendered undriveable by their faults, and another 38% of cars took more than a week to repair. Furthermore, 31% of owners had to pay for their car to be fixed, with 15% facing bills of between £201 and £300.

Read our used Volkswagen Golf review >>

3. Honda Civic (2017-present)

Honda Civic

Reliability rating: 87.8%

Japanese cars have a reputation for reliability, but the current Honda Civic is bucking the trend. A quarter (25%) of owners had issues, which cropped up with every area of the car except for the steering and suspension. Air-con and cooling problems were by far the most common. 

Although 81% of Civics were still usable despite the faults, a worrying 56% of cars were stuck in the garage for more than a week, and a few owners were charged more than £1501 for repairs.

Read our full Honda Civic review >>

2. Vauxhall Astra (2015-present)

Vauxhall Astra cornering front three quarters

Reliability rating: 86.6%

Thirty-two per cent of Astras went wrong, mostly due to faulty non-engine electrics. There were also complaints about the battery, engine, gearbox/clutch and the interior trim.

While just 11% of cars couldn’t be driven because of their faults, a dreadful 67% took more than a week to be fixed, and 6% of owners had to pay more than £1500 – rubbing salt in the wound.

Read our full Vauxhall Astra review >>

1. Mercedes A-Class (2018-present)

Mercedes A-Class front corner

Reliability rating: 84.8%

This year has seen the Mercedes A-Class fall from grace in a big way. Last year, the previous-generation (2013-2018) model was the fourth most reliable family car, but the current version is this year’s least dependable, with 31% of cars going wrong.

Most problems were with faulty non-engine electrics, but the interior trim and air-con were also affected, which is disappointing from a premium brand. The service wasn't great either: 36% of owners had to wait more than a week for repairs, 8% were billed between £501 and £750, and 3% paid more than £1500.

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