Most and least reliable electric and hybrid cars
Electric and hybrid cars offer low running costs, but they can be expensive to buy so they need to be dependable to keep owners happy. Which are the most and least reliable?...
Electric and hybrid cars are still relatively new to the mainstream, so they need to be reliable to attract buyers and inspire confidence in their technology.
But how do you know which ones are?
Well, using feedback from more than 18,000 car owners, we've rated 218 models from 31 brands, based on how many faults they suffered in the last year, how long each problem kept the car off the road and the cost of any repairs.
Here we use that data to name the most and least dependable electric and hybrid cars, aged one to five years old. And we're currently running our reliability survey again, so once you’ve read the story, please tell us about your own car.
10. BMW i3 (2013-present)
Although 22% of i3s had a problem, most work was covered under warranty and all cars could still be driven, even if some took more than a week to put right.
BMW i3 (Cont.)
According to owners, the most common area of concern was bodywork, followed by non-engine electrics. There was also a small percentage of issues with the exhaust and fuel systems on range extender models.
9. Kia Niro (2016-present)
Our data includes the hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Niro, plus the all-electric e-Niro. Owners told us that 16% of cars had a problem, with the engine the main area of concern on hybrid models, followed by bodywork and the sat-nav, with problems reported on a small percentage of all versions.
Kia Niro (Cont.)
Half of cars took more than a week to repair, but most were fixed for free; only a small number of owners paid between £501 and £750.
8. Lexus IS (2013-present)
Lexus is a brand synonymous with both hybrid technology and reliability, so it is no real surprise to find the IS in our top 10 list. Only 14% of IS owners reported a fault with their car. The main area where they had any cause for complaint was with the bodywork, followed by the sat-nav system.
Lexus IS (Cont.)
For those that did have problems, it's reassuring to know that all cars could still be driven and were fixed in less than a day. Even better, all work was carried out under warranty.
7. Toyota Prius (2016-present)
Toyota (the parent company of Lexus) also priorities dependability when developing a car, and this obviously pays dividends because just 9% of the Priuses we were told about had a problem.
Toyota Prius (Cont.)
The only areas affected were the bodywork and non-engine electrics, and although some cars took more than a week to put right, all work was done for free.
6. Telsa Model S (2014-present)
Of the Model S owners surveyed, 16% reported an issue with their car. Fortunately, the blighted areas weren't the most serious: problems were split evenly between bodywork and non-engine electrics.
Tesla Model S (Cont.)
Sadly, around half of the cars were out of action for a week or more, but all repairs were completed for free.
5. Toyota Auris (2013-2019)
The second Toyota to grace this list is the Auris family hatchback. It may not be as graceful as its successor, the latest Corolla, but it is a car that you can truly rely on. A mere 6% of Auris Hybrids went wrong according to our data, making for many satisfied customers.
Toyota Auris (Cont.)
Of those that had issues, only the battery and interior trim gave any causes for concern. All cars could still be driven and were repaired the same day under warranty.
4. Lexus RX (2016-present)
Large, luxury SUVs are often some of the least reliable vehicles on the road due to the complexity of them. However, the RX is proof that this needn't be the case since just 5% of owners told us their car had gone wrong, and the only area affected was the braking system.
Lexus RX (Cont.)
All cars could still be driven and were fixed in less than a day, plus there were no repair bills.
3. Lexus NX (2014-present)
The NX family SUV from Lexus has a near-perfect reliability record; only 3% of cars had any faults and the only area of concern was non-engine electrics.
Lexus NX (Cont.)
All the NXs we were told about could still be driven and were fixed under warranty the same day.
=1. Lexus CT (2011-present)
Many people worry that hybrid cars will be less reliable than petrols and diesels and costlier to service and repair, due to their complexity.
Lexus CT (Cont.)
However, Lexus CT owners told us their cars behaved impeccably over the previous 12 months; not one experienced a problem.
=1 Toyota Yaris Hybrid (2011-present)
Like the CT, the Toyota Yaris Hybrid poses more problems to people writing car reviews about what to look out for, than to actual owners, because there simply isn't anything to discuss.
Toyota Yaris Hybrid (Cont.)
Not one of the car we were told about had suffered a fault of any kind. The car simply performed exactly as it should without any fuss, which is exactly as it should be.
Now let's find out what were the least reliable electric and hybrid cars...
3. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (2014-present)
Despite its lowly ranking, the plug-in hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander has a strong reliability record – it's just up against incredibly strong competition. Only 13% had a problem, with the most common area being interior trim.
All cars remained drivable and most were repaired in a week or less. Half of the repair work was done under warranty, but some cars cost up to £1000 to put right.
2. Volkswagen Golf GTE (2015-2019)
Owners told us that 31% of plug-in hybrid Volkswagen Golfs had suffered a fault, with the biggest problem area being the gearbox/clutch.
Although all cars were fixed for free, around three-quarters were off the road for more than a week.
1. Renault Zoe (2013-2019)
A high percentage of previous-generation Renault Zoes had problems, including a lot of electrical gremlins. Other areas affected included the battery, brakes, interior trim and suspension.
All faults were fixed under warranty, but three-quarters of cars were out of action for more than a week.