Ranked: The most reliable classes of car

Do gadget-laden luxury cars suffer more faults than simple small hatchbacks? We reveal the most and least reliable car classes...

Do gadget-laden luxury cars suffer more faults than simple small hatchbacks? We reveal the most and least reliable car classes

Reliability survey

To answer this question and to reveal the most and least reliable types of car, we've analysed the data for more than 18,000 cars that owners told us about in our annual What Car? Reliability Survey, which was conducted in association with MotorEasy.   

We've split the data into 10 different car classes, spanning small and city cars to luxury SUVs, and rounded up the average Reliability Rating for each group. 

Tell us about your car in the 2020 What Car? reliability survey

Click on the right arrow above to find out which are the most – and least – dependable car classes.

10. Best luxury SUV: Volkswagen Touareg

Volkswagen Touareg

Luxury SUV Reliability Rating 86.5%

It's a real tale of two halves when it comes to luxury SUVs, with some German brands proving impressively durable and fault-free.

The highest-scoring luxury SUV is the previous-generation Volkswagen Touareg, which is ageing well even though it is coming up to its 10th birthday.

Most of the examples aged up to five years old we were told about had no faults, and those that did all remained driveable. Half took more than a week to put right, but no owners were charged for repairs. No wonder it gained a Reliability Rating of 96.0%. 

10. Worst luxury SUV: Range Rover

Range Rover cornering front three quarters

In contrast, Land Rover models filled the bottom three slots in this car class: the previous-generation Discovery scored 82.5%, the Range Rover Velar 77.9% and the current Range Rover only 69.3%, putting it in last place.

Owners told us that 35% of Range Rovers had a problem and that a third of them cost more than £1000 to put right, with problems that caused their cars to be off the road for more than a week. 

9. Best luxury car: Jaguar XJ

Jaguar XJ front - bright blue

Luxury car Reliability Rating  90.4%

Some luxury cars sail through life with hardly a fault, while others are dogged by costly issues, and dependability doesn't appear to be brand-specific either, with Jaguar taking the top and bottom spots in this car class. 

Although 31% of Jaguar XJs had a problem, most were minor electrical niggles that didn't prevent cars from being driven and were sorted out in less than a day under warranty.

9. Worst luxury car: Jaguar XF

Jaguar XF

At the other end of the spectrum, owners told us that 37% of Jaguar XFs suffered a problem.

Although most cars could still be driven and were fixed the same day, the majority of owners had to pay up to £200 for each repair bill.  

8. Best large SUV: Toyota RAV4

Toyota RAV4

Large SUV Reliability Rating  91.0%

There's more than 20% difference between the Reliability rating for the best large SUV and the worst, so if you're considering buying one of these it's worth checking out the scores before you buy.  

The 2013-2019 Toyota RAV4 is the most dependable large SUV with a score of 99.5%. Only 3% of cars had any trouble and the sole area affected was non-engine electrics. All fixes were completed under warranty in less than a week. 

8. Worst large SUV: Nissan X-Trail

Nissan X-Trail 2019 RHD front right tracking

With a lowly rating of 77.1%, the Nissan X-Trail isn't as tough as it looks. In fact, 39% of cars had a fault, and there were problems in 11 of our 14 fault categories.

Around half were repaired the same day, but the others were off the road for more than a week while under repair. While many were fixed for free, some owners had to pay up to £1500.

7. Best family SUV: Kia Sportage

Kia Sportage

Family SUV Reliability Rating  91.6%

Some family SUVs had hardly any faults, while others were plagued with problems. Best of the bunch was the Kia Sportage with an exemplary Reliability rating of 98.6%.

Only 7% of Sportage owners reported a problem with their car, but some cars could not be driven and two thirds were laid up for a week or more. All the work was carried out for free, though.

7. Worst family SUV: Range Rover Evoque

Range Rover Evoque

Owners told us that 40% of 2011-2019 Range Rover Evoques went wrong, and the model had trouble in 13 of our 14 categories.

Nearly half of cars were off the road for more than a week and 10% were undriveable. Most repair work was carried out for free, but some cost from £101 to more than £1500.

6. Best executive car: Hyundai i40

Hyundai i40 saloon front

Executive car Reliability Rating  91.8%

Even though executive cars are usually laden with all the latest technology, there are plenty of models with a strong reliability record. 

If dependability is your priority, the Hyundai i40 is an executive car you should consider. Only 10% of owners reported a fault, and the cars we were told about only suffered minor problems that were corrected under warranty. The only downside is that all of them took more than a week to fix.

 

6. Worst executive car: Jaguar XE

Jaguar XE diesel (2015 on) front three quarters

In contrast, 36% of diesel Jaguar XEs suffered a fault; they had twice as many issues as petrol XEs.

In fact, owners reported issues in every one of our 14 fault categories. Some 75% of cars could still be driven and most were fixed for free, but some brought owners bills that ranged from £500 to more than £1500.

5. Best coupe, convertible and sports car: BMW M4

New Porsche 718 Cayman vs Used BMW M4: which is best

Coupe, convertible and sports car Reliability Rating  92.9%

Many of these cars are high-powered and laden with equipment, so there's plenty of scope for reliability issues. The best coupes, convertibles and sports cars spent very little time in the garage getting fixed, but the worst languished indoors for more than a week having costly repairs done. 

The BMW M4 is a dependable choice, with a Reliability rating of 99.3% and just 6% of owners reporting a fault. The only area involved was bodywork, and all were driveable and repaired within a day under warranty.

5. Worst coupe, convertible and sports car: Mercedes C-Class Coupe

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe 2019 Front left tracking shot

On the other hand, not all C-Class Coupés are a joy to live with. The model scored 83.8% and 28% of the cars we were told about suffered a fault. The biggest issues were with the gearbox/clutch and non-engine electrics.

A quarter were out of action for more than a week, and while most work was done under warranty, some of it resulted in bills ranging from £1001 to £1500.

4. Best small SUV: Kia Soul

Kia Soul

Small SUV Reliability Rating  93.3%

They may be the smallest SUVs you can buy, but they're also the most dependable. In fact, some of the most reliable models overall are in this competitive class. 

Three-quarters of owners of the previous generation Kia Soul said the thing they considered most important when buying was reliability, and this SUV has really lived up to their expectations, with not a single one going wrong.

4. Worst small SUV: Jeep Renegade

Jeep Renegade

However, not all small SUVs are top-notch for reliability. According to owners, 50% of Jeep Renegades suffered a problem.

The model has been plagued by electrical faults, with some owners telling us their DAB radios and dashboard displays stopped working properly.

Most cars could still be driven and were fixed the same day, but a third of owners had to pay between £51 and £1500.

3. Best family car: Skoda Rapid

Skoda Rapid Spaceback

Family car Reliability Rating  94.1%

While Japanese and Korean brands often top the charts for reliability, it's the Skoda Rapid that is the best in the family car class. 

The 2012-2019 model must be a rare sight in Skoda’s service departments because just 5% of the cars we were told about had a problem in the previous 12 months. Those that did were afflicted by only minor issues with exterior trim.

3. Worst family car: Vauxhall Astra

Vauxhall Astra

In contrast, Vauxhall dealers may be seeing a lot of diesel Astras because 40% of diesel-engined cars suffered a fault. In fact, diesel-engined models have a 10% lower reliability rating than their petrol siblings, and nearly twice as many went wrong.

Nearly a quarter of issues were with the braking system, and one in five were with the engine or gearbox/clutch. Nearly a third of cars took more than a week to fix, but at least all the work was done under warranty.

2. Best small and city car: Suzuki Celerio

Suzuki Celerio 1.0 Dualjet SZ2

Small and city car Reliability Rating  94.7%

Small and city cars are among the most dependable, according to owners, with most scoring more than 90% in our survey. 

Top of the heap is the Suzuki Celerio – only 11% went wrong and only their gearboxes were affected. While that could potentially be a serious area for problems, all cars affected could still be driven and all were fixed under warranty in less than a week.

 

2. Worst small and city car: Seat Ibiza

Seat Ibiza cornering front three quarters

However, not all small cars are perfectly formed. The previous Seat Ibiza isn’t ageing well. More than a quarter were faulty, with non-engine electrics the most troublesome area.

A third took more than a week to fix; less than half of the fixes were done under warranty and some cost up to £500.

1. Best hybrid and electric cars: Lexus CT and Toyota Yaris Hybrid

Toyota Yaris Hybrid

Hybrid and electric car Reliability Rating  96.1%

Many people worry that hybrid and electric cars will be less reliable and costlier to service and repair, due to all the new technology they're fitted with, but, according to owners, they are the most dependable types of car. 

Joint honours go to the Lexus CT and Toyota Yaris Hybrid, both of which scored a perfect 100% Reliability Rating. Owners of these two hybrid hatchbacks told us that none of their cars had experienced a problem in the previous 12 months.

 

1. Worst hybrid and electric car: Renault Zoe

Renault Zoe (2013 on) front three quarters

The previous Renault Zoe isn't proving as dependable, with 44% of cars suffering a fault, many of them electrical issues.

All faults were fixed under warranty, but three-quarters of cars were out of action for more than a week.

Tell us about your car in the 2020 What Car? reliability survey


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