Ranked: The most reliable executive cars - and the least

While the best executive cars are refined, efficient and packed with the latest tech, reliability is also important. So, which are the most and least dependable?.....

Executive cars are relied on by company car drivers who use them for business during the week and as family cars at the weekend.

Volvo S90 side profile

So, as well providing a plush and practical interior, good mile-munching ability and the latest infotainment tech, they need to be robust – and that's where our Reliability Survey comes in.

We asked more than 18,000 people to tell us about any faults their cars had suffered during the past 12 months. We asked how long each problem kept the car off the road and how much (if anything) the repairs had cost.

Those cars that suffered the fewest problems and were cheapest to fix gained the highest scores, while those that languished in workshops for days on end and racked up expensive repair bills were penalised the most heavily.

Here we count down the most and least dependable executive cars aged up to five years old. Or to tell us about your own car, complete our 2020 Reliability Survey.

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10: Skoda Superb (on sale 2008-2015)

Skoda Superb front three quarters

Score: 93.2%

Only 13% of previous-generation Superbs had a problem, with the most common ailments relating to air-conditioning, bodywork and engine electrics. Most cars could still be driven, but some took more than a week to fix.

10: Skoda Superb - interior

Skoda Superb - interior

A small percentage of repairs were made under warranty, but most owners faced bills of £100 to £500 and some paid out more than £1500.

9: Audi A3 Saloon (2013-present)

Our cars: Audi A3 Saloon and Mini Cooper

Score: 93.4%

Although 23% of A3 Saloon owners reported a fault, the most common were minor issues relating to non-engine electrical systems. Three quarters of cars remained able to be driven and half were fixed for free under warranty.

9: Audi A3 Saloon - interior

Audi A3 Saloon - interior

Where owners were asked to pay, the majority of bills didn't exceed £300; only a small percentage paid up to £1500.

8: BMW 3 Series petrol (2012-2019)

BMW 3 Series petrol side profile

Score: 94.3%

With the previous-generation 3 Series, just under 18% of petrol models suffered a fault, with owners reporting issues with the engine and its electrical systems and the gearbox.

8: BMW 3 Series - interior

BMW 3 Series - interior

Most cars could still be driven and were repaired in less than a week. And most were fixed under warranty, with only a small percentage of repairs cost owners more than £1500.

7: Ford Mondeo (2014-present)

Ford Mondeo

Score: 95.7%

Only 15% of Mondeos had a problem, according to owners. The sat nav had the most issues, followed by the gearbox, interior trim and non-engine electrics.

7: Ford Mondeo - interior

Ford Mondeo - interior

More than half of cars could still be driven and were fixed the same day, and most were fixed for free, with only a small number of bills ranging from less than £50 to £300.

6: Mercedes CLA (2013-2019)

Mercedes CLA front three quarters

Score: 95.9%

Problems with the CLA were split evenly between the bodywork, engine and non-engine electrics, but with only 16% of cars suffering a fault.

6: Mercedes CLA - interior

Mercedes CLA - interior

Two thirds of those cars could still be driven and no owners had to contribute to repair costs.

=4: Jaguar XE petrol (2015-present)

2019 Jaguar XE front

Score: 96.3%

Petrol-engined XEs are far more dependable than diesels: 16% of petrols had a problem compared with 36% of diesels. The most frequently cited areas of weakness were the air-conditioning and brakes, followed by the bodywork, engine and non-engine electrics.

=4: Jaguar XE - interior

Jaguar XE interior

All cars were still able to be driven, though, and all were fixed under warranty.

=4: Volvo S90 and V90 (2016-present)

Volvo S90 2018 RHD front cornering

Score: 96.3%

Only 15% of S90s and V90 we were told about had a problem, with two areas the most frequently cited: interior trim and suspension.

=4: Volvo S90 and V90 - interior

Volvo S90 - interior

All cars could still be driven and all work was carried out for free under warranty.

3: Volvo S60 and V60 (2010-2018)

Volvo S60 and V60 rear three quarters

Score: 96.8%

Volvo’s previous-generation S60 saloon and V60 estate siblings proved more durable than their German rivals. Just 18% had trouble; the most common problem area was non-engine electrics, then the engine and sat-nav.

3: Volvo S60 and V60 - interior

Volvo S60 and V60 - interior

All were fixed for free and more than half were repaired within a single day in the workshop, although some took more than a week to put right.

2: Kia Optima (2016-present)

Used Kia Optima PHEV saloon 2016-present

Score: 97.3%

Of the Kia Optima owners surveyed, 14% had experience a fault with their car, sometimes involving more serious components such as the gearbox, clutch and braking system.

2: Kia Optima - interior

Used Kia Optima Sportswagon PHEV 2017-present

All cars were fixed under warranty, but some took more than a week to get back on the road.

1: Hyundai i40

Hyundai i40 saloon front

Score: 97.9%

And the most reliable executive car is... The Hyundai i40. If dependability is your priority, the i40 is an executive car you have to consider.

1: Hyundai i40 - interior

Used Hyundai i40 12-present

The cars we were told about only suffered minor problems that were corrected under warranty. The only downside was that all took more than a week to fix.

So what about the least reliable executive cars...?

Mercedes C-Class (2014-present)

2019 Mercedes C-Class front

Score: 87.6%

Just under a third of Mercedes C-Class models had faults, mostly with the exhaust, then the engine electrics and suspension.

Mercedes C-Class - interior

Mercedes C-Class - interior

Around half were laid up for more than a week and a quarter were rendered undrivable. Most fixes were free, but a few owners paid up to £1000.

Vauxhall Insignia (2008-17)

Vauxhall Insignia front three quarters

Score: 85.4%

Even more (39%) Vauxhall Insignias had a problem, with two important areas, the braking system and engine, the most frequently concerned.

Vauxhall Insignia - interior

Vauxhall Insignia - interior

More than half could still be driven and were fixed the same day, but a third cost owners from £51 to more than £1500.

Jaguar XE diesel (2015-present)

LT Jaguar XE nose

Score: 82.6%

The most unreliable executive car, though, according to respondents of our survey, was the diesel Jaguar XE. Issues were reported in every one of our 14 fault categories.

Jaguar XE - interior

Jaguar XE interior

And while some 75% of cars could still be driven and most were fixed for free, some brought bills ranging from £500 to more than £1500.

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