Revealed: The UK's 25 most unreliable cars
While some cars motor along for years without missing a beat, others are afflicted by fault after fault, so here's our round-up of the most problematic 25 cars aged up to five years old.....
In our most recent Reliability Survey, held in association with MotorEasy, more than 18,000 people told us how dependable their cars had been over the previous 12 months, with a quarter reporting at least one fault.
To help rate those faults for seriousness, we divided them into 15 categories: air-con, battery, bodywork, brakes, engine, engine electrics, exhaust, fuel system, gearbox/clutch, interior trim, non-engine electrics, sat-nav, steering, suspension and other. The most frequent area where problems were cited was non-engine electrics, with 24% of owners reporting this type of fault.
We also asked owners to tell us how long their car was off the road while it was getting fixed and how much the repairs cost. While the majority of faults cost £101-£200 to put right, 3% of owners paid more than £1500.
Combined, this information allowed us to give each of the 218 models (from 31 different brands) featured in the survey a reliability rating. As you'd expect, this penalises cars that have lots of expensive faults and rewards dependable ones that suffer no or only minor faults that are cheap and quick to repair.
Below we count down the least dependable cars aged up to five years old. Or to tell us about your own car, complete our 2020 Reliability Survey.
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25: Audi Q2 (2016 on)
Reliability rating: 82.4%
A fairly high percentage of Audi Q2s had a fault (24%), and although 10% related to non-engine electrics, 7% were more serious, affecting the gearbox/clutch. Most were fixed in less than a week and repaired for free, but some cost £201-£1500.
24: BMW 5 Series (2010-2017)
Reliability rating: 88.4%
The previous-generation BMW 5 Series suffered a fairly high proportion of faults (39%), and some were in serious areas; 10% had exhaust issues and 8% had engine issues.
A quarter of cars couldn’t be driven, and although most were fixed for free, a few owners had to shell out up to £1500.
23: Mercedes S-Class (2013 on)
Reliability rating: 88.1%
Most Mercedes S-Class models were fixed for free, with only a few owners having to pay up to £300.
However, around 50% of cars suffered a fault, most commonly with non-engine electrics. All cars could still be driven, and the majority were back on the road in less than a week.
22: Mercedes C-Class (2014 on)
Reliability rating: 87.6%
Just under a third of Mercedes C-Class models had faults, mostly with the exhaust, then the engine electrics and suspension.
Around half were laid up for more than a week and a quarter were rendered undriveable. Most fixes were free, but a few owners paid up to £1000.
=20: BMW 1 Series diesel (2011-2019)
Reliability rating: 87.0%
Although previous-generation petrol-engined BMW 1 Series models are pretty durable, 34% of diesels had trouble, mainly with the engine. One in five were undriveable and took more than a week to fix, plus some cost owners up to £500.
=20: Peugeot 208 (2012-2019)
Reliability rating: 87.0%
Just over a third (35%) of Peugeot 208s went wrong, with suspension, engine and non-engine electrics the main culprits. However, all cars remained driveable and most work was done under warranty; only a small percentage of customers were presented with bills costing up to £300.
19: Jaguar XF (2007-2015)
Reliability rating: 86.8%
Although a fairly high percentage (37%) of Jaguar XFs suffered a fault, all could still be driven and were fixed within a day. However, most weren’t fixed under warranty, costing owners up to £200 each time.
18: Nissan Pulsar (2014-2018)
Reliability rating: 86.6%
Almost 40% of Pulsars had a fault, the majority to do with the battery. Nearly half couldn’t be driven, but all their faults were rectified the same day. Three-quarters of work was done under warranty, but a quarter of owners paid bills ranging from £101-£300.
17: Volkswagen T-Roc (2018 on)
Reliability rating: 86.5%
Only 25% of Volkswagen T-Rocs had a fault; most (13%) concerned bodywork, although there were also issues with the engine and its electrics. All work was done under warranty, but most cars took more than a week to repair.
16: Seat Ibiza (2008-2017)
Reliability rating: 86.0%
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.
15: Vauxhall Insignia (2008-2017)
Reliability rating: 85.4%
Almost one in four (39%) of Vauxhall Insignias had a problem, with two important areas – the braking system and engine – the most frequently concerned. More than half could still be driven and were fixed the same day, but a third cost owners from £51 to more than £1500.
14: Mercedes C-Class Coupé (2016 on)
Reliability rating: 83.8%
Not all C-Class Coupe's are a joy to live with; 28% of those 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.
13: Jaguar XE diesel (2015 on)
Reliability rating: 82.6%
Diesel Jaguar XEs suffered twice as many issues as petrols; 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 bills ranging from £500 to more than £1500.
12: Land Rover Discovery (2004-2017)
Reliability rating: 82.5%
Don’t assume that the old Land Rover Discovery suffers a lot of faults because it’s old; the latest version scored just 1% better, and 41% of both models suffered faults.
Around half took more than a week to fix; most were fixed under warranty, but some cost as much as £750.
=10: Renault Zoe (2013 on)
Reliability rating: 82.3%
A high percentage of Renault Zoes had problems, including a lot of electrical gremlins. All faults were fixed under warranty, but three-quarters of cars were out of action for more than a week.
=10: Vauxhall Astra diesel (2015 on)
Reliability rating: 82.3%
Diesel Vauxhall Astras have a 10% lower reliability rating than their petrol siblings; 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.
9: Nissan Qashqai petrol (2014 on)
Reliability rating: 82.1%
Petrol Nissan Qashqais performed slightly worse than diesels: 48% compared with 42%. Battery trouble afflicted 24% of cars and 6% had brake issues and problems with their engine. The only upside is that half were fixed the same day and three-quarters of work was free.
8: Land Rover Discovery Sport (2014 on)
Reliability rating: 81.9%
Some 43% of Land Rover Discovery Sport owners experienced trouble, with issues spanning all of our categories apart from the steering.
A quarter of cars took more than a week to fix; most work was free, but a small number presented bills of more than £1500.
7: Renault Kadjar (2015 on)
Reliability rating: 81.3%
Renault Kadjars had a lot of electrical gremlins; 34% of cars went wrong, and 11% of problems related to non-engine electrics. Three-quarters of cars were off the road for more than a week, and while 75% of work was done for free, some owners had to pay from £51 to more than £1500.
6: Ford Edge (2016 on)
Reliability rating: 80.7%
Ford Edge owners spend a lot of time in garages; 45% of their cars suffered a fault and around half were laid up for more than a week. Air-con and non-engine electrics caused the most trouble (15%), among a range of issues. Thankfully, all repairs were done for free.
5: Range Rover Evoque (2011-2019)
Reliability rating: 78.4%
Owners of the previous Range Rover Evoque had trouble in 13 of our 14 categories; only the steering was unaffected.
Nearly half of cars were off the road for more than a week and 10% were undriveable. Most work was carried out for free, but some cost from £101 to more than £1500.
4: Range Rover Velar (2017 on)
Reliability rating: 77.9%
A whopping 48% of Range Rover Velar owners told us their car had suffered a fault, with 33% suffering non-engine electrical issues. Other issues were with the bodywork, interior trim and sat-nav. Every car was fixed for free, but half were in the garage for more than a week.
=2: Jeep Renegade (2015 on)
Reliability rating: 77.1%
The Jeep Renegade has been plagued by electrical faults – half of owners reported at least one issue – 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.
=2: Nissan X-Trail (2014 on)
Reliability rating: 77.1%
Don't be fooled by the Nissan X-Trail’s looks; it isn’t that tough. In fact, 39% of cars had a problem and it had faults in 11 of our 14 categories. Around half were repaired the same day, but the others were off the road for more than a week. While many were fixed for free, some owners had to pay up to £1500.
1: Range Rover (2013 on)
Reliability rating: 69.3%
The Range Rover's most common problem was with the battery, but some major components went wrong, too, including the gearbox and suspension, at some price. Half of the repairs were free, but a third cost at least £1000. A third of cars were static for more than a week.