Small family cars: 11 - 19

* 17,200 motorists polled * 104 models reviewed * 27 manufacturers tested...

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What Car? Staff
3 Jun 2010 06:01 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 00:03

11: Peugeot 308

Vehicle owner satisfaction score 78.9%
Overall 57th=
Owners are a far happier bunch than drivers of the 307, but Peugeot still has work to do if it wants to trouble the class leaders.

Mechanical reliability was the biggest concern, with a high number of reports of cars pulling to the left or right.

Owners also complained about how easily the 308's interior marked and scuffed, and thought some of the storage locations could have been more conveniently placed.

However, they were fans of the Peugeot's low running bills and reasonable service charges.

12: Mazda 3

Vehicle owner satisfaction score 78.8%
Overall 59th=
A similar result to last year's won't please Mazda. Owners seemed to have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the 3: they loved its excellent mechanical reliability reporting fewer engine and gearbox faults than owners of any other car in the class but were damning about its fuel economy and the cost of servicing and repairs.

The car suffered fewer than average bodywork problems, but elsewhere scores for Mazda's small family car were largely average.

13: Citroen C4

Vehicle owner satisfaction score 78.7%
Overall 61st=
Up 21 places this year, thanks to average marks generally. Owners found it cheap to fuel and insure, although servicing and repairs weren't quite such good value.

The Citroen's only downfall was its interior, which suffered an unusually high number of faults especially the glovebox. Owners also complained of windows fogging up and glitches with the CD player, and they didn't think much of the quality of the seats. Most liked the styling of the dashboard, though.

14: Seat Leon

Vehicle owner satisfaction score 78.3%
Overall 66th=
Seat dealers take much of the blame for the Leon's mediocre result in the class. Owners slated the service facilities, the service advisors and the quality of the work carried out, and thought some of the charges and the time taken were unacceptable.

Failing door locks caused headaches and owners also moaned about the interior and heating system.

That's a shame, because they liked the Leon's styling, strong acceleration, tidy handling and powerful brakes.

15: Ford Focus

Vehicle owner satisfaction score78.0%
Overall 70th
The Focus rates 70th place in the survey for the second year running, pipping the Astra in the process. Owners weren't particularly critical about any aspect of ownership, but they didn't have much to shout about, either. They reported a relatively high number of exterior problems, and drivers didn't think much of the car's exterior styling particularly at the front end.

The Ford's interior courtesy light was found to be fairly useless, too. On the plus side, drivers did find it easy to get into and out of the Focus.

16: Vauxhall Astra

Vehicle owner satisfaction score 77.8%
Overall 72nd=
Vauxhall won't be pleased to see the old Astra so far down the leaderboard. Owners struggled to find much to get excited about, giving only average scores in many sections of the survey.

They did find plenty to criticise, however, with the Astra's interior getting a roasting for its unattractive instrument panel, uncomfortable seats, poor-quality heater controls and the odd locations of its storage spaces.

Although most aspects of dealer service were rated average, Astra drivers were often unhappy about the condition in which their cars were returned to them.

17: Renault Megane

Vehicle owner satisfaction score 76.8%
Overall 87th=
Another disappointing year for the Megane. Although owners say its oily bits are fairly sturdy, the Renault isn't so dependable in other areas: it suffered more faults with the instrument panel and side windows than any car in the class. Owners also complained that the floor mats wouldn't stay in place and they didn't find it easy to get in and out.

18:Peugeot 307

Vehicle owner satisfaction score76.3%
Overall 91st
Peugeot will argue that the 307's replacement the 308 has secured a respectable mid-table finish, and that its newer models are much better built. That won't appease 307 owners, though, who criticised their cars' feeble acceleration, noisy brakes, high insurance costs and general unreliability. Owners weren't keen on the 307's looks, either, with the side profile and rear styling getting the biggest thumbs down. The stereo system also got some negative reviews.

19: Fiat Bravo

Vehicle owner satisfaction score74.3%
Overall 102nd
Bottom of its class and third bottom overall, the Bravo was slated by its owners for below-average reliability, vague steering, unresponsive brakes, uncomfortable seats, poor visibility and a cramped driver environment. In fact, it was rated below average in every single area.

Problems with the clutch, uneven tyre wear, wipers and engine warning lights were the biggest reliability issues, but Fiat service centres did at least complete repairs to a fair standard. The service staff scored low marks for politeness, though.

Small family cars league table
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Graham and Sallys Kia Ceed
Names Graham and Sally Watts Ages 62 and 56 Live Dereham, Norfolk Jobs Retired Model Kia Ceed 1.6 CRDi Mileage with car 10,000Performance is impressive and so far weve been getting 53mpg. The diesel engine is so quiet at speed that it has fooled more than one passenger into thinking it runs on petrol!
For the first time in many years of car ownership, there hasnt been a single creak or rattle for us to moan about. The Ceed is a triumph of practicality over any wow factor, but knowing Kia, the next model will tick the desirability box, too.