The 25 most unreliable cars

While some cars never go wrong, others are afflicted by numerous faults. Here's our round-up of the most problematic models aged up to five years old.....

The 25 most unreliable cars

25 most unreliable cars

One in five of the cars owners told us about in our most recent Reliability Survey suffered at least one fault. That's more than 2500 of the 13,000 cars surveyed. 

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 27% 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 £100-£500 to put right, 2% of owners paid more than £1500. 

Combined, this information enabled us to create a unique reliability rating for each of the 175 models (from 31 different brands) featured in the survey. As you'd expect, cars that have lots of expensive faults receive the lowest scores, and the highest ratings go to the dependable ones that suffer no or only minor faults and that are cheap and quick to repair. We start at number 25 and work our way through to the most unreliable car, according to our survey.

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25: MG ZS EV (2019-present)

MG ZS EV long term

Reliability rating: 89.4%

The ZS EV isn't proving to be the most dependable electric car. Although only 7% went wrong, all of those were rendered undriveable and took more than a week to repair. Problem areas included the battery, electric motor and non-engine electrics. The good news is that all of the faulty cars were fixed under warranty.
 

24: Jaguar E-Pace (2017-present)

Jaguar E-Pace

Reliability rating: 88.4%

E-Pace owners reported that 22% of their cars had suffered a fault, with the engine and its electrical components being the main culprits. There were also issues with non-engine electrical systems, including the air-con and infotainment, and some problems with the brakes, gearbox/clutch and fuel system. Although two-thirds of the afflicted cars could still be driven, a third languished in the garage for more than a week. While 93% of repairs were done for free, a small percentage of owners paid up to £750.

23: Kia Picanto (2017-present)

Kia Picanto driving

Reliability rating: 88.3%

Although 31% of Picantos went wrong, the most common problems were minor, relating to the battery and non-engine electrical systems. A third of the affected cars took more than a week to put right, but two-thirds of all work was done under warranty.

22: BMW X6 (2014-2019)

2015 BMW X6 revealed

Reliability rating: 88.2%

Just over 31% of X6s went wrong, with gearbox issues being the most common complaint, accounting for 19% of faults. Other problematic areas included the exhaust, infotainment, interior trim and non-engine electrics. All of the troubled cars could still be driven, but one in five took more than a week to repair. Three-quarters of work was done for free, but owners who had to pay were faced with bills ranging from £50 to £750.

21. Nissan X-Trail (2014-present)

Nissan X-Trail 2019 RHD front right tracking

Reliability rating: 87.6%

Owners told us that 34% of their X-Trails had suffered a fault, with the main areas of concern being engine and non-engine electrics. Other troublesome components included the brakes, engine and fuel system. Two-thirds of those cars were driveable and the problem was rectified in a day or less, the others took more than a week to put right. While three-quarters of work was done under warranty, some owners were faced with bills ranging from less than £50 to £1500.

20: Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport (2017-present)

Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport

Reliability rating: 87.4%

A quarter of Insignia owners reported a fault on their car, with the gearbox/clutch causing the most concern. Other problem areas included the bodywork, engine, engine and non-engine electrics and the suspension. Nearly half of the cars couldn’t be driven and were out of action for more than a week. Thankfully, four out of five were fixed for free.

19. Mercedes C-Class (2014-present)

2019 Mercedes C-Class front

Reliability rating: 87.3%

Of executives car aged up to five years old, the C-Class was the lowest-rated for reliability. A third of them have gone wrong, according to owners, who reported a wide range of issues. One in four cars was off the road for more than a week, and although 81% of cars were fixed for free, a small percentage of owners paid out more than £1500 in repair bills.

18. Nissan Qashqai (2014-2021)

Nissan Qashqai

Reliability rating: 87.0%

Few of the cars we were told about had a higher proportion of faults than the Qashqai, with 40% of them going wrong. The battery and non-engine electrical systems caused the most problems, followed by the brakes, exhaust and interior trim. Most of the stricken cars could still be driven, but more than a quarter spent a week or longer in the garage. On the bright side, four out of five of them were fixed for free and no repair bills topped £300.

17: Jaguar XJ (2010-present)

Jaguar XJ front - bright blue

Reliability rating: 86.6%

A disappointing 43% of XJs had a fault, according to owners, with the battery and infotainment systems being the most problematic. Other troubles centred on the bodywork, engine, interior trim, non-engine electrics and suspension. However, the good news is that 60% of the afflicted cars could still be driven, 44% were fixed in a day or less and all work was done for free.

16. Ford S-Max (2015-present)

Ford S-MAX ST-Line 2.0 EcoBlue 190PS

Reliability rating: 86.5%

Although 36% of the S-Maxes surveyed went wrong, the area most cited by owners wasn't a serious one – namely, bodywork. That was followed by the battery and non-engine electrics. There were also a smaller number of issues relating to the fuel system and infotainment/sat-nav. All of the affected cars could still be driven, and two-thirds were repaired in less than a week, with all costs covered by the warranty.

=14. Dacia Sandero (2013-2020)

Dacia Sandero 2019 front left urban static

Reliability rating: 85.9%

Owners told us that 21% of previous-generation Sanderos went wrong. The biggest areas of concern were the bodywork, engine electrics and interior trim, followed by the gearbox/clutch and infotainment/sat-nav. Two-thirds of the faulty cars took more than a day to repair, and some owners were faced with bills of up to £750.

=14. Suzuki Ignis (2016 on)

Suzuki Ignis front three quarters

Reliability rating: 85.9%

The Ignis isn’t as bullet-proof as other Suzuki models. A quarter of cars were afflicted by a problem and nearly half lingered in a garage for more than a week. Most faults occurred with the gearbox/clutch, infotainment/sat-nav and the suspension. Alongside the used Sandero (above), the Ignis is the least dependable small car. 

13. Tesla Model S (2014-present)

Tesla Model S front

Reliability rating: 85.7%

The Model S is the least dependable electric car; it suffered the highest percentage of faults in our entire survey, with 61% of the cars we were told about having a problem. The most common bugbear was issues with the bodywork and non-motor electrics, followed by the brakes, motor electrics and suspension. Although all of them could still be driven, half were out of action for more than a week. And while 93% were fixed for free, the remaining owners paid out between £50 and £100 for repairs.

12. Porsche Panamera (2016-present)

Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid

Reliability rating: 84.5%

A disappointing 47% of Panameras suffered faults, and almost half of those were to do with the bodywork. Other problematic areas included the air-con, brakes, engine, exhaust and interior trim. All of the faulty cars could still be driven, and the majority were fixed in less than a week. While most work was done under warranty, some owners paid between £50 and £1000.

11. Volkswagen Golf diesel (2013-2020)

Volkswagen Golf front - 67-plate car

Reliability rating: 83.6%

Diesel Golfs suffered twice as many issues as petrol models, with 36% of them striking trouble. The most common problems related to the bodywork, followed by the battery, engine, infotainment/sat-nav, gearbox/clutch and non-engine electrics. A quarter of the faulty cars couldn’t be driven and took up to a week to repair. Nearly three-quarters of work was done under warranty, but a small percentage of owners paid out up to £750.

10: Peugeot 308 (2013-present)

Peugeot 308 front - 17-plate car

Reliability rating: 83.3%

A third of 308s went wrong, with non-engine electrical issues, including faulty infotainment and sat-nav systems, accounting for 20% of faults, followed by bodywork, interior trim and suspension problems that each accounted for 6% of problems. Two-thirds of the affected cars could still be driven and were put right in a week or less. However, while 47% of work was done for free, those who paid for repairs shelled out between £51 and £1000.

9. Range Rover Evoque (2011-2019)

2014 Range Rover Evoque review

Reliability rating: 82.8%

The original Evoque isn’t ageing well, with owners telling us that 35% of them went wrong in the past year. Most issues were with the bodywork and brakes, followed by engine and non-engine electrics, air-con and the engine. Around a quarter of cars were rendered undriveable and more than a third took more than a week to put right. While 95% of the remedial work was done for free, a small percentage of repair bills ranged from £300 to more than £1500. It's the poorest performing family-sized SUV. 

8. Seat Leon diesel (2013-2020)

Seat Leon 1.5 TSI EVO XCellence [EZ]

Reliability rating: 82.7%

Owners of diesel Leons had almost four times as many problems as those with petrol engines, with 40% of cars going wrong, making it the most unreliable family car. The battery was the biggest bugbear, followed by the air-con, bodywork, brakes, engine, infotainment/sat-nav and interior trim. A third of cars were rendered undriveable, and although two-thirds of the work was done under warranty, some owners paid out up to £500.

7. Porsche 718 Cayman (2016-present)

2016 Porsche 718 Boxster review

Reliability rating: 82.5%

Owners reported that 25% of their cars had suffered a fault, and a worrying 10% of those concerned the engine. Other problem areas included the air-con, engine and non-engine electrics and interior trim. No wonder the Cayman is the lowest scorer in our coupes, convertibles and sports car category.

6. Range Rover Velar (2017-present)

Land Rover Range Rover Velar 2019 left panning

Reliability rating: 81.9%

Although 36% of Velars suffered a fault, the most common issues were minor niggles with non-engine electrics and the bodywork. Other troublesome areas included the air-con, brakes, infotainment system and interior trim. Three-quarters of the afflicted cars could still be driven, but a third spent more than a week in the workshop. More than 90% of repairs were covered by the warranty, but a very small percentage of owners paid out more than £1500.

5. Land Rover Discovery (2015-present)

Land Rover Discovery

Reliability rating: 77.9%

Although 34% of Discoverys had a problem, the most frequently cited areas were less crucial ones such as the bodywork and interior trim. There were a smaller number of issues with the air-con, gearbox/clutch and non-engine electrics. Two-thirds of the faulty cars were in the repair shop for more than a week, and although 96% of work was done under warranty, some owners paid out between £300 and £500.

4. Range Rover Sport (2013-present)

Range Rover Sport '15 plate front corner

Reliability rating: 74.2%

The Range Rover Sport is the least dependable luxury SUV. Owners told us that 40% of their cars had gone wrong, a worryingly high proportion of them with engine problems. There were also problems with the bodywork, engine and non-engine electrics, brakes and suspension. A third of cars couldn’t be driven and nearly half took more than a week to repair. The good news is that 98% of them were fixed for free.

3. Land Rover Discovery Sport (2014-2019)

Land Rover Discovery Sport

Reliability rating: 73.1%

The Discovery Sport is the most unreliable large SUV. A whopping 49% of cars went wrong, with the model chalking up problems in every one of our fault categories. Half of cars could still be driven, but a third took more than a week to put right. While 88% were fixed for free, non-warranty repair bills ranged from less than £50 to £1000.

2. Seat Alhambra (2011-2020)

Seat Alhambra

Reliability rating: 70.8%

The Alhmabra may be big and practical, but it's the least robust MPV, according to owners. They told us a third of their vehicles had a problem, with issues covering a wide range of components including the air-con, battery, bodywork, brakes and engine. A quarter of them couldn't be driven, and more than half took longer than a week to put right. Although 82% of repairs were done under warranty, the remaining owners paid between £300 and more then £1500 to get their cars fixed.

1. Audi A6 (2011-2018)

2014 Audi A6 Ultra 2.0 TDI review

Reliability rating: 70.6%

What went wrong? Battery 14%, bodywork 9%, engine 6%, engine electrics 6%, fuel system 6%, non-engine electrics 6%, brakes 3%, exhaust 3%, gearbox/clutch 3%, infotainment/sat-nav 3%

A wide range of problems afflicted the previous-generation Audi A6, including issues with the battery, bodywork, engine, electrics, exhaust, gearbox/clutch and infotainment/sat-nav. Overall, owners told us that nearly a quarter (23%) of their cars had gone wrong. More than half of those cars couldn’t be driven and took more than a week to fix, and although 40% of them were fixed for free, some owners faced bills of more than £1500. That's why the used A6 is the least dependable luxury car, and the most unreliable car in our survey

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