The least reliable types of car
Which classes of car suffer the most breakdowns and which soldier on faultlessly? Here we reveal the four least reliable car classes and the best and worst performers in each...
Reliability rating 91.9%
Practicality is key for MPVs, which are used as taxis and to transport large families. That often equates to a tough life, and that's why some suffer a high percentage of faults.
However, the Ford C-Max isn't one of them. A shining beacon of dependability, the C-Max gained 100% for reliability, with no owners reporting any issues with their cars.
The same can't be said for the Seat Alhambra, which managed to muster a score of only 70.8%, making it the lowest-scoring MPV. Around a third of the cars we were told about went wrong and half of them spent more than a week in the garage. Although 82% of repairs were done under warranty, some owners paid out more than £1500.
3. Luxury cars
Reliability rating 91.5%
If you’re in the market for a luxury car, you’ll be after a car with a sumptuous interior, a ride that can soak up the worst of the UK’s pockmarked roads and supreme refinement that allows you to travel at speed in near-silence. You'll also be paying big bucks for your car, so you'll expect it to be dependable. Not all are – the previous-generation Audi A6 isn't ageing well – but the previous BMW 5 Series is proving less troublesome.
Owners of the 5 Series produced between 2010 and 2017 told us only 17% of their cars had developed a fault in the previous 12 months. Half of cars were put right in a day or less and no owners had to pay. Hence, it gained a reliability rating of 96.7% and was the highest-scoring luxury car.
In contrast, nearly a quarter of Audi A6s produced between 2011 and 2018 suffered a fault and half of those took more than a week to fix. Only 40% of work was done for free and some owners faced bills exceeding £1500. Its reliability rating is 70.6% and it's the worst luxury car for reliability.
2. Large SUVs
Reliability rating 91.2%
These cars aren’t particularly cheap to buy, so in return buyers expect a roomy interior, a lengthy list of standard equipment and excellent reliability. And that is the case with the recently replaced Ford Kuga, which is the top-performing large SUV for reliability.
The Kuga (2013-2020) scored a creditable 97.8% for reliability, because only 5% of cars went wrong and the bodywork and gearbox/clutch were the only problem areas. Half of the cars we were told about were put right in a day or less and all work was done for free.
At the other end of the spectrum, almost half of older Land Rover Discovery Sport owners told us their car had gone wrong, with the model chalking up issues in a wide range of areas. A third of cars took more than a week to put right, and while 88% of work was done for free, those who paid had to shell out up to £1000. The 2014-2019 Discovery Sport gained a reliability rating of only 73.1%, making it the least dependable large SUV.
1. Luxury SUVs
Reliability rating 86.7%
The pinnacle of chic, luxury SUVs should have a classy interior, cosseting ride, the latest driver assistance technology and enough space to really stretch out. And after spending all that money, owners don't want cars with a heap of problems, but overall luxury SUVs are the least dependable class of car.
That's not the case across the board, though. The Porsche Macan is a pricey choice, but a dependable one; owners told us only 13% of cars went wrong. Two-thirds of issues were resolved in a day or less and four out of five cars were fixed for free. No wonder it gained a reliability rating of 96.9%.
However, at the other end of the scale, there are a number of luxury SUVs with plenty of issues, and the Range Rover Sport is the worst of all. Owners told us that 40% of their cars went wrong, a worryingly high proportion of them with engine issues. Nearly half were off the road for more than a week, but 98% of work was done for free.