The most - and least - reliable electric and hybrid cars

Electric and hybrid cars offer low running costs, but they can be expensive to buy so they need to be dependable to keep owners happy. Which are the most and least reliable?.....

Electric and hybrid cars are still relatively new to the mainstream.

Lexus NX

This might leave you worrying about whether their technology can be depended on.

Fortunately, we can help answer that. Using feedback from more than 18,000 car owners, we've rated 218 models from 31 brands, based on the number of faults suffered in the previous 12 months, how long each problem kept the car off the road and the cost of any repairs.

Here, we've used that data to name the most and least dependable electric and hybrid cars, aged one to five years old. We start at number 10 and make our way to the most reliable you can buy:

10. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (2014-present)

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV RHD right panning

Reliability rating 97.8%

Although 14% of Outlander PHEVs suffered a fault, most of these were minor niggles relating to bodywork, interior trim and non-engine electrics.

10. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (2014-present)

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV RHD interior

All cars could still be driven and a third were repaired in a day or less, with two-thirds of work done for free under warranty. Some owners were charged up to £750, though.

8=. BMW i3 (2013-present)

BMW i3 2018 right panning

Reliability rating 97.9%

Just under 13% of i3s have caused their owners trouble in the past 12 months, with these mostly suffering from problems with their infotainment/sat-nav systems and interior trim.

8=. BMW i3 (2013-present)

BMW i3 - interior

All of the affected cars could still be driven, with a third fixed in less than a day, but another third took up to a week and the rest more than a week to put right. At least all repairs were done under warranty.

8=. Honda CR-V Hybrid (2018-present)

Infotainment test Honda CR-V

Reliability rating 97.9%

Only 8% of CR-V Hybrids went wrong and non-engine electrics were the only problem area.

8=. Honda CR-V Hybrid (2018-present)

Honda CR-V Hybrid - interior

All cars could still be driven and were fixed the same day under warranty. 

7. Toyota Corolla (2018-present)

Toyota Corolla front three quarters

Reliability rating 98.4%

Just 5% of Corolla owners reported a fault with their car and the only problematic area was the 12-volt battery.

7. Toyota Corolla (2018-present)

Toyota Corolla Touring Sport 2020 RHD dashboard

Although all cars were off the road for more than a week, all work was done for free. 

6. Hyundai Kona Electric (2018-present)

Hyundai Kona Electric 64kWh

Reliability rating 98.5%

Just 7% of Kona Electrics went wrong, with the ancillary battery being the only area affected.

6. Hyundai Kona Electric (2018-present)

Hyundai Kona Electric inside

All of those cars could still be driven and the repair work was done under warranty, although this took more than a week in each case.

5. Lexus RX (2016-present)

Lexus RX L front - 69 plate

Reliability rating 99.1%

A mere 4% of the RX Hybrids we were told about had developed a fault in the previous 12 months.

5. Lexus RX (2016-present)

Lexus RX L dashboard - 69 plate

Non-engine electrics were the only issue and all work was done for free, in most cases in a day or less. 

4. Toyota RAV4 (2019-present)

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Design 2.5 AWD Automatic

Reliability rating 99.2%

Toyota is renowned for its reliability, and the latest RAV4 shows why; just 7% of cars went wrong, with the battery being the only area that was affected.

4. Toyota RAV4 (2019-present)

Toyota RAV4 2.5 Hybrid - interior

All of the cars could still be driven and were repaired in a day or less, and all work was carried out for free.

3. Lexus NX (2014-present)

Used Lexus NX 14-present

Reliability rating 99.3%

Only 6% of NX owners reported a fault on their car, with issues with the infotainment/sat-nav being the most common, followed by the bodywork.

3. Lexus NX (2014-present)

2017 Lexus NX 300h Luxury - interior

All of the cars remained driveable and were put right in a day or less, with the cost covered by the warranty.

2. Tesla Model 3 (2019-present)

Tesla Model 3 front

Reliability rating 99.4%

Tesla's newest model is not only the most dependable executive car but also the highest-scoring electric car. Just 5% of cars suffered a fault, according to owners.

2. Tesla Model 3 (2019-present)

Tesla Model 3 dashboard

What's more, they could all still be driven and were fixed in a day or less at no cost to owners.

1. Toyota Yaris Hybrid (2011-2020)

2016 Toyota Yaris Hybrid review

Reliability rating 99.5%

As reliable as the Model 3 is, it's beaten to top spot by the Toyota Yaris Hybrid. This small car is incredibly dependable, with a mere 5% of the cars we were told about having suffered a fault.

1. Toyota Yaris Hybrid (2011-2020)

Toyota Yaris Hybrid - interior

Again, all of the affected cars could still be driven and were fixed in a day or less for free.

So that’s the most reliable hybrid and electric cars – what about the least?

3. Toyota Prius (2016-present)

Toyota Prius 2020 RHD rear cornering

Reliability rating 94.6%

Despite being in the bottom three (and the worst-performing hybrid we were told about), the Prius's reliability record is actually pretty good; it's just that rivals are even more bulletproof. Prius owners reported a fault on 14% of cars, but half of repair work was done for free and the rest cost £50 or less.

2. MG ZS EV (2019-present)

MG ZS EV long term

Reliability rating 89.4%

The fully electric ZS EV went wrong in only 7% of cases, but all of those cars 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.

1. Tesla Model S (2014-present)

Tesla Model S front

Reliability rating 85.7%

The Model S suffered the highest percentage of faults in our entire 2020 Reliability Survey, with 60% of the cars we were told about having a problem. 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.

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