What's the most reliable type of car?

Do gadget-laden luxury cars and high-tech hybrids suffer more faults than simple small hatchbacks? We reveal the most and least reliable car classes...

Used test: Kia Soul vs Ssangyong Tivoli

4. Small SUVs

Reliability rating  93.3%

They may be the smallest SUVs you can buy, but they're also the most dependable. In fact, some of the most reliable models overall are in this competitive class. 

Three-quarters of owners of the previous-generation Kia Soul said the thing they considered most important when buying was reliability, and this SUV has really lived up to their expectations, with not a single one going wrong.

 Save money on a Kia Soul with What Car? >>

Jeep Renegade

However, not all small SUVs are top notch for reliability. According to owners, 50% of Jeep Renegades suffered a problem. The model has been plagued by electrical faults, 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.

See the full reliability chart for small SUVs >>

3. Family cars

Reliability rating  94.1%

While Japanese and Korean brands often top the charts for reliability, it's the Skoda Rapid that is the most dependable family hatchback

Skoda Rapid Spaceback

The 2012-2019 model must be a rare sight in Skoda’s service departments because just 5% of the cars we were told about had a problem in the previous 12 months. Those that did were afflicted by only minor issues with exterior trim.

Vauxhall Astra

In contrast, Vauxhall dealers may be seeing a lot of diesel Astras because 40% of these had a fault. Diesel engined models have a 10% lower reliability rating than their petrol siblings, and 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.

See the full reliability chart for family cars >>

2. Small and city cars

Reliability rating  94.7%

Small and city cars are among the most dependable, according to owners, with most scoring more than 90% in our survey. 

Suzuki Celerio

Top of the heap is the Suzuki Celerio; only 11% of cars went wrong and only the gearbox was affected. While this could be a serious area for problems, all cars could still be driven and all were fixed under warranty in less than a week.

Seat Ibiza cornering front three quarters

However, not all small cars are perfectly formed; 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 repairs cost up to £500.

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