RAC Cars News


Are Japanese Cars The Most Reliable

By raccars Published

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A new reliability index has shown, unsurprisingly, that the Japanese know how to make cars that last. The survey examined more than 50,000 vehicles, to compile a picture of the most common faults and average resulting repair costs. The study focused on cars less than eight years old.

Of the top ten performers, eight have had input from Japanese manufacturers, while smaller, simple cars also dominate the list. Apparently, the more bells and whistles a car has, the more there is to go wrong. The Reliability Index is scored upon a list of points in inverse ratio, with 100 being average and the top ten most reliable cars scoring below 22.

The number one most reliable car award was shared by two vehicles: The Mitsubishi Lancer from 2005-2008 and the Vauxhall Agila 2000-2008 model. Both cars received a Reliability Index score of seven and the Mitsubishi proved to cost the least to repair, should a fault occur, at an average cost of £95.43. Of the issues needing attention, 40% related to the suspension – but even when faults were reported, repair work took less than an hour to complete.

The Vauxhall's number one placement may surprise some, but the Agila is in fact a badge engineered Suzuki Wagon R, which comes very close behind the Lancer, with average repair costs of £98.61 and an even quicker average repair time. Forty percent of faults reported related to the fuel system, particularly the injectors.

The third most reliable car in the survey was the Citroen C1 from 2005 onward, which was the result of a joint venture between the French company and Toyota. The supermini scored 13 on the Reliability Index and, although average repair costs are significantly higher than the Lancer and Agila at £184.58, the C1 is still much cheaper than average to repair and usually spends only just over an hour off the road. Most fault reporting relates to the electrical and cooling systems.

The funky little Mazda MX-5 is next on the list, with post-2005 models costing an average of £204.90 to repair, taking less than an hour and a half and usually in the shop for folding roof or air conditioning problems.

The rest of the top ten is filled by the Suzuki Alto, with an RI score of 17, the Honda Jazz with 18 on the RI, the Ford Fiesta and Toyota Aygo in joint seventh, with an RI of 20 and the Honda HR-V and Volkswagen Fox sharing the ninth place with 22 on the RI.

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