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What are the most reliable cars in the UK?

By raccars Published

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Auto Express have just released their findings of the most dependable cars in the UK - but who has come out on top?

The news isn't good for the owners of premium cars which, given their elevated price tags and enviable reputation, one might expect to have put up a better show. Auto Express's Dependability Table is compiled every year based upon warranty claims data. It judges manufacturers on the number of faults and breakdowns reported and awards a score accordingly - the average score is 75. Manufacturers scoring above 75 are doing particularly well, while scores below 60 indicate that frequent repairs are needed. The survey also considers how much repair work costs for different manufacturers and the age of the vehicles studied, with an average vehicle age of 6.29 years. According to the data, the most reliable cars were those built by Japanese manufacturers.

The most reliable cars and the least reliable cars

The owners of Hondas and Toyotas can feel pretty smug in the knowledge that these Japanese brands each managed a score of 93 in the dependability table. Both brands have large manufacturing plants in the UK. The cost of repairs averaged £535 for Honda and £592 for Toyota. On the other hand, Bentley scored a rather poor 14 points with repair costs averaging £1,356. Bentley wasn't the most expensive brand for repairs, however, as the average cost of repairing a Maserati came in at £1,430 and a Ferrari at an astonishing £2,046.

Apart from Japanese and Korean manufacturers, Ford was the best performer, finishing in joint eighth place with Subaru. It's hard to argue with the statistics, so if reliability is your priority, you should look towards Japanese and Korean manufacturers.

Only five brands scored below 60 but the three major premium German brands all fell below halfway on the table. Audi managed a reasonable 74, Mercedes-Benz an acceptable 70, closely followed by BMW with 69. However it's worth looking into the details of the survey rather than merely at the score which, as it turns out, doesn't tell the full story.

Reliability versus repair costs

Mitsubishi, for example, was classed as the fourth most reliable brand, but was also the fifth most expensive to repair at an average cost of £833. Subaru was also surprisingly expensive when it comes to repair costs, averaging £791. That's far more expensive than a number of other highly priced brands including Audi, BMW, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo. The cheapest repairs were registered by Smart at £390 and MG at £399. The average in the UK was far higher than both at £639.

As a general rule, the more exotic cars come with equally exotic repair bills, but some of the mainstream manufacturers did throw up a few surprises.

Honda and Toyota took the top spot jointly, followed by Suzuki in third place, Mitsubishi in fourth, Hyundai and Mazda shared fifth place, Nissan was seventh and Subaru and Ford were joint eighth. At this point the European brands rallied a little, with Peugeot and Seat sharing the number ten spot. At the bottom end of the scale, Bentley was far and away the lowest scoring brand. Maserati was second last, while Jaguar put in a disappointing performance, scoring only 54 points and coming in 35th. The hall of shame went on with Porsche, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Jeep and Chrysler all scoring below 70.

The results more or less echo Auto Express's highly respected Driver Power survey, which in 2015 named the Toyota iQ as the most reliable car on the market, closely followed by a couple of Lexus models.

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