For those considering buying a car, here are the best and worst performers in each vehicle class, so you know which models to test drive, and which to keep at arm’s length…
Electric and hybrid cars – 85.3% overall reliability
Most reliable: Kia Niro Hybrid (2016-2022) – 100%
Not one of the Niro owners who completed the survey reported a fault with their car. That means nobody landed with an unexpected repair bill.
Least reliable: Lexus RX (2003-2009) – 61.6%
Some 16 per cent of RX owners had issues with the car, with the 12V battery and suspension the main bugbears, according to WhatCar?.
A third of cars were rendered undriveable by faults, but 60 per cent were fixed in a day or less and the rest in less than a week.
Lexus covered the cost of 33 per cent of repairs, but that left the rest of the owners with bills ranging from £101 to £1000.
Most reliable: Kia’s Niro Hybrid came top of the pile with a 100% record
Small SUVs – 84.8% overall reliability
Most reliable: Kia Soul (2014-2019) – 100%
Not a single diesel Soul owner in the survey reported any faults with their cars, making it the best little SUV you can buy if reliability is a priority.
Least reliable: Peugeot 2008 (2013-2019) – 50.6%
Some 44 per cent of owners with a Peugeot said something went wrong, with issues relating to the exhaust system, battery, electrics, engine and suspension.
Around a quarter of faulty cars couldn’t be driven and a third were out of action for more than a week.
Some 44% of owners with a Peugeot 2008 said something went wrong
Small and value cars – 85.9% overall reliability
Most reliable: Honda Jazz (2015-2020) – 100%
The third-generation Jazz offers low running costs, plus it’s extremely robust – not a single older Jazz has suffered any faults at all, according to the survey.
Least reliable: Citroën C3 (2010-2016) – 53%
A wide range of issues affected the C3s in the survey, but the most frequent were with the air-con and braking system, which rendered more than 50 per cent of cars undriveable.
Most reliable: Not a single older Jazz suffered any faults at all, according to the survey
Family cars – 82.1% overall reliability
Most reliable: Mazda 3 (2014-2019) – 99.3%
Only 4 per cent of the examples reported in the survey suffered a fault, and the only problem spot was non-engine electrical systems. Diesel versions don’t do as well for reliability, according to What Car?.
Least reliable: Vauxhall Astra petrol (2009-2015) – 50.5%
Petrol-engined Astras are far more prone to problems than diesels: 44 per cent of the cars we were told about went wrong, compared with 29 per cent of diesels.
Brake, air-con and engine problems were the most prevalent, followed by issues with the battery, bodywork, electrics, exhaust, gearbox and suspension.
Most reliable family car: Only 4% of the Mazda 3 surveyed suffered a fault
Executive cars – 81.5% overall reliability
Most reliable: Ford Mondeo (2014-2022) – 98.3%
Only 3 per cent of people who completed the reliability survey said their car had gone wrong in the previous two years, and the only area to give any trouble were non-engine electrical systems.
Least reliable: Mercedes-Benz C-Class petrol (2014-2021) – 54.9%
Diesels had a fault rate of 34 per cent and petrols 33 per cent, however, the diesels were far more costly and time-consuming to fix.
A third of remedial work cost C-Class owners between £501 and £1000 and 12 per cent of them had to find even more than that.
Most reliable executive car: Ford Mondeo
Coupes, convertibles and sports cars – 80.8% overall reliability
Most reliable: Mazda MX-5 (2015-present) – 96.8%
Just 5 per cent of the cars in the survey had issues, and non-engine electrics were the only problem areas.
Least reliable: Mercedes-Benz CLS (2011-2018) – 52.9%
Over a third of CLSs surveyed had problems, with the electrics, sat-nav and suspension the biggest headaches. While two-thirds of bills were below £750, the other third exceeded £1500.
Least reliable sports car: Over a third of CLS surveyed had problems
Family SUVs – 77.1% overall reliability
Most reliable: Kia Sportage diesel (2016-2021) – 98.1%
A mix of minor and major faults affected 17 per cent of current Sportages diesel. The two most common issues were with the bodywork and suspension, with a small percentage of reports of steering-related problems.
Least reliable: Range Rover Evoque (2011-2019) – 56.2%
Previous generation Evoques had a 40 per cent fault rate and problems in every category, but mostly with air-con, battery, bodywork, electrics, exhaust and gearbox/clutch.
Large SUVs – 78.5% overall reliability
Most reliable: Honda CR-V (2006-2012) – 94.7%
Only 10 per cent of the cars in the survey went wrong, with owners reporting problems with the air-con, engine, gearbox and sat-nav.
Least reliable: Land Rover Discovery Sport (2014-present) – 55.4%
The Discovery Sport suffers lots of problems – some 44 per cent of the cars had issues. Although a third of the cars were fixed for free, just over a fifth of the owners were landed with bills in excess of £1,500.
Most reliable large SUV: Honda CR-V
Luxury cars – 75.3% overall reliability
Most reliable: Audi A7 (2010-2017) – 90.1%
About 14 per cent of A7s had issues, with the air-con and engine the only troublespots.
Least reliable: Jaguar XF (2015-present) – 67.3%
The current XF doesn’t have the highest fault rate, says What Car?, with 39 per cent of the cars in the survey having a glitch, but it’s the amount of time they spent in the garage that brings its overall score down.
Most reliable sports car: Audi A7
Luxury SUVs – 69.5% overall reliability
Most reliable: Volkswagen Touareg (2010-2018) – 89.3%
Nearly 80 per cent of the Touaregs in the survey didn’t have any problems over the last two years. Electrical issues that were often quick to fix were the main concern of the fifth Touareg owner who reported a fault.
Least reliable: Land Rover Discovery 4 (2004-2017) – 47.8%
Engine and suspension issues were the biggest headaches for the 46 per cent of Discovery 4 owners who said their car had suffered a fault.
Some 46% of Land Rover Discovery 4 owners said their car had a fault