If you’re in the market for a new car, you no doubt have a list of requirements that you want your chosen vehicle to meet. Safety, comfort, reliability, environmental friendliness, economy – all of these impact on the choices we make when it comes to which brand and model of car suits us best.

Guaranteed reliability?

Reliability is understandably a key factor for many car buyers. Dealing with problems and breakdowns can be expensive and inconvenient, particularly if you rely on your car for getting to work or doing the school run.

You might be forgiven for assuming that more expensive vehicles offer enhanced reliability. However, a recent Which? survey has found that 36% of luxury car owners, with models valued at around £50k, had a fault with their vehicle in the past year. Meanwhile, just 25% of those with a vehicle valued at around £10k experienced an issue.

The surprising results suggest that cheaper car models are more reliable than their luxury counterparts.

More money = more faults

One reason for this could be that high-end cars are so packed full of technology that more can go wrong with them. A car with a simpler specification has fewer parts that can cause a fault. Luxury car owners face the prospect of an increased range of electrical malfunctions, as well as mechanical issues. Alarms and warning lights for faulty sat nav systems, low tyre pressure and a range of other issues may be a great way to keep your vehicle in tiptop condition, but they hardly make for a stress-free driving experience.

Large SUVs were found to be the most unreliable cars, with 35% of owners facing a fault. These were closely followed by luxurious estate cars, with 34% developing an issue. The figure dropped to 28% for sports cars.

For those who prioritise reliability above all else when buying a new motor, Auto Express has revealed the most reliable cars of 2017. Toyota, Skoda, Audi, Seat, and Lexus may not be brands that you immediately associate with reliability, but most of these have held top spots for many years. The ranking is based on owners’ experiences – drivers submitted an overall score for reliability, plus one for build quality. They also noted any problems they experienced with their cars.

As well as experiencing fewer faults, cheaper cars come with the added advantage that they are less costly to fix when they do go wrong, as their parts cost less than those of luxury models. This offers another saving opportunity for drivers of less expensive vehicles.

Fashion over function?

The Which? report raises the question of whether those who opt for luxury brands are choosing fashion over function. Many drivers associate a certain degree of prestige with buying luxury car brands, instinctively opting for the most expensive brand that their budget will allow. However, the Which? survey indicates that such a feeling may well be short-lived. There’s nothing overly prestigious about sitting in a garage waiting room while your new motor undergoes repairs!

What are your experiences of luxury versus cheaper car models? Are you surprised to find that cheaper models are more reliable? Leave a comment to let us know.

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