Choosing the right car for you can be a mixture of sensible decision, financial obligation and with a hint of raw emotion, but even the prettiest of cars will be given the cold shoulder in the cold hard light of reliability statistics.
A new survey by Which? has concluded that the Luxury and SUV class of cars are more unreliable than small city cars, by some margin.
The short version is that when dealing with cars up to three-years-old, the more money you spend, the more likely it is that you’ll have reliability problems.
Which? have surveyed the owners of approximately 51,000 vehicles, they found that luxury vehicles like the BMW 5 & 7 Series or the Mercedes-Benz E and S-Class spent, on average, 2.58 days off the road last year and that the reliability affected 32% of the vehicles.
Compare that to a small city car, like the Toyota Aygo, and the figure drops to just 17% of vehicles, with a shorter time off the road – 1.26 days typically.
The next most common class for faults was the sports-utility vehicle – 27% suffered faults with an average of 2 days in the garage.
On the face of it, the study by Which? does seem to hold some valid information, but the missing link in the survey is manufacturer – many of the larger brands can offer you a range of vehicles, from small city car through to SUV, so could it be a manufacturing problem rather than a specific vehicle category?
A study by Auto Express revealed that the top three ‘Most Reliable Manufacturers’ are Lexus, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz – all luxury and SUV, compare that to their findings for the least reliable – Dacia, Vauxhall and Chevrolet – brands not exactly known for their luxury or SUV offerings.
Of course, there are exceptions – Mercedes make the A-Class for example, and Chevrolet make a number of SUVs, albeit rebadged Opel’s, which we’d know better as Vauxhall, so that would fit with the Auto Express poll – both Vauxhall and Chevy occupying the bottom two spots.
With regulations on nearly every aspect of a car getting tighter – crash survivability, functionality, emissions, economy and performance, coupled with the need to incorporate more technology for in-car entertainment, safety or ‘luxury’, the amount of electronic equipment fitted has increased dramatically over the last decade, perhaps more so over the last 5-years.
Also, it’s ‘technology’ that seems to lead the way for the reliability problems – onboard software, in-car entertainment, built-in satnav, electrically controlled components (windows, sunroof & mirrors) and exhaust or emission control top the list for faults – very few mechanical faults. Does it fit that the more tech fitted, the more problems? Perhaps it’s this that the Which? study relates to.
The simple truth is that reliability has increased exponentially over the last two or three decades, and we’ve gone from adjusting the ‘points’, setting the timing, mopping up oil and having regular ‘tune-ups’ to barely lifting the bonnet between services, and perhaps that’s only to top-up the screenwash.
Instances of mechanical failures are on the decline; robots build cars, components are checked automatically, anything outside of tolerance is re-purposed – there really isn’t such a thing as a ‘Friday afternoon car’ anymore, but we expect so much more, but part of that is because we know so much more.
The world of internet has opened up a new knowledge-base, as has the car’s ability to tell us something is wrong, but it’s entirely due to the technology fitted that the majority of reliability concerns arise, but that in itself is a benefit.
According to the Which? survey, the worst offending cars are off the road for an average of 2.58 days in a year, if they were treating mechanical breakdowns, you could easily double that, with an appropriate increase in labour to strip & rebuild, rather than reprogram.
Perhaps the better headline should be “Cars are so reliable today that even the worst offender only spends two-and-a-half days off the road”.
The term ‘reliability’ is relative, the defining key to it is quite fluid – a problem with the satnav, for example, doesn’t render the car unusable or unsafe, merely … not what we expect in this day and age, and surely that in itself speaks volumes?
Yes, it’s technology that’s causing the majority of these ‘reliability’ problems, but equally, it’s technology that has solved the wider issue of mechanical breakdowns – leaving us stuck by the side of the road waiting for a recovery vehicle.
If you are looking for a new car, and want something a bit smaller, then look no further than the Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI 95 SE which one the Small Car of the Year award at the WhatCar? awards this year. Our partner CarKeys can help to source this car for you, simply head here, and fill in your details and they’ll be in contact.
What do you think of the Which? survey? Have they got it right, or is it misleading the buying public? Let us know in the comments.
Given that I’m still restoring it, my ’65 Chevrolet Corvair convertible hasn’t been ON the road for 2.58 days in the last year. But over the previous years, it wasn’t off the road for a single day, unless I was waiting for parts, which all have to be imported from the USA.
My wife is on her 2nd Dacia Stepway and there have been no reliability issues whatsoever and the only time they have spent off the road is when they have been in for service!
Worth considering is that luxury cars generally cover a far bigger mileage than shopping cars over the same period,. Far more revealing would be breakdowns, ie failure to complete journeys, per 200,000 miles. The smaller cars would fare less well then.
The smaller cars would never reach 200,000 ! A more realistic figure would be 20,000. (nine months for a company car and 5 years for a mobile shopping trolley). Reliability should be measured by distance rather than time.
True. And so should manufacturers’ warranties. I switched from a long string of Fords after their legally watertight but utterly unreasonable refusal to consider a wear-related claim at 40,000 miles and a short time over the three-year limit. They wouldn’t even consider making a contribution. The Toyota I then got came with a five-year warranty and has been almost perfect and the service by the dealer is something far better than I ever had with Ford’s people. I now regret my lengthy loyalty to Ford.
Jim I think not my last toyota aygo I had for over 7 years it did over 70,000 miles and only towards the end did it begin to cause me problems, brilliant car in every sense.
A great many Audi A2s, especially the 3 pot diesle models, have exceeded the 200 000 miles mark.
My 2004 Renault Clio has only been off the road for services and tyre changes. Ace
I bet it leaks like a sieve though 🤣
Clio,s o they do leak like hell my daughter s did badly anyway it’s French no chance
A sieve holds more water than a Clio :0 🙂
I have an eight year old Vauxhall Avila, this year on its mot the advisery note said some rust on brake pipes, so I’ve had that fixed and that’s the first time other than tyres that anything has been replaced or fixed, so small cars get a thumbs up from me.
My wife and I are both, each, on our 4th and fifth Honda Jazz cars. The reason is they just never seem to need anything more than an annual MOT and service. The style could be “jazzed” up a lot more. But please not at the expense of unbelievable reliability!
I’m on my 3rd Honda – have owned a Civic, a Jazz & now a hybrid CRZ. If ever I buy another car, it will again be a Honda.
Me too got a civic 2 years ago have always bought jap cars but will be sticking with Honda too
Perhaps at your fourth and fifth you do not keep them long enough to find out if they are completely reliable. How many miles have they each have done would be interesting. My 75 is 17 this year, 130,000 miles and entirely reliable.
How many miles did you do on them before you replaced them with another jazz?
We had a Honda Accord for ten years from new in the 80s, & the only item that broke was the cam-belt. We’re now on our 4th CR-V, & these have been extremely reliable. We expect to be driving this one for another 10 years.
I’m guessing if the cam belt broke it took out a few other components as well, like valves & possibly pistons.
I’m on my First (1st) Land Rover 90, which is used daily, and has only had 2 breakdowns (both flat battery) since new in 1987. In that time you’ve each had 4 or 5 Honda Jazz. Those Hondas sound pretty unreliable to me 😂.
Bought my 2000 Honda Accord 1.8 VTEC back in 2001 when it was one year old. I still have it and it goes into the garage once a year for a service and it’s MOT which it always passes. It’s kept outside in all weathers (the garage is full of gardening equipment) and after all these years, it still starts first time and it hasn’t got so much as a spot of rust on it.
Interesting article……I do think Friday afternoon cars still exist though…I have a 2016 Mini Cooper from new and in 2018 when 18 months old it was off road fir 35 days whilst Mini repaired the catalogue of faults…..
I used to work with Vauxhall at Ellesmere Port. No “Friday afternoon” cars there: we went home after lunchtime!
Note to self: Avoid any Vauxhalls known to have been built at Ellesmere Port on a Friday morning.
Or Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday….Vauxhalls and quality should not be mentioned in same sentence
“Ess5”: That’s not been my experience of seven second-hand Vauxhalls owned by and shared between my wife and me since 1990. I acknowledge that their build quality has improved, especially regarding corrosion resistance, but my last “rot-box” was a 1984-registered Cavalier estate that I sold for spares in March 1999 at over 125,000 miles. Rust has not been an issue on our 1995-on cars until they had exceeded 150,000 miles, and everything else still worked.
You don’t mention miles in relation to faults, which as large cars do considerably more miles than small cars, your premise doesn’t really hold up.
Larger cars also generally have more to go wrong in terms of kit
It is possible that small cars are more reliable but might it also be that the expectations of the owners of smaller cars is less. With lower expectations they are going to me more tolerable of minor problems and therefore complain less? Whereas someone who pays a lot for a car is much less likely to be so tolerable and complain more.
I don’t think so. I paid £6k for my wife’s brand new panda (considerably less after px taken into account) but that kind of money takes me years to save up so no, I wouldn’t accept a niggle.
I paid around £8k for my 1 y/o doblo. Again, takes years for me to accrue such a fortune, so any tiny problem within the manufacturer’s warranty period & back it went.
I have had Vauxhalls for the last nearly 30 years the Astra 2 and 3, Cavalier 1 and 2, Carlton, Vectra, Insignia x2 and only broken down once in a Carlton
I would say the quality is very high: I’m at 150,000 miles in my Insignia and after a service and a clean it still drives taut and smooth with little visible wear and no breakages. I have stopped by the roadside – punctures, both times 🙁 The only real downside is the lack of a spare wheel IMO – but the wheels are huge so it’s not a major surprise. And I can’t call a puncture a reliability fault with the car – only the tyres 🙂
I’d suggest more a fault with the lack of road maintenance/sweeping these days. I ride a bike, (Boo, Hiss) and see all of the c**p like glass and nails left littering the rode. I usually stop to remove the worst offenders I drive too, (obviously).
Shame the manufacturers don’t comment on these articles nor do they seek feedback from purchasers. Simple, cheap, small changes could make a huge difference to the satisfaction of the purchaser and perhaps result in the same brand being selected for repurchase.
My Vauxhall Insignia has never missed a beat in the 7 years I have owned it. It is serviced once a year and that is the only time it’s ‘off the road’ for a few hours. It has been a wonderful vehicle but, as it’s a diesel, I am about to change it for an SUV – probably a Renault Kadjar or a Peugeot 3008. As I see it, the trouble with modern cars is not the vehicles themselves but the manufacturers shady dealerships. My Vauxhall dealer went bust owing me most of my service plan money which I have no chance of recovering. That’s why my next car won’t be a Vauxhall. Also, I will not buy a VW group car – I won’t deal with crooks.
You do realise that it’s not just VW that bend the emissions results. They’re all at it. For example. The reported mpg figures are a complete lie.
They only did it the once and got slapped for it so let’s look forward now they are one of the best cars on the road
They only got caught once
I think you mean they only got caught the once
I measure my MPG (track the litres and the miles) and it’s generally pretty good – 45mpg over the life of the Insignia 2.0 diesel I have. On a motorway run it can do 800 miles on a tank (e.g. across France) although 700 miles is more typical.
Those mpg figures are for a rolling road no roundabouts, no wind drag, just the driver in side, no traffic lights or bends, hills, my car according to the manufacturer should be 62, I get 52 which I am happy with, as I won’t buy a car unless it does a minimum of 40 mpg and many modern cars especially Petrol won’t do it
Nothing wrong with. VW unless you have had a bad experience with them have you , if not you really don’t know what you are on about anyway you won’t better German engineering never .
Insignia’s are German built, there is only the Astra built in the UK
My son’s polo used to eat coil packs, he bought them in bulk off the web & always kept a few in the boot. Brake light switch was another common fault, again, he always carried a spare.
Ignition switch, same problem. If the car didn’t start, he’d simply get out a spare & pop it in.
You’ll miss that boot or at least your misses will. I won’t have the service plan option for that reason of what happened to you, though I do have the service card
I have a 2003 e class diesel. Has over 180.000 miles on it. Still going strong. It has had a few niggly electrical problems, but nothing major in the 4 years is owned it. Love it.
I have had three vauxhall’s and each of them went rusty just outside of the warranty period, Not 10 years but three. The last one a Meriva had a third service and paintwork check and two weeks later I noticed rust down the seem of the driver’s door so I returned the car to the dealer expecting them the act but no Vauxhall would not cover that. So I went to a reputable body shop who measured the thickness of paint all over the car and would you believe that door was different to all the other panels on the car. and in their opinion had been reskined at some time due to damage and not sealed properly down the seam. Back to the main dealer still Vauxhall and the dealer would not act. I must have had it done myself. So conclusion I WILL NEVER BY A VAUXHALL AGAIN.
Yours was obviously not a new car then? If the dealer had sold you a previously damaged car then I would have thought you had good grounds to ask for a refund.
Not necessarily a used car. Damage prior to delivery is not unknown so that shiny ‘new’ car in the showroom with delivery mileage may have been repaired, hopefully to the same standard as at the factory
I bought my wife a 3y/o Meriva Diesel, ex motability, low mileage so I figured it would’ve had plenty of looking after as a ‘rental’ plus it came with the network Q 1million point guarantee (or whatever it was – they claim to check hundreds of parts before the sale) . We hadn’t had it above a couple of weeks when the windscreen wash failed – the bottle was full, the pump was running but nothing came out. I tried to reverse flush but there was something blocking the way. As the bottle was so badly placed, access was a real PITA, I took it back to the dealer, hoping the wonderful warranty would cover this – but no, and it would cost £90 to repair. I joined an online Vauxhall group to try to find a fix. Seemingly, it’s a very common problem, most garages deal with it by taking a long screwdriver & punching a hole in the strainer at the bottom, the fine mesh quickly gums up. Job done.
A few months later & the Vauxhall dealership closed & Perrys had taken over. meanwhile, the car stopped dead in the middle of the road as my wife was pulling out into (fortunately) very light traffic. It refused to start. She called the breakdown out & they brought it home (it was nighttime). I went to look at it the next morning & it fired up fine!
Did the same thing a week or so later, breakdown took it straight to dealer who could find no fault – it started first time for them – even though the breakdown bloke couldn’t get it going. And again a week or so later, breakdown took it straight to dealer, again, no fault found.
Once again, a few weeks later, this time at home. Breakdown said we would now have to pay for any more lifts. I got in a local Vauxhall specialist who could find no faults – yet it still wouldn’t start. So, £50 later & the low loader dropped it off at the dealer. By this time, I had ‘discovered’ what I believed to be the problem, an old mechanic on the Vauxhall forums told me that the fuel system was most likely blocked by swarf from the fuel pump.
Apparently, when they replace the fuel filter at each service, the fuel drains back into the tank & they allow the pumps to drag the fuel through the pipes. Tolerances are so fine that the lack of fuel (which also lubes the pumps) causes them to wear. He told me that he was always taught to use a dirt cheap electric pump to prime the system – better to sacrifice a £10 ebay pump.
I passed this news onto the dealer who claimed to have never heard such nonsense, their computers could find nothing wrong so what did I expect?
I told them that I expected them to get a proper mechanic on the job, one who was used to working with engines rather than the tea boy playing with his laptop.
Meanwhile, I sent a rather nasty, long email to every contact I could find on a google search of “Vauxhall”.
I got a fairly fast reply from someone very high up in the organisation who asked for our details…
It turned out that our 40 month old car had a very chequered past.
14 months, refused to start, new fuel pump installed.
18 months, refused to start, fuel tank removed, flushed, new fuel pump installed.
27 months, refused to start, new fuel pump installed.
We got it at 36 months not knowing any of this history.
The chap at Vauxhall sent an email to my dealer telling them to check the fuel system, especially the pump and tank.
Sure enough, the tank was full of swarf & the pump was virtually non-existent.
All fixed, took the wife to pick it up, followed her home, she had to stop to get fuel (they left it almost empty). I noticed a very strong stench of diesel & a puddle under the engine. Managed to save about 6 gallons. Phoned the dealer and told them to come get the car. This time, the rail had split so fuel was pumped out under pressure!
Car went back, new fuel lines from lift pump to engine bay, new fuel filter carrier, new rail, new injectors…
Fortunately, because of my snotty email, Vauxhall agreed to pay for all the work.
Went back to pick up the car, but I decided I’d had enough. Saw a brand new Fiat Panda for £6k so went to buy it. The guy asked if we had a car to put in PX, I pointed to the Meriva outside, he asked about the condition, I told him it was 100% & pointed him in the direction of the service desk.
What else could they say? They told us there was now nothing whatsoever wrong with it. And since it was low mileage & had plenty of TLC from the garage, I got a fantastic price on it.
Had the panda 9 years without the slightest fault.
The simpler any mechanical device, the more reliable it is: fewer things to go wrong. Small cars tend to be simpler than big cars.
Think of the legendary reliability of the old rear -engine VW and the Citroen 2CV.
My 1968 M.G. Miget good example of a simple, reliable, small vehicle….
My experience is similar to the owner of the 2003 diesel. I have owned my Skoda Fabia from (nearly) new in 2002. It goes like a dream over long and short distances, still under 100K miles, (though I use public transport or walk locally – so it’s not a shopping trolley). Electrical faults are there such as windows not opening, but the engine is sound, it’s done all the depreciating, and it passed its recent MOT. Small is beautiful!
I agree with your comments. My car is a 12 year old Volvo XC70 and it never goes wrong.
Volvo Built to last and invariably they do !
Totally disagree with your findings, for one how can you compare a city car with a big car , no you can’t , I don’t really fancy going 300 miles up a motorway for one not very comfortable, and going around 70/80 in a city car Hmmm don’t think so do you , there is no comparison , I have a VW Passat CC amazing car for comfort engine very smooth great car all round I can’t falut it I have to say it’s better than a BMW 320 by far and I have had 3 of them now I wouldn’t go back to one now I will stick with VW all-day long .
I’ve had every Astra model ever made from petrol to diesel and hatchback to estate and they have always been better cars than other makes I have bought. Not one of these vehicles has ever let me down so I think it may well be that the people who complain are genuine and that people who bought more expensive cars are less likely to complain as they would be embarrassed. Most BMW, Mercedes Benz, Porsche etc are hugely expensive when they break down and in fact these cars are less reliable according to J D Power surveys.
Don’t rely on these surveys is my take. Good servicing of most vehicles these days is the key and many people just expect to get into their cars and drive with no thought to maintenance.
My Mercedes is now 11 years old. Never had a problem at all. Most reliable I’ve ever had.
What they trying to do now get rid of bigger cars there are three or four small cars in my family I have a 2lt estate which I have had for years nothing wrong with it but all the smaller cars have gone do which now what they are on about
Punctuation, Jim, but not as we know it.
My Volvo V70 D5 has repeated problems with its Anti-skid & ABS electronic systems. My previous models (145; 245; 940 estate), owned since 1973, mostly lacked these electronic features (the 940 had ABS) so never gave hi tec problems.
Have they taken into account that SUV’s are sometimes taken off road,or down farm tracks, which could equate to why they may have the odd issue.
And that many modern SUVs simply aren’t – they are designed purely for mummy to drive little Chesney to school & then do the shopping, go to the hairdresser etc.
My son is heavy into off roading & wets himself laughing at the pathetic tin cans people are buying, thinking they can take them straight out into the countryside.
Even these new range rovers wouldn’t stand a chance.
I agree with the comments on the Honda Jazz. I went from Ford Galaxy (Reliable and Sturdy to Vauxhall Zafira!!! What a heap of junk .No one in the sales room told me that it was primarily a long distance vehicle and not suited to school runs ! Every 2 months having the DPF cleaned ,changed etc. Cost me thousands till I bit the bullet and went for a Jazz. TRANSFORMED now to a small car driver
Shame you didn’t do the research then!
Some small cars are reliable, but often it is the manufacture
Driven NISSAN for 20 plus years starting with Micra 1L but now have 1.5 Note SUV. Not had any issues with the six cars I have had in that period. They all had service and MOT via dealership, and have been extremely reliable in all weathers. My only downfall was “upgrading” to a 1.2L (following the emissions advice) but I soon reverted back to the 1.5L SUV because of the ‘slow’ take off etc. For mee, look after the car, and it looks after you !
6 cars in 20 years? You aren’t going to get any idea of reliability from those stats.
My 06 plate Doblo has done over half a million miles & still happy to sit at 70, drag a heavy trailer or shoot away from the lights. Not had any issues with emissions or problems with MOTs.
I have a Lexus 400 LS which was registered in January 1991. It is still going strong and has given nothing in the way of problems except for a faulty battery which was replaced free of charge. Obviously things wear out and need replacing after 27 years but otherwise it is as good as gold.
I was, for a while, looking at LS 400s but was put off by the terror of a failed starter motor or EGR pipe.
my 2015 micra regularly wont start, dealer and Nissan say my low mileage 7600 in 3yrs does allow the battery to charge enough.
Even though my previous note 23000 in 6yrs and pixo 5500 in 3 yrs never gave me the slightest problem.
Seriously looking elsewhere!!
James, you would be better off getting taxis with that low mileage. If you factor in depreciation, running costs,insurance and VED etc..
Tiny cars use the smallest of batteries, barely man enough to start a moped. New cars have computer systems that perform regular self checks even when unattended. These regular checks use a tiny amount of electricity. Starting the car takes it’s toll on a battery & a short journey will never put enough back in to replenish what was used at startup. Cold weather really impacts on a battery’s ability to perform. Some marques have started wrapping batteries in insulation and/or tucking batteries away in the boot (some have done this for years).
My dad went on holiday for 2 weeks, there was barely enough power left in the 2y/o battery to turn the engine (New shape Honda Civic). Whilst he was at the garage complaining, a woman came in, she had taken her son to football practice & sat listening to the radio for an hour – it drained the battery.
The battery which came with my 1.9 turbo diesel lump is exactly the same battery as my son had in his first 1.0 petrol Fiesta, although it was fine for the first 5 years, that next winter really took its toll.
When I used to do loads of short journeys, I bought a solar panel & mounted it in the back window, always making sure to park so the rear faced the sun as much as possible. It put enough back to keep a very old battery going for many more years.
Worth thinking about if you don’t use your car that often. (you also need to make sure, if you plug the panel into your cigar lighter socket, the socket is always on, otherwise, connect the panel to your battery.
If the survey asked whether people regularly service their car and if it does break down, how much the cost is per year then I think the end result would be different.
Regular maintenance is key to good running order.
The lessons to learn from this report are:
1. don’t buy a new car because the first owner does all the debugging that the manufacturer couldn’t be bothered to pay for;
2. don’t buy a new car because the costs of many of those fixes will be charged to your bank account on the pretence that they are not covered by either the manufacturer’s or any dealer’s warranties;
3. don’t buy an “up-specified” new car because those extra features are the items most likely to fail (and be expensive to fix); and
4 don’t buy a new car because its depreciation in the first three years is punitive.
I go for three-year-old “repmobiles”: robustly-built mid-sized estates with diesel engines for economy, sufficient equipment to meet a professional driver’s needs without being flashy, reliability that would keep Fleet Managers happy but that have only racked up about 50,000 fully-serviced miles as leased vehicles. I then run them until they die – typically more than ten years/70,000 miles later – with annual services by a non-main dealer brand specialist. Don’t knock Vauxhalls: they meet that specification.
Just buy a KIA with seven years warranty there is no need to be constantly listening for your car to go wrong. No other make dare put their name t seven years and that tells me a great deal. My Kia has been fine through its warranty and only needed a new brake light switch – fitted free of course no hassle like a Ford/Vaukhall etc dealer.Try one and have seven years peace of mind.
you wouldn’t have said that before Hyundai took over them, they where a classic heap of junk the Pride fell apart as you looked at it , since the buy out they have improved massively in looks and reliability, this comes from an ex Kia dealer employee.
A lot like Skoda before VW bought them.
But NOT like Mini’s before BMW got hold of them 🙂
Im not sure you can trust reliability reports. Most people will fill them in when they have lots of faults but many don’t if they have no faults as they don’t go to the type of forums that record such opinions.
Had three Honda Jazz and passed down the family, none of which have ever gone wrong. They are serviced once a year and have done loads of miles.
This is pretty dumb… small cars have less options and less “conveniences” … so generally lest to go wrong. If you take stone without any features or luxuries it certainly won’t go wrong, because there are noting to go wrong with it. So comparing fully equipped larger car with basic small car is simply apples and oranges comparison – irrelevant.
Secondly, the power or the type of the car – obviously sport cars will breakdown more often, but not because they are less reliable, simply because e drive them harsher and faster, same for offroaders.. .clear taking car to the mud, sand and over rough terrain won’t help. In short this study is bit pointless – bit like saying “if you don’t have car it won’t breakdown.. sure enough”.
I don’t see why the size of the car should make much difference to its reliability.
All fossil fueled cars have the same basic electrical & mechanical components, ie: fuel injection, ecu’s, air bags, abs, electric windows etc.
A lot of the time one component can go into many makes of cars.
Take the airbag fiasco. Toyota swapped theirs out several years ago, some marques are only just recalling. Same brand of airbag fitted to hundreds of models from £10k to over £100k – on the car forums, only Toyota got a slap from motorists because they dared to admit to the problem.
Dacia Logan is most reliable car. The first from 2006, over 237.000 miles, and now the new one from 2014 over 120.000 miles. The last adventure with my Dacia Logan was in Central Asia.
I have a dhaitsu sirian however it is spelt.. and i bought it 2nd hand as an ex mobility 3 year old with hardly any miles on it maybe 1,500. it is now about 12 years old and a great little car. I have it serviced once a year along with the MOT. Not using it much now but then I was doing only about 5k a year before. It must be coming up to 40,000 .Such a pity they were no longer being imported even when I bought it using Which car best buy for small cars. My son sniffed at the car wanting to know why I bought that and I said reliability. he has had bigger cars and always moaning about them playing up. it is not all about look at me in my big car. So all you big car drivers who try to overtake me on the road/motorways thinking my engine has no power, think again. it is just as capable doing higher speeds quickly but I will leave you to do above the legal speed DYING to get there faster.
That’s it. I’m getting another Isetta 300.
Which? may always be relied upon to take a pessimistic view.
My Smart fortwo 451 1.0 Turbo. 11 years old. Serviced by me every year. Never misses a beat,, great small car
My last 9 cars have been Nissan Micras, I kept them 3 years each and the only time the vehicles went to the garage was for petrol and servicing. That’s 24 years (I’m on my 9th now), of trouble free motoring. Yes the small car IS more reliable.
Of course it is, if you only keep it 3 years. My 13 y/o car has over 500k on the clock, passes every MOT & emission test & only had to replace the usual wear and tear components.
I have a Volkswagen Polo 1.4 diesel, it has covered 94.000 never failed an MoT, all I have put on it is a set of Michelin Tyres and the pipes for the windscreen washers, plus services, a magnificent small car, starts on the button, it is going in tomorrow, Monday for a new cam belt and the other belts plus service, very happy motorist.
And yet my son’s 1.4 polo used to eat coil packs, ignition switches and brake light switches. He was told that this is such a common problem with them that the parts are a doddle to fix and dirt cheap to buy. He always kept a stock of coil packs, a spare ignition switch and a spare brake light switch in a box in his boot.
I think Which may be using the wrong yardstick. What they say is I daresay true enough, but the longevity of life overall may give a different picture. There are for example a lot of Ford small engine cars on the market nowadays of 1 litre which produce ridiculous (for that 1 litre) bhp outputs. They have big turbos and tiny key engine components, and are stressed up to the eyeballs. They DO NOT last.
My Smart City Coupe is 11 years old and it’s only been off the road once, when a suspension leg broke and it gouged a groove into my tyre. Fantastic reliability. Love the brand!!
I agree that technology is the least reliable factor in a car. And once diagnostics identify a problem, mechanics get tunnel vision and look no further. I don’t need all the latest tech. Also most of the ‘small’ cars now are so much bigger than necessary simply because that’s the fashion.