Hybrid and electric models are the most reliable new cars

Hybrid and electric models are the most reliable new cars
Hybrid and electric models are the most reliable new cars

Hybrid and pure-electric cars are the most reliable new models on sale, according to a major nationwide study.

Two of the three most dependable models in the annual What Car? Reliability Survey are hybrids and the hybrid/EV class is the most reliable segment overall, according to feedback from 18,000 drivers.

The Lexus CT and Toyota Yaris hybrids were joint top performers along with the conventionally fuelled Kia Soul. All three scored a 100% reliability rating from owners, meaning they had suffered no faults over last 12 months.

As a segment, hybrids and EVs scored a 96.1 per cent reliability rating while luxury SUVs proved to be the least dependable, with an average reliability score of 86.5 per cent.

However, those figures hide big differences between the best and worst performing models.

Luxury losers

While most EVs proved to be very reliable, the Renault Zoe scored a relatively low 82.3 per cent, with 44 per cent of owners experiencing a problem in the last year.

Top 10 most reliable brands (cars up to five years old)

Brand Reliability Rating
Lexus    99.3%
Toyota    97.7%
Suzuki    97.3%
Tesla    96.9%
Subaru    96.6%
Kia    96.3%
Hyundai    95.7%
Mini    95.4%
Skoda    95.2%
Honda    94.9%

As a brand, Renault performed poorly, coming second bottom in the rankings with a score of 84.2 per cent. But 4×4 specialist Land Rover proved to be the worst of all, with an average rating of 81.3 per cent.

Its Range Rover model was the least reliable car in the least reliable segment, with a rating of just 69.3 per cent. In contrast, the most reliable luxury SUV was the Volkswagen Touareg, with a score of 96 per cent – far above the segment average.

The Range Rover Velar was also highlighted as being particularly problematic, with almost half of owners (44 per cent) reporting problems with their car.

The Range Rover proved to be the least dependable car according the What Car? survey. (Photo: Land Rover)
The Range Rover proved to be the least dependable car according the What Car? survey. (Photo: Land Rover)

Familiar story

Reflecting a regular pattern, Japanese and South Korean brands dominated the top of the rankings. Lexus took top spot with a ranking of 99.3 per cent and related brand Toyota came second with 97.7 per cent ahead of Suzuki with 97.3 per cent.

American EV brand Tesla was ranked fourth – ahead of the likes of Subaru, Kia and Hyundai – with a rating 96.9 per cent.

Nissan was the only Japanese brand to feature in the list of least reliable brands, sitting among European and American manufacturers, including premium brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Jaguar.

Top 10 least reliable brands (cars up to five years old)

Brand Reliability Rating
Land Rover    81.3%
Renault    84.2%
Jeep    84.4%
Nissan    85.7%
Vauxhall    89.4%
Jaguar    89.5%
Alfa Romeo    89.7%
Mercedes-Benz    90.6%
Porsche    91.7%
Citroen    91.8%

Owners’ experience

The What Car? survey used feedback from more than 18,000 owners to assess vehicles from brand new to five years old. It asked them whether their car had gone wrong in the past 12 months, how long repairs took and how much they had to pay to get their vehicle back on the road to, using the results to calculate a reliability rating.

It found that a quarter (26 per cent) of drivers had experienced at least one fault, with a non-electrical engine fault the most common.

Diesel drivers were more likely to have visited a garage than owners of other types of car, with diesels accounting for 58 per cent of all faults.

When it came to paying for repairs, 11 per cent of owners had to fork out between £101 and £200, while three per cent of repairs exceeded £1,500.

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