Updated: Mon, 30 Jul 2012 01:00:00 GMT

2012's most reliable cars

2012's most reliable cars

2012's most reliable cars

2012's most reliable cars

If you want to buy a car that won't let you down, two new surveys point to Japanese-made vehicles as the most reliable.

The 2012 Which? Car survey surveyed 47,716 new cars to compile a top ten list of the most reliable. Five on the list were Japanese with the remaining coming from France (two), Germany (two) and Czech Republic (one).

The survey found there can be a huge difference between the best and worst car models when it comes to reliability and faults. And those people that assume paying a lot of money for a new car will mean it will be problem-free could be disappointed: Which? found the opposite to be true with expensive cars often among the most unreliable.

The most reliable car of 2012

Budget brand Skoda topped the Which? dependability chart, with petrol versions of its Yeti compact 4x4 chalking up an almost faultless score of 98%. The diesel version of the Yeti scored 93%.

For drivers of a certain age Skodas are best known for being the butt of all car jokes but the brand has successfully undergone an image overhaul in the past few years.

Surprisingly, another petrol 4x4 follows in second place - the Honda CR-V which scored an impressive 97%.

But languishing at the other end of the new car reliability table is a rather more luxurious 4x4 - the Range Rover Sport. Despite costing nearly £50,000 (to the Yeti's £15,000), it can muster only a paltry 63.4% for reliability.

The top ten

The Which? top 10 reliable new cars looks like this:

1. Skoda Yeti (2009-, petrol versions) 98%

2. Honda CR-V (2007-, petrol versions) 97%

3. Citroën C1 (2005-) 96.9%

4. VW Passat/Passat estate (2010-) 96.5%

5. Toyota Auris Hybrid (2010-) 96.4%

6. Honda Insight (2009-) 96.1%

=6. Renault Mégane (2008-) 96.1%

8. Honda Jazz (2008-) 96%

9. BMW 1 Series Coupé (2008-) 95.9%

10. Nissan Note (2006-, petrol versions) 95.8%

Japanese domination

Five of the top reliable models in the Which? survey are Japanese: Honda Toyota and Nissan are all Japanese car makers.

The Which? results echoed a similar survey by Warranty Direct and What Car? It found Honda, Toyota and Lexus to be the top three manufacturers for reliability.

Based on cars between three and 10-years-old, the Warranty Direct survey showed that Hondas have only a 10% chance of breaking down in any given 12-month period. The rate for Toyota was 17% and for Lexus 18%.

In contrast Land Rover had a breakdown rate of 71% and was bottom of the table for reliability. Luxury cars didn’t fare too well either and were towards the bottom of the table: Jaguar had a 43% breakdown rate and Mercedez Benz 45%.

Just one non-Far East manufacturer – Chrysler, which is based in the US - made it into the Warranty Direct top 10.

The least reliable

So, which car manufacturers should you avoid if you don’t want to spend hours on the hard shoulder and hundreds of pounds on car repairs?

Unfortunately it’s a British brand at the bottom of the reliability table. Despite reporting a 34% rise in profits this year, Jaguar Land Rover hasn’t managed to improve the reliability of its cars. 

Land Rover scored just 63% for its four-to-eight-year-old cars, with the current Range Rover Sport and Land Rover Discovery 4 among the brand’s worst offenders.

It’s bad news for Discovery 3 drivers too. The big off-road has suffered a range of faults including suspension, gearbox and exhaust system troubles. On average they set owners back a whopping £399 a year in repair bills.

Calculating reliability

Which? worked out the reliability score for each car maker by looking at the number of breakdowns and faults suffered by all models in the past 12 months, reported to the group through the annual Which? Car Survey.

The more serious the fault and the longer it kept a car off the road, the bigger weighting it was given.

The scores for each area are then combined to provide an overall reliability score for each manufacturer.

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31/07/2012 20:19

If you keep your car SERVICED, it will remain a lot more 'reliable' than if you do not.  My Pug.407 has never missed a beat, BUT, the computer is rubbish, tells you bulbs are failing, ABS has conked out etc.

Shame, really.  I believe that Peugeot (and others) have made the computer weak, so that you keep going to a main dealer to have it fixed!  At £100 a throw (or more!)  I have it 'fixed' at the service an maybe at 6 months  after, IF it is really p1ss1ng me off.

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