Most and least reliable car brands revealed

August 05, 2020 by

To separate the fact from the fiction, we’ve teamed up with the aftermarket warranty provider Warranty Wise to find out which car brands perform best and worst for reliability.

This survey has been calculated using data taken from the extended car warranty data held by Warranty Wise and the repair claims they have received. To keep things as fair as possible, only brands with at least 500 cars on Warranty Wise’s records have been rated, and all models included were out of the manufacturer’s warranty period.

Warranty Wise takes into account a car’s age, repair cost, the time taken for it to be repaired, and the frequency of repairs when giving it a reliability score – and this applies to brands, too. In a tiebreak scenario, the brand with the oldest average-car age takes the top spot. After all, it’s less surprising for an older car to go wrong.

Car brands ranked – least to most reliable
Brand Reliability score
Average repair cost
Land Rover (including Range Rover) 38% £1,260
Porsche 40% £1,550
Jaguar 51% £1,020
Chevrolet 53% £900
Alfa Romeo 53% £720
Audi 53% £970
BMW 53% £1,090
Mercedes 56% £920
Mitsubishi 58% £1,060
MINI 60% £790
SEAT 62% £660
VW 62% £710
Citroen 62% £580
Vauxhall 62% £580
Volvo 62% £790
Skoda 64% £620
Peugeot 64% £570
Nissan 64% £740
Mazda 67% £790
Renault 67% £560
Ford 67% £610
Kia 69% £530
Suzuki 71% £520
Fiat 71% £510
Hyundai 71% £570
Smart 73% £460
Toyota 80% £600
Lexus 87% £1,100
Honda 87% £530

29. Land Rover

  • Reliability rating: 38%
  • Average repair costs: £1,260

It’s perhaps a surprise to see Land Rover at the bottom of this list – after all, its SUVs are designed to shrug off everything that’s thrown their way when driving off-road. However, it appears they tend to cost quite a bit to fix because Warranty Wise’s data shows the average repair claim for Land Rover cars came in at nearly £1,300.

28. Porsche

  • Reliability rating 40%
  • Average repair costs: £1,550

Porsche is another premium brand that doesn’t fare well for mechanical dependability because its reliability rating is only two percentage points higher than Land Rover’s. However, while Warranty Wise’s figures suggest Porsches tend to break down less often, they’re also likely to be more expensive to put right – in fact, the average repair claim of £1,550 is the highest of all the brands featured on this list.

27. Jaguar

  • Reliability rating: 51%
  • Average repair costs: £1,020

Jaguar’s reliability rating may be quite a bit higher than its sister brand Land Rover’s, but it isn’t enough to stop the Coventry-based carmaker from ranking towards the bottom of this list. With repair bills costing £1,020 on average according to Warranty Wise, they’re also quite pricey to get back on the road if something does go wrong.

26. Chevrolet

  • Reliability rating: 53%
  • Average repair costs: £900

While the Chevrolet Spark is one of the most reliable used cars you can buy according to Warranty Wise’s data, it seems the supermini is the exception to the rule for cars wearing the Chevrolet badge. Its 53% reliability rating is among the worst of any mainstream brand featured on this list, and Warranty Wise says they also cost quite a bit to fix on average (even though the cars weren’t that expensive to buy when brand new).

25. Alfa Romeo

  • Reliability rating: 53%
  • Average repair costs: £720

Alfa Romeo’s not-exactly-stellar reputation for reliability seems to be borne out in reality, according to Warranty Wise’s repair claim figures. That said, while Warranty Wise says Alfa Romeo cars tend to develop faults more often than Chevrolet models, the claim data shows Alfas are quite a bit more affordable on average to fix when things go wrong.

24. Audi

  • Reliability rating: 53%
  • Average repair costs: £970

German cars tend to be associated with good reliability, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for Audi in Warranty Wise’s experience. With a rating of 53%, Audi is in the same ballpark as Alfa Romeo when it comes to dependability, and Audis tend to come with heftier repair bills, too.

23. BMW

  • Reliability rating: 53%
  • Average repair costs: £1,090

At first glance, it seems odd that BMW is ranked ahead of Audi in terms of reliability – after all, both brands have the same 53% rating, yet BMW’s average repair bills according to Warranty Wise are £120 dearer. However, Warranty Wise says the brands have been rated this way because BMWs tend to be a little bit older on average than Audi cars when they need to go in for repairs.

22. Mercedes-Benz

  • Reliability rating: 56%
  • Average repair costs: £920

Of the three big German premium brands, it’s Mercedes-Benz that comes out on top in the reliability stakes – and its cars tend to be a bit more affordable to fix on average, according to Warranty Wise. However, with a reliability rating of 56% and a 22nd place ranking, Mercedes is some way from being the best brand in this list for durability.

21. Mitsubishi

  • Reliability rating: 56%
  • Average repair costs: £1,060

Japanese carmakers are perceived by some to be a byword for reliability, so it’s perhaps a surprise to see Mitsubishi so far down this list. Potentially even more shocking is that the average repair bills for Mitsubishi cars come in at a very hefty £1,060 according to Warranty Wise’s data.

20. Mini

  • Reliability rating: 60%
  • Average repair costs: £790

According to Warranty Wise, Mini is an above-average brand when it comes to reliability – its overall rating comes in at 60%, and the average repair bills of £790 put Mini just above the half-way point in this list for affordability. It’s testament to how strong overall other car brands are, though, that Mini comes in at a lowly 20th place in this reliability league table.

19. SEAT

  • Reliability rating: 62%
  • Average repair costs: £660

Just pipping Mini to 19th spot in Warranty Wise’s reliability rankings is SEAT. According to the repair claims data, SEATs tend to be a little bit less likely to break down than many brands and, when things do go wrong, they’re relatively affordable to fix.

18. Volkswagen

  • Reliability rating: 62%
  • Average repair costs: £710

SEAT is one of the many brands owned by Volkswagen, so it perhaps isn’t a big surprise to see its parent company is pretty similar in the reliability stakes according to Warranty Wise. Volkswagen’s overall reliability score is identical at 62%, though the claims data suggests that, on average, VWs tend to be a tiny bit pricier to put right than SEATs.

17. Citroen

  • Reliability rating: 62%
  • Average repair costs: £580

Citroen’s 62% Warranty Wise reliability rating puts it just below the mid-point on our list. And, the claim data suggests you won’t have to fork out too much if your Citroen does end up needing a trip to your nearest garage.

16. Vauxhall

  • Reliability rating: 62%
  • Average repair costs: £580

There’s very little to separate Vauxhall and Citroen when it comes to reliability. According to Warranty Wise, both cars have an identical rating of 62%, and their average repair costs are also exactly the same at £580. In this particular head-to-head, Vauxhall just ekes ahead on the basis that its cars are tend to be a bit older when they go wrong, and tend to have shorter repair times.

15. Volvo

  • Reliability rating: 62%
  • Average repair costs: £790

Of the five brands on this list that have been given a 62% reliability rating, it’s Volvo that comes out on top. Based on Warranty Wise’s warranty figures, Volvo cars tend to be a little bit older than models from the other brands when they break down, and they also tend to spend less time on workshop ramps. Although, with average repair bills of £790, Volvo’s tend to develop slightly costlier faults than some cars on this list.

14. Skoda

  • Reliability rating: 64%
  • Average repair costs: £620

Skoda’s managed to squeeze itself into the top half of this reliability run-down and, according to Warranty Wise’s figures, it’s a fairly respectable brand when it comes to mechanical durability. A rating of 64% puts Skoda among many of the carmakers it directly competes with, and the average repair bills according to the warranty claim data aren’t too bad.

13. Peugeot

  • Reliability rating: 64%
  • Average repair costs: £570

Another brand that does fairly well for reliability according to Warranty Wise is Peugeot. A 64% overall rating is fairly decent in this company and, based on the warranty repair claim data, Peugeot’s don’t tend to cost too much money to bring back into full working order.

12. Nissan

  • Reliability rating: 64%
  • Average repair cost: £740

Of the three carmakers that have been rated 64% for reliability by Warranty Wise, Nissan is the one with the highest average repair costs, coming in at a not-inconsiderable £740. However, Nissan seals its place in the top 12 due to its cars tending to be a bit older when they break down and requiring fewer time-consuming repairs.

11. Mazda

  • Reliability rating: 67%
  • Average repair cost: £790

Mazda just misses out on a top 10 spot in this reliability ranking. It seems Mazda cars are a wee bit on the pricey side when they need to be repaired, too, because Warranty Wise says the average repair cost for Mazda vehicles comes in at £790. That said, it’s worth pointing out Mazda’s reliability rating of 67% is just two percentage points down on the brand that’s ranked in eighth place.

10. Renault

  • Reliability rating: 67%
  • Average repair cost: £560

Our countdown of the top 10 most reliable car brands according to Warranty Wise begins with Renault, which shares a respectable 67% reliability rating with Mazda. Based on the data, Renault repair bills aren’t too steep either, because the average warranty claim came in at £560.

9. Ford

  • Reliability rating: 67%
  • Average repair cost: £610

Another brand with a 67% reliability rating from Warranty Wise is Ford. While cars with the Blue Oval badge on their boot lids tended to a bit more expensive to fix than Renault cars according to Warranty Wise, Ford was able to beat its French rival to eighth place due to factors such as the age of the vehicle when it broke down, and how long the car spent being repaired.

8. Kia

  • Reliability rating: 69%
  • Average repair costs: £530

All new Kias come with an impressive seven-year/100,000-mile warranty, so it isn’t too surprising that the brand did well in Warranty Wise’s used car reliability ratings. Based on the claim data, it seems Kia cars don’t tend to cost too much to put right when their original manufacturer cover runs out, because Warranty Wise’s average claim for Kia repairs was a respectable £530.

7. Suzuki

  • Reliability rating: 71%
  • Average repair cost: £520

Slotting ahead of Kia into the seventh-place is Suzuki, which has been awarded a pretty good reliability rating of 71%. According to the figures from Warranty Wise, Suzuki cars tend to be fairly affordable to fix when things do go wrong because the average repair bill came in at £520.

6. Fiat

  • Reliability rating: 71%
  • Average repair cost: £510

Going on Warranty Wise’s warranty claim data, Fiat’s reliability record flies in the face of the notion that Italian cars are prone to breaking down all the time. In the event Fiats do need to pay a visit to a garage, Warranty Wise’s figures suggest they aren’t too expensive to put right – in fact, only one brand on this list has lower average repair costs than Fiat.

5. Hyundai

  • Reliability rating: 71%
  • Average repair cost: £570

According to Warranty Wise’s claims statistics, Hyundai is quite close to its sister brand Kia when it comes to reliability. Hyundai’s overall reliability rating is a couple of percentage points higher than Kia’s, and there isn’t too much differentiating the two carmakers when it comes to repair costs, either.

4. Smart

  • Reliability rating: 73%
  • Average repair cost: £460

The size of Smart cars doesn’t seem to be their only small attribute – according to Warranty Wise’s claim data, they’re also pretty affordable to repair when they need to be fixed. It turns out they’re pretty reliable cars, too, because Smart has been given an overall reliability score of 73%.

3. Toyota

  • Reliability rating: 80%
  • Average repair costs: £600

It’s a fairly big leap up to the car brand in third place, because Toyota’s reliability rating is seven percentage points up from the fourth-placed Smart’s 73% score. And, while Toyota doesn’t have the lowest average repair costs according to Warranty Wise’s warranty claim data, they’re still not too bad at £600.

2. Lexus

  • Reliability rating: 87%
  • Average repair costs: £1,100

Lexus’ reputation for reliability definitely seems to bear out in the statistics from Warranty Wise, because the brand has been given a mighty reliability score of 87%. That said, while the claim statistics suggest Lexus cars don’t tend to develop faults that often, they do tend to be on the pricey side to fix because the average repair costs came in at £1,100.

1. Honda

  • Reliability rating: 87%
  • Average repair costs: £560

Here it is, the car brand that came out on top for reliability according to Warranty Wise: Honda. According to the statistics, Honda cars are pretty good for mechanical durability and tend to on average be older and spend less time in the garage than Lexus cars when they do need to be fixed. Perhaps the icing on the cake, though, is that they’re also not too expensive to repair on the oft chance they do go wrong.

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