New reliability survey reveals best and worst models

A new survey based on feedback from more than 16,000 car owners has revealed the most and least reliable vehicles.

The 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey asked owners whether their car had gone wrong in the past 12 months, how long repairs took and how much they cost, with the overall score expressed as a percentage.

It found that six models achieved a 100% reliability score: the current versions of the Audi TT, Mazda CX-3, Mini Convertible and Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, and the previous-generation Dacia Sandero and Honda HR-V.

At brand level, Lexus and Dacia models were hailed as the most dependable for new and used buyers, while Fiat and Land Rover achieved the lowest scores. Lexus gained an overall rating of 98.7% and none of its vehicles scored lower than 98.4%. Budget brand Dacia also impressed with a 97.3% overall rating.

In contrast, Fiat had the least reliable cars, gaining an 82% rating from owners, while Land Rover and Ford were second and third worst for reliability.

Hybrids were rated as the most durable type of car, with an average class reliability score of 96.9%. The best performing hybrid was the Lexus NX (2014 – present), which managed a 99.8% score, while hybrid variants of the BMW X5 (2018 – present) were rated least reliable, with 89.7%.

Of the 16,328 drivers surveyed, 20% had experienced a fault with their car in the past year, with 85% of faults repaired free of charge. For seven per cent of drivers, the repairs cost between £101 and £500, while two per cent had to pay more than £1,500 to get their car back on the road. A third of cars remained driveable and were fixed within a day, while 25% could be driven but took more than a week to repair.