A total of 248 cars received a suitable number of reports from owners for What Car? to provide a reliability score for in 2022.
For those considering buying a car, here are the best and worst performers in each vehicle class so you know which models to potential test drive, and which to keep at an arm’s length…
The Ford Fiesta is very popular in Britain, but this latest version is also proving quite problematic, according to What Car?’s survey
Small cars – 92.1% reliability overall
Most reliable: Toyota Aygo (2014–2022) – 99.1%
Only six per cent of Aygo owners said their car had encountered a problem in the last two years, with all issues being with suspension.
Least reliable: Ford Fiesta (2018–present) – 80.2%
The Fiesta is the most popular car on the road in Britain, but almost a third (31 per cent) of owners of the current model had issues, many of them quite serious. Suspension, battery, engine and steering problems were reported.
Audi’s A3 is one of the most popular family hatches on the market today, but owners of the current model are bemoaning gremlins in the infotainment system and non-engine electrics
Family cars – 94.7% reliability overall
Most reliable: Lexus CT200h (2011–2021) & Toyota Auris hybrid (2013–2019) – 99.3%
It makes sense that the CT200h and Auris score the same, with the hybrids mechanically identical. Only six per cent of owners said their cars had issues in the last 24 months, though oddly it was suspension woes with the Lexus and bodywork problems with the Toyota.
Least reliable: Audi A3 (2020–present) – 74.2%
Almost three in five owners (57 per cent) of the latest Audi A3 said they have suffered faults in the last two years, with infotainment/sat-nav glitches (33 per cent) and non-engine electrics (29 per cent) the most common problem areas.
The BMW 3 Series is the exec model most people think of first. Diesel versions of the latest car are proving less reliable than petrols
Exec cars – 92.1% reliability overall
Most reliable: Reliable Lexus IS (2013–2021) – 98.3%
The hybrid Lexus IS might not have the badge appeal of some of its more luxurious rivals in the segment, but it has reliability in abundance. Just five per cent of owners reported an issue with their car in the last two years.
Least reliable: BMW 3 Series diesel (2019–present) – 81.2%
The most popular and arguably well-known model in the exec class is BMW’s 3 Series, but the current car are having a few issues, namely diesels, which 33 per cent of owners said had suffered faults compared to 14 per cent of petrols.
A Jaguar is surprisingly the most reliable luxury car, according to What Car?’s survey, while this current Audi A6 is the least dependable model in class
Luxury cars – 89.4% reliability overall
Most reliable: Jaguar XJ (2010–2019) – 98.3%
The British brand ceased production of the XJ before the pandemic, which is a shame given that owners say they’re proving pretty reliable – especially for a Jaguar. Just six per cent of drivers had faults, all with non-engine electrics. Though they did take some time to repair, drivers said.
Least reliable: Audi A6 (2018–present) – 80.3%
It’s another poor showing from Audi, this time from its A6 model. Almost half (47 per cent) of owners reported at least one fault in the last two years, with both engine and non-engine electrics being the most common issue.
The Kia Soul isn’t the most popular compact SUV, but the previous-generation car is proving supremely reliable, with owners saying they have not experienced a fault with their cars for the last two years
Small SUVS – 94.2% reliability overall
Average segment reliability: 94.3%
Most reliable: Kia Soul (2014–2019) – 100%
The Soul probably isn’t the first model you think of when you’re considering a compact SUV, but the second-generation car might be one to add to the second-hand wish list with a faultless reliability record, according to owners of this Kia.
Least reliable: Nissan Juke (2010–2019) – 82.9%
There’s already a new Juke on the market, though those consider considering buying used might want to dodge the first-generation model with 31 per cent of owners reporting faults. Of these, a quarter had to pay over £750 for repairs, while five per cent paid over £1,500 to have their Juke fixed outside of warranty.
Diesel variants of the Peugeot 3008 family SUV have been quite problematic, with almost half of owners reporting a fault with their car in the last 24 months, namely suspension issues
Family SUVs – 93.7% reliability overall
Most reliable: Hyundai Tucson (2021–present) & Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (2017–2021) – 100%
Both the Hyundai Tucson and Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross received immaculate reliability reports from their owners. The latest Tucson is a relative newcomer, entering the market last year, while the Eclipse Cross was sold in tiny numbers – and Mitsubishi has pulled out of the UK in recent years.
Least reliable: Peugeot 3008 diesel (2017–present) – 74.4%
The diesel version of Peugeot’s popular 3008 SUV have earned it the least reliable model crown in this class. Oil burners have a 48 per cent fault rate in two years compared to 27 per cent for the petrol and hybrid variants. Look out for suspension issues.
So robust is the current Toyota RAV4 that only 2% of owners said they have had a problem with theirs in the last 24 months
Large SUVs – 92.6% reliability overall
Most reliable: Toyota RAV4 (2019–present) – 99.5%
Toyota’s strong reliability record is aided by models like the RAV4, which for years over various generations has proved hugely dependable. Just two per cent of owners of the current SUV said they had experienced unreliability in the last two years.
Least reliable: Audi Q5 diesel (2008–2017) – 74.3%
The Q5 diesel might be listed here as the most unreliable large SUV (44 per cent of owners had problems), but the petrol versions (41 per cent with issues) aren’t much better. For the former, its suspension issues that are most common.
Porsche’s Macan is the most reliable luxury SUV on the market, according to owners. Still, 13% reported a fault in the last 2 years
Luxury SUVs – 90.3% reliability overall
Most reliable: Porsche Macan (2014–present) – 98.0%
The Macan is the smallest SUV Porsche sells, and it is also the most reliable luxury SUV on the market, according to its owners. Just 13 per cent of Macan drivers said their Porsche had an issue in the last two years, and it’s the bodywork that has been the biggest cause of complaint.
Least reliable: Land Rover Discovery (2017–present) – 70.7%
The latest Discovery model isn’t just the least reliable luxury SUV, it’s the least reliable car in the entire What Car? survey. While only a third (35 per cent) of owners reported faults, many of these were extremely dear to fix.
The Mercedes B-Class has the best reliability rating of all MPVs
MPVs – 91.3% reliability overall
Most reliable: Mercedes B-Class (2019–present) – 98.5%
For car buyers with big families who need lots of space, the current Mercedes-Benz B-Class is the best option in terms of reliability, according to those who already own them. Only six per cent have had problems, and they’ve been either with the air-con or non-engine electrics.
Least reliable: Volkswagen Touran (2015–present) – 75.2%
The Touran is a popular MPV, but not always the most dependable. Half of drivers of this model said they have experience problems in the last 24 months, with gearbox and clutch issues being common and expensive to repair.
Owners of the latest-generation Mini Convertible told What Car? their motors have not experienced a single hiccup in the last 2 years
Coupes, convertibles and sports cars – 92.2% reliability overall
Most reliable: Mini Convertible (2016–present) – 100%
The Mini Convertible is one of the four cars in this year’s survey to score full marks, with a 100 per cent reliability record. While eight per cent of owners of the conventional hatchback said they’ve experienced faults, drop-top owners haven’t.
Least reliable: Porsche 718 Cayman (2016–present) – 77.9%
Porsche’s smallest coupe model is a brilliant drive, though you don’t want to be stuck with a repair bill if something does happen to go wrong. Bodywork and suspension issues are the most common, and expensive to fix.
Almost half of drivers of hybrid variants of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class reported experiencing a fault in the last two years
Hybrid cars – 95.4% reliability overall
Most reliable: Hyundai Tucson (2021–present) – 100%
It’s a double award for Hyundai’s Tucson, with the top-rated family SUV also the best performing hybrid. Not a single issue was been reported by owners who filled in the 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey.
Least reliable: Mercedes A-Class hybrid (2018–present) – 78.4%
The Mercedes A-Class has grown in popularity in recent years and is now among the best-selling family hatchbacks. However, 46 per cent of owners of hybrid variants said they have encountered issued with their cars.
The Tesla Model S might be expensive, but that doesn’t guarantee reliability. Some 44% of owners said they have had headaches with their electric cars
Electric cars – 90.9% reliability overall
Most reliable: Nissan Leaf (2011–2018) – 98.9%
The original Nissan Leaf has been out of showrooms for the last four years, though owners who bought the latest of the production run said they are very reliable. Just nine per cent of owners reported faults, mostly with brakes.
Least reliable: Tesla Model S (2014–present) – 78.9%
The Tesla Model S is very much a premium model, but 44 per cent of early adopters said they had issues with their electric saloon in the last 24 months. It is bodywork problems that are most prominent, while non-motor electrics issues have also been reported by drivers.