The Root

The official blog of Carrot Insurance

11 May 2016

Which brands and small cars are the most reliable?


Running a car isn’t exactly cheap these days and the last thing any young driver wants is to have to shell out money on unexpected repairs because their car isn’t very reliable. Fortunately, various organisations put a lot of effort into crunching real-life data to tell the British public which car brands and models really are the most and least reliable. As an insurer specialising in telematics products for young and newly qualified drivers, we wanted to report back on the latest findings, with the usual focus on smaller, more affordable cars.

The most reliable makes

According to WarrantyWise, one of the UK’s leading used car warranty providers fronted by former Top Gear presenter Quentin Willson and whose clients include ex-Dragon Theo Paphitis, the top 5 most reliable car brands are:

  • Honda (1st place)
  • Toyota
  • Suzuki
  • Mitsubishi
  • Hyundai

The Japanese can give themselves a pat on the back, as four out of the top five car makes in terms of reliability are from Japan, the fifth being a Korean firm well-known for the 5-year warranty provided for many of its models.

The WarrantyWise Dependability Factor Top 10 table, compiled based on their warranty claims and repairs data, shows that the five least reliable car brands in the UK are:

  • Maserati (last place)
  • Jaguar
  • Porsche
  • Alfa Romeo
  • Chrysler

The good news that emerges for young drivers is that they probably won’t be able to afford to own a car from the three worst offenders, which are all typically considered to be ‘premium’ brands. The middle of their 36-brand reliability table includes more popular makes such as Renault, Ford, Vauxhall and Peugeot – which is positive, as most young or newly qualified drivers tend to own small cars built by companies like these.

Their research also included surveying 750 people over which brands they think of as being the most reliable, and although the people who took part correctly named Honda and Toyota as the most reliable makes, many of them also thought German brands BMW, Audi and Mercedes would score highly for reliability. They’re wrong, though, with the Germans ranked 27th to 29th in the table.

The most reliable small cars

Auto Express, the well-known motoring magazine, also looks into car reliability, which their latest annual ‘Driver Power’ survey has found to be the most important thing for drivers these days. After putting 50,000 chunks of car data through their statistical blender, which small cars, superminis and city cars have come out the most reliable upto May 2016?

10th – MG3

Carrot Insurance telematics young drivers blog - brands small cars most reliable - Warrantywise Auto Express Driver Power supermini city - MG3

9th – Toyota Aygo (Mk2)

Carrot Insurance telematics young drivers blog - brands small cars most reliable - Warrantywise Auto Express Driver Power supermini city - Toyota Aygo

8th – Mazda 2 (Mk3) [read our road-test]

Carrot Insurance telematics young drivers blog - brands small cars most reliable - Warrantywise Auto Express Driver Power supermini city - Mazda2

7th – Skoda Fabia (Mk3) [read our road-test]

Carrot Insurance telematics young drivers blog - brands small cars most reliable - Warrantywise Auto Express Driver Power supermini city - Skoda Fabia

6th – Kia Rio (Mk3)

Carrot Insurance telematics young drivers blog - brands small cars most reliable - Warrantywise Auto Express Driver Power supermini city - Kia Rio

5 – Suzuki Swift (Mk2)

Carrot Insurance telematics young drivers blog - brands small cars most reliable - Warrantywise Auto Express Driver Power supermini city - Suzuki Swift

4th – Dacia Sandero (Mk2)

Carrot Insurance telematics young drivers blog - brands small cars most reliable - Warrantywise Auto Express Driver Power supermini city - Dacia Sandero

Bronze (3rd) – Honda Jazz (Mk2)

Carrot Insurance telematics young drivers blog - brands small cars most reliable - Warrantywise Auto Express Driver Power supermini city - Honda Jazz

Silver (2nd) – Hyundai i10 (Mk2) [read our road-test]

Carrot Insurance telematics young drivers blog - brands small cars most reliable - Warrantywise Auto Express Driver Power supermini city - Hyunda i10

Gold (1st – most reliable) – Skoda Citigo

Carrot Insurance telematics young drivers blog - brands small cars most reliable - Warrantywise Auto Express Driver Power supermini city - Skoda Citigo

The three least reliable small city cars, according to Auto Express’ Driver Power reliability scores, are the Audi A1 (Mk1), Alfa Romeo MiTo (Mk1) and MINI hatch (Mk IV).

We realise many of these cars are newer models and that many of our young and newly qualified driver customers own older cars, but it’ll certainly give you something to think about if you’re mulling over getting a newer car this year and reliability is an important factor for you.

Do you drive any of the superminis mentioned in this article and has it proven more or less economical than its position in these two organisations’ surveys suggests? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook


Oliver Hammond

Written by Oliver Hammond

Oliver is an established freelance motoring writer, published journalist and automotive copywriter based in Manchester. He regularly reviews cars and covers events and launches as editor of petroleumvitae.com and his articles appear in various magazines each month. No relation to Richard from Top Gear, he’s got a weakness for luxo-barges, proper 4x4s and oddball cars.