Can Anybody Tell You?
Fact is, depending on whom you listen to and what you read, the car you’re driving can range from being the best thing since sliced bread to the vehicle equivalent of a stale mouldy old loaf. So who do you believe?
Many different organisations publish their views on what’s good or bad and whilst I am not saying any of them are right or wrong, the one certain thing is that they can’t all be right, as they often have very differing opinions, with a car voted most reliable by one, not even appearing in the top ten for another.
There are around 32 million vehicles on the roads of the UK and you probably drive one. Have you ever been asked to give your opinions, based on your experience with your car? Well if you’re like me, that’s probably no.
The results published are mainly based on surveys that a magazine or organisation has taken from its readers or perhaps by asking companies that run a number of vehicles to give them details of how the cars that they operate have behaved.
The one thing that’s obvious is that certain cars, attract a certain type of use and indeed a certain type, age and profile of driver and because of that, a car that scores really well, when being driven by a 65 year old lady to get her shopping in, might perform entirely differently if its being pushed up the motorway every day by a delivery driver or rep and that’s reflected in the fact that many of the cars that seem to score consistently well, are very much what you would think of as a “retail” car, or a car more likely to be used by an individual who owns it, rather than a company who buys it to give to a staff member.
So let’s take a quick look at the latest reports that have been published.
Most of us would have heard of JD Power, as it’s often mentioned on programmes like Top Gear. They get their results from readers of What Car magazine, so I suppose, if like me, you’ve never read What Car, well you’re not going to have responded
The 2009 results are below, but to make it easier to see how like for like the different cars perform, we have taken the top 3 in each class of car
2009 – JD Power results
1. Toyota Aygo: 81.1%
2. Peugeot 107: 79.8%
3. Volkswagen Fox: 77.3%
1. Honda Jazz: 83.5%
2. Toyota Yaris: 81.2%
3. MINI: 80.4%
Small family car
1. Skoda Octavia: 81.1%
2. Honda Civic: 81.0%
3. Toyota Corolla: 80.8%
1. Toyota Prius: 84.3%
2. Volvo S40: 82%
3. Honda Accord: 81.5%
1. Lexus IS: 82.5%
2. Jaguar X-Type: 80.7%
3= BMW 3-Series: 80.6%
3= Mercedes-Benz C-Class: 80.6%
Luxury – Executive
1. Audi A6: 82.1%
2. Mercedes-Benz E-Class: 81%
3. BMW 5-Series: 80.7%
1. Mercedes-Benz CLK: 82.2%
2. Mazda MX-5: 80.5%
3. Audi TT: 80.2%
1. Lexus RX: 85.3%
2. Honda CR-V: 81.5%
3. Nissan Qashqai: 81.4%
1. Citroen Grand C4 Picasso: 80.2%
2= Citroen Xsara Picasso: 79.3%
2= SEAT Altea: 79.3%
Interesting stuff eh?
Everyone has heard of “consumer champions” Which, so lets take a brief look at what they say:- The results are based on a sample of almost 85,000 cars owned by consumers and whilst that sounds impressive, but as the UK registers around 2 million cars each year, that’s reflects only about 4% of a single years worth of registrations and an infinitesimal part of the 32 million cars that run around our highways.
Which? Most reliable cars 2009
1. Kia Picanto
2. Mazda MX-5
3. Honda Jazz
4. Volkswagen Jetta
5. Peugeot 107
6. Lexus RX
7. Toyota Prius
8. Toyota Yaris
Just to put a different slant on this, the same organisation (Which) published a survey in the summer of 2009, showing the following vehicles as their most reliable and least reliable cars. Strangely, only the Honda Jazz and The Toyota Prius feature in both lists! Odd That?
Which? most reliable new cars
1 Honda Accord (2008-present) – 98.5%
2 Honda Jazz (2008-present) – 98.2%
3 Daihatsu Sirion (2005-present) – 97.5%
4 Hyundai i30 (2007-present) – 96.8%
5 Ford Fiesta (2008-present) – 96.2%
6. Honda Jazz (2002-2008) – 95.9%
7 Honda Civic Hybrid (2006-present) -95.7%
8 Citroën C1 (2005-present) – 95.7%
9 Toyota Prius (2004-present) -95.0%
10 Mazda 3 (2004-2008) – 94.4%
Which? least reliable new cars
1 Audi A5 (2007-present) – 75.8%
2 Ford Galaxy (2006-present) – 76.3%
3 Jaguar XF (2008-present) – 78.0%
4 Alfa Romeo 159 (2006-present) – 79.0%
5 Land Rover Discovery (2004-present) – 79.5%
6 Ford S-Max (2006-present) – 79.9%
6 Land Rover Freelander (2006-present) – 80.1%
8 Volvo XC90 (2002-present) – 80.6%
9 Jaguar S-type (1999-2007) – 81.2%
10 Hyundai Santa Fe (2006-present) – 82.2%
So lets look at the last of our trio of reports and this is from Fleet News magazine, its called FN50 and I have to say, in my opinion, this is probably the most credible source of data, because it produces its figures from Fleet Operators, in other words, the people that give their employees cars. As such, most of the cars in the report are driven by people who don’t own them, are used for business, are often the ones that pass you at 90mph on the motorway as the driver is busting a gut to make his next appointment or deadline and I guess, what I am saying is that these are probably the cars that get the hardest time, so if they are going to go wrong, well these guys are going to know about it first.
FN50 2009 Results – Most reliable car
1. Honda Civic
2. BMW 3 Series
3. Honda Jazz
4. Honda Accord
5. BMW 5 Series
6. Audi A4
7. Mercedes-Benz C-Class
9. Toyota Avensis
10. Volkswagen Golf
FN50 2009 Results – Most reliable car manufacturers 2009
To add a final twist in the tail
A respected warranty provider “Warranty Direct” also undertook research, on cars that are between 3 year old and 6 years old, looking at what chance a car had of breaking down. They looked at the chances you had in percentage terms of a breakdown, by manufacturer and below is a snapshot of that showing the least likely to fail and the likelihood in percentage terms of it happening and the manufacturers that they say are most likely to break down.
In addition to that, they looked at the average repair costs across the car manufacturers and produced a lowest “top ten” and a highest “top ten”
10 most reliable models Manufacturer Breakdown incidence rate
1. Honda 10.59%
2. Mazda 13.03%
3. Toyota 13.08%
4. Subaru 13.92%
5. Smart 16.67%
6. Nissan 16.79%
7. Mitsubishi 17.18%
8. Lexus 19.01%
9. MINI 23.16%
10. Porsche 24.34%
10 least reliable Manufacturer Breakdown incidence rate
1. Land Rover 46.74%
2. Renault 38.54%
3. Saab 38.03%
4. Jeep 36.39%
5. Audi 32.74%
6. SEAT 32.04%
7. MG 31.47%
8. Chrysler 30.14
9. Volvo 28.65%
10. Mercedes 28.6%
10 lowest repair costs Manufacturer Average repair cost
1. Skoda £215.94
2. Citroen £228.32
3. Renault £249.51
4. Peugeot £251.34
5. Ford £256.03
6. SEAT £266.15
7. Vauxhall £269.10
8. Volkswagen £285.41
9. Honda £295.42
10. Fiat £296.20
10 highest repair costs Manufacturer Average repair cost
1. Porsche £793.05
2. Jeep £541
3. Jaguar £484.46
4. Subaru £479.67
5. Mitsubishi £454.22
6. Chrysler £450.23
7. Mercedes £447.73
8. Land Rover £438.38
9. Audi £414.74
10. MG £400.98
How do you sum all this up? What useful information can we get from this?
This is just a snap shot of the huge quantity of vehicle reliability reports you can find if you search the net, or read the motoring press. You will notice that in the first three reliability reports, that there is only one Ford and no Vauxhall’s at all and that includes the car that the wise and learned “experts” voted as the 2009 European Car Of The Year, the Vauxhall Insignia.
Strange then that the best selling cars in the UK invariably come from Vauxhall & Ford and that’s because companies choose them to provide to their staff, so you have to ask why they do that, if they don’t score big, or at all on some of these reports. Well, it probably says more about the reports than it does the cars, because lets face it, companies are not daft, and they don’t put their staff in cars that are going to see them miss appointments due to being broken down by the side of the road. They also don’t put their staff in cars that will cost a fortune to run and repair and they certainly don’t put staff in cars that are unsafe.
You must ask, what does this all mean and truth is, I don’t know, but if I were being honest, a big part of me feels that you can produce statistics and figures to justify anything and whilst you couldn’t argue if the research covered the entire number of cars that are on our roads, but they don’t. There are around 32 million vehicles on the roads of the UK. We have supplied 1000’s to our customers on leasing agreements, many of which we arrange and fund the maintenance for and so we know what our cars have cost us and how reliable they have been, but in the 15 years we have been running this business, no one has ever asked us for our experiences, or how our cars have performed.
I guess realistically, these reports make a good read and are marginally interesting, and its great if your car gets a mention, but I don’t think it’s any more than that and I don’t think they would prevent me from buying a car like a Focus or an Astra, just because they don’t figure in these lists.
All a bit of fun eh!