Honda Shines in British Reliability Survey; Land Rover and Chrysler Share Wooden Spoon
By Andy Bannister
Famously the publication carries no advertising so is not swayed by fear that telling it like it is will harm revenue. It surveyed 90,000 car owners about breakdowns, problems and niggles with their cars, and singled out the best and worst performers.
Honda won the title of best manufacturer, with others in the “very good” reliability category all being fellow Japanese brands – respectively Toyota, Daihatsu, Lexus, Mazda, Subaru and Suzuki.
The best non-Japanese make was Hyundai, rated “good” along with Mitsubishi and the top European performer, Porsche.
“Average” scores were recorded by, in descending order, Mini, Nissan, Ford, BMW, Skoda, Kia, Proton (the small Malaysian manufacturer), Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Jaguar.
Lower down the scale, “poor” reliability ratings were awarded to Vauxhall (GM’s British brand), Citroën, Volvo, Volkswagen, Peugeot, Smart, Chevrolet/Daewoo and Jeep.
Finally, Saab, Seat, MG/Rover, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Renault, Land Rover and Chrysler/Dodge were ignominiously rated as “very poor”.
The most reliable cars identified in the survey were the Honda Jazz (the European name for the Fit supermini), Volvo’s C30 and the Skoda Fabia, although sample sizes varied and the Jazz’s performance was by far the most convincing. It’s one of the more expensive and duller superminis on the market but clearly buying one has its compensations according to legions of satisfied owners, who’ll be hoping next year’s new model carries on the trend.
Honda’s excellent overall performance masked the poor performance of its British-built Civic hatchback, which finished a surprise bottom of the medium category. However, another Anglo-Japanese offering, the Nissan Qasqhai was near the top of the same class.
Land Rover’s Discovery (LR3) was bottom of the SUV category, and the new and much-praised Ford Galaxy and S-Max were the lowest-rated MPVs and some of the poorest scoring vehicles surveyed, although Ford redeemed itself elsewhere with solid performances from the Mondeo and Focus.
Audi seems to have fixed glitches with its TT, which finished joint top of the sports car section alongside Mazda’s MX-5, with all cars in this sub-group doing better than average. Volkswagen’s Passat was the poorest rated larger car, and the Jaguar S-Type the dud of the luxury sector.
It’s interesting this survey contradicts the generally-accepted wisdom here in the UK that German cars are among the most reliable money can buy, with the Japanese comprehensively outperforming them in the experience of real consumers.
The Koreans, especially Hyundai, also put in a strong showing against Europe’s finest, yet still tend not to be taken seriously by many buyers. Sadly, the dismal ratings of the French and Italians indicate some things never change.
Small, low-priced cars also seem to perform better overall in the reliability stakes than larger ones, showing that spending more isn’t necessarily a guarantee of trouble-free motoring.
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