Surprising results in 2017 WhatCar? reliability survey

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Little's Chauffeur Lexus fleet handover at Maxim Park near Glasgow, Scotland.

For decades, consumers looking to buy a reliable car have found safe haven with Japanese brands. Though cars from the likes of Toyota, Mitsubishi and Suzuki don't necessarily have the driving dynamics or brand heritage of European manufacturers like BMW or Jaguar, but they traditionally keep running almost for ever.

But does the same hold true today? Car buying advice website WhatCar? has announced the results of its 2017 reliability survey, which took responses from 14,208 participants, reporting on any faults that may have occurred in their 0-3-year-old cars. The results? A mixed bag...


The top five most reliable brands in the UK are, predictably, four-fifths Japanese. A top spot for Lexus is another feather in the luxury manufacturer's cap, while similarly strong showings were made for Mitsubishi, Toyota and Suzuki, in second, third and fourth places respectively.

But fifth place may surprise you, as it's occupied by Alfa Romeo. The Italian brand is practically famous for poor reliability – and now is under the umbrella of the Fiat Chrysler Alliance, itself not a paragon of dependability. But in recent years Alfa appears to have turned itself around, with its 85.8 per cent reliability rating beating the likes of Honda (84.9 per cent) Subaru (81.8 per cent) and Kia (81.3 per cent).

However, it's the bottom five that's perhaps more surprising. Because in among stalwarts such as Citroen (55.2 per cent) and Land Rover (50.6 per cent) sit some very uneasy entries. Nissan (52.7 per cent) and Tesla (52.4 per cent) take 29th and 30th place respectively – out of a total 32 brands in the survey.

Last place is occupied by Jeep, with a terrible showing of 42.1 per cent – over eight per cent down on its closest rival.

Steve Huntingford, editor at WhatCar?, commented: "It goes to show that the old adage that cars are getting more complicated and harder to fix needn't be an anxiety – as long as consumers choose the most reliable model they'll be able to enjoy the benefits of the latest technology without the fear of their car letting them down."