Think of the most reliable car you can. Got it? Well, it’s not that. Guess again. No, it’s not that either. According to research by Warranty Direct, it is the Vauxhall Agila that is least likely to break down.
Even more surprising is the fact British and French manufacturers topped the list, with German cars representing four out of the five least reliable cars. More on that in a second.
Second and third place in the reliability stakes goes to the Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1, respectively, proving a bit of French supermini fun need not result in hefty garage repair bills. Fourth place goes to the Volvo S40, indicating the Swedes can still make exceptionally hardy vehicles.
Although known for its German build quality and reliability, Volkswagen only manages to have one entry in the top ten and it’s the Lupo in seventh place, behind sixth place Seat Ibiza and fifth place Peugeot 3008. 40 per cent of the top ten is, therefore, made by the French.
Skoda comes in eighth with the Fabia, which is hardly surprising given its parent company is VW. 9th, meanwhile, goes to the rather unattractive Berlingo Multispace, while tenth is the sideways-parkable Smart Fortwo, which is built by Mercedes.
The survey looked at what caused the most common faults in each car. The Agila, for instance, is most plagued by ‘axle and suspension’ troubles, accounting for a third of its faults on average. The 107 is let down by its cooling and heating systems, accounting for 43.75 per cent of faults.
The absolute least reliable car was found to be the Audi RS6, beating the BMW M5 by some margin. So unreliable, in fact, that it breaks down at least once a year. Third place went to the Porsche 911, which most commonly suffers from electric problems.
Luxury car purveyor Bentley sneaks into fourth place with electrical faults also most common, while fifth place goes to the Mercedes-Benz CL and its axle and suspension woes. 80 per cent of the worst performers are, therefore, German.
Warranty Direct managing director David Gerrans said: “It’s good to see a British manufacturer at the top of the table, especially at a time when Britain’s automotive industry is flying high.
“Our data also highlights that Swedish, Czech, Spanish and French carmakers are all more reliable than their often celebrated German counterparts, which will surprise some consumers, who may still assume that German cars are the most durable.”
Each car is given a Reliability Index score based on more than 50,000 Warranty Direct policies. The score is calculated by looking at a car’s frequency of repair, the cost of repair, duration of repairs and the average age and mileage. A lower number is better (the Agila scored 9, while the RS6 scored 1,123).
Warranty Direct created a ‘Frankencar’ for Halloween last year comprised all the least reliable parts of cars. You can check it out here.