Driver Verdicts Build quality rated
If you want a well-built car, it seems Japanese and German brands are the ones to choose, with French and Italian brands occupying most of the lower positions. The Citroën Xsara fares worst of all.
Good-looking and reliable: Honda S2000
Best 5 cars for build quality
Honda S2000 (1999-2009)
Driver rating 99.4%
You say: It's the best car I've ever had, and brings a big smile to my face every time I drive it!
We say: Honda’s gung-ho sports car is ageing gracefully alongside newer folding-hardtop rivals.
Porsche Boxster (2004-2012)
Driver rating 98.7%
You say: If you want a well engineered sports car and enjoy driving, don't bother looking at anything else, you will only be disappointed.
We say: Yes, this is an expensive machine, but the outlay buys a sports car that’s a cut above its mainstream rivals - and its big boot makes it quite practical for a sports car.
Lexus RX (2009-)
Driver rating 97.9%
You say: Top quality car, great build quality and very comfortable - a pleasure to drive.
We say: The current Lexus RX450h hybrid is a star in build quality terms, but even the 2003-2009 model scored an impressive 95.3% for build quality in our latest survey.
Audi A5 Sportback (2009-)
Driver rating 97.6%
You say: I love the style of this car and its superb build quality. For all its sportiness, it is also such a practical car - with the rear seats folded down it is almost as good as having an estate
We say: If you want to understand what all the fuss is about with Audi build quality, check out the high-end materials and near-flawless layout of the cabin.
Mercedes-Benz CLS (2005-2010)
Driver rating 97.5%
You say: This car looks great, is a pleasure to drive, is extremely comfortable and has all the toys you could ask for.
We say: This elegant luxury GT is very well appointed inside, and a lot of design effort has gone into making the controls easy to use.
Uninspiring: Citroen Xsara
Worst 5 cars for build quality
Fiat Grande Punto (2006-2010)
Driver rating 65.0%
You say: The build quality on interior fittings is not up to modern expectations. Small parts just look and feel flimsy.
We say: The Grande Punto of 2006 may be an improvement over the earlier Punto (see below), but it's too ordinary in too many areas.
Fiat Punto (1999-2006)
Driver rating 64.1%
You say: The bonnet catch keeps needing to be replaced, the central locking keeps fusing and the windscreen wipers keep failing.
We say: There’s nothing outstanding about the Punto and it falls down in some important areas: entry-level models are slow, braking is poor and safety features are well behind those of newer superminis.
Citroën Saxo (1996-2003)
Driver rating 63.6%
You say: The pedals are too close together, which can result in pressing more than one simultaneously.
We say: Although cheap to buy and run, the Saxo is very much from a different era, so expect big sacrifices in comfort, technology and driving dynamics.
Ford Ka (1996-2008)
Driver rating 63.6%
You say: Without a doubt, the corners cut in build quality really come out after five years, particularly on the suspension and bodywork.
We say: Safety features and crash protection are not on a par with those of more modern rivals. Rust is the single biggest problem owners face.
Citroën Xsara (1997-2004)
Driver rating 61.8%
You say: The flimsy build quality of the interior is frustrating, lots of cheap plastics are used and it's uncomfortable on long journeys.
We say: There are far too many irritating niggles for our liking – the seats are poor, visibility isn’t brilliant and aspects of the interior layout could be better thought out. Safety is well behind modern standards, too.