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Most satisfying cars

By Martin Pratt

Which cars have the most and least satisfied drivers? We reveal the models that came top and bottom in our latest Which? Car Survey.

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2017 Which? Car Survey now live - win £2,500

The 2017 Which? Car Survey is now live. By taking part, not only will you help us find both the most reliable and the most satisfying cars on the road, but you could win £2,500 – enough to pay your fuel bills for over a year.

Most satisfying cars

Every car we send to the lab is put through hundreds of tests and driven on UK roads to ensure our verdicts are as comprehensive and accurate as possible. But, when it comes to really understanding a car, who better to ask than the people who drive them day in day out?

That's why we use our Which? Car Survey to ask tens of thousands of people to tell us what their cars are like to live with - what they like, what they don't like and whether they'd recommend their car to someone else. We collate the results to reveal which cars have the most satisfied owners as well as those that could do better.

To see the cars that excelled in the Which? test lab check out our Best Buys.

Below you can see the models that came top and bottom for satisfaction in each class according to our survey. 

Small cars

Small cars are expected to be compact, easy to drive, reliable and inexpensive to run. Which car is top of the heap and which is languishing in last place?

Winner: Honda Jazz Hybrid (2011-)

Customer score 95%

You say:

  • 'The CVT system makes it so smooth and easy to drive in traffic.'
  • 'The extremely flexible way the rear seats and boot work make it wonderful for transporting stuff.'

We say: a solid car. It's reliable if not especially economical, even with that hybrid engine.

Loser: Fiat Punto (2006-)

Customer score 60%

You say:

  • 'Really excellent value for money – it’s cheap to run, tax and maintain.'
  • 'It has small and annoying faults that can be hard and expensive to repair.'

We say: despite good engine options and low prices, the Punto lacks appeal - reliability is poor, depreciation is steep and rear seat space is tight.

Medium cars

Medium cars have become something of a jack of all trades in recent years and, with expectations of what they should do only increasing, which is the master model?

Winner: Nissan Leaf (2011-)

Customer score 96%

You say:

  • 'Smooth, silent driving. So easy and relaxing to drive. Incredibly cheap to run.'
  • 'Supremely quiet and refined to drive/travel in. Non-polluting. Distinctive.'

We say: a surprisingly practical choice with low-energy costs and no tailpipe emissions, the Leaf is an electric car that doesn’t feel like a compromise.

Loser: Renault Mégane

You say:

  • 'Great to drive, rubbish electrics.'
  • 'Rotten mpg, way below what we expected.'

We say: once again the Mégane has very poor owner feedback for reliability, mainly down to its electronic failings.

Large cars

The best large cars should be spacious, comfy and a little luxurious. Which one impressed the most?

Winner: Skoda Octavia (2013-)

Customer score 96%

You say:

  • 'Practical, good value for money, excellent quality.'
  • 'Massive space for the price, and economical to run.'

We say: considering the quality of the Octavia its low price is nothing short of a marvel.

Loser: Renault Laguna (2001-2007)

Customer score: 65%

You say:

  • 'I really like the car, but the repair bills are horrible.'
  • 'Persistent electric faults and door lock faults.'

We say: questionable reliability aside, the Laguna is a pleasant comfy car, but it’s no good to anyone if it’s always stuck in the garage for repairs.

Estate cars

Estate cars are about more than just load lugging. These days they're expected to be comfortable, refined all-rounders. 

Winner: Skoda Octavia Estate (1998-2005)

Customer score 97%

You say:

  • 'A good workhorse. Comfortable, practical and versatile.'
  • 'It's a bit of a tank, but it just keeps on going.'

We say: newer isn't always better - owners of the older Octavia are immensely enthusiastic about the great value for money they've been getting from their cars. 

Loser: Peugeot 307 SW (2002-2007)

Customer score 64%

You say:

  • 'It's responsive, practical, handles well and is economical to run.'
  • 'Regular issues arising. This car has cost me a fortune in repairs and parts.'

We say: it's reliability has let it down and owners also complain about poor visibility and fiddly controls. 

Luxury cars

A high price means high expectations and luxury cars are amongst the most expensive. Which models deliver a high standard and which are way off the mark?

Winner: Jaguar XJ (2003-2009)

Customer score 93%

You say:

  • 'Everything a luxury saloon should be, and it is a joy to be in.'
  • 'It is the most beautiful, luxurious, comfortable, roomy and powerful car I have ever owned.'

We say: the very definition of a classic Jaguar, retaining styling cues from the 1968 original - but with advanced technology beneath.

Loser: Jaguar S-Type (1999-2007)

Customer score 82%

You say:

  • 'Looks great, drives really well. Needs TLC as it ages, though.'
  • 'Too many things go wrong with it.'

We say: now very cheap as a second-hand purchase. Reliability has been poor, however, and the sloping roof limits the rear seat space.

MPVs

A good MPV should be an adaptable family car suited to just about anything. Which models are the best all-rounders?

Winner: Toyota Yaris Verso (2000-2005)

Customer score 97%

You say:

  • 'I love this car - so versatile - just wish they still made them.'
  • 'Versatile seating, excellent all-round visibility, easy to park.'

We say: we can’t recommend the Yaris Verso due to its lack of modern safety equipment, but we can see why this deceptively compact, cheap-to-run MPV is so popular.

Loser: Renault Scénic and Grand Scénic (2003-2009)

Customer score 64%

You say:

  • 'Repairs and spares are ridiculously expensive.'
  • 'Succession of ongoing faults with the heating system.'

We say: reliability is the ultimate problem for these two Renaults. It’s a shame, since they are comfortable, and cheap to run and buy second hand.

SUVs

Winner: Skoda Yeti (2009-)

Customer score 93%

You say:

  • 'It puts a smile on my face every time I drive it.'
  • 'It is an excellent towing car and performs well off road.'

We say: another Skoda whose comfort and quality, particularly in the interior, belies its low price, the Yeti is comfortable and reliable.

Loser: Vauxhall Antara and Chevrolet Captiva (2007-)

Customer score 65%

You say:

  • 'Nearly every three or four months something goes wrong.'
  • 'Electronic handbrake not always secure.'

We say: the Captiva and Antara may be good value in the showroom, but poor fuel efficiency will cost you on the road.

Sports cars and convertibles

They've got to be fun on the road and easy on the eye, but a good sports car should be somewhat practical too. Which ones fit the bill?

Winner: Porsche Boxster (2012-)

Customer score 95%

You say:

  • 'An absolute joy to drive.'
  • 'Sufficient for a set of golf clubs in the back, and a golf trolley in the front.'

We say: Porsche’s undeniable appeal combined with a stimulating driving experience and good practicality make the Boxster a popular choice for many.

Loser: Mini Convertible (2009-)

Customer score 73%

You say:

  • 'It has had more problems than I would expect for a supposed higher-end compact car.'
  • 'It looks great and is easy to drive, with low running costs.'

We say: the Mini convertible is certainly trendy with its familiar, appealing style. It’s not cheap though and the rear seat comfort is lousy.

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