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Cars you love and hate

By Martin Pratt

Which cars have the most and least satisfied drivers? We reveal the ones that have most pleased or frustrated their owners - find out if your car is on the list.

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Each year, we put hundreds of new cars through our comprehensive road and lab tests. With each undergoing an identical range of assessments, we’re able to give accurate and consistent buying advice, no matter what sort of car you’re looking for.

However, when it really comes to understanding a car’s foibles, there’s nothing better than living with it 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.

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

City cars

They may be the smallest cars on the road, but that’s no excuse for poor passenger space. The best city cars are also reliable, cheap to run and fun to drive.

Most satisfying city car

Hyundai i10 (2008-2013)
Typical price £2,907
Brand score 59%
Reviewed Apr 2008
Driving stability:
3 out of 5
Performance:
3 out of 5
Seat comfort:
3 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 5
Seat space:
3 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

The tiny city car may be slightly short on desirability, but it’s won fans with its no-nonsense, yet well executed approach to budget car motoring. As one owner summed up: “It’s small and easily parked, reasonably economical and very comfortable.”

Least satisfying city car

Suzuki Alto (2009-2014)
Typical price £2,739
Brand score 45%
Reviewed Mar 2009
Don't buy
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Performance:
3 out of 5
Seat comfort:
3 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 5
Seat space:
3 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

As an entry-level budget supermini, this model was never going to set the world on fire. Owners, however, found particular issue with it, largely thanks to a lack of power and the feeling they wouldn’t be well protected in a crash.

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?

Most satisfying small car

BMW i3 (2013-)
Typical price £33,070
Brand score 68%
Reviewed Jan 2017
Driving stability:
3 out of 5
Performance:
5 out of 5
Seat comfort:
3 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 5
Seat space:
3 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

Premium quality, distinctive aesthetics and a futuristic feel have all endeared this hatchback to owners. “It’s amazing to drive and full of tech to keep me entertained,” espoused one owner.

Least satisfying small car

Peugeot 206 (1998-2009)
Typical price £750
Brand score 55%
Reviewed Sep 1998
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Performance:
3 out of 5
Seat comfort:
3 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 5
Seat space:
3 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

Despite being nippy and fun to drive, this once desirable small hatchback is now too old to keep owners happy. A lack of technology, poor ergonomics and out-dated crash safety protection see it languishing at the bottom of the table for driver satisfaction for small cars.

Medium cars

The bread and butter of the family-car market, medium cars need to be a jack-of-all-trades, offering decent practicality, economy and an entertaining drive. Find out which kept its owners happiest.

Most satisfying medium car

Volkswagen Golf GTI (2013-)
Typical price £26,347
Brand score 70%
Reviewed Jun 2013
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Performance:
5 out of 5
Seat comfort:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

“Beautifully designed and built. It’s a really great car to drive, either pottering around or on a longer journey. It has tremendous acceleration, cornering and braking. The automatic gearbox is superb and it’s well equipped to a high standard.” – Owners love to wax lyrical about this highly satisfying hatchback.

Least satisfying medium car

Vauxhall Astra (2009-2015)
Typical price £3,217
Brand score 56%
Reviewed Dec 2009
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Performance:
3 out of 5
Seat comfort:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

It’s a familiar site on British roads, and popular with families, but the previous generation of this stalwart British hatchback is proving very disappointing with owners. Whether it’s a firm ride, poor rear seat space, or a lacklustre engine range, this model has some very disappointing shortfalls.

Large cars

The best large cars offer plenty of lounging space and the latest technology. They should also be economical and easy to drive.

Most satisfying large car

Skoda Superb (2008-2015)
Typical price £5,327
Brand score 64%
Reviewed Sep 2008
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Performance:
4 out of 5
Seat comfort:
5 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

With the space, comfort and premium feel of much more expensive cars, owners of this class-straddling large car rightly feel pleased with their purchase. “It’s stuffed with gadgets and there’s plenty of boot space,” commented one happy owner.

Least satisfying large car

BMW 3 Series Convertible (2007-2013)
Typical price £9,176
Brand score 70%
Reviewed Jul 1999
Best Buy
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Performance:
5 out of 5
Seat comfort:
5 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
3 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

This premium convertible may possess desirable looks and an engaging drive, but owners have been nonplussed with the necessary compromises of its convertible roof. A lack of rear passenger and luggage space, high running costs and a low-slung cabin make this a difficult large car to live with.

Estate cars

The best estate cars will give you load-lugging versatility, reliability, great handling and efficient engines. Find out which models miss the mark, below.

Most satisfying estate car

Skoda Superb Estate (2010-2015)
Typical price £7,697
Brand score 69%
Reviewed Mar 2010
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Performance:
4 out of 5
Seat comfort:
5 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

A practical estate body improves the usability of one of the most easy to live with cars available. As a family car, this model is hard to beat. As one owner explains: “It looks good, drives very well, is exceptionally roomy inside and is well appointed. I particularly like the adaptive cruise control and warning signals for keeping a safe distance from other vehicles.”

Least satisfying estate car

Volkswagen Golf Estate (2007-2013)
Typical price £3,524
Brand score 55%
Reviewed Aug 2007
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Performance:
5 out of 5
Seat comfort:
5 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

A practical, well-appointed estate car should have proven the ideal motoring companion, but owners feel as though they’ve been let down - by both their car and the manufacturer.

Luxury cars

Expensive luxury cars should offer the best motoring experience, with sumptuous interiors and cushion-soft ride quality. Find out which models provide this and which aren’t worth the price premium, according to owners.

Most satisfying luxury car

Tesla Model S (2013-)
Typical price £61,500
Brand score 67%
Reviewed May 2017
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Performance:
5 out of 5
Seat comfort:
3 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
3 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

As a very convincing electric car, this luxury model feels like a glimpse into the future of motoring. With sports car acceleration, a tech-laden interior, and space for a maximum of seven passengers, this car has impressed owners sufficiently to be the most satisfying car featured in this year’s Which? Car Survey.

Least satisfying luxury car

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe (2009-2016)
Typical price £11,531
Brand score 72%
Reviewed Jun 2009
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Performance:
5 out of 5
Seat comfort:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
2 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

Despite a desirable image and impeccable build quality, our members found this luxury two-door a difficult car to live with. Poor access and headroom in the rear cabin limits usability. Few were fans of the hard ride and rear-wheel-drive setup, which makes it more difficult to drive in slippery conditions.

MPVs

The best MPVs offer comfort, practicality and bags of interior space. They should also produce low running costs and long-term reliability.

Most satisfying MPV

Honda FR-V (2004-2009)
Typical price £2,509
Brand score 72%
Reviewed Nov 2004
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Performance:
4 out of 5
Seat comfort:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 5
Seat space:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

Unusual six-seat practicality is this MPV’s trump card, and it’s proved a winner with owners: “This is a wonderfully versatile family car, not a 7-seater but 6 seats and a reasonable boot space nevertheless. Reliability has been excellent over the 50,000+ miles I have owned it, too”

Least satisfying MPV

Vauxhall Meriva (2003-2010)
Typical price £1,067
Brand score 50%
Reviewed Jun 2003
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Performance:
4 out of 5
Seat comfort:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

Cabin ergonomics and usability were the biggest bugbear members had with this aged MPV. Its versatile interior offers plenty of practicality but poor all-round visibility and a poor driving position, meant that it got owners’ backs-up day to day.

Compact SUVs

The best small SUVs and crossover cars combine practicality, fuel efficiency and reliability with a great driving position.

Most satisfying compact SUV

Porsche Macan (2014-)
Typical price £46,470
Brand score 71%
Reviewed Mar 2014
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Performance:
5 out of 5
Seat comfort:
5 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

Sports car performance meets 4x4 practicality in this upmarket model, which has proved the most satisfying compact SUV. “It’s a pleasure to drive, so comfortable and the performance, for an SUV is fantastic. Boot space and passenger spaces are perfect for my needs,” said one owner.

Least satisfying compact SUV

Volkswagen Tiguan (2008-2016)
Typical price £7,100
Brand score 51%
Reviewed Jan 2008
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Performance:
4 out of 5
Seat comfort:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

This brand’s first proper compact SUV proved popular with buyers and should have been a recipe for a great family car. However, owners were less than impressed with its lack of boot space and emissions issues.

Large SUVs

A modern large SUV should be no more taxing to drive than a small hatchback. They should be practical, refined and shouldn’t guzzle fuel, either.

Most satisfying large SUV

Kia Sorento (2015-)
Typical price £25,903
Brand score 68%
Reviewed May 2016
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Performance:
4 out of 5
Seat comfort:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
5 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

This very large SUV backs up its gigantic footprint with a very spacious interior and seating for seven. Owners were also particularly impressed with the amount of kit available, value for money, and the fit and finish of the interior, which is on a par with the established competition.

Least satisfying large SUV

Mercedes-Benz M-Class (2012-2015)
Typical price £22,419
Brand score 72%
Reviewed Mar 2012
Best Buy
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Performance:
4 out of 5
Seat comfort:
5 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
4 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

An upmarket image and well-appointed cabin weren’t enough to this SUV from derision from owners. The roly-poly ride and lacklustre entry-level diesel engine came in for particular criticism. Even worse, the seats are trimmed in vinyl, with genuine leather seats available only as a costly option – inexcusable on a car as expensive as this.

Sports cars

As single-minded as some sports cars may be, there’s still no excuse for atrocious practicality, or visibility that leaves you wincing at every junction. Here are the zeros and heroes according to our members.

Most satisfying sports car

Porsche Boxster (2012-2016)
Typical price £32,592
Brand score 62%
Reviewed Apr 2012
Driving stability:
5 out of 5
Performance:
5 out of 5
Seat comfort:
5 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
3 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

Owners of this sports car are a happy bunch. As one owner explained: “The sound of the engine, the power and control are amazing, as is the Burmester sound system. The staff at the dealership were great too.”

Least satisfying sports car

Audi TT (2006-2014)
Typical price £6,151
Brand score 63%
Reviewed Sep 2006
Driving stability:
4 out of 5
Performance:
5 out of 5
Seat comfort:
4 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 5
Seat space:
2 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

It may be one of the most stylish sports cars on the market, but owners of this upmarket coupe were less than impressed with the attention to detail, such as a lack of rear wiper and compromised visibility at junctions. Its long doors made it a pain in tight parking spaces too.

To see the cars that excelled in the Which? test lab and are recommended by our car experts, see our round-up of the Best Cars for 2017.

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