Which? uses cookies to improve our sites and by continuing you agree to our cookies policy

Most reliable new cars revealed

Kia Picanto tops Which? Car reliability survey

Kia Picanto

Kia Picanto is the UK’s most reliable new car

Small is beautiful when it comes to car reliability – as the Which? Car survey has revealed that the tiny Kia Picanto is the most reliable new car.

The UK’s largest reliability survey looked at over 26,000 new cars, and found the least dependable new car was a 4×4, the Land Rover Discovery 3.

The Kia Picanto is the most dependable car of 2010, clocking up very few faults and earning a reliability score of 98.1%. The Korean supermini’s safety features (a low Euro NCAP crash test score and a lack of stability control) aren’t quite so impressive, however, so Which? Car doesn’t recommend it.

Success for Japanese cars


The Mazda3 hatchback took second place for reliability

The Mazda3 is in second place with 97.6%. Its safety and performance are first class too, making it a Which? recommended car. The Daihatsu Sirion supermini and the Honda Insight, a petrol-electric hybrid, are equal third with 97%.

Japanese cars dominate the field, with seven cars in the top 10. Toyota retains its excellent reliability rating overall in spite of its recall woes earlier this year. Star performer is the iQ (5th, 96.1%) with very few cars suffering any problems at all, while the Prius (7th, 95.4%) also proves to be highly dependable.

Land Rover least reliable

Bottom of the table is the Land Rover Discovery 3 (67.8%), the only car in the survey to dip below a 70% score.

Land Rover Discovery 3

Land Rover Discovery 3 came last in our reliability survey

The Land Rover Range Rover Sport (75.8%) also makes the bottom 10, showing the company’s rugged 4x4s aren’t quite as tough as their image.

Other big car losers include the Hyundai Santa Fe (75.0%), which at least comes with a decent five year warranty; Jaguar S-type (76%); Citroën C4 Grand Picasso (77.4%), the least reliable people carrier; Volvo S80 (77.6%); and Ford S-Max (77.6%).

Peter Vicary-Smith, Chief Executive, Which?, says: “You don’t expect a new car to go wrong – but our rigorous research shows there’s a big difference between the best and worst. Some small cars, particularly Korean and Japanese superminis, run like clockwork. Whereas some bigger cars, which you might expect to be more robust, aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.”

BMW 3-Series Convertible

BMW’s 3-Series Convertible proves not all German cars are reliable

Most reliable new cars

1 Kia Picanto (98.1% reliability score)

2 Mazda3 (97.6%)

3= Daihatsu Sirion (97.0%)

3= Honda Insight (97.0%)

5 Honda Jazz (96.2%)

6 Toyota iQ (96.1%)

7 Toyota Prius (95.4%)

8= Volkswagen Golf Plus (93.3%)

8= Mercedes-Benz SLK (93.3%)

10 Mazda2 (93.2%)

Least reliable new cars

137= Ford S-Max (77.6%)

137= Volvo S80 (77.6%)

139 Citroën C4 Grand Picasso (77.4%)

140 Ford Focus CC (77.2%)

141 Jaguar S-type* (76.0%)

142 Volkswagen Eos (75.7%)

143 Land Rover Range Rover Sport (75.8%)

144 Renault Mégane CC* (75.7%)

145 Hyundai Santa Fe (75.0%)

146 BMW 3 Series convertible* (73.9%)

147 Land Rover Discovery 3* (67.8%)

Although some models have been in production for many years, the scores above only relate to cars from new up to three years old. *These models are now discontinued.

Which? Car survey

The Which? Car survey took place between December 2009 and March 2010, when we heard from 64,467 Which? members about 66,699 cars up to eight years old, creating a comprehensive whole-life picture. The data was split into two categories: ‘new’ cars aged up to three years old, and ‘older’ cars aged between four and eight years old. There were 26,480 ‘new’ cars and 40,219 ‘old’ cars.

Survey questions encompassed all aspects of motoring. Reliability is scrutinised by splitting problems into three categories: breakdowns, faults and niggles, with the highest priority given to breakdowns so the biggest problems are highlighted as these are the most inconvenient. Each car’s reliability score is based on this information.

Which? Car Autumn 2010, priced at £4.99, is on sale at Sainsbury’s, Tesco, WHSmith, Martin McColl and other leading independent newsagents.

Which? Car on Twitter

Follow Which? Car on Twitter

The Which? Car team is on Twitter, to offer you help and advice as and when you need it.

We’re monitoring our Twitter account every day, so if you have an account, please send us you thoughts and questions to @whichcar.

Don’t worry if you haven’t got a Twitter account – you can still stay in the loop by regularly checking www.twitter.com/whichcar.

Back to top