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Best and worst cars for build quality

Rated by you - the sturdiest cars revealed

Honda S2000

Previously we’ve revealed the most and least practical cars, as well as the most comfortable ones. This week we bring you the best and worst cars for build quality.

Build quality affects the way people feel about the cars they drive: if a car is built well, owners are much more likely to find it satisfying overall. In the 2012 Which? Car Survey more than 39,000 owners rated over 47,000 cars for build quality with all the results feeding in to our full reviews.

French and Italian brands such as Fiat and Citroën struggle in this category, whereas Japanese and German brands excel.

Cars with the best build quality – as rated by you

Honda S2000 (1999-2009) – 99.4%

The last time you could buy a brand new S2000 was 2009, so if you want one it will have to be second-hand. However, that may prove difficult as owners tend to love the car that tops this list with a near perfect rating – all but one owner rated build quality as five out of five.

Porsche Boxster

Porsche Boxster (2004-2012) – 98.7%

The Boxster has recently been replaced, but the original 2004-2012 model comes second for build quality. The vast majority of owners would definitely recommend their Boxster to a friend, with comments such as ‘fabulous build quality, great performance’ and ‘it’s fantastic to drive, comfortable and well built’, you can see why.

Lexus RX (2009-) – 97.9%

The Lexus RX450h hybrid 4×4 offers an alternative to diesel-powered sport utility vehicles (SUVs). It has a reputation for good build quality, the 2003-2009 model scored an impressive 95.3% and the latest model improves on this. One owner loves more than just the build quality, telling us that it is a ‘top quality car, has great build quality and is comfortable to drive with good performance’.

Audi A5 Sportback

Audi A5 Sportback (2009-) – 97.6%

The latest Audi A5 Sportback range, built from 2009 onwards, looks every inch the stylish coupe. It’s sporty to drive, has powerful brakes and the excellent build quality means this car is popular with owners, with one stating ‘I love the style and look of it, its superb build quality and for all the fact it is so sporty it is such a practical car’.

Mercedes-Benz CLS (2005-2010) – 97.5%

With the CLS, Mercedes successfully launched a trend for coupé-like four-door cars and this elegant luxury GT has proved a hit. Owners love the looks, the drive and the build quality, it sneaks into fifth spot for the latter with an overall rating of 97.5%.

Cars with the worst build quality – as rated by you

Citroen Xsara

Citroën Xsara (1997-2004) – 61.8%

The Xsara was the last of a generation of rather uninspired Citroëns, it was a dull small family hatch with no distinct design flair. Owners rated it as the car with the worst build quality in our survey with some commenting on the ‘flimsy build quality of interior’ and others noting the ‘cheap plastics’.

Ford Ka (1996-2008) – 63.6%

The original Ford Ka offers a nice drive, and good fun for a small, cheap car and is still a popular runaround. However, owners rate the build quality as poor with a score of just 63.6% and it seems it gets worse over time, ‘without a doubt the corners cut in build quality really come out after five years’.

Citroen Saxo

Citroën Saxo (1996-2003) – 63.6%

The Saxo, facelifted in 2000 was eventually discontinued in 2003. Although cheap to buy and run, this was at the expense of comfort, in-car technology and build quality, meaning owners are often left frustrated. 

Fiat Punto (1999-2006) – 64.1% and Fiat Grande Punto (2006-2010) – 65.0%

Launched way back in 1999, the Punto was replaced by the sleeker, safer Grande Punto in 2006, and both make it into our list of cars with the worst build quality. Owners of the Punto often cite build quality as the most frustrating issue with this car with one commenting, ‘it’s just so tinny and impossible to regard as anything other than a cheap car’. The Grande Punto doesn’t fare much better with owners telling us ‘the build quality on interior fittings is not up to modern expectations’.

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