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Top 10 best and worst cars for breakdowns

The cars that spend most time being repaired

Car repairs

Getting your car repaired at a garage can be expensive and inconvenient. So we’ve used exclusive Which? Car Survey data to uncover the cars that are most likely to break down – and how long, on average, they are off the road for. 

For the 2012 Which? Car Survey, we asked nearly 40,000 people about more than 47,000 cars they owned. Last week, we revealed the cars aged 0-3 years that spend most time off the road, and here you’ll find the same info for cars that are 4-8 years old. These cars are likely to be outside the warranty period – making repairs a potentially much greater expense. 

The best cars are likely to be off the road due to faults less for than 0.2 days per year. However, the worst offender – the BMW 3 Series Convertible – clocks up nearly 3.5 days in the repair garage.  

Cars likely to be off the road most

1. BMW 3 Series Convertible – 3.49 days

The 3 Series Convertible made fourth spot in the 0-2 years category and it gets much worse with age. This premium-badged soft-top spends almost a day longer off the road due to faults than any other car. Unfortunately for owners, that’s not the only bad news, the average annual repair cost is one of the highest we’ve seen, at £239.

Land Rover

2. Land Rover Discovery 3 – 2.69 days

Despite repeated poor results for reliability in our survey, owners of the Land Rover Discovery 3 remain surprisingly upbeat. A lowly reliability score goes hand-in-hand with a high number of days off the road for repair: 2.69 days each year. The Land Rover’s main faults relate to suspension components and the exhaust system.

3. BMW 5 Series Touring – 2.58 days

The 5 Series Touring is considered as a benchmark model in the luxury sector by most. High levels of comfort and strong engines back this up, but the 2004-2010 model is let down by a number of faults, ranging from issues with parking sensors and the onboard computer to problems with the battery. All these add up to more than two and a half days off the road, plus an average annual repair cost of £295.

Volvo XC90

4. Volvo XC90 – 2.56 days

The XC90 offers luxury travel and, being a Volvo, a good level of safety. However, models that are older than three years have a worryingly high number of engine problems. So, not only is the XC90 expensive to run in terms of depreciation and car tax, owners also have to contend with an average annual repair cost of £300 and 2.56 days with their car off the road.

5. Citroën C4 Grand Picasso – 2.53 days

Citroën has become a big player in the MPV market, with more offerings than any other manufacturer. However, some models still have a long way to go in terms of reliability. The Grand Picasso is one Citroën that hasn’t fared well, with many more breakdowns and faults than average. 

Cars likely to be off the road least

Honda Jazz

1. Honda Jazz – 0.17 days

Topping the list for cars likely to be off the road least is the Honda Jazz. The latest model offers a decent drive and excellent levels of practicality. An average annual repair cost of just £23 is a fraction of some of its rivals, and you can expect year-round use of your Jazz – the average annual time off the road is just 0.17 days.

2. Toyota Avensis – 0.17 days

The Avensis is solidly built, well-equipped and good value second-hand. data from the 2012 Which? Car Survey supports Toyota’s reputation for strong reliability; the 2003-2009 model is likely to cost £22 a year in repair costs as it spends an average of just 0.17 days off the road.

Suzuki Swift

3. Suzuki Swift – 0.18 days

As cheap superminis go, the Swift has very good reliability. The driving experience is reasonable and there’s plenty of room for passengers, both front and rear. The 2005-2010 model spends an average 0.18 days a year off the road – mainly down to faults with the electrics.

4. Kia Picanto – 0.24 days

The 2004-2011 Kia Picanto reached fourth spot for 0-3 year old cars and older models match this. Although it looks dated alongside the current Picanto, average time spent at a garage is just 0.24 days a year.

Peugeot 107

5. Peugeot 107 – 0.24 days

Another supermini, the 107 is ideal for the city or those without the need for much space. Although the average annual repair cost of £39 is higher than others in this list, it is still reasonable. Problems with the clutch were the main faults reported, but the Peugeot should still spend the vast majority of its time on the road.

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