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Best and worst cars for value for money

Cars rated highest and lowest by owners for value

Skoda Octavia

Whether you shell out £50,000 on a car or £5,000, after some time of ownership you can soon tell if you’ve spent your money wisely.

To find out which cars make their owners feel truly justified in buying them, and which weren’t worth the pounds they spent, we asked owners in 2013 Which? Car Survey to rate their car based on value for money.

Owners of our value for money hero celebrate it for its reliability, practicality and robustness, while those who drive our value villain berate it for a lack of dependability and outrageous repair costs.

You can find out which models made it into our value for money best and worst lists, as well as numerous other owners verdicts about the cars they drive.

Members can read the full Which? Car Survey results. If you’re not a member, you can join Which? for £1 and gain instant access to all our ratings.

Highest rated car for value for money

It may have been discontinued a decade ago, but those who own the Skoda Octavia (1998-2004) are still rating it for providing great value.

The Octavia topped our table for value with a 96% rating, and, when asked what they loved about their cars, owners waxed lyrically about their Octavias.

One Octavia owner said: ‘It is the best-value car I have ever owned; exceptional value for money, excellent performance, massive boot space, cheap on fuel – what’s not to like?’

Another very happy owner commended the car for its reliability, stating: ‘Amazingly economical and fuel efficient, very well equipped, robust build, enormous boot, never fails to start and has only needed one mechanical fault fixing in 11 years – front damper.’

And one driver said they were so happy with their Octavia, it was keeping them from upgrading it with a newer version: ‘Each year I consider if I should purchase a new Skoda, but I reckon I owe this car to keep it. It’s like a pet; always there and ready to please’.

Find out which cars are the most reliable in our survey results

Land Rover Discovery 3

Lowest rated car for value for money

Despite the Land Rover Discovery 3 (2004-2009) launching the same year the value-for-money-leading Octavia was discontinued, its modern advantage didn’t convince buyers it offered better value, giving it a 61% rating.

Probably the biggest implication on value for money for Discover 3 owners is the cost of fixing faults, as one owner told us in the Survey: ‘Things keep going wrong and everything is so expensive; the bill is never less than a grand, it frequently breakdowns in adverse weather conditions and whatever you think it is going to cost you, double it to allow for its unreliability; the pleasures come at a price!’

In fact, it appears some owners are at their wits’ end with their Discovery 3s: ‘Beginning to get irritated with frequency of items needing repair sooner than seems reasonable. I know it’s an expensive vehicle to run but maybe it should be more robust.’

Read which other models make up our five worst value for money cars

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