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The 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

67%
£9,165
Reviewed

This city nipper may do little to get the pulse racing, but it’s proved a huge hit with owners who appreciate its value for money, ease of use and decent levels of standard equipment. Owners also commented how spacious it is inside, for a tiny runabout.

Least satisfying city car

56%
£3,230
Reviewed

It may be a relatively common sight on the roads, but this hatchback hasn’t worked its way into owners’ hearts. Sluggish performance was the main complaint, which was felt particularly when carrying passengers in the cramped rear cabin. This model also appears to have lost the driving fun of older iterations.

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

72%
£7,235
Reviewed

This supermini has also been a firm favourite with Which? members, and it’s now topped the satisfaction rankings for small cars. Aside from low running costs, it impressed with its quality, refinement and comfort. It also delivers on the practicality front, with one owner commenting: 'It’s like a Tardis!'

Least satisfying small car

£750
Reviewed

This dated model, which went off sale ten years ago, is now badly behind the curve. So it’s unsurprising to see owners nonplussed with missing out on the latest technology. This car was also singled out for how hard it is to perform basic maintenance on, with something as supposedly simple as changing a headlight bulb proving vexatious for many.

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

63%
£17,684
Reviewed

Its styling may be divisive, but owners love this medium hatchback for its multitude of talents. Low running costs, ample cabin space and the technology available, all came in for praise, but nearly all owners commented on just how easy and enjoyable it is to drive.

Least satisfying medium car

59%
£15,010
Reviewed

This brand has a strong history with good value hatchbacks, but the this model has fallen short of the mark with owners. No one area was singled out for particular criticism, but poor ergonomics, a lack of power and comfort on long journeys were common gripes.

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

71%
£20,351
Reviewed

With the quality, technology, comfort and lounging space of much more expensive cars, owners of this large car rightly feel chuffed with their purchase. 'Driving is a joy and there’s loads of interior space,' commented one happy owner.

Least satisfying large car

63%
£5,252
Reviewed

A conservatively stylish saloon from a premium manufacturer should be an ideal motoring companion, but owners feel they’ve been let down, not least by recent emissions scandals. A dull driving experience and difficulty parking it, seals this car’s fate as the least satisfying large car available.

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

69%
£21,546
Reviewed

All of the appeal of the hatchback model, but with the addition of an enormous estate rear-end. Unsurprisingly, the car’s sheer practicality is a huge hit with owners, but the level of quality and technology also impressed.

Least satisfying estate car

50%
£2,964
Reviewed

Aside from owners’ complaints over the lack of common features such as USB connectivity, it’s the manufacturer’s lack of customer service that has left owners cheesed off. One owner summed up the sentiment: “Despite liking the car, I’ll never buy another from the brand.”

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

65%
£68,950
Reviewed

This luxury saloon is something of a unique proposition, and it’s this individuality, coupled with high-technology, staggering performance that has proved popular.

Least satisfying luxury car

64%
£35,865
Reviewed

Despite promising a relaxed driving experience, this upmarket saloon ruffled owners’ feathers, who found it difficult to live with. Poor manoeuvrability, increasingly dated technology and limited boot access proved problematic for owners.

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

£2,096
Reviewed

Unusual six-seat practicality is this car’s trump card, and it’s proved a winner with owners: 'It has 6 seats, good space for luggage and trips to the dump, you sit up well and rear seats have good leg room.'

Least satisfying MPV

49%
£942
Reviewed

Cabin ergonomics and usability were the biggest bugbears 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

70%
£22,566
Reviewed

This crossover SUV has gone down a storm, thanks to its generous equipment levels, ease of use, and avant-garde design. Owners were also made up with the high-tech, high-quality feel of the cabin, which wasn’t overwhelming, despite the toys available.

Least satisfying compact SUV

52%
£16,854
Reviewed

It seems owners of this trendy crossover are finding it’s all style and no substance. A sluggish automatic gearbox and poorly implemented technology were common complaints, but mostly owners were disappointed with the car’s poor fuel economy and small fuel tank.

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

76%
£21,312
Reviewed

This popular full-size SUV hasn’t disappointed, largely because it exhibits the brand’s key strengths of ease of use and practicality. The high quality interior wasn’t missed by owners, either – one being so happy with their model, they proclaimed it was 'truly the best car I have ever owned'.

Least satisfying large SUV

£5,430
Reviewed

This ageing model is throwing up headaches for owners, the majority of whom don’t appreciate the sheer effort and expense of keeping it on the road. Aside from various mechanical issues, owners are feeling picked on by punitive tax measures aimed at older diesels.

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

72%
£18,087
Reviewed

Sports car owners seek driving thrills, and this model serves it up in spades. Its strength, however, is it doesn’t sacrifice economy, dependability or ease of use in the quest to put a smile on your face – a fact that hasn’t been lost on owners.

Least satisfying sports car

66%
£5,421
Reviewed

It may be a desirable, upmarket convertible, but the reality of living with one has taken the shine off the image for owners. A small boot (smaller with the roof folded down), low-slung seats and high fuel consumption, make this car a wearisome daily proposition.

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 2018.

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