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.
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.
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
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
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 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
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
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.
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
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
This manufacturer has a strong history with good value hatchbacks, but this hatchback 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.
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
Least satisfying large car
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.
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
Least satisfying estate car
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.”
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
Least satisfying luxury car
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
Least satisfying MPV
The best small SUVs and crossover cars combine practicality, fuel efficiency and reliability with a great driving position.
Most satisfying compact SUV
Least satisfying compact SUV
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.
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
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
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.
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
Least satisfying sports car
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.