A new survey of 13,500 drivers has found that expensive cars are more likely to suffer problems than those with affordable price tags.
According to the latest J.D. Power reliability study, emerging and new technologies found in premium vehicles are resulting in more owner-reported issues.
As a result, the table of the most dependable car manufacturers has a surprise winner. And the data can also tell you which models might be best for you based on your vehicle needs.
Affordable and dependable: A new car reliability survey – based on feedback from 13,500 owners – found that models built by premium brands are not as robust as those made by volume manufacturers. Hyundai came out on top in the report
J.D. Power ranks reliability by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles – which it displays as a PP100 ranking. A lower score reflects higher quality.
Surprisingly, the study found that the top 13 most dependable car makers in the UK are all volume brands.
Hyundai – whose cheapest model is the £9,905 i10 city car – ranked the highest overall with a score of 78 PP100.
Suzuki came in second place with 87 PP100, followed by Kia with 94 PP100.
The success of the both Hyundai and Kia both reflects the nation’s recent demand for Korean-made motors.
Just last week, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders revealed that Britons officially buy more South Korean cars than any other European country.
More than 190,000 Korean models were sold in the UK in 2017 – more than any other EU nation – as UK motorists snap up cars mainly from Kia and Hyundai as well as SsangYong.
Of the premium-level car makers, Mercedes-Benz (124 PP100) was the highest-ranking brand, achieving a rating of 124 PP100 – only good enough for 14th overall in the manufacturer list.
Jaguar ranked in 16th spot with a PP100 of 137, followed by Volvo with 138, Land Rover with 169 and BMW coming bottom overall with a distant score of 192 PP100.
Hyundai topped the J.D. Power reliability rankings, while BMW propped the table
Josh Halliburton, head of European Operations at J.D. Power said the main reason for the generally low ranking of premium brands was linked to the high-tech gadgetry they have that can sometimes malfunction and cause headaches for owners.
J.D. Power – how it works
The survey is now in its fourth year and measures problems experienced by owners during the past 12 months.
It only reports on UK vehicles that are 12 to 36 months old.
The study examines 177 problem symptoms across eight categories.
- Vehicle exterior
- Driving experience
- Heating, ventilation and air conditioning
- Vehicle interior
- Engine and transmission.
‘Automotive systems are more complex than they’ve ever been and premium brands especially are incorporating autonomous driving building blocks – adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, automatic braking – into their models,’ he said.
‘It’s imperative for manufacturers to address this issue in order to improve the level of consumer trust in the technology.’
The data showed that phone-pairing bugbears and voice recognition system failures were among the six most common problems reported by owners.
What will be more concerning to all drivers, though, is the frequency of engine and transmission problems – which can be expensive – reported in fairly new vehicles.
The report said there were fewer cases of these than in previous years, though a worrying amount of factory-fresh motors are suffering these issues.
Among owners who experienced no problems with their vehicle, just over half (54 per cent) said they ‘definitely will’ purchase or lease the same brand again.
Among those who experienced one of the top 10 highest-severity problems, only 37 per cent would replace their car with a model built by the same manufacturer.
Most reliable cars by category
The study reveals which models are most robust across seven different categories
The Skoda Octavia was named the most dependable compact car in the survey
If you are in the market for a new – or nearly-new – car, then the survey will help you decided which one might cost you the least to run.
The report lists the most dependable in each of seven categories, from city runarounds to bruising SUVs.
Skoda fared well in the groups, with two models – the Octavia hatchback and now discontinued Yeti SUV, receiving segment awards.
The Hyundai i10, Volkswagen Tiguan, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Vauxhall Insignia and Peugeot 208 also topped their classes.
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