Pay more, get more – a fool-proof approach, generally. Like Heinz ketchup or your dad’s 20-year-old Levi’s, spending extra tends to pay off. But it’s not universal – not according to our research, anyway.
Analysing three years’ worth of MotorEasy repairs data, covering nearly 10,000 claims, the get-what-you-pay-for belief might be a flawed one. We’ve picked out the most and least reliable motors, as well as the most costly to fix.
Ford beats Merc and BMW on reliability
You might expect the sought-after names to have a monopoly on the top spots, and although the prestige German brands feature, they’re accompanied by some much cheaper alternatives.
The Mercedes-Benz GLA and BMW 4 Series sit in second and third with a low likelihood of faults and only 2,076 projected faults between them, from 175,963 models on the road.
It’s the Ford C-MAX, however, that comes out as the single most reliable in our research with only 1,277 projected faults from nearly 130,000 UK models.
Kia features twice among the least dependable cars
The Toyota GT86 is the UK’s least dependable car, with a projected 2,690 faults from only 6,724 models on the road.
Mercedes G-Class drivers are also unlikely to be overjoyed at the mention of their vehicle, paying upwards of £100,000 for the privilege and fairing worse than the likes of the Kia Picanto, which costs around a tenth of the price. We look at affordability more closely below.
Renault ZOE is the UK’s most affordable car
The trend of more affordable motors outdoing the pricier options continues here, with the cheapest-to-repair list being dominated by volume brands like Renault and Fiat. It’s the former’s ZOE hatchback that holds the top spot, with an average cost of only £108 for each repair – over £300 better off than the average bill – despite electric vehicles typically demanding higher maintenance fees.
Average repair costs don’t top £140 for any of the cars listed, but with the likes of the Merc A-Class having its overall index score pulled down by a high frequency of repairs, the bills could quickly add up for some of the models listed.
BMW repair costs stretch well into the thousands
All ten of the most expensive models are nearly 15 times as costly as the most affordable Renault ZOE, while the table-topping Volkswagen Amarok is almost 40 times as expensive.
BMW is another of the worst performers, with its X4 SUV and 5 Series saloon both demanding more than £1,400 for each repair.
Again, the budget brands perform well on affordability
The prestige carmakers don’t get a look in here, with the volume brands once again taking the plaudits. All bar one (smart) have an advantage of at least £100 on the average cost of £438, and none top £350.
Value-focused Dacia is second only to Suzuki, which also featured on the list of most affordable motors with the SX4. Honda is another top performer, at an average cost of £291 and with its CR-V model being the fourth-most dependable on likelihood of a breakdown.
The average BMW repair costs over £1,000
BMW and Audi are among the costliest cars to repair, with average bills of £1,080 and £807 respectively. But even they fair far better than Subaru, which racked up an average cost of £3,541 – over three times as costly as Beemer in second.
Surprisingly, supercar maker Aston Martin is one of the best of a bad bunch (£770 a repair), despite many of its models’ asking prices stretching well into six figures. British brands Land Rover and Jaguar both require deeper pockets than Aston – £983 and £791 needed to release each of these from the garage.
Looking at three years’ worth of data, covering 53,226 warranties and car repairs, we filtered the results by models with an average repairs cost of £100 or above. This way, we remove many of the anomalies and give confident insight on the most and least reliable cars.
While it mightn’t apply across the board, it seems the ‘pay more, get more’ approach might be a myth. For more automotive insight, keep an eye on the MotorEasy blog.