Commercial insurance article archive
The most reliable car makes and models
Car enthusiasts recently voting for their favourite composite car chose the front end of a Porsche Boxster, the roofline of a Jaguar XK and the wheels of a Toyota Avensis as various parts which would comprise their perfect car. Certainly a nice way to pass their time, but in reality, most consumers would simply say they are looking for an honest, reliable car, with a car's look not being an essential priority. Indeed, a recent survey carried out also showed that British cars cost on average 15 per cent more than their European counterparts. Such reading will probably make it even more of an imperative that prospective car owners pick the most reliable model they can, even if that is at the expense of losing some credibility in the style stakes.
For the majority of car owners, if a motor car breaks down it will be impossible to consider buying another model, so that a repair job will be the only possible solution. Luckily, there are a myriad of surveys and best car guides to guide the consumer in the right direction. But recent data has shown that there is a significant discrepancy between the costs of repair between different car models. Results from a survey carried out by What Car? last year suggested that Hyundais were the cars most likely possess the lowest repair costs, at just £135 on average. Skodas were found to be not too far behind, costing £168 on average. However, other cars were found to be not so kind on the wallet to repair, with a Mitsubishi costing some £603 and a Subaru £835. The car with repair costs found to put the biggest hole in a person's finances was the Porsche, at £972 on average. But if you are able to afford a Porsche it probably wouldn't be too onerous anyway!
Obviously though, the new car owner will not be envisaging himself ending up with his car at a repair shop any time soon, though to make sure this is not the case they will have to shop around to seek out the most competitive reliable car. If they did so, they would soon find that many of the reliability surveys around are comprehensively backing Japanese cars for their endurance qualities. A recent poll carried out by news provider Fleet News for decision makers in the car industry found that Honda took the overall title of the most reliable company car model to car leasing firms for 2006. One of the group's models, the Honda Accord, also secured the award as the most reliable company car model by a significant distance over its rivals. In the same poll of nearly one million company car drivers, Toyota managed to retain second place in the table, with another Japanese manufacturer, Mazda, gaining a creditable seventh place. Other makes of car to feature in the top ten included Audi, BMW, Volkswagen, Ford, Lexus, Vauxhall and Mercedes Benz. Japanese cars also enjoyed a strong performance in the best model poll. While Honda’s Accord vehicle came out on top and the Toyota Avensis gained second place, the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla also featured in the top ten models.
The notion that Japanese cars are pre-eminent in the reliability stakes has also been supported by a number of other surveys. A study carried out by consumer organisation Which? in the summer of 2006 found that over a fairly comprehensive range of shapes and sizes of car, Japanese cars reigned supreme. Indeed, both Toyota and Honda came top in all but one of the categories ranging from budget vehicles to top-of-the range ones. As David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' Auto Test Department says: "The Japanese manufacturers have great attention to detail, they make cars people want to buy."
But just as it is crucial among car buyers to identify the most reliable cars on the market, so it will also be imperative that the cars most likely to fail are brought to the attention of consumers. And unfortunately it would appear that the European car manufacturers are not matching up to their Asian counterparts in the production of cars with a limited predilection towards obsolescence. In an annual study carried out by the Consumer Reports organisation, it was found that European cars featured in almost half of the 45 least reliable models, with Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, BMW and Jaguar all featuring in the poll.
However, despite the evidence provided above, it appears that many consumers have a perception of certain car brands which do not correlate with the facts. A Direct Line survey carried out last year showed that despite Japanese and Malaysian cars being less likely to break down, motorists thought cars such as Mercedes and BMW were most likely to be mechanically competent. The message is clear here – motorists need to choose a car on the basis of facts rather than their own presumptions.
27 Nov 2006