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The most reliable car manufacturers

For years of happy motoring, make sure your car can be depended upon.

The Kia Sportage is among the top 20 models in AutoExpress’s 2017 Driver Power Survey.

The Kia Sportage is among the top 20 models in AutoExpress’s 2017 Driver Power Survey.

When you’re weighing up the options for your next car, reliability should be a critical consideration. Yes, flashy looks and enticing features are wonderful, but when you break down on the motorway in rush-hour traffic, your LED mood lighting and limited edition leather seats are going to feel a bit superfluous. Taking into consideration studies conducted by AutoExpress, CarBuyer and JD Power and Which?, here are a few of the manufacturers you should be pencilling into your shortlist.


This should come as no surprise. Notoriously beloved of taxi drivers for their reliability, ŠKODAs have been in production for over 120 years. The Czech manufacturer was named the most reliable car brand in the UK in the 2016 JD Power Dependability Survey, beating off competition from other, more premium (and pricy) names. And if you’re in the market for a compact SUV with some serious staying power, try the ŠKODA Yeti on for size. It scored a not-at-all-abominable 95.71% in the AutoExpress Driver Power Survey, storming into second place after the Toyota RAV4.


Which leads us nicely onto the very deserving Toyota. As a manufacturer, Toyota clearly prides itself on reliability, featuring happy Prius owner on its website who is still driving his trusty runaround after over 350,000 miles of use. And we can forgive them a certain degree of smugness considering the RAV4 scored a phenomenal 96.21% on the AutoExpress Driver Power Survey. It’s bagged the top spot with only 6% of owners reporting any sort of fault , and landed the coveted position of the most reliable car you can buy in 2017.


With a 7-year warranty to wave around, it’s no wonder Kia has been recognised for going the distance by happy owners. The manufacturer achieved first place in this year’s JD Power Initial Quality Survey – which rigorously assesses vehicles on everything from driving experience to infotainment performance. It’s just one in a long line of accolades, including third place in the JD Power Dependability Survey in 2016 after coming in second in 2015. And with both the Sportage and the Cee’d numbering among the top 20 models in AutoExpress’s Driver Power Survey this year, Kia seems set on proving to consumers that they make products worth investing in.


Let’s move from a manufacturer that’s shown gradual improvement to another that’s come on leaps and bounds: Vauxhall. Not only did the British-based brand hop from 9th place to 4th in the 2016 JD Power Dependability Survey, the compact Corsa and the mighty Mokka both scored third place in their respective categories. If that wasn’t enough, the Astra was named European Car of the Year for 2016, and was the sixth most purchased car in the UK last year with 32,408 registrations.


Looking for an all-rounder? Look no further than Catalan manufacturers SEAT, who are carefully cultivating an industry-wide reputation for both reliability and safety. SEAT rose from 11th to 8th place in the JD Power Dependability Survey in 2016. What’s more, the Leon attained a worthy fourth place in Carbuyer’s Driver Power Ownership Satisfaction Survey, with only 8.6% of owners reporting any sort of breakdown. Coupled with its suite of impressive safety technologies, the Leon makes a persuasive proposition for families in the market for a sensible car that refuses to compromise on style.


If you need a vehicle that’s going to go the distance, then a Dacia could be your perfect car. Renault’s Romanian subsidiary was awarded five star reliability ratings for its cars aged between zero and three years, as well as cars aged three to eight years old in the 2017 annual Which? Car Guide. The awards surveyed more than 44,000 owners, looking at 36 brands, and Dacia was one of just four manufacturers to get the full five stars. As Dacia has also won What Car?’s ‘Best small car under £12,000’ award five years running, it’s a great option for those looking for a dependable car on a budget.

About the Author

Kirsty Leckie-Palmer

Staff writer at Arnold Clark