Home / Auto / Most unreliable new cars in the UK and the common faults they suffer from REVEALED

Most unreliable new cars in the UK and the common faults they suffer from REVEALED


Reliability is perhaps one of the biggest selling points of a car for a large majority of motorists in the UK.

Everyone wants a car to work and for it not to spend every other weekend at the mechanics or cost huge amounts in repairs.

What Car?’s Driver Power reliability survey collects data from 14,000 car owners in the UK about how many faults their vehicle has had over the past 12 months.

According to the report, a third of drivers had experienced at least one fault over the past 12 months.

Faults are categorised and rated based on their seriousness from one of the 14 groups.

Most unreliable new cars in the UKPH

Most unreliable new cars in the UK based on WhatCar? Reliability survey have been revealed

These groups are battery, bodywork, brakes, engine, engine electrics, exhaust, exterior lights, fuel system, gearbox/clutch, interior trim, non-engine electrics, steering suspension and other.

Owners were asked to provide information on how long cars were off the road while they were getting fixed and how much they cost to repair.

Car ratings for models with a lot of expensive faults are penalised while dependable ones are rewarded with a better score.

The survey collected results from a total of 169 models from 33 different car brands.

Here are the top 25 most unreliable cars as per the survey and their dependability rating provided by WhatCar?:

25. Volkswagen Polo (2009-2017) – Score: 58.8 per cent

Over 20 per cent of Polo owners reported faults with their car, with the most common being non-engine electrics (15 per cent), and issues with air con accounting for half of their complaints. Engine stop-start systems infotainment systems and versing cameras were also issues that cropped up regularly.

24. Mercedes-Benz GLA – Score: 58.6 per cent

Around 42 per cent of GLA owners experienced faults, however, most were minor non-electrical issues and didn’t prevent the car from being driven and could be repaired for free in less than a week.

23. Mazda 3 (2009-2013) – Score: 58.4 per cent

28 per cent of previous-generation 3 owners had problems, with petrol-engined cars affected by more issues than their diesel counterparts.

The most serious areas of concern with petrol models were suspension, steering and engine electrics.

22. Volkswagen CC diesel (2012-2016) – Score: 58.0 per cent

Two-fifths of owners reported problems, relating to non-engine electrics.

Seat AtecaPH

43 per cent of owners reported a fault and 29 per cent of those were for non-engine electrics

21. Citroën C4 Picasso/Grand C4 Picasso – Score: 56.8 per cent

Electrical issues affected the C4 Picasso and Grand C4 Picasso; 37 per cent of cars had problems. Of those, 22 per cent were non-engine electrical faults in areas such as air-con.

20. Seat Ateca – Score: 56.2 per cent

The Ateca was affected be a number of non-engine electrical issues; 43 per cent of owners reported a fault and 29 per cent of those were for non-engine electrics

Two main areas of concern were the automatic tailgate and reversing camera.

19. Range Rover diesel – Score: 55.8 per cent

A total of 33 per cent of owners had a fault with the car, with problems related to electrical systems, but the majority relayed to bodywork and interior trim.

18. Volvo V40 – Score: 55.5 per cent

Almost half of the V40 owners had an issue with the car, with the most common areas being the engine and exhaust system.

17. Nissan Juke petrol – Score: 55.2 per cent

A third of Jukes had a fault, according to the owners, with engine and engine electrical being key areas of concern.

Tesla Model SPH

Tesla Model S had issues with bodywork, interior trim and the electric motors

16. Land Rover Discovery diesel (2004-2017) – Score: 54.2 per cent

Half of the owners told WhatCar? they experienced a fault with the majority being linked to the car’s bodywork (22 per cent) followed by engine electrics.

15. Mazda 2 – Score: 52.7 per cent 

Mazda 2 owners experience a number of their non-engine electrical issues, with many relating to air-con.

14. Tesla Model S – Score: 52.4 per cent

Almost two fifths (38 per cent) of owners reported faults with issues split between bodywork, interior trim, and the electric motors. Although all cars were fixed under warranty, some were off the road for more than a week.

13. Range Rover Evoque – Score: 52.0 per cent

Almost two thirds (34 per cent) of owners, with non-engine electrics the most common (8 per cent), closely followed by gearbox/clutch (7 per cent).

12. Nissan Note – Score: 48.6 per cent

Engine and engine electrics are the most common faults experienced by the Note and almost all owners admitted to having non-engine electrical faults and around 14 per cent had suspension issues.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class PH

Mercedes-Benz B-Class suffered issues wirh the engine electrics and gearbox/clutch

11. Nissan Pulsar – Score: 48.3 per cent

Pulsar was affected by a large number of non-engine electrical faults, with the air -con system being the most common issue.

10. Mercedes-Benz B-Class – Score: 46.2 per cent

Around 35 per cent of B-Class’ experience faults with the most important problem areas being engine, engine electrics and gearbox/clutch – that rendered the cars undriveable and took more than a week to put right.

9. Mercedes-Benz E-Class – Score: 46.1 per cent

The E-Class didn’t perform well with interior and electrical issues being the most common areas of concern. Almost a quarter (24 per cent) suffered a problem with the vehicle.

8. Nissan Qashqai diesel – Score: 44.2 per cent

Almost half (49 per cent) of diesel Qashqais experienced faults, with the most common being non-engine electrical systems and around 20 per cent had faulty batteries.

7. Land Rover Discovery Sport diesel – Score: 43.8 per cent

40 per cent of cars reported faults mostly relating to bodywork and interior trim, and there were also some engine and non-engine electrical issues.

6. Jeep Renegade – Score: 42.1 per cent 

Despite being an image of rugged motoring 43 per cent of drivers reported a fault with the car, focusing mainly on serious issues such as the engine, engine electrics, and braking systems.

5. Jaguar XE – Score: 36.7 per cent

Non-engine electrical issues were the most common bugbear, but there were other problems, such as the bodywork, engine, fuel system, steering, and suspension. In total 44 per cent of owners experienced problems with the car.

4. Fiat 500X – Score: 32.3 per cent

The most common issues with the 500X were related to bodywork and electrical issues and 33 per cent of owners reported problems.

3. Nissan Qashqai petrol – Score: 28.9 per cent

56 per cent of petrol Qashqai owners experienced faults with the car, with batteries, bodywork and non-engine electrics topping the long list of problem areas.

2. Volvo XC90 – Score: 22.6 per cent 

Over half (53 per cent) of XC90 owners reported faults with their cars. Many were non-engine electrical and software system issues that could not always be fixed with one trip to the garage but all work was carried out under warranty.

1. Range Rover Sport diesel – Score 14.5 per cent 

Two-thirds of diesel Range Rover Sports had problems, spanning a wide range of areas, with the most serious being with the gearbox, drivetrain, engine and suspension.

In add-on to this, not all cars were fixed under warranty and some were off the road for more than a week.



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I'm a 50 year old PLC programmer from Burnley, UK. I severed my time as an electrician in the baking industry and soon got involved with the up and coming technology of PLC's. Initially this was all based in the Uk but as the years went by I have gradually worked my way around the globe. At first it was mainly Mitsubishi with a bit of Modicon thrown in but these days the industry leaders seem to be the Allen Bradley range of PLC and HMI’s.

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