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Saturday 28 January 2023 Dublin: 4°C
# problem solver
Which brand makes the most reliable cars? We try and answer the age-old question
We’ve analysed the data to bring you the brands considered to be the most reliable.

WHICH MAKES OF car are the most reliable? It’s a question pretty much anyone who has ever bought a used car will have asked themselves.

And there are a lot of strong opinions out there. But what about the cold, hard numbers?

While there is no Irish specific car manufacturer reliability index there is plenty of data relating to the UK car market. And the UK and Ireland share similar driving characteristics - British drivers seem to moan about their rough, pot-holed roads as much as we do, although average yearly mileage in the UK is just 12,714km compared to 17,367km here.

But we do seem to buy from the same manufacturers. The UK’s 20 bestselling car brands of 2016 featured 17 of the same brands as our top 20. (Land Rover, MINI and Fiat don’t appear in the Irish top 20 and Dacia, Mazda and Suzuki don’t show up in the UK chart.)

The list of the most reliable car brands comes from the JD Power 2016 UK Vehicle Dependability Study. JD Power is one of the most respected names in the warranty and reliability monitoring business. The study measures problems experienced during the past 12 months by original owners of vehicles in the UK after 12-36 months of ownership, and examines 177 problem symptoms across eight categories. The study ranks the various brands surveyed by problems per 100 cars.

These are the 10 most reliable brands in the JD Power study: Skoda, Suzuki, Kia, Vauxhall, Peugeot, Volkswagen, Ford, SEAT, Toyota, Nissan

These are the 10 brands at the bottom of the JD Power study: Land Rover, Dacia, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Hyundai, Volvo, Jaguar, Honda

However, when looking at the list it is worth keeping that in mind that these problems can range from a minor electrical issue to total engine failure. Furthermore, five of the top 10 problems are related to audio/communication/entertainment/navigation (ACEN) technology, and premium-brand cars usually have more tech features. The most frequent ACEN problem is built-in Bluetooth mobile phone/device frequent pairing/connectivity issues.

We’ve also taken data from the Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index, which is based on over 50,000 current insurance policies. The UK Reliability index takes into account all factors of a repair, the cost of the parts and the frequency of failures.

The following brands made the top 10 of the Reliability Index: Daihatsu, Honda, Suzuki, Toyota, Mazda, Lexus, Ford, Rover, Nissan, Renault

It isn’t surprising that Japanese brands – Daihatsu, Honda, Lexus, Mazda, Nissan, Suzuki, Toyota -  dominate this list. They certainly seem to be living up to the dependable and long-lasting reputation they have carried for years.

The following are the 10 brands at the bottom of the Reliability Index: Bentley, Land Rover, Porsche, Chrysler, Alfa Romeo, Audi, SsangYong, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, BMW.

Again, it is a little surprising to find the bottom of the Reliability Index populated with premium car brands. But as with the JD Power results, most of the things that go wrong in these car are tech issues and connectivity issues as these cars usually have a lot more technological features than the less premium brands.

The car manufacturers that made the top ten in both lists are: Suzuki, Ford, Toyota and Nissan.

So what have we learned? Well, when looking at reliability, it may be worth asking yourself this: Do you want a car with all the bells and whistles that may give you more problems or do you want a car that has fewer features, but also fewer things to go wrong?

READ: Car review: the Tesla Model X has finally arrived in Ireland but does it live up to the hype? >

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