17nov car reliability make hero default

Car reliability - by make

Some brands consistently make more reliable cars, while others have a deserved reputation for producing vehicles with problems. The most consistent brand in our survey, across all car types and all ages, was Suzuki. Just 4% of owners (from our sample of 432) reported a serious reliability fault, 20% told us about a major issue and 71% said their cars had “no issues whatsoever”. If you have no other information and want the best chance of getting a reliable car, pick a Suzuki.

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Other brands with consistently better-than-average reliability across all years were Kia, Lexus, Mazda, Hyundai and Mitsubishi. At the other extreme, with significantly more serious and major faults than average, and more than half of owners reporting some sort of problem, were Daihatsu, Volvo, Land Rover, Citroen, Ford and Jeep. The reliable brands were mostly Japanese and the least reliable brands were mostly European.

Compare makes

BrandNumber in surveySerious issue[sort; desc]Major issue[sort; desc]Trouble-free[sort; desc]Very satisfied overall[sort; desc]Very satisfied - Comfort[sort; desc]Very satisfied - Driving[sort; desc]Very satisfied - Practicality[sort; desc]Very satisfied- Value[sort; desc]Would recommend[sort; desc]
Suzuki4324%20%71%84%66%76%85%79%84%
Kia2423%22%65%84%75%76%83%78%83%
Skoda12912%24%62%88%76%86%88%79%90%
Lexus1556%25%67%93%88%90%88%74%98%
Mazda9936%27%62%82%70%77%80%74%86%
Hyundai4956%28%60%83%73%73%85%72%86%
Mitsubishi5347%30%59%81%71%73%84%77%78%
Honda10115%31%56%85%73%76%88%76%88%
Volkswagen41613%33%53%84%81%84%85%70%81%
Toyota23348%35%57%82%65%67%82%73%87%
Audi17513%35%54%84%81%84%80%57%83%
Subaru48311%38%52%82%68%77%87%69%82%
Nissan7838%38%53%78%68%67%81%71%76%
BMW23214%39%54%83%78%89%85%61%77%
Peugeot12315%39%51%77%80%78%85%72%73%
Holden40415%41%52%74%66%67%79%66%71%
Mercedes Benz17112%41%51%87%82%86%86%69%82%
Jeep5312%41%42%74%75%80%91%77%69%
Ford59113%43%47%74%70%74%81%69%67%
Citroen479%47%39%88%85%82%92%77%74%
Land Rover4917%52%40%88%82%77%90%61%92%
Volvo8712%55%42%80%84%78%88%63%79%
Daihatsu6120%59%32%84%54%60%85%80%78%
Average9%33%56%82%71%74%83%72%83%

Compare makes by year

Unless you are buying new, the age of a car and how many kilometres it’s covered should be high on your list of considerations. Our data confirm what we all suspect: older cars and those that have covered more kilometres are less reliable.

We’ve split our data into 4 age bands:

  • 2014-2017 - the new and nearly new
    They’ll be in the warranty period (usually 3 years) and you can reasonably expect trouble-free motoring. Several brands have no more than 1% of owners reporting serious faults and fewer than 1 in 10 reporting major faults. Of these, Lexus, BMW and Toyota stand apart as having 9 out of 10 owners reporting no issues. Honda, Kia, Nissan and Suzuki also have very few serious or major faults, but more minor niggles.

  • 2009-2013 - the freshly used
    Includes cars up to 9 years old – the average age of the car fleets in Europe and Japan. Budget for increased maintenance and some repair on these cars. But while you can anticipate some minor niggles, you shouldn’t expect anything major to go wrong or the car to be off the road for an extended period outside of normal servicing. Lexus and Toyota have less than 1% of owners reporting serious faults and significantly fewer than average reports of major faults. Three-quarters of owners reported no issues whatsoever. BMW doesn’t maintain its performance for older cars though: 10% of owners reported serious faults and a third (35%) reported major issues. Other brands also posting significantly above-average reliability for 2009-13 cars are Suzuki, Mazda, Honda and Mitsubishi.

  • 2003-2008 - ageing cars
    These cars are getting on by international standards, but they are just reaching the average age of our fleet (14 years). These cars become tired as they reach the end of their design life – a 14-year-old car covering the average annual mileage (11,500km) would have 161,000km on the clock. If you’ve got a car in this age band, you’d be wise to budget for some significant repairs down the road. Lexus and Toyota maintain their performance at the top as cars get over a decade old. 9% of Toyota and 12% of Lexus cars have serious faults and 43% have major faults – better than the average for cars of this age. Five other brands are reliable choices for older cars: Suzuki, Honda, Mitsubishi, Mazda and Nissan post above-average results, with Suzuki being the standout among them.

  • 1988-2002 - end-of-life cars
    These cars are old even by New Zealand standards. Expect the worst, as you’ll be lucky to avoid any expensive repairs. Even if your elderly car runs trouble-free, you’ll likely be paying more for preventative maintenance. Old cars don’t have great reliability. However, just 19% of Lexus owners report serious faults and 57% with major faults. That’s a step ahead of the next best pack of Nissan, Ford, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Honda and Mercedes Benz. They all have more than a quarter of cars (26-28%) with serious faults, and three quarters (75-79%) with major problems.

BrandNumber in surveySerious issueMajor issueTrouble-freeVery satisfied overallVery satisfied - ComfortVery satisfied - DrivingVery satisfied - PracticalityVery satisfied- ValueWould recommend
1988-2002
Lexus 4119%57%36%89%79%89%81%81%95%
Volkswagen 3340%66%17%51%52%53%57%45%50%
Mercedes Benz 3428%69%24%79%77%90%84%69%70%
Mazda 13328%74%25%74%43%59%63%73%71%
Subaru 7636%75%18%75%48%66%83%73%82%
Toyota 64627%75%21%76%45%52%73%73%85%
Honda 18928%75%19%78%55%57%75%71%84%
Ford 8526%76%17%72%49%53%69%68%58%
Holden 4341%78%18%78%59%56%69%68%63%
Nissan 21326%78%16%74%49%56%76%71%70%
Mitsubishi 10027%79%15%67%57%61%74%65%59%
BMW 4642%82%16%74%77%85%79%71%69%
Average183529%76%19%75%51%57%73%70%76%
2003-2008
Suzuki 1266%37%53%83%61%71%86%77%81%
Lexus 4711%42%53%92%91%93%88%84%97%
Toyota 8189%43%45%79%63%65%80%71%85%
Honda 4005%45%45%83%71%77%88%76%88%
Mitsubishi 1419%45%42%77%67%67%80%75%77%
Mazda 32310%45%45%78%59%70%81%71%83%
Nissan 2566%47%44%72%62%63%78%69%73%
Audi 4222%55%34%82%74%76%74%46%77%
Subaru 19017%56%36%75%53%70%80%60%75%
Volkswagen 9829%58%29%78%75%79%82%64%76%
Ford 15817%58%32%72%68%76%83%69%65%
Peugeot 4018%61%28%68%72%79%80%60%62%
Hyundai 8716%61%34%72%59%62%82%68%79%
Daihatsu 4024%62%28%84%55%64%88%81%77%
Mercedes Benz 4923%63%36%80%79%89%90%65%75%
BMW 7223%64%26%75%69%89%81%60%66%
Kia 3911%65%30%87%55%68%85%81%74%
Volvo 3220%67%33%78%83%72%84%71%79%
Holden 10327%68%26%70%61%72%82%61%66%
Average318612%50%40%78%65%71%82%70%80%
2009-2013
Suzuki 1482%12%79%87%66%81%87%83%88%
Toyota 5431%16%75%85%71%74%86%74%88%
Mazda 2490%17%71%87%73%79%82%76%92%
Honda 1861%17%69%87%77%78%86%71%92%
Mitsubishi 1291%18%65%83%72%75%93%79%80%
Nissan 1714%25%68%75%75%69%86%71%78%
Peugeot 3213%27%60%74%77%64%84%74%77%
Subaru 955%29%56%83%75%74%92%64%85%
Hyundai 1997%30%53%79%71%75%86%71%82%
Kia 806%30%51%83%67%80%76%78%79%
BMW 5610%35%56%87%81%86%82%54%79%
Audi 577%38%48%81%75%83%77%51%87%
Skoda 4424%39%42%86%79%86%93%76%83%
Volkswagen 13013%40%47%81%83%86%86%66%75%
Mercedes Benz 399%40%57%89%83%83%86%61%80%
Holden 12916%42%49%68%69%61%76%61%62%
Ford 18416%47%41%69%70%70%82%66%62%
Average26416%27%61%82%74%76%85%71%82%
2014-2017
Lexus 390%1%89%98%88%88%94%61%99%
Honda 2360%5%76%87%78%80%95%80%89%
BMW 580%5%89%91%83%91%92%63%89%
Toyota 3270%7%88%88%77%77%87%76%91%
Kia 1210%8%79%85%83%77%86%77%86%
Nissan 1431%9%78%89%82%79%85%73%82%
Suzuki 1301%9%80%85%75%79%85%78%85%
Mazda 2881%10%77%85%82%85%81%76%87%
Skoda 714%11%76%87%79%86%85%78%91%
Audi 575%13%79%88%91%92%87%67%88%
Volkswagen 1552%13%70%92%84%89%89%77%90%
Subaru 1220%14%74%90%85%89%92%80%88%
Hyundai 1892%15%75%89%79%77%86%75%91%
Mitsubishi 1643%15%77%86%77%78%85%81%84%
Holden 1294%19%73%79%67%70%80%71%80%
Mercedes Benz 493%19%66%91%84%85%84%76%91%
Peugeot 318%22%74%92%96%88%96%86%88%
Ford 1647%22%68%79%76%81%82%71%73%
Jeep 324%28%47%70%78%83%94%74%65%
Average26632%12%76%87%80%81%87%75%86%
All103259%34%56%82%71%74%83%72%82%

GUIDE TO THE TABLES Models in brackets are alternative names for the same model. Trouble-free includes cars with no serious, major or minor faults reported. Note: a car can have multiple problems, so serious, major, minor and trouble-free will not sum to 100% Very satisfied is the percentage of owners scoring overall satisfaction as 8-10 on a 0-10 scale. Would recommend is the percentage of owners scoring “would you recommend this make to your friends and family?” as 8-10 on a 0-10 scale.