Most recent survey of reliable cars throws up a few surprises to go alongside the predictable dominance of Japanese brands. The popular consumer choice magazine surveys thousands of car owners every year, to get a horses mouth style view of the best and the worst in each category. Customer satisfaction, repair costs and overall reliability are all rated. I’ve picked five of the most reliable of all, from a selection of categories.
The Vauxhall Agila – Supermini category
Vauxhall make a surprise entry at number one for reliable superminis, with the Agila. The box-shaped supermini hit the best reliability score in the entire survey, beating even the legendary Soda Fabia to top place in its class and in the overall investigation.
The Agila has an average repair cost of less than 50, and a failure rate of less than 10 percent. The Agila, which was first produced in the year 2000, is (according to Top Gear) a mini MPV that is, its got a lot more space inside than it looks like it should. Price range is between 8.5k and 13k.
Volvo S40 – Small family cars category
The small family cars category was almost entirely dominated by Japanese models so its something of a surprise that the vehicle of choice for vampires (in the Twilight movies, Edward Cullen drives a Volvo) makes the top spot. In the main, this was due to the average repair bill which was the lowest in its class. The 1996-2004 S40 scored very well on overall reliability, and its got a bit of space and power too.
Subaru Legacy – Full size family cars
Good news for power-mad parents everywhere: the Scoobys still going strong. Having shed most of its aggressive rep, thanks to a series of sleek body updates and a few respectable looking country models, Subarus moved away from the dad racer into the category of all-round good buy. Excellent reliability scores for the Legacy were mostly due to its average repair bills, which for the size and purchase price of the car were not bad at all. The Legacy models in question (bear in mind this is an owners survey, not a review of new cars) were the 2004-2009 bracket.
Chevrolet Tacuma – MPV category
Another surprise in the listings, the Chevrolet Tacuma took first place for reliable MPVs not because of its repair costs, which are pretty high for the class but because it breaks down so rarely owners apparently never need to fix it. Perhaps American vehicles are evolving beyond their gas-guzzling reputation. Certainly, the owners of the Tacuma seem to be a happy lot. The vehicle age range examined by the survey was 2005-2009.
Hyundai Coupe – Coupe category
The unimaginatively named Hyundai Coupe came a clear first in the reliable coupes category, with a low fail rate and a low average repair bill too. When the Coupe first came out, it was favourably compared to driving BMWs and Mercedes: clearly, the experience of owning one is as good as the experience of driving one!
Of course looking for the perfect vehicle takes some time.