When you buy a new car, you don’t expect it to go wrong – not for a few years, anyway.
However, that’s not always the case. And while almost all repairs will be covered under warranty for these showroom-fresh breakdowns, there’s still the headache of having to take your pricey new motor back to the dealership and being without it while it’s being fixed.
If you want to avoid this scenario and are on the hunt for a reliable new car – once the lockdown lifts, of course – then you can’t go wrong with the 10 cars listed below.
The CH-R is Toyota’s futuristic-looking compact SUV with record of having few problems, according to owners. It placed 10th in the list – which you can see in full below
How the ratings work
These cars were rated as the most reliable new models by readers of Auto Express in the latest annual Driver Power survey.
While it cover new cars, it doesn’t include vehicles that are less than 12 months old – because, frankly, they shouldn’t be encountering any issues at all in the initial year.
Owners were asked to rate both the build quality and reliability of their cars to give an overall score out of 100 per cent.
The data also includes the percentage of cars that drivers said have gone wrong during ownership.
These are the most dependable models that have been available as new in dealerships in the last year – though some have now been replaced by the next generation car – that had the highest ratings in the poll.
10. Toyota CH-R (2016-) – 96% reliability score
Price: from £26,245
Percentage of cars that have gone wrong: 14.3%
Toyota’s CH-R is a compact SUV with some of the most unique looks the market has to offer.
As well as modern styling and a hybrid-only engine choice, the car also has a pretty future-proof reliability track record, according to owners.
If you’ve owned a Toyota during your motoring career, this won’t come as a huge surprise to you. The car maker has tended to dominate dependability polls for years, cementing a reputation for producing some of the most hardened vehicles on the market.
The CH-R was given a 96 per cent reliability rating with only minor issues being reported and only a one in seven cars on average having a problem.
The UK-built Corolla replaces the Auris as Toyota’s medium-size family hatchback offering and is already proving reliable
9. Toyota Corolla (2019-) – 96.1% reliability score
Price: from £24,185
Percentage of cars that have gone wrong: 7.7%
The Burnaston-built Corolla is the latest Toyota to hit the market – and sees the return of one of its most famed model names in recent history.
While it might be a new car, it carries on the Toyota tradition of robust motors, with just one in every 13 on average having problems.
The fact most of the issues were minor and the build quality was rated highly helped the Ford Focus and VW Golf rival to rack up a reliability score of 96.1 per cent.
This generation of the Toyota Yaris has since been replaced – hopefully the new one car have an equally sparkling reliability track record
8. Toyota Yaris (2011-2019) – 96.1% reliability score
Price: no longer available new
Percentage of cars that have gone wrong: 5.7%
We’re starting to see a theme here – lots of Toyota cars proving they’re dependable out of the box.
This generation of Yaris, since replaced last year, keeps the Toyota record going as being one of the makers you can count on for reliability, if not the most exciting models hitting the market.
The Yaris – a rival to the Ford Fiesta – proved almost bulletproof with hardly any drivers experiencing issues with theirs. It means an overall score of 96.1 per cent.
It’s rare for French cars to make it into dependability lists (and the positive end of the table, anyway) but the Peugeot 3008 has achieved it with owners waxing lyrical about the SUV
7. Peugeot 3008 (2016-) – 96.1% reliability score
Price: from £26,405
Percentage of cars that have gone wrong: 11.8%
While there have been few surprises up until now, the inclusion of a Peugeot in this list above three proven Toyotas might come as a shock.
The 3008 SUV has won plaudits for being an all-round quality family motor, but it has also started to be recognised for reliability.
More than one in 10 have had an issue so far, but repairs are quick and easy to fix, resulting in this impressive overall dependability score.
The Uber driver’s favourite: The Toyota Prius has always had a strong dependability records and has continued this into 2020
6. Toyota Prius (2015-) – 96.6% reliability score
Price: from £24,355
Percentage of cars that have gone wrong: 6.8%
We’re back to Toyotas and this time the Uber favourite, the Prius, The daddy of all hybrid cars is now in its fourth guise and going as strong as predecessors.
While the Prius taking sixth spot is impressive, it has fallen from grace after winning this countdown by Auto Express a year ago.
Still, hardly any have problems, and if they do two in five are related to electrical gremlins. Build quality wasn’t rated as the highest, which might explain the slip down the standings in 2020.
Large premium SUVs don’t tend to be that reliable – and when things go wrong they can be expensive. The Lexus RX bucks that trend
5. Lexus RX (2015-) – 96.6% reliability score
Price: from £51,565
Percentage of cars that have gone wrong: 9%
Another name that tends to dominate reliability standings is Lexus – which is the posh luxury arm of Toyota (so it makes sense).
The RX appearing in this list is mightily impressive, though. Usually, large premium SUV have plenty of issues that end up being costly to repair,
But not this one, with fewer than one in 10 having problems and a reliability score of more than 96 per cent.
The Lexus CT is the oldest model in this list, though is still offering motorists breakdown-free driving
4. Lexus CT (2011-) – 96.8% reliability score
Price: from £26,275
Percentage of cars that have gone wrong: 13.9%
The Lexus CT is the oldest model still being sold as new to make it in this list, having been on sale for the best part of the last decade.
This might be the reason why there are quite a few reports from owners of their cars going wrong, but it’s still impressive for a model released way back in 2011 – a time when few of us would have ever heard the term ‘coronavirus’.
Build quality was rated high, pushing the overall reliability score up.
The Nissan Leaf is the most reliable all-electric car on sale, according to the survey results
3. Nissan Leaf (2017-) – 97.0% reliability score
Price: from £26,845
Percentage of cars that have gone wrong: 22.6%
For hybrid cars to make it into this list is impressive, but Nissan’s pure electric Leaf is also proof that a future of battery-powered vehicles could mean much improved reliability.
A dependability score of 97 per cent is really impressive and makes the overall running costs of this family hatchback among the lowest on the market.
Build quality was questioned by some, which prevented it from grabbing one of the top two places.
The Subaru Outback isn’t the most popular SUV/estate car, but it has almost bullet-proof reliability – something the Japanese brand has always been famed for
2. Subaru Outback (2015-) – 97.2% reliability score
Price: from £33,770
Percentage of cars that have gone wrong: 13.5%
Showing the dominance of Japanese cars in the reliability standing is the recognition of a rare sight on UK roads, the Subaru Outback, being rated as one of the most reliable motors you can buy.
The estate-car turned SUV is practical, fairly simple and hugely robust – though can be thirsty given the engine options.
Still, a 97.2 per cent reliability score can’t be scoffed at, even if one in seven owners say there’s has gone wrong at some point.
Top of the charts is the Volvo XC40 – the pick of the compact SUVs right now, and even more so thanks to this plaudit
1. Volvo XC40 (2018-) – 98.0% reliability score
Price: from £25,295
Percentage of cars that have gone wrong: 15.9%
Volvo’s XC40 is one of the best-regarded compact SUVs you can buy today. In the year it was released it scooped most of the awards going, thanks to its luxurious interior, grown-up driving performance and overall top marks for practicality.
Now it can add reliability to the growing list of commendations, grabbing the number one spot in the 2020 Driver Power reliability rankings.
A score of 98 per cent was despite quite a few cases of electrical problems, but a high build quality rating boosted in to the top of the table.
Top 20 new cars with the highest reliability ratings from owners, according to Auto Express
1. Volvo XC40 – 98.0%
2. Subaru Outback – 97.2%
3. Nissan Leaf – 97.0%
4. Lexus CT – 96.8%
5. Lexus RX – 96.6%
6. Toyota Prius – 96.6%
7. Peugeot 3008 – 96.1%
8. Toyota Yaris – 96.1%
9. Toyota Corolla -96.1%
10. Toyota C-HR -96.0%
11. Lexus IS – 95.9%
12. Seat Arona – 95.9%
13. Mazda MX-5 – 95.8%
14. Lexus NX – 95.7%
15. Toyota RAV4 – 95.7%
16. Subaru XV – 95.7%
17. Mazda CX-5 – 95.5%
18. Volvo XC60 – 95.2%
19. Suzuki Vitara – 95.1%
20. Mazda 6 – 95.0%
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