- © BMW Group – press.bmwgroup.com

Popular cars that are surprisingly unreliable

1y ago


Recently, WhatCar? Released their list of the most and perhaps more importantly, the least reliable cars between one and four years old. 159 models and 31 brands have been rated with the help of over 18,000 owners. This is important work, as when looking for a new car, reliability is often a big concern for buyers. Well, at least I thought this was the case until I looked further into the results. Having spent some time digging, I’ve compiled a list of popular cars that are surprisingly unreliable. By this I mean, they’re cars that have remained popular despite a below par result in this survey.


Class: City and Small Cars

Score: 21st out of 23 in class with a score of 85.8%

© - Volkswagen UK Media - www.vwpress.co.uk

Despite being at the end of its life cycle, the MK5 Volkswagen Polo remained an extremely popular car. In fact, the Polo was the 7th best-selling car in the UK during 2017. With a model proving to be this popular, even with a replacement imminent, you’d have thought that VW would have got most of the issues that affected the Polo ironed out. However, with over half being left undriveable because of their faults, this wasn’t necessarily the case. Nevertheless, the allure of a Volkswagen badge appears to be as strong as ever. Hopefully, the new Polo can perform better than its predecessor.


Class: Family Cars

Score: 25th out of 27 in class with a score of 86.9%

© - Mercedes-Benz - www.mercedes-benz-media.co.uk

As with the Polo, the 3rd generation Mercedes A-Class was a hit with UK buyers. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that a well-designed, practical, hatch back with a 3 pointed star on its nose was the 10th best-selling car of 2017. What may come as a surprise, is that 33% of Diesel A classes were affected by a fault. Again, you’d hope that Mercedes have learnt from this, and as a result have made sure that the new A class isn’t going to suffer the same fate.

Click here to see which family cars are the most reliable!


Class: Family SUVs

Score: 15th and 16th out of 16 in class. Petrol models scored 85.3% and diesel models scored 79.7%

© Nissan GB – newsroom.nissan-europe.com

The Nissan Qashqai is the most popular car featured here, in 2017 it was the 4th best selling car in the country. Unfortunately for those of us who don’t like SUVs, the Qashqai is proof that the masses still have a soft spot for them. Much to my surprise, it seems that such a poor reliability score isn’t putting people off the Qashqai, it is currently the 3rd best selling car of 2018. 47% of diesel models and 46% of petrol models developed a problem. Fortunatly, despite having so many issues, most remained operational when a fault occurred.

Click here to see which family SUVs are the most reliable!


Class: Large and Luxury SUVs

Score: 20th out of 25 in class with a score of 82.1%

© Audi – audi-mediacenter.com

With over 70,000 models sold across Europe in 2017, the previous generation Audi Q5 was hugely popular within its class. If you fancied your practical, prestigious, German estate with a more domineering driving position, then the Q5 appears hard to beat. Well, that is until you look at its reliability score. Fortunately, the newest generation Audi Q5 faired much better with a score of 96.3%. So, if you prefer your SUVs to have an Audi badge on them, it might be worth waiting for the newer model to come down in price.

Click here to see which large SUVs are the most reliable!


Class: Luxury Cars

Score: 5th and 6th out of 7 in class. The 5 Series scored 85.3% and E-Class scored 83.5%

© - Mercedes-Benz - www.mercedes-benz-media.co.uk

Despite being a small group, two entrances to the luxury car list make for surprising reading. Having outsold the competition across Europe in 2017, both the new BMW 5 series and the latest generation Mercedes E-class are chariots of choice for business executives on the move. They offer comfort, refinement, adequate pace and most of all, luxury. However, it seems that the latest generation cars have had some teething troubles. Both are out performed by their older generation siblings in this survey. It seems that electrics were a cause of faults in both cars, maybe this is a sign that whilst impressive; over the top in-car tech, isn’t worth the extra hassle.

© BMW Group – press.bmwgroup.com

Click here to see which luxury cars are the most reliable!

How reliable is your car? Let me know in the comments section below!

Thanks for reading, remember to bump, comment and be sure to check out my profile and follow me as I try to make my way into the automotive world!

Click here for reliability survey source

Click here for the best selling cars in the UK 2017 source

Click here for the european sales figure source

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Comments (132)
  • There used to be a time when the German manufacturers built to quality and got a reputation for that.

    In recent times they’ve increased the number of cars they make and built to a price. With this has come a reduction in quality of materials and reliability.

    By contrast formerly derided manufacturers such as Alfa Romeo have upped their game and reliability has increased as well.

    However if you read any review by a journalist in a newspaper or car a magazine you will find allusions to “German reliability” and “Italian unreliability” in contrast to the facts. This is lazy journalism but pandering to stereotypical views is easy.

    1 year ago
    3 Bumps
    • The time was so long ago, the '80s and at a push to early '90s for Audi, that it's a testament to how good German PR is.

      1 year ago
      1 Bump
    • I don’t think stereotypes can be applied to car companies as so much has changed. On the whole I assume most cars are fine, but electronics are always going to be an issue, in my...

      Read more
      1 year ago
      1 Bump
  • Polo / fabia / ibiza are sooo unreliable, gearboxes die, engnies die, cooling system die.. the cars are expansive and booring. And still people buys this shit

    1 year ago
    2 Bumps
    • I didn't realise they were that bad!

      1 year ago
    • I've been driving a 2005 Ibiza 1.9TDi FR for three years. NO issues! I wouldn't call mine expansive. It's a small hatchback. As for boring? It had 130bhp as standard and now around...

      Read more
      1 year ago


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