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Choosing a reliable car to lease

 Published 23rd September 2021
Driver Guides  General Guides 

The used car market is absolutely booming at the moment. Obviously, you're switched on enough to know that leasing a new car is the best way to go so this doesn't really apply to you. But if you're about to lease a new car you can still take advantage of the second-hand car trend.

A crucial factor in choosing the best used car is reliability. If you buy a good one it will serve you well and ask for nothing but new tyres and regular servicing in return. Pick a bad one and the bills will soon start to rack up while you take the bus to work.

That's where the What Car? annual survey comes in handy.

More than 16,000 car owners were asked if their car had suffered any problems over the previous year, and if so, in which areas. The results were broken down into 15 categories of fault, and to get an indication of how serious each fault was, owners were also asked how long the car was off the road and how much the repairs cost.

Those two factors are usually more important than what actually went wrong, so they were used to calculate a unique reliability rating for each model in the survey. The 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey contains data about 178 models aged up to five years old, from 30 brands so it's pretty comprehensive.

It's also very useful to lease drivers.

Most of the models in the survey are still current, so if you're about to lease something wouldn't it be nice to know what it's actually like to live with? The survey covers every type of car available in the UK so no matter what you're thinking of leasing, take a quick look down the list to make sure you're making the right choice.

We've given you the overall reliability rating for each class of car, as well as the most and least reliable models in each class. In some cases, the survey refers to previous models that have since been updated, but it should still give you an idea of where your chosen car sits on the reliability scale. Six cars have achieved perfect scores this year, so they've all been included just for proving to be so good.

And it's also worth bearing in mind that even the cars listed as the worst aren't necessarily bad cars either. There may be a few surprises on the list, but don't let that put you off because overall none of them come off too badly in terms of rating.

If you want to take anything away from this latest study, it should be that a high price tag isn't always a guarantee of reliability, but overall, the quality of cars available in the UK is actually very good.

Reliability results by vehicle class

Small cars  – 91.9% class reliability rating

Dacia Sandero (2013 – 2020) – 100%
Ford Fiesta (current model) – 74.9%

Family cars  – 93.0% class reliability rating

BMW 1 Series (2011 – 2019) – 98.7%
Mercedes-Benz A-Class (current model) – 84.8%

Executive cars  – 92.8% class reliability rating

Skoda Superb (current model) – 99.2%
Mercedes-Benz C-Class (current model) – 80.9%

Luxury cars  – 90.4% class reliability rating

BMW 5 Series (current model) – 96.9%
Audi A6 (2011 – 2018) – 82.1%

Coupes, convertibles, and sports cars  – 92.8% class reliability rating

Audi TT (current model) – 100%
MINI Convertible (current model) – 100%
Porsche 718 Cayman (current model) – 73.5%

MPVs  – 93.7% class reliability rating

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (current model) – 98.8%
Volkswagen Touran (current model) – 74.1%

Small SUVs  – 95.2% class reliability rating

Mazda CX-3 (2016 – 2019) – 100%
Honda HR-V (2015 – 2020) – 100%
Peugeot 2008 (2013 – 2019) – 81.8%

Family SUVs  – 93.6% class reliability rating
Range Rover Evoque (2011 – 2019) – 77.1%

Large SUVs  – 93.6% class reliability rating

BMW X3 (current model) – 97.7%
Nissan X-Trail (current model) – 59.7%

Luxury SUVs  – 88.8% class reliability rating

Porsche Macan (current model) – 97.9%
Land Rover Discovery (current model) – 72.1%

Hybrid cars – 96.9% class reliability rating

Lexus NX (current model) – 99.8%
BMW X5 (current model) – 89.7%

Electric cars  – 92.9% class reliability rating

Nissan Leaf (2011 – 2018) – 98.6%
Jaguar I-Pace (current model) – 86.3%

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