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Japanese car manufacturers dominate reliability study

The reputation of Japanese car manufacturers for world-leading reliability shows no sign of abating, according to the results of the latest What Car? reliability survey.

The study of more than 14,000 0-3 year old vehicles revealed that, of the 10 most reliable brands, an impressive six were Japanese marques, with Lexus at the top. In five out of 10 vehicle segments, the most reliable cars were also manufactured by Japanese brands.

In the city car, small car and family car categories, plaudits went to the Toyota Aygo, Honda Jazz and Lexus CT200h, which were reported to be fault-free by owners. The only other car to achieve this was the Audi A3 saloon.

Mitsubishi’s Outlander topped the burgeoning large SUV class for dependability, while the Nissan Leaf has proven to be a reliable way to travel using electricity; its 93.9% reliability rating makes it the most trustworthy EV.

German models proved to be the biggest challengers to the Japanese, with the Volkswagen Tiguan diesel, Audi A3 saloon and Audi A3 Cabriolet all taking gold in their respective categories.



Owners of 0-3 year-old cars were asked to report on faults which occurred in the last 12 months, classified into 14 categories: battery, bodywork, brakes, engine, engine electrics, exhaust, exterior lights, fuel system, gearbox/clutch, interior trim, non-engine electrics, steering, suspension and other.

Overall, 30% of the 14,208 participants revealed they had experienced a fault with their car in the last 12 months.

Steve Huntingford, editor at What Car? commented: “Japanese brands continue to lead by example when it comes to reliability; the breadth of vehicles with near-faultless scores highlights the engineering prowess of Far Eastern manufacturers.

“It is also encouraging to see that German car manufacturers are backing up their reputation for quality with strong reliability scores. It goes to show that the old adage that cars are getting more complicated and harder to fix needn’t be an anxiety – as long as consumers choose the most reliable model they’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of the latest technology without the fear of their car letting them down.”

The full details of the survey will be published in the next issue of What Car?, on sale from Thursday 26th October and online at
All of the new cars featured in the survey are available to buy on the What Car? website at