An annual report, published today, survey shows that Honda is the most reliable used-car brand in the UK for the seventh consecutive year.
According to What Car? only one in 10 Hondas will break down in any given 12-month period. Toyota and Lexus are close behind in the league table.
However, while Japanese makes once again dominate the top 10, the research, based on 50 000 Warranty Direct policies on cars between three and 10 years old, shows that many more expensive brands will actually let you down more often.
Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar are down in the bottom 10, with Audi little better. Land Rover is the UK's least reliable manufacturer, with a shocking 71 percent of its cars breaking down at least once every year.
What Car? editor Chas Hallett said: “Reliability is important to drivers, especially when times are tough; big surprise is that several of the more desirable brands didn't do well - and the cost of their repairs are high.”
Warranty Direct managing director Duncan McClure Fisher commented: “Cars have become increasingly complex, with lots of gadgets, especially on executive models, where buyers expect more and more features.
“Owners of these cars pay over the odds for the premium badge, but the study shows they could also be paying over the odds just to keep the car on the road.
“You can get cars that break down less often, but have higher repair bills, or you can buy a car that won't cost you much when it fails, such as a Renault, but lumbers you with more than a 50 percent chance of doing so.”
UK ROADS ROUGH ON CARS
Axle and suspension faults were the most common problems suffered by Warranty Direct customers - largely due, it says to the perilous state of British roads - accounting for 28.56 percent of all claims. Electrical gremlins were the second most likely cause of an unwanted garage bill, with 24.3 percent of drivers reporting problems.
Chevrolet is the only manufacturer from outside the Far East to break into the top 10 - although that may be a misconception since most Chevrolet cars in Britain are in fact built in Korea by GMDat, formaerly Daewoo. Chevs also had the lowest average repair bill, £227 (R2950), of the most reliable brands. Unsurprisingly, Porsche models are the most expensive to repair, with an eye-watering average garage bill of £623 (R8080).