The annual Driver Power Survey is the UK’s best indicator of what real owners think of their cars, across a wide range of categories that include Reliability, Build Quality, Handling, Performance, Running Costs and more besides.
This year we polled nearly 50,000 motorists for information about 150 different cars. From the comprehensive data gathered, we’re able to tell you definitively which models – in the eyes of their owners – are most reliable.
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The roll of honour includes the Lexus RX in 1st place, the IS in 2nd, the GS in 4th, and the NX and CT models in 9th and 10th. Throw in the Toyota Land Cruiser’s 3rd place, and that leaves only four places for non-Toyota group products in the most reliable cars rankings – an impressive tally for the Japanese firm indeed!
The remainder of the list is fascinating too, as the Tesla Model S electric car has jumped straight in at number 5 on the Reliability chart. Amazingly, that Reliability ranking was one of the Tesla’s worst results, as the Model S went straight in at the top of the table in many other categories, showing just how satisfied Tesla owners are. The remaining reliability top 10 slots go to the Subaru Forester, Honda Civic, and the Skoda Citigo.
With reliability being such a key quality for car buyers, the Driver Power 2016 most reliable cars are also some of the most desirable new and used models on the market right now.
Scroll down the page for more information on the cars and how they ranked. For the full results of the 2016 Driver Power survey, click here…
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A new Lexus RX was launched in 2015, but given the Japanese marque’s formidable performance, who would bet against the new version repeating the success of its predecessor, which tops our reliability chart this year?
With a reputation this solid, it’s no surprise that Lexus has already sold well over 2 million examples of its premium SUV/crossover around the world. The latest version features more interior space, adaptive suspension and greater power and efficiency.
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While the stylish Lexus IS gives away quite a lot to its mainly German rivals – there’s no diesel, no estate version, and no manual gearbox option for starters – it certainly doesn’t take any prisoners when it comes to reliability.
The current model has been in circulation since 2013, which is plenty long enough for it to have forged a reputation for excellence in this area. The Lexus IS makes an interesting alternative to the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 for lots of other reasons, of course. Bold exterior design wraps up an extremely well-crafted and comfortable interior, while the IS 300h petrol-electric hybrid version makes an efficient and able cruiser.
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With its tough unburstable engine, and a rugged unbendable (well, almost) ladder frame chassis, the Toyota Land Cruiser may be a little ‘old school’ in this age of fashionable SUV/crossovers. But fashion won’t get you very far when components start to fail out in the bush, and that’s why Toyota’s most focused off-roader is favoured over rival brands in regions where reliability can make the difference between survival or disaster.
So what if it’s not the most rewarding drive on tarmac? The Land Cruiser is practical, loaded with features, and – as Land Cruiser owners have told us in the Driver Power survey – it won’t let you down.
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Another place in the most reliable cars top 10, another Lexus… and the 4th slot goes the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class rivaling Lexus GS. Like other models in the mainstream Lexus line-up, the GS focuses more on luxurious cruising than the ultimate sporting drive, but again offers a luxuriously-appointed high-spec interior and the option of an efficient hybrid powertrain.
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Making its first appearance in the Driver Power Survey, the Tesla Model S has pulled off a bit of a coup. As well as its 5th place in the reliability top 10, the Model S has scored 1st places in multiple other categories too.
It’s a wake-up call for rivals perhaps, but more importantly it’s a crucial indication from owners that there’s more to the Tesla brand than just the hype.
The company is a brand new contender in the Driver Power survey, and until Tesla has been going long enough to build a reputation from more results like this we’ll keep taking it on trust. Its showing this year is a welcome, and possibly highly significant, sign of what the electric car company has to offer.
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The Subaru Forester is an off-road biased SUV in a similar mould to the Toyota Land Cruiser, although on a smaller scale. So it’s a tough, practical and comfortable go-anywhere family car, that’s always reassuring if not exactly thrilling to drive.
And as our Driver Survey 2016 shows, it’s also been reassuringly reliable from the owners’ point of view – partly as a result of sharing well-proven technology that’s been part of the Subaru offer for quite a few years.
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If you ask people to play word association with car brands, you won’t have to say Honda too many times before reliability gets a mention. The Civic is Honda’s best selling compact hatchback and has been around in successive generations since 1972, so the Japanese firm has had plenty of time to work out how to make it tick. While the most recent Civic models may have been divisive from a design perspective, Honda’s reliability reputation goes from strength to strength – as owners in the 2016 Driver Power survey will attest.
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In the 2015 Driver Power Survey, it was a lone SEAT Leon that stopped the Asian car industry from garnering all top 10 places in our most reliable cars leaderboard. This year another brand from the VW Group stable manages as similar trick – the little Skoda Citigo.
We’re not surprised, having named the Citigo as Best City Car in our annual awards for four years running, and Skoda has developed a tradition of strong performances for its more recent models in our survey.
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The smaller sister model to the Lexus RX hasn’t been around all that long, but its owners are telling us the two have more in common than their shared premium SUV/crossover concept.
We knew that already, to be fair, as the pair share bold styling cues, comfort-focused handling, luxuriously appointed interiors and a well-stocked standard spec sheet. We can add reliability to that list now, too.
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The inclusion of the CT hatchback in this list means Lexus has pulled off a remarkable feat, as all the brands ‘mainstream’ models are included in 2016’s Top 10 most reliable cars. The models that aren’t included – the RC and LC coupes and the LS limo – simply aren’t sold in high enough volumes to feature in the Driver Power survey.
What is the most reliable car you've ever owned? Let us know in the comments section below...