Japanese cars are still the most reliable

If you want a reliable used car, buy a Japanese one, according to new research.Japan's manufacturers took seven of the top 10 places in a reliability survey based, while the 10 least reliable cars were all European.

Honda, which is Japanese, topped the poll by What Car? and insurance expert Warranty Direct, which looked at the performance of 50,0000 vehicles aged three to 10 years old.Only 7 per cent of Honda cars required repairs in a 12-month period, Subaru, Mitsuibishi, and Lexus, all Japanese, were the next best.

Toyota was fifth, despite having to recall millions of cars in the last year.Other brands in the top 10 were Mazda (Japanese), Nissan (Japanese) and Kia (South Korea).

Only German-owned Skoda and MINI, which is made in Britain, broke the Asian trend, ranked eighth and 10th respectively.

British marque, Land Rover, proved to be the least reliable manufacturer of the 32 in the study, with 53 per cent going wrong, while Alfa Romeo and Renault were also among the most likely to break down.

Among the other "least reliable" marques were Saab, MG, Vauxhall, Peugeot, Audi, Rover and BMW - all European.

Although sports cars such as Porsche and Mazda were in the middle of the reliability stakes, they cost more to put right when they did go wrong: on average £717 for a Porsche and £481 for an Mazda.

What Car added that a consolation for Renault owners was that although they "may break down a lot, you will only have to fork out an average £226.54 each time, the lowest in the report."

Many of the models analysed have since been replaced.

Warranty Direct managing director, Duncan McClure Fisher, said: "Car manufacturers are constantly making great strides in building more reliable vehicles, so this survey is not a reflection on new cars coming out now – we won't see hard data on those vehicles for three or four years."

What Car, a motoring magazine, pointed out that while undeniably more dependable, Japanese cars were not without their problems. Hondas suffer the highest percentage of air conditioning faults, afflicting one in 10 vehicles, as well as the highest proportion of transmission woes at 15 per cent.

Subarus suffer the highest failure rate for axle and suspension issues, 50 per cent , and generate more brake problems than any other make, with 16 per cent of cars reporting a problem.

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