Proton beats British cars for reliability

Terri Judd
Thursday 03 June 1999 00:02 BST

THE MUCH-MOCKED Proton car has had the last laugh, triumphing over its more glamorous counterparts in a survey of reliability.

The modest Malaysian motor may be no BMW or Mercedes but it is less likely to develop a fault than its expensive rivals.

It was one of four makes - with Honda, Mazda and Toyota - rated least likely to develop a fault or break down by the Consumers' Association. The figures released today show some of the best-selling makes were most prone to problems. Ford, Vauxhall and Rover were "poor", as were Citroen, Fiat, Land Rover and Renault. "A six to eight-year-old Honda was more reliable than a one to two-year-old Rover," said Which? Car editor Andrew McIlwraith."The Proton is a budget car and some people might be surprised to learn it is more reliable than a Mercedes-Benz," he added. The survey of 28,000 CA members also asked drivers if they would recommend their car to a friend.

Again, leading makers fared badly, with Ford, Vauxhall, Citroen and Rover in the bottom four places in a list of 32 companies.

BMW and Mercedes-Benz owners were obviously willing to overlook a few faults. The two makes, despite being rated only average for reliability, would be recommended by 83 per cent of those who drive them - the same figure as Skoda drivers.

The big-name companies' individual models did not go down to well with CA members. The Vauxhall Vectra, Rover 200 and 400 and Ford Escort were all in the "least-liked" list.

Which? also listed its own "best-buy" vehicles. The best super-minis were the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta, while the best small family cars were the Volkswagen Golf and Toyota Corolla. Toyota also took the large family car accolade for its Avensis.

The Runners


Proton (80)

Toyota (79)

Honda (78)

Mazda (77)


Land Rover (60)

Renault (59)

Fiat (54)

Ford (53)

Vauxhall (50)

Citroen (48)

Rover (47)

(Percentages in brackets show proportion which would recommend their make to a friend)

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