Apart from readers telling me their experiences, the best way to gauge the reliability of any motor is by reading the actual statistics based on breakdowns.
These don’t come along too often, because satisfaction surveys are rather complex affairs. That’s why I’ve been looking at Warrantywise, which has come up with a Reliability Index using its extended warranty data. This incorporates a number of factors, such as mileage and frequency of claims, to give each manufacturer a score out of 100.
So, what are the scores on the car doors? Well, in at number 10 is Renault – which doesn’t make it a marque to avoid, because about 15 others didn’t even make it that high. Mind you, the average repair cost is still a whopping £574.76.
Never mind, I think a Mégane Coupé is worth the risk. For a start, you don’t see many on the streets, and it’s a pretty little thing. For just £1490, I can bag myself a 2010 1.6 VVTi with 124k miles on the clock from a dealer. It has two previous owners and a year’s MOT, plus I-Music spec means it has an MP3 player input, a CD player, Bluetooth and steering wheel stereo controls.
In ninth is Fiat, another firm never blessed with a reputation for holding it together once the warranty has run out. Its average repair is £529.91, but I can still justify tracking down a Stilo 1.9 Multijet Sporting. Here’s another super-rare lukewarm hatchback to enjoy. I saw a 2007 car with 63k miles and every single expenditure and service accounted for at just £1590.
Skipping over Kia in eighth, we find in seventh, by looking hard enough, the titchy Smart cars. These cost an average of £385.16 to fix, which seems almost reasonable. Small cars are great, but I like the option of rear seats and even rear doors sometimes. A Forfour, then. Rather than go for a cheap option, I’m prepared to shell out £2750 to get a dose of power from a 2006 1.5 Brabus in black with 77k miles.
After Hyundai in sixth we find, plumb in the middle of the reliability chart, Renault again. Or rather its Romanian division, which is better known as Dacia. The average repair cost £511.42, if you’re wondering.
I find it difficult to work up any enthusiasm for these cars. If pushed, though, I will take an unfashionable estate in the shape of the Logan MCV. At least it will be useful, and it won’t be too uncomfortable if I go for fancy Laureate trim. I found a 2015 0.9 TCe model with 39k miles for just £5800.