I think I may well be one of those influencer people.
Not sure how that happened, but David read something I wrote a few years back: ‘A car that hates garages, please’. He was ‘influenced’ enough to go and test drive a Toyota Auris diesel estate and Ssangyong Tivoli diesel. The Tivoli was three years old with 15,000 miles and the Auris three and a half years old with 39,000 miles.
Don’t know the year, but both were the same price: around £7900. David liked the larger boot space and roof bars of the Auris, but overall he found that the Tivoli was nicer to drive and had a more comfortable cabin with more features. It also had reasonable boot space for his requirements. Here is the thing, though: David wasn’t just weighing up all the practical stuff and drivability. It was also the relative reliability. He knew the Toyota will run forever, provided it is looked after, but what about the Ssangyong?
Personally, I rather like them. I have driven some and thought they were great. The warranty is spectacular and they don’t seem to break down very much at all. This is the sort of stuff that used car buyers want to know. Indeed, asking owners isn’t always the best way of taking the temperature of the car market because it can be full of biases. However, it is good to see that the annual What Car? Reliability Survey confirms a few prejudices. Such as buy Japanese, or at the very least Far Eastern, for dependability.
Indeed, hybrid cars from Japanese brands topped the reliability charts, with the Lexus CT (2011 onwards) and the hybrid Toyota Yaris (2012 onwards) racking up an impressive 100% reliability rating from owners. That means there were no reported faults over the previous 12 months. This is reassuring, not least because the added complication of two powerplants does not cause an issue, since it is Japanese and specifically a Toyota, Lexus being its luxury brand. However, I did come across an owner whose Lexus 400h had a failed inverter and that put me off a bit as a replacement was a substantial four-figure sum.
Never mind, I’d buy a hybrid with a big fat warranty. I would go for a 2011 Auris in T4 trim with 80k miles at a dealer for a reasonable £6990. That’s a Toyota dealer price, but you have a year’s cover. Then again, a 2016 Suzuki Baleno 1.2 Dualjet with 26k miles is £7499 from a Suzuki dealer. It’s not that pretty, but few cars today are, and that is a good-value way to get 70mpg and all sorts of access to congestion zones.