Fleet News

BMW remains UK's most reliable car brand; A4 takes model top spot

car reliability table

Civic slipping down the table leaves German cars occupying the top six places, reports Matt de Prez

The Audi A4 has retained its crown as the FN50’s most reliable car for the second year running, achieving the lowest number of mechanical breakdowns and warranty repairs among the UK’s 50 largest leasing companies.

It rose to victory last year – where it topped the charts for the first time – fending off its keenest rival, the BMW 3 Series, although BMW remains the UK's most reliable car maufacturer.

In total, 80 models received a ranking by leasing companies in the 2020 listing.

Having launched in 2015, the A4 received a mild-facelift last year – bringing cleaner mild-hybrid engines and revised infotainment.

An all-new 3 Series launched in the same year, however, beating the A4 in the 2020 Fleet News Awards to win both the Best Premium Car and Best New Company Car trophies.

Whether the new model will enable the brand to reclaim its position at the top of the FN50, as it did between 2015-2017, remains to be seen.

Comparing this year’s figures with the previous shows a major move for the Honda Civic. It topped the chart in 2018 before slipping to fifth place last year. In 2020, the Civic has dropped again and now sits in seventh position.

Golf’s strong performance

It means the top six is populated entirely by German cars this year, with third place occupied by the Volkswagen Golf.

It’s a strong performance for the model, which is the best-selling fleet car in the UK and was replaced by an all-new model earlier this year.

The Golf pushed BMW’s 5 Series down to equal fifth place with the Audi A3 – also replaced by an all-new model this year – which climbs the chart from 11th and makes Audi and BMW the only brands to have two cars in the top five.

Mercedes-Benz enters the table in fourth place, with its C-Class model ranking in the top 10 for the first time since 2016.

It’s second entrant, the E-Class, has also climbed the table from ninth to eighth place this year – having placed 13th in 2018 – a good result that reflects the saturation of the newer generation car among leasing company fleets since it launched in 2016.

Hyundai makes an appearance in equal ninth position, with the i30 giving the brand a spot in the top 10 list for the first time.

Rounding off the top 10 is the ageing, but the nonetheless exceedingly popular, Nissan Qashqai.

It ties with the i30 in ninth place after a one-year hiatus and is the only model representing the crossover segment in this year’s top 10.

Both the Volkswagen Passat and Škoda Octavia dropped out of the table this year, placing 12th and 15th respectively. 

The Audi A1 (23rd), Toyota Yaris (40th), Toyota CH-R (28th), Kia Sportage (33rd) and Ford Focus (16th) have all slipped out of the top 15 this year, although it should be noted that the margins between many of the models are very small.

While BMW failed to top the reliability ranking with its 3 Series, and the 5 Series lost ground this year, it still retained its title as the Most Reliable Manufacturer overall.

The Munich giant remains undefeated for six years.

Leasing companies ranked 27 models this year. Audi has held on to its number two spot this year with a strong performance from its A4 and A3 models, while Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen sit third and fourth, respectively. 

Honda has dropped from fifth to eight place this year, while Toyota – which saw improved positions for the Aygo (17th) and Prius (23rd) versus 2019 – has crept up one position to secure the final place in the top five.

Hyundai places sixth, while Volvo shoots up the table, occupying its highest ever position: seventh.

Volvo’s performance reflects its dramatic growth in the fleet sector, with strong year-on-year increases in registrations growing the presence of its vehicles on FN50 fleets.

Seat takes ninth place and is the VW Group’s third most-reliable brand, according to the FN50 survey.

Mitsubishi climbs two places, meanwhile, and occupies 10th position.

Kia drops out of the top 10 to 13th, having placed ninth in 2019 with the Ceed now its top rated model, in 18th place. Equally, Ford has dropped from 10th to 14th and has no cars in the top 15 reliability list (although Focus just misses out in 16th place).

Renault turning a corner

Renault may be happier, appearing in the top 15 for the first time.

The French brand appears to be turning a corner, with the Captur rising to 12th and both Mégane and Kadjar receiving a ranking.

This year’s newcomers mean that Mini (16th) and Vauxhall (19th) have been pushed from the top 15 list altogether.

How are models/brands ranked?

Each FN50 leasing company provides its top 10 most reliable models and most reliable brands and the ranking is based on 10 points for first place, nine for second and so on.

Some leasing companies also provide reliability data to add robustness to the survey responses.

FN50 2020 special report

Analysis and insight into the UK's contract hire and leasing industry

Read now

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