2016 – Cars – Reliability Ratings

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Compare car manufacturing brands using our customer satisfaction ratings comparison of the reliability of their cars.


The most reliable cars in Australia


There’s no better feeling than driving off in your brand new set of wheels. But equally there’s no worse feeling than when your car breaks down by the side of the road – particularly if it’s not the first time. No vehicle is immune to faults and of course the condition of it will largely depend on how well you maintain it. But before making any big decisions about which car to buy, it’s a good idea to seek the opinion of other motorists, because some cars may be more prone to breakdowns than others.

Canstar Blue aims to arm you with as much knowledge as possible and our survey of more than 2,300 Australian motorists – who have purchased a new car from a dealership in the last three years – found that five out of 15 manufacturers achieved five-star ratings for vehicle reliability. They were: Kia, Mercedes, Suzuki, Toyota and Volkswagen. The remaining 10 brands all earned four-star reviews for reliability.

A car that is considered reliable is one that doesn’t break down very often, while an unreliable car is one that experiences more than its fair share of unscheduled trips to the garage. So what could you, the driver, do to improve the reliability of your vehicle? Some jobs are best left to an expert, but a little basic care from you could go a long way to improving your car’s performance and reducing the chances of breakdowns. Here are a few tips.

  • Regularly check the oil level: It’s easy to leave this simple maintenance job for months at a time – or never do it at all. But it’s important to ensure your car is topped up with new oil every three months or so.
  • Check the tyre pressure: Regular tyre pressure checks are incredibly important, from a maintenance perspective, but also with safety in mind. You can never check your tyre pressure enough, but it’s a good idea to do it at least every few weeks.
  • Check the brake fluid: You should check the brake fluid every six months or so. Failure to top-up the fluid could result in your brakes seizing up.
  • Inspect the exhaust system: Check the exhaust system for leaks and damage. If there is an unusual noise, consult a mechanic immediately.

Every vehicle owner should expect the occasional trip to their local mechanic, but it’s those unplanned breakdowns that really frustrate motorists. The good news from our results is that there are five manufacturers that are turning out particularly reliable vehicles, so hopefully you’ll be in safe hands.

To find out how these five brands performed on overall customer satisfaction in a direct comparison against other leading manufacturers, check out our report. We hope that our ratings are helpful at the start of your car-buying journey.

Frequently asked questions

Canstar Blue commissioned Colmar Brunton to survey 9,000 Australian consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have bought a brand new car from a dealership in the last three years – in this case, 2,354 people.

Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.

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