Some of the best-known new car models, including the Fiat 500 and MG ZS, have come bottom of the rankings for customer scores, according to the annual Which? car survey.
The consumer champion’s annual survey, based on feedback from over 50,000 drivers, ranked nearly 60,000 individual cars to establish the best and worst new cars to buy in the eyes of UK motorists.
Each car was given a customer score out of 100, which is made up of the owner’s satisfaction with their car and the likelihood they would recommend buying it to others.
The Toyota RAV4 plug-in hybrid took pole position for owner satisfaction in the consumer champion’s analysis. The Japanese SUV model, described by one driver as ‘relaxing and comfortable to drive, with very good acceleration’, raced to a mighty customer score of 95 per cent.
The car was also described as ‘exceptionally economical’ – an increasingly attractive trait in a car at a time when fuel prices have increased in price compared to a few years ago.
In second place was Skoda’s Superb Estate (2015), which received an impressive customer score of 93 per cent. The model’s typical average price is just shy of £30,000 – a potentially more affordable option for families than the RAV4, which typically retails at around £42,500.
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Overall, Asian manufacturers led the way when it came to customer score, with either Japanese or South Korean models making up the rest of the top five. The Honda Jazz Crosstar (2020-), Kia EV6 (2021-) and Mazda MX-5 convertible (2015-) all received customer scores of 92 per cent.
The Jazz Crosstar, which is a full hybrid model, is the cheapest of the electrified cars in the top five, typically costing £27,500.
The KIA EV6 is the only fully electric model in the top five. At around £45,000 it is the most expensive model of the top five scoring cars in the survey.
Finishing in last place in the consumer champion’s survey was the Alpine A110, which received a flood of negative reviews. Described as ‘quite annoying to drive’ by one motorist and a car that ‘breaks down a lot’ by another, the model could only muster a customer score of 60 per cent.
Among the least satisfying cars was the MG ZS (2018-), which was the fifth most popular car in September 2023, according to sales figures from industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. The MG received a customer score of 68 per cent.
The Fiat 500 (2008-), Audi A3 Saloon (2020-) and Citroen C3 (2017-) also finished in the bottom five, posting customer scores of 70 per cent, 71 per cent and 74 per cent, respectively.
The continued popularity of electrified vehicles highlights the need for the government and motor industry to work together to ensure the transition to these types of vehicles is as smooth as possible for consumers.
That means ensuring infrastructure, such as public charging networks, are easy to use and reliable, while other barriers such as high upfront costs when purchasing an electric vehicle are addressed.
Natalie Hitchins, Which? Head of Home Products and Services, said: “It’s no coincidence that the most satisfying cars to drive come from brands with a consistently high reputation for reliability.
“Like last year, Asian manufacturers lead the way over their European counterparts, with well-known models from the likes of Citroen, Fiat and Audi languishing towards the bottom of the table.
“Our research also found that drivers are enthusiastic about cars that are at least partially electrified. The government and industry must do everything in their power to make the transition to those models as smooth as possible.”