Most and least reliable luxury cars - Volvo S90

14 Jan 2022 12:40

If you’re in the market for a luxury car, chances are that your time’s worth far more than is the case for most. As such, breakdowns can prove catastrophic to your schedule, and – regardless of whether you have to pay for the repairs – very costly.

Moreover, luxury cars tend to come with an abundance of technology, giving them more potential points of failure than cheaper models. So, how do you know which get the tech right, and which harbour nasty glitches that are ready to strike at a moment’s notice?

That’s where the annual What Car? Reliability Survey, conducted in association with MotorEasy, comes in. We asked more than 16,000 readers if their cars went wrong in 2021, and, if they did, how severe the fault was and how much they had to pay for repairs.

On the whole, luxury cars were one of the least reliable types of car you could buy, second only to luxury SUVs. However, that doesn’t tell the full story, because some models motored along without giving their owners many troubles at all, while others were a bigger financial liability than a payday loan. Here, we’ve used that data to investigate the most and least reliable luxury cars aged up to five years old.

The 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey is now open. Tell us about your car for the chance to win a great prize in one of our monthly draws >>


The Most Reliable Luxury Cars

3. Mercedes E-Class diesel (2016-present

Reliability rating: 90.7%

The E220d diesel version of the Mercedes E-Class is our recommended model; it’s dependable as well as economical and practical. Of the examples we were told about, only 21% of diesel E Class’ went wrong over the past year, most often due to issues with the 12-volt battery, non-engine electrics or the infotainment system.

No cars broke down, and 32% were fixed on the same day that they were taken to a mechanic. Worryingly, though, 52% of owners had to wait more than a week for repairs, and 26% had to pay for work, with 5% of those being charged between £501 and £750.

Find a great cash or PCP finance deal on a Mercedes E-Class >>

Read our full Mercedes E-Class review >>


2. Volvo S90/V90 (2016-present)

Reliability rating: 92.6%

Effectively the same car underneath their saloon and estate bodies, the S90 and V90 were both impressively reliable over the past year. The infotainment system was the most problematic area, but there were also some faults with the bodywork and engine electrics, contributing to the overall fault rate of 24%.

The good news is that 84% of owners weren’t charged for repairs, and no cars broke down, making the S90 and V90 two of the more dependable luxury cars available. Volvo’s service departments struggled with some cars, though; 20% of them were stuck with mechanics for more than a week and 4% incurred bills of between £501 and £750. 

Find a great cash or PCP finance deal on a Volvo S90 or on a Volvo V90 >>

Read our full Volvo S90 review or our full Volvo V90 review >>


1. BMW 5 Series petrol (2017-present)

Reliability rating 96.9%

The BMW 5 Series has been our favourite luxury car for the past four years because it’s a great performer with a superb interior. Now we can add another plus point to our list: in petrol form, it’s the most dependable luxury car available. Only 16% of the cars we were told about went wrong – a very small proportion for this class. 

Furthermore, the non-engine electrics, brakes, and the engine were the only problem areas – a very short list compared with rival luxury models. This meant that 75% of 5 Series’ could still be driven despite any faults, and they were all repaired within a week at zero cost. Only the fact that breakdowns were serious,  requiring more than a week to repair in all cases, lets the side down.

2021 Volvo S90 T8 Recharge

(15)

Price Starting From

$60,050out of 10093

Get Local OffersAdd To CompareRead Review

Why We Picked It

Pros & Cons

Specs

2021 Genesis G80

(14)

Price Starting From

$47,700out of 10090

Get Local OffersAdd To CompareRead Review

Why We Picked It

Pros & Cons

Specs

2021 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

(129)

Price Starting From

$54,250out of 10086

Get Local OffersAdd To CompareRead Review

Why We Picked It

Pros & Cons

Specs

2021 Lexus LS

(48)

Price Starting From

$76,000out of 10083

NewUsedView Local DealsAdd To CompareRead Review

Why We Picked It

Pros & Cons

Specs

2021 Lexus ES

(21)

Price Starting From

$39,900out of 10085

NewUsedView Local DealsAdd To CompareRead Review

Why We Picked It

Pros & Cons

Specs

2022 BMW 7 Series

(25)

Price Starting From

$86,800out of 10084

Get Local OffersAdd To CompareRead Review

Why We Picked It

Pros & Cons

Specs

2020 Genesis G90

(25)

Price Starting From

$72,200out of 10085

Get Local OffersAdd To CompareRead Review

Why We Picked It

Pros & Cons

Specs

2021 Tesla Model S

(15)

Price Starting From

$81,190Not Yet RatedNewUsedView Local DealsAdd To Compare

Why We Picked It

Pros & Cons

Specs

2021 Cadillac CT5

(21)

Price Starting From

$36,995out of 10075

Get Local OffersAdd To CompareRead Review

Why We Picked It

Pros & Cons

Specs

Methodology

Our evaluation covers five areas:

1. Styling (20 points) An assessment of the car’s overall design, styling and build quality, inside and out. Looks and styling are largely subjective, but a reviewer can still make general observations that hold a degree of objectivity. If the vehicle’s interior trim panels are loose, the switchgear feels cheap and the fitment and gaps of the panels are big and inconsistent, the rating will reflect these observations.

2. Performance (20 points) An assessment of a car’s handling, braking, acceleration, ride quality and other qualitative performance measures like horsepower, torque, zero-to-60 times and top speed. Towing capability for trucks and SUVs also is a consideration. Reviews also thoroughly consider the manufacturer’s data when comparing similar vehicles within the competitive set. While driving, reviewers also look for a melding of attributes relative to the expectations set by the manufacturer about the specific vehicle and by consumer expectations of the segment.

3. Comfort and Convenience (20 points) An assessment of the car’s interior comfort, features and cargo space. Comfort can be subjective, but the reviewer also considers passenger space measurements compared with the segment and competitive vehicles. Cargo space also is based on measurements relative to segment and competitive set as well as functionality and usability. Features are objective and compared against the number and type of standard and available features in segment and competitive set. Price also is a consideration as is execution and efficacy. Extra points may be awarded for exceptional available or standard features or user-friendly infotainment setups. Cars may also lose points for substandard features, or for making certain features only available on pricey option packages of poor relative value.

4. Safety (20 points) The safety score is based on three elements: crash test results from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety; the number of standard advanced driver-assistance safety technology features, such as blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, emergency automatic braking, lane keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control; and visibility. Cars with official crash data gain points for a five-star overall rating by the NHTSA, or Top Safety Pick/Top Safety Pick+ status by the IIHS. Vehicles not yet rated by either agency will not lose points. 

5. Fuel Economy (20 points) The fuel economy score is based on the combined mpg estimate for the model’s base trim with an automatic transmission, according to the Environmental Protection Agency or the manufacturer if EPA has not confirmed data. Some models will get extra points for offering a hybrid or other more fuel-efficient powertrain within the model lineup. Scoring for pure electric vehicles will be based on range and charging time.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.