French Cars Lack Va Va Voom

Posted on: 04 July 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Road-test ratings are all very well, but if you want to find out which cars are a delight, and which are hard work, there’s no substitute for asking real owners their views.

A good car can grow to become a member of the family.

It’s a great feeling, knowing it will start in the depths of winter, and keep you cool in the August bank-holiday traffic.

At the other end of the scale is a car you just can’t get on with – maybe it’s unreliable, uncomfortable, noisy, or all three.

Top Five

1) Porsche Boxster (2004 on), 98%. “Fabulous!” “Great looks, wonderful to drive.”

2) Range Rover Sport (2005 on), 98%. “A stunning car – there is nothing I don’t like about it.

3) Toyota Yaris Verso (2000-2005), 97%. “The best we’ve ever had. Sorry they’re not made any more.”

4) Honda S2000 (1999 on), 97%. "Beautiful. Superb drive. Responsive engine, comfortable cabin, reliable."

5) Mazda MX-5 (2005 on), 97%. "Fun to drive with great reliability."

But, before you go out and buy a car, how do you know which it will turn out to be?

That’s where Which? Car comes in, with it's customer score questionaire. To calculate this, Which? look at the replies to both the ‘recommend to a friend’ and ‘customer satisfaction’ questions from their surveys, weighting the scores appropriately to take account of all the answers, whether positive or negative.

Finally, they produce the customer score, and it’s this rating, expressed as a percentage, that tells you how happy (or otherwise) owners are with their cars – the higher the rating, the happier the owners.

Owners replied for nearly 90,000 cars this year, making it the biggest and most detailed owners’ survey in the UK.

From this, Which? name the best and worst cars in the guide – and the best and worst makers.

Unsurprisingly, seven of the top ten places go to Japanese vehicles but it’s the Porsche Boxster that takes the top crown.

Bottom Five

215) Renault Scenic (1997-2003), 67%. “Radio only works after the engine is warm.”

216) Fiat Punto (1999-2005), 65%. “Drives like a tin can, awesomely plastic.”

217) Mercedes A-class (1998-2004), 65%. “Terrible ride for a Mercedes”.

218) Renault Laguna (2001-2007), 64%. “Unreliable bag of spanners.”

219) Renault Espace (2003 on), 61%. “A total waste of money.”

The Boxster scored 98% on the motoring magazine’s survey while at the bottom of the table; French cars are highly unpopular with six out of the bottom ten in the survey being Gallic.

Renault scores an unenviable hat-trick with three cars in the bottom five - the wooden spoon going to the Renault Espace.

Peugeot hasn’t faired much better, with two cars in the bottom ten, and there’s one Citroen in there too.

Which? Car is free to Which? members and is now on sale exclusively at Sainsbury’s for £3.99.

Is your car included in the Which? survey? What car do you drive? Would you recommend it to a friend? Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below. Alternatively, share your thoughts in the 50connect forums.

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