Best car manufacturers 2021

Which brands offer the best overall ownership experience? We consult the results of our 2021 Driver Power survey

The 2021 Driver Power survey’s results are in, answering your questions about which are the best car manufacturers? Now in its 20th year, our survey has been updated to gather a detailed insight into the ownership experience from each brand, and we’ve pulled the data together to create a list of the best in the business.

New for 2021 is an increased focus on in-car technology, with more buyers than ever seeking a slick, intuitive infotainment system and driver amenities to make every day driving more comfortable and less taxing. There’s also an improved assessment for value for money, with our data processing more accurate than ever too.

Read on to see which manufacturers made it to our top ten list, and for a table of the top 29.

Top 10 best manufacturers 2021

1. Porsche – 93.20%

Average share of owners who had faults with their cars: 14.10%

Porsche might be more associated with winning evo group tests, but this year’s Driver Power survey has also found it to be the best overall car manufacturer in the UK market according to customers that have actually put their own money down. Unlike some brands, Porsche continues to offer its customers exactly the sort of daily driver they expect that more than justify their high prices. Coming top in six of the 10 categories in our survey, including technology and performance, no other manufacturer came close.

2. Kia – 90.14%

Average share of owners who had faults with their cars: 19.63%

Kia received impressive scores across all areas, highlighted by strong build quality and reliability. Models such as the V6-powered Stinger GT S appeal to performance-minded customers, while exciting new models like the all-electric EV6 GT also prove the brand’s on the cutting edge, yielding results from its extensive investment in research and development. It also appeals to a more mainstream audience too, with its more budget models offering excellent value for money and impressive perceived quality.

3. Tesla – 89.39%

Average share of owners who had faults with their cars: 42.59%

The fault percentage has seen quite a rise with this entry, but Tesla’s class-leading electric powertrains, infotainment systems and low running costs have helped it reach number 3 in our list. In Performance trim, the highly successful Model 3 is rounded and capable BEV, with strong everyday useability and safety features likely helping the brand score highly. Of course,Tesla owners are also somewhat evangelical in their adoption of the image they portray, but it has come off the back of real investment and blue-sky thinking.

4. Mazda – 89.38%

Average share of owners who had faults with their cars: 34.58%

Mazda’s current lineup was praised for design and build quality, with many participants speaking highly of the driving experience too. Though a more potent variant wouldn’t go amiss for us, the recent Mazda 3 thoroughly impressed when we got behind the wheel, and the results of the survey concur. Value for money helped lift it up the rankings, with no manufacturer scoring higher for user-friendliness of controls.

5. Toyota – 88.00%

Average share of owners who had faults with their cars: 15.27%

Toyota came in at number five, primarily due to the impressive economy of many of its models due to the widespread use of hybrid-assisted powertrains. Build quality, reliability and ergonomics were also strong points, and of course, it’s the company behind the excellent GR Yaris. What’s not to like?

6. Honda – 87.54%

Average share of owners who had faults with their cars: 14.44%

Honda didn’t score particularly highly in any category, but was impressively consistent across the board. Practicality is one area the brand excels in though, with boot capacity, flexible seating and cabin storage all rated highly by its owners. From our experience in the Fk8 Civic Type R, they also know a thing or two about driving dynamics… 

7. Jaguar – 87.52%

Average share of owners who had faults with their cars: 30.22%

Coming ahead of its arch rivals, BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar achieved seventh place with its strong results in categories including driving experience and ride quality. Marks for reliability could be better, but many owners report good build quality, safety features and styling too. 

8. Mitsubishi – 87.38%

Average share of owners who had faults with their cars: 12.86%

Mitsubishi has officially exited the UK market, but its place in the top ten is a reflection on the small, but passionate customer base it’s leaving behind. Though the days of evo-centric Mitsubishis are long gone, its plug-in offerings continue to be cheap to run, practical and reliable, with only 12.86% reporting faults. 

9. Volvo – 87.34%

Average share of owners who had faults with their cars: 20.49%

Despite their luxury status, Volvo scored highly for its cheap servicing, with interior quality and practicality also high points for the Swedish marque. As you’d expect, its safety features also earned it plenty of points, with interior technology and sound systems said to be top notch. 

10. Lexus – 87.11%

Average share of owners who had faults with their cars: 9.79%

Lexus made it onto the top ten with its excellent build quality, refinement and safety. It also achieved the lowest fault rate by quite some margin of any brand in the top ten, with fit and finish and material choice ranking well. This is reflected in its less common but more interesting model lines, with high-priced models like the LC500 proving to be a hit with buyers thanks to industry-leading build quality and superb attention to detail.

Best car manufacturers: 1-29

1Porsche93.20%
2Kia90.14%
3Tesla89.39%
4Mazda89.38%
5Toyota88.00%
6Honda87.54%
7Jaguar87.52%
8Mitsubishi87.38%
9Volvo87.37%
10Lexus87.11%
11Peugeot86.90%
12Skoda86.68%
13Mercedes86.59%
14Suzuki86.31%
15SEAT86.24%
16Hyundai86.15%
17Volkswagen85.97%
18Nissan85.71%
19MINI85.54%
20Renault85.34%
21BMW85.29%
22Land Rover84.99%
23Audi84.91%
24Vauxhall84.61%
25Ford84.42%
26Fiat84.41%
27Dacia83.94%
28Citroen83.76%
29MG83.62%

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