Are Vauxhall’s Reliable? An Unbiased Look at the British Brand
Vauxhall are synonymous with British industry. It’s one of the oldest established vehicle manufacturers in Great Britain, and something us Brits are very proud of.
However, there is one thing that tends to be overlooked when celebrating Vauxhall, and that’s its reliability.
How reliable are Vauxhall cars?
In this article, we look at whether Vauxhall’s are dependable and see how this measures up to its biggest rivals.
Are Vauxhall’s Reliable?
Vauxhall make pretty reliable cars, yes. They came fourth in the Telegraph’s top 20 brands for reliability, with 90 problems per 100 vehicles. They came ninth last year with 98 problems per 100 vehicles, so not only have they done extremely well, they are also improving.
Whatcar have rated the Vauxhall Astra as “better than class average” for reliability. This includes for things such as;
- Brake fluid
- Brakes pads
- Wiper blades
It is also hugely above average in terms of the electrics, with them needing to be repaired every 70,000 miles or so (on average), compared to the class average of 38,000 miles.
How reliable is the Vauxhall Astra?
Reliability Index rank the Astra as average, with a reliability index of 126. This is slightly below the UK average of 118, but only slightly. It also puts the average cost of repair at £304.58. WhatCar? rank the Astra as above industry average for bulbs, cambelt, air-conditioning and brake pads.
The Vauxhall Corsa, on the other hand, is above average according to Reliability Index, with a reliability score of 98. The average cost of repair is higher though, at £318.98. Whatcar also ranked the Corsa as better than class average, with some parts not needing replacing until 95,000 miles on average.
Is the Insignia reliable?
However, the Insignia doesn’t fare quite as well. It has a reliability score of 141, which is quite a bit below the UK average. It also has the highest repair costs at £340.15. Whatcar also rank the Insignia at the lower end of the scale, putting it at below class average for a lot of things including brake pads and brake fluid.
Is the Vauxhall Zafira unreliable?
You may remember a few years ago that there were reports that some Vauxhall Zafiras were catching fire. All of these cars were recalled, but it naturally damaged their dependability. Other than the fact that the cars were recalled due to the fact that they caught fire, Vauxhall Zafira’s aren’t the most reliable cars. ReliabilityIndex have given the model a reliability index of 158. The main problems appear to be with the engine, accounting for 29.35% of all problems. So, the fires didn’t help it, but the model was already pretty unreliable anyway.
So there’s quite a mixed bag in terms of reliability. Where the Corsa and the Astra are considered above average in terms of their dependability, the Insignia comes in at below average.
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Why are Vauxhall reliable?
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not always the luxury brands that are the most reliable. In fact, that often isn’t the case.
Instead, it’s the more affordable brands that tend to be the most reliable. There are a few reasons for this. One of which is that more affordable cars, such as the Corsa and the Astra, are less likely to have as much advanced technology. That’s not to say that they are completely devoid of tech, if you compare this to more premium brands and models, the technology isn’t as advanced. This technology can, and quite often does, fail. This brings the overall reliability of a car down. So in city cars like the Corsa, this isn’t usually a problem.
This also explains why the Insignia is considered unreliable. The Insignia is Vauxhall’s more executive car, meaning that the technology could be more advanced and therefore more unreliable. However, as these glitches are ironed out, the reliability should increase. Also, something that does bring the reliability score down is the average cost of a repair. Luxury cars cost more to repair because their parts are harder to source and are expensive when they are. Small, affordable cars have more common parts and are therefore cheaper to source.
And, Vauxhall have been making their Corsa’s for years. They know how to make sure their best selling car is reliable. So there’s that too.
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Are surveys reliable?
Some might be wondering whether surveys themselves are accurate.
We use surveys and things such as Reliability Index as a way to measure reliability because the data they gather is from either the people that drive the car, or places such as WarrantyDirect. WarrantyDirect provide extended warranties for a range of makes and models. They gather their data from whenever someone makes a claim. So they can gather a lot of data on the make and model as well as the most common problems that make and model face.
It is the most reliable way of getting information on how dependable a car is. After all, the information comes from those who drive the car and therefore they know how dependable it is.
One of the problems with surveys and reports is that they can’t necessarily measure the reliability of a new car. Not the long term reliability anyway. There is such a thing as predicted reliability and this is usually quite accurate. However, there is no real way of knowing how dependable a car is until a few years down the line.
All in all, consumer surveys and reports are a very good way of knowing how reliable a car is.
Vauxhall vs. Honda vs. Fiat
Vauxhall are famed for their small city cars and in such a saturated market, reliability is vital. So how does Vauxhall compare to two of its rivals, Honda and Fiat?
Unfortunately, there aren’t many brands that can stand up against Honda when it comes to reliability. Except perhaps Toyota. Honda have repeatedly been at the top of the reliability tables by a range of different companies. A survey by WhatCar and WarrantyDirect found that Honda was top with a reliability index of 41. Honda’s success in this report has been put down to their low failure rates and the fact that they are cheap to fix when they do go wrong.
Interestingly, Vauxhall don’t perform particularly well in this report. They come in about average at 19 out of 37, with a reliability index of 123. This is lower than Fiat, who came 14th with a reliability index of 98.
In the Telegraph report that put Vauxhall fourth for reliability, Fiat have come a pretty impressive 12th. They have 112 problems per 100 vehicles. Surprisingly, Honda come off worse in this case, coming in 15th with 116 problems per 100 vehicles. Quite the contrast from being crowned reliability King in the WhatCar survey. So, which one is more reliable? For once, we don’t have a definitive answer. It’s safe to say that all of these cars are pretty reliable, Honda have topped reports before but have also come lower down the table. Vauxhall and Fiat have both been in similar positions. We can quite happily tell you that you have the choice of the three when it comes to reliability. Honda does slip in front a little bit, but if you are swaying towards Vauxhall or Fiat, you won’t be much worse off.
What are the most reliable Vauxhall cars?
The most dependable Vauxhall models are;
- Vauxhall Corsa
- Vauxhall Astra
- Vauxhall Meriva
What are the most unreliable Vauxhall cars?
And, the most unreliable;
- Vauxhall Insignia
- Vauxhall Zafira
- Vauxhall Vectra
In conclusion, Vauxhall are solidly reliable. While they aren’t the most dependable car brand out there, there is no reason to be concerned about the longevity if you own one or are thinking of owning one. Sitting comfortably just above average in most tables, the likes of the Corsa and the Astra are your best bet for the most reliable Vauxhall. They also don’t do badly when put up against their competitors.
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Has anyone used an electronic ” Chip ” that plugs in under the dashboard which is supposed to improve the efficiency of the engine and so improve
fuel economy ?
With thanks .
Hi there Den, thank you for your query. Before installing any electronic ‘chip’ to improve fuel efficiency, we would advise checking with your vehicle supplier to check first that it doesn’t affect your warranty, as this could void your warranty on your vehicle.
I bought a 2020 Corsa with 8000 miles on the clock which is still under warranty big mistake the selling dealer who was a subsidiary of a Vauxhall main dealer tried to blame me for a paint blemish under the bonnet and refused to put it right they kept the car to do a recall on it which had been done by another dealer previously so I assume Vauxhall were charged twice how the second dealer could up grade an up grade I don’t know then I took it to FRF Vauxhall Swansea where they carried out the wrong Service despite the booking clerk telling me he had booked it in for the correct service on returning to the dealership for the correct service Two days and Fourty miles later the car had to be recovered by FRF with a serious brake blued leak from a rear Caliper only to find the brake fluid bottle had been brimmed way over the Maximum mark and there were two dents in each front door
Hi lve owned 4 Vauxhall cars viva,astra,carlton,now Meriva during my driving travels & found there comfortable mostly reliable had an expensive experience for may thousands of miles & with my Meriva lt was 5years old had power steering go & air-conditioning go to cost 2k but 7years on lts like driving a new car still my next car will be Vauxhall May be a Mokka spoiled for choice having happy days with Vauxhall cars
Hello Keith, thank you so much for sharing your honest experience with your Vauxhall vehicles. This will be very beneficial for our readers when deciding which vehicle to buy.
The U.S Company GM designed the Ecotec engine which is their worst engines. Avoid models fitted with it. GM now left Europe after losses, they left behind a mess French Pegoet Citroen own Vauxhall. Dont expect improvements.
Hi i have and only will buy Vauxhall. I have been driving a vectra 2001 since new. I do my own services [ I am not a mechanic] and I do not work for Vauxhall… i have never had any problems with this car since new.. it is so reliable I bought another vectra 2004 and again never had problems..
apart from your normal were and tear, Vauxhall should be proud of the cars they build because they are built to last.. i remember buying a part for my car from a scrap yard in Derby, when the part arrived it looked brand new. i phoned and asked what year of car did it come of . it was a 2004 vectra.. do you know what the difference was.. they do not use the same salt on their roads as we do in Scotland david