Are Vauxhall’s Reliable? An Unbiased Look at the British Brand

We take a look at how reliable Vauxhall's are, and how this competes with their rivals...

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;

  • Bulbs
  • Cambelt
  • Brake fluid
  • Brakes pads
  • Wiper blades
preparing to take your car on holiday

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. 

Vauxhall Corsa

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.

Red Vauxhall Astra driving on the road

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.

purple Fiat 500 off road with grass in the background

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.

Red Honda CR-V on the road turning a corner in the countryside

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; 

What are the most unreliable Vauxhall cars?

And, the most unreliable;

 

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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Holly Martin

Content Co-ordinator at OSV Ltd
Holly enjoys: Reading, music and spending time with friends.

Within a week of Holly starting work at OSV she became an indispensable part of the marketing team. She's very intuitive and gets on with the whole office effortlessly.
Holly Martin

6 Comments

  • Susan| 29th July 2019 at 10:34 pm Reply

    I have a 2015 astra petrol 1.6
    It’s done 44k
    Should the engine pink alot,rattle when going up hills?
    It’s had plugs changed
    Regular service at dealer

    • Rachel Richardson| 1st August 2019 at 9:17 am Reply

      Hi Susan,

      Thank you for your comment. Sorry, we are not vehicle mechanics and we would recommend you look at owner forums to find out if others have experienced the same issue.

  • dirk bruere| 28th June 2019 at 10:39 am Reply

    I have a Vauxhall Meriva. The worst car I have ever owned. Bought it with 33,000 miles on the clock and it now has 70,000. In that period I have had to have a new engine, gearbox, clutch, radiator and alternator fitted at different times. Now the electrics are playing up. A total heap of crap. I will never touch anything from Vauxhall again.

    • Rachel Richardson| 28th June 2019 at 11:09 am Reply

      Hi Dirk,
      Thank you for your comment. Having looked at the reliability data for that particular model I can see that though they are considered relatively dependable when new, their reliability starts to drop after three years. Other vehicles by the same manufacturer fare much better when they are older, such as the Corsa.

      I am sure that others will find your comment helpful if they are looking to purchase an older Meriva.

  • John| 26th June 2019 at 1:35 pm Reply

    I recently bought a Vauxhall Astra (2013)Turbo 1.4L. It has 40000 miles. Should I rely on it?

    • Rachel Richardson| 26th June 2019 at 2:59 pm Reply

      Hi John,
      As we don’t know the history of the vehicle this is not something we are able to answer definitively. Vauxhall Astras have been graded as ‘average’ by Which? in their most recent reliability report, so they aren’t the best, but they certainly aren’t the worst either.
      We wish you the best of luck with your Vauxhall.

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