Is Nissan reliable? A balanced look at the brand

As of 2016, Nissan were the world’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer with sales of more than 275,000 all-electric vehicles as of December 2016.

The Japanese car manufacturer have been leading the way in electric vehicles, and their non-electric vehicles are still proving to be as popular as ever. Their reputation for making solid, affordable cars that drive well is as strong as ever.

But, are Nissan reliable?

In this article, we look at how reliable Nissan really are, and how this compares to their rivals.

Are Nissan reliable?

Japanese car manufacturers are often known for their ability to make some of the most dependable cars on the market, and Nissan appear to be no different.

Nissan have consistently been on reliability tables, with several models praised for their reliability.

In a recent Telegraph survey, Nissan came tenth in the most reliable cars of 2017, with 98 problems per 100 vehicles. Reliability Index have put Nissan ninth out of 32 brands for reliability, with a reliability index of 88. This is much better than the industry average (the lower the score, the better the reliability). Nissan have also put several Nissan models in their top 100 most reliable models, including the X-Trail, the Qashqai and the Micra. Cheatsheet also score Nissan highly, reporting that Nissan models can reach 195,593 miles before hitting zero value. This puts them sixth in their table. This study was carried about by Mojo Motors who used an algorithm to work out how many miles a vehicle could do before it lost all of its value. They looked at more than 500,000 models from between 1994 and 2014. So Nissan did pretty well in that study.

How reliable is the Nissan Micra?

If we look at individual models, Nissan score highly. The Nissan Micra has a reliability index of just 34, which is extremely reliable. The average repair costs are also quite low at £252.07 on average. AutoExpress readers have also expressed their satisfaction with how dependable the Micra model is. Self-reports have ranked them 4/5 and 5/5 for dependability. The Micra also scored above industry average across the board on WhatCar? scoring highly on electrics, brakes and bulbs. 

Nissan Note reliability

The Nissan Note is also very reliable, with a reliability index of 33. The average repair costs are also cheaper at £237.73. WhatCar? also scores it above industry average in every category, with some parts not needing replacing tens of thousands of miles above the industry average. 

Is the Nissan Qashqai reliable?

The Nissan Qashqai doesn’t score quite as well, but it does still score very well compared to many other models. It has a reliability rating of just 70. The repair costs are more expensive at £346 on average, but the Qashqai is also more expensive outright, which could be why the repair costs are more. AutoExpress readers appear to have good things to say about the Qashqai’s dependability, scoring it 5/5. Some did note, however, that it was pricier to get repaired and to get parts replaced. WhatCar? rank it as average, scoring it above industry average for the likes of pollen filters and wiper blades but below industry average bulbs and brake pads. 

However, quite unusually, Nissan were rated one of the most unreliable car brands of 2016 by AutoExpress and WarrantyDirect. They were awarded 89.05% for reliability. While this might not seem very bad, the top scorer had a percentage of 97.54%. This meant that it came much further down the list. This is surprising, considering Nissan has proven to be very reliable in all other surveys and tables.

So the general consensus is that Nissan are very reliable, there are one or two outlets that say otherwise, but we’ll discuss why that might be in a minute.

Why are Nissan reliable?

So why are Nissan reliable?

As we’ve already said, Japanese car models are known for their longevity, so the fact that Nissan are reliable should come as no surprise to many. However, one of the main reasons why Nissan might be so dependable is to do with their use of technology. Nissan are an affordable brand, which means that they don’t have as much expensive and modern technology in their cars as more luxury brands. This is by no means a bad thing, particularly as it seems to mean that these cars are more reliable. A problem that many luxury automakers have found is that this new technology that is found in their cars can be quite unreliable. And, if it does break it can be costly to repair, and take a long time to do so. This massively affects the dependability. This isn’t the case with Nissan, and this means that their reliability is much higher.

This also might explain why their more affordable cars such as the Micra and the Note are more dependable than the X-Trail and the Qashqai. Both of these cars are slightly more expensive and come with more advanced technology, meaning that they are more expensive to repair should something go wrong.

So, that could by why Nissan have consistently been a reliable brand.

How reliable are consumer surveys?

Okay, so how reliable are the consumer surveys we use?

Generally, they are one of the best ways of knowing how dependable a model or manufacturer are. Surveys ask the owners, and they are the ones that know their car best. 

Companies like WarrantyDirect are also accurate. They can use the information they receive when someone makes a claim and use the data they have gathered over a period of time, say a year, to determine which makes and models are the most and least dependable. However, in this case, we can see that there is one study that swayed away from the general consensus. And that was the study carried out by AutoExpress and WarrantyDirect. This study put Nissan at the bottom half of the table, the total opposite of all the other reliability tables we looked at. So, why?

The results from AutoExpress were from their Driver Power Survey of 2016. They gather self-reported data and ask the owners to rank their cars on a number of things, including reliability. We don’t know if their reliability table is ranked purely on reliability or on overall score. If it is on overall score, then this could affect the reliability score. For example, if owners are unhappy with another feature of the car, then they will mark it lower and this brings the overall score down.

Or, you could argue that if it is self-reporting, those who are unhappy with their cars are more likely to say so. This isn’t just the case with cars, but it could mean the results are slightly skewed towards being more unreliable.

Another issue with consumer surveys is that you cannot determine how reliable a brand new car is. There isn’t anything anyone can do about this, it’s just because the car is too young to determine long term reliability. That said, many use predicted dependability which is very often as accurate.

Overall, consumer surveys are the most accurate way of telling how dependable a car is. There are some downsides to using consumer surveys, but as it stands, they are our most accurate source of determining reliability.

Nissan vs. Toyota vs. Honda; Which is more reliable?

So, which is more reliable between Nissan, Toyota and Honda?

To be honest, all three brands are very dependable, and are all known for their longevity. 

Honda came in 15th place in the Telegraph survey, with 117 problems per 100 vehicles. Toyota also did well, coming in 9th place with 96 problems per 100 vehicles. This was only one place higher than Nissan, so Toyota takes the lead in this reliability survey. On ReliabilityIndex, Honda take the top spot in 2nd place with a reliability index of just 42 overall. Though Toyota aren’t far behind in 4th with a reliability index of 59. These are both higher than Nissan, though Nissan still does make the top 10, as we mentioned above.In the AutoExpress survey that put Nissan in the bottom half of the dependability table, both Toyota and Honda do very well, coming in 4th and 5th respectively. Toyota received a score of 95.03 out of 100 and Honda received a score of 94.61.

In conclusion, it seems like a mixed bag for the three brands. All are dependable, and have scored highly. However, it does appear that all three take it in turns to be vying for the top spot. Overall, it looks like Toyota are slightly more reliable, but that seems to only be by a thread. Ultimately, though, you wouldn’t go wrong with any of these brands because they all appear to be dependable.

Which Nissan cars are the most reliable?

The following models are the most reliable Nissan’s;

  • Nissan Note
  • Nissan Micra
  • Nissan Qashqai

These all score very well on ReliabilityIndex

Which Nissan cars are the least reliable?

And the least reliable Nissan cars?

  • Navara
  • Pathfinder

These all score below average when it comes to dependability on the ReliabilityIndex.

In conclusion, Nissan are, overall, a very reliable brand. Their most popular models appear to be some of the most reliable on the market and they have consistently appeared in the top half of the table for reliability rankings. That said, they aren’t always as impressive as their rivals, Toyota and Honda, but both these models are also very reliable, so it was always going to be tough for Nissan to compete. Generally, though, if you are looking for a well built car that does its job and is reliable, then you won’t go too wrong with a Nissan.

70 years after Nissan launched their first ever electric vehicle, their most advanced EV yet took centre stage at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, watch the video below!

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