Tag Archives: car reliability

Why does anyone buy a bad car?

Why do people buy car brands and models which seem forever at the bottom of independent car reliability charts?

In simple terms if motorists only ever bought the ‘best’ cars we’d need fewer car brands or models for sale. There’d be less scrappage, longer lasting environmentally-friendly cars but fewer franchised dealerships/car sales jobs.

There’d also be less choice at car shopping time and less competition to keep prices low – but presumably there’d be fewer complaints and more satisfied motorists?

I doubt it’s quite as simple as that but I hope you get my point…

Most women are practical car shoppers, come the time, but it’s also true we can buy with our hearts and not our heads. I hear ‘it looked so lovely on the forecourt’ many times when helping members sort out problems later.

I also know many high flying business women who need cars to ferry exhibition and promo materials around yet they buy sports cars with no onboard space. I’m thinking of one in particular with a tribe of young children who really needs a MPV or estate car but chose a pricey, high emissions, small booted Mini… But I’d never dare question or advise her otherwise!!

Whilst we women are good shoppers on the High Street we’re not always as well informed about cars and there’s something semi-irresistible about certain stylish brands or a fantastic used car deal, that we then wish we HAD resisted after we buy one.

Cars that Perform and Disappoint

Take for example the Dacia range of cars. They come in at the top of most surveys for remarkable value for money (because they are really cheap) and they top the Which? survey for reliability (but not the JD Power one). They are so basic there’s surely little that can go wrong? Yes, you won’t find them as enjoyable to drive as others in the same group but perhaps this isn’t important to you. But when you know to compare their Duster, for example, with other SUVs you’ll find it performs badly in crash tests and that there’s a lack of safety features too. This sort of thing does matter to most of us, I’d suggest.

Maybe you think that luxury brands are likely to perform better, at the opposite end of the budget scale, but there are winners and losers there too. For example, Land Rover scores badly for reliability and the new Discovery Sport (2015-) seems to have more than its fair share of electrical faults according to the new Which? Car Guide 2017/18.

See below for 2017 JD Power survey results, just released.

Tesla sits at the bottom of the Which? brand reliability chart for battery and electrical issues but for those that can afford their £61000 Model S, the car’s performance is rated at 5 star probably because it’s such an impressive trailblazer, we all admire Elon Musk and hopefully Teslas will become more affordable for the rest of us in due course.

Sticking with new technology, after big success with its ground breaking hybrid Prius, Toyota is trailblazing again with its hydrogen car, the Mirai. Whilst there are too few hydrogen filling stations as yet, this will surely change soon because these cars can recharge in minutes which will give hydrogen-fuelled cars the edge re range and emissions compared to yesterday’s hybrids and electric car competitors?

Consistently Reliable Brands

As you might expect, some brands and models are consistently reliable performers. Mazda’s MX5 is probably the most reliable sports car there is and the Mercedes-Benz SLK (2011-2016 models) does well in a different price bracket – but if there’s a problem it’ll be expensive to fix. And whilst Audi’s A3 Saloon is top of the Medium size car group it’s a Dieselgate VW Group offender together with excessive emission levels that would fail the old Euro 1 standard.

We particularly like Volvo and Suzuki Cars (and have special affinity deals to make sure women do too) so we weren’t at all surprised to see these brands perform (2nd and 4th respectively) in the 2017 JD Power’s UK Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) with Kia at the top, Skoda in 3rd place and Hyundai in 5th.

We like this survey because it comes from owners and not from a PR company.

Whereas, at the bottom of the VDS you’ll find Dacia, Fiat, Land Rover, Audi and BMW listed (from 5th bottom to bottom) which might come as a shock to many of these owner drivers.

Disappointing Car Brands

Whereas after Dieselgate, it’s unsurprising to see VW near the bottom of a UK brand reliability chart alongside Vauxhall with so many Zafiras and Corsas bursting into fire.

There are many brands and models in between all survey extremes but the purpose of this blog is to remind you to do your car buying homework before you buy any new car that isn’t at the top of your chart. You’ll soon know why if you do AND you could end up wasting time, money and stress sorting out problems that could have been avoided.

Of course, after you’ve decided on the car, you then need to decide if you buy the car online or at a local dealer. Just remember that if things go wrong after you buy, you may be expected to return it to the selling dealer to put right. And do you really want to travel hundreds of miles each way to get this sorted?

If you buy a car and it develops a fault within six months, make sure you know your rights within the Consumer Rights Act. You have rights within six months of purchase even if your dealer doesn’t acquaint you of these and how to claim them.

If things go wrong and you’d like commonsense 1:1 advice from me, you’ll need to be a Classic Member of FOXYLadyDrivers.com first. You’ll hear me start by saying things like ‘Be reasonable at all times and don’t lose your rag’ because cars do go wrong, it’s always stressful, these things are never simple/sorted overnight and ‘nice’ people get the most help, even if they have to resort to law afterwards. Whereas those that lose their cool and start threatening businesses usually get no help at all which makes it hard for me to intervene, reasonably, on any member’s behalf, at any time.


PS: The basis of this blog has been informed by the Which? Car Guide 2017-18, the 2017 JD Power UK Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) plus a wealth of anecdotal experience.

FOXY reviews the new Ford Fiesta

A FOXY Lady Car Review by Jill Woolf


I love driving, I like cars and I write for a living so when I was offered the chance to do some new car reviews for FOXY Lady Drivers Club, I jumped at the chance.

What could be better than sampling the latest models, designs, shapes and colours the motoring world has to offer?

And after reading up about the new Eco-Boost 1.0l Fiesta that’s so economic to run but without sacrificing engine power, I was keen to find out more. Just don’t ask me how Ford manages to do this but my test drive convinced me I was driving a car with a really powerful engine despite my preconceptions based on the engine size.

But, dear reader, please don’t expect any more than this from me about the internal workings of the engine or those complex on-board computers. Despite being fairly street-savvy, I am still one of those women who benefit from FOXY’s Women in the Driving Seat evenings where the garage or dealer shows you what’s actually under the bonnet and what to do with it!

But how times have moved on for Ford since my first car, a Ford Escort, and the many unhappy hours I seemed to spend in repair shops after silly prangs, where the proprietors seemed to take delight in patronising me. Let’s face it I was young, naive and totally inexperienced at the time. FOXY Lady Drivers Club’s female friendly advice wasn’t even a glint in Steph’s eye back then.

Good looks

Ford_Fiesta_Redesigned_Grill_and_Headlights (1)So you can imagine my surprise and delight when I collected my new Fiesta 1.0 Eco-Boost Fiesta from Birchwood Ford in Eastbourne and saw how much Ford has improved the exterior design, making this particular model look very sporty and jazzy.

The car I drove was in shiny metallic Panther Black (grrr…), which also helped!

The front grille, alloy wheels and almost coupé-like side and rear view make this new Fiesta a really good-looking super-mini; one to be proud to be seen in.

Value for money

This being a FOXY review, it’s important to look at the finances of course. I was particularly impressed by the Eco-Boost Fiesta’s fuel economy recording an average 65.7 mpg as well as a free VED (road tax) bill because of its remarkably low C02 emissions. The mpg ratings are affected by the Stop Start feature which means the car isn’t using fuel when you’re sitting at traffic lights or in a traffic jam yet the moment you touch the throttle it powers up immediately.

These are all important considerations in today’s economy when looking at the cost of running cars, not just the cost of buying one. I’d also add the reassurance that comes with buying a trusted Ford, as illustrated in the Reliability Index (see below), knowing that low running costs will add to your car’s resale value when the time comes to buy the next new one.

Driving performance

fiesta_jill_zoe_1332This gem of a car drives beautifully too. The latest in engine technology means it happily and economically purrs along and the Eco-Boost model slips effortlessly into gear to overtake or meet the challenges of a hill, even with a full load of passengers when we visited the ETC exhibition in Brighton.

It really is a delightful ride; the chunky leather sporty steering wheel feels fantastic and the front bucket seats have electric heating, meaning you just don’t want to get out of it on a cold day.

This car handles brilliantly and corners masterfully.

The practicalities

The modern, updated dashboard not only looks good but is actually easy to use once it’s explained. The friendly sales executive at Birchwood went through every button and widget with me (what a contrast to customer service levels I remembered of old) and I found the Bluetooth connection with my mobile phone easy to operate.

The car comes with parking sensors and a rear view camera (always useful), crystal-clear-sounding radio and CD player, power automatically retractable side mirrors (a boon if you have a narrow garage or when you park on a busy street), a mirror which dims when there’s a car with headlights on behind, heated front windscreen, rain sensor lights and a great black leather interior.

There is a full size spare tyre, not one of those slim-line versions, and the tools for dealing with a puncture are all neatly stored under the tyre.

If I had to find faults, I’d say that for an average height person it’s a little short on legroom in the back, the glove compartment could be bigger, the boot didn’t have the storage bins I’m used to and there’s nowhere easily accessible or safe to store a large handbag! Having said that, the back seats are easy to fold down for extra shopping space, to carry a baby buggy or wheelchair, perhaps.

Ford Emergency Assistance is included for my peace of mind and I should add that the older Fiesta came out No 1 out of 100 in the Reliability Index which augurs well in terms of running and servicing costs in future.

I really enjoyed test driving the Fiesta Eco-Boost but it’s flagged something up I wasn’t expecting – a simmering desire to buy a brand new car.

Watch this space for more reviews as I go through my car buying homework with you in the near future.

Jill Woolf


Model: Ford Fiesta 1.0 Eco-boost 125 PS Stop Start 5 door.
RRP: The new Fiesta range starts from £9795. The EcoBoost model we drove costs £17045 plus £495 for the Panther Black metallic paint.
Buying discounts: See Ford’s website http://www.ford.co.uk/Cars/CarPromotions/Overview. Offers subject to availability and terms.
Fuel economy: MPG is Urban 53.3, Extra Urban 76.4 and Combined 65.7mpg.
Insurance group: 16E.
Road tax/VED: Nil
Safety: 5 Star Euro NCap rating (2012) incorporating Adult, Child, Pedestrian and Safety Assist tests.
Reliability: Number One in the Top 100 cars chart in the Reliability Index.
Environmental C02 rating: 99gsm.

NB: FOXY is expressing personal views and opinions here. Please read this as part of your own car buying homework and test drive experience related to your family needs and expectations.