A consumer watchdog has exposed seven popular cars for their recurring problems and is calling on the manufacturers to recall the models immediately.
A reliability survey by Which? found that a high proportion of owners reported the same faults, indicating “serious production issues”.
The vehicles of concern include Nissan’s Qashqai and Juke, Range Rover’s Velar and Range Rover Sport, Nissan Pulsar, BMW 5 Series Touring and Tesla Model S.
The issues ranged from faulty batteries to flawed fuel systems resulting in widespread breakdowns but Which? says vehicle manufacturers are showing a “blatant disregard for their customers” by not recalling them.
All seven stood out in the results of the consumer group’s survey which was completed by around 50,000 drivers.
The consumer champion is calling on the manufacturers to issue a recall on the affected models – to alert drivers that their car could have a significant fault.
Harry Rose, Editor of Which? Magazine, said it is “completely unacceptable” that trusted car brands “continue to take customer cash without fixing these widespread faults – many of which are already well-known thanks to our comprehensive survey of UK motorists”.
He added: “Currently, car owners will have to foot the bill for faults once their car goes out of warranty, but it is not right for anyone to have to pay for production mistakes that these manufacturers are aware of.
“If you are concerned your car might be unreliable, make sure you’re with a breakdown service you can trust and the next time you’re in the market for a new car, consider steering clear of these unreliable models.”
Which? found that three of the seven cars that owners reported as having a single prolific fault are from Nissan; the current Qashqai SUV built from 2014 to present, Pulsar hatchback (2014-2018) and previous-generation Juke (2010-2019) all being repeatedly reported as having a common fault.
The Qashqai has for over a decade been the best-selling SUV in the UK.
Feedback from owners showed that it not only scored the worst breakdown rate for any car less than three years old, it had a common fault across cars.
One in five (21 per cent) of these keepers said they had needed to replace the battery in the previous 12 months – leaving most unable to start their car.
Nissan’s Pulsar was also exposed as having a significant battery issue, reported by three in 10 (28 per cent) of car owners with a vehicle aged between three and eight years old.
Based on the Which? survey, its battery problems are five times more likely to occur than an average vehicle of this age. Those surveyed said the car failed to start in virtually every case.
The repeating problem with the Juke wasn’t battery related.
Instead, one in five owners (20 per cent) of diesel examples between three and eight-years-old reported a problem with the fuel system.
In half of cases, owners reported the car breaking down, failing to start or told Which? they had found the car was unsafe to drive.
A Nissan spokesperson said: “We are aware of some battery failure on older Nissan models and have taken steps to address this issue, including replacing our battery supplier.
“[We are] currently contacting 35,000 potentially affected Qashqai owners with a model produced between April 2018 and February 2019, for a free update to their vehicle.
“Currently, 80 per cent of these vehicles have had the update applied.
“[We are] committed to the highest standards of quality and reliability in [our] vehicles, and [are] continuing to work with any affected customers to resolve their concerns.”
Range Rover faults
An on-board computer software issue has been found to affect one in 20 (five per cent) of drivers overall.
But owners of the Range Rover Velar (2017 to present) and Range Rover Sport 2013 to present) reported this type of issue more so than others (21 per cent and 17 per cent respectively).
Which? believes the issue may lie with the brand’s ‘Touch Pro Duo’ – the dual 10-inch infotainment touchscreens in the centre console – which the Velar first introduced and the Range Rover Sport adopted in 2018.
A Land Rover spokesperson said:: “Land Rover takes product quality seriously, listening to customers and continuously striving to improve.
“To this end, Land Rover is introducing software over the air to its new products, allowing remote updates.
“Having analysed Which?’s research, Land Rover understands that 0.12 per cent of Range Rover Velar and 0.22 per cent of Range Rover sport customers have been surveyed.
“We don’t believe this is representative of the vast majority of satisfied customers.”
One in five (18 per cent) Tesla owners of cars between three and eight years old reported faults with its pop-out door handles and locks.
Tesla said: “We review every vehicle […] before it leaves the factory.
“Our warranties cover any repairs and replacements necessary for door handles for up to four years, and […] Tesla can perform repair work via mobile service, which can be done at a customer’s home or office.”
Which? also asked about cars after the four-year warranty and whether customers could avoid paying for the repair.
Tesla responded: “The price outside of warranty is £250-£270, including parts, labour and tax.”
Of the 280 car models Which? has reliability data for, three to eight-year-old BMW 5 Series Touring cars (2010 to 2017) have the second-highest fault rate linked to one single problem with a quarter of owners (26 per cent) reporting issues with their suspension.
Five times as many owners of this vehicle reported problems with their suspension component than is normal for other cars the same age.
Despite this, BMW said this is the first it has heard about potential suspension problems.
A BMW spokesperson said: “BMW has conducted additional analysis of all warranty claims from launch to present day and this analysis confirms nothing unusual about suspension claims across the 33,000 vehicles sold.
“We encourage any dissatisfied Which? reader, whether they participated in this survey or not, to contact BMW UK on 0370 505 0160, making reference to Which?, so that we can investigate their concerns.”
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