The best cars to own in the UK: Driver Power 2020 results

Buying your next car? Our annual survey of UK car owners reveals the best cars to buy in 2020

The results of the Driver Power 2020 customer satisfaction survey are in and once again the UK’s most in-depth annual car customer satisfaction survey has established the best cars to own.

As usual, Driver Power gathered thousands of responses from owners, who’ve rated their cars across 31 subject areas in nine separate categories. The data was then collated, analysed and used to create a complete picture of how satisfying today’s most popular new cars are to own.

The survey covers every conceivable type of car on the market in the initial period of ownership, up to the time that the models are 12 months old. From city cars to SUVs and everything in between, including electric cars and hybrids, it’s all there.

The results identify the 75 best cars to own in the UK. The key criteria that make or break a car are all covered, from acceleration and handling to boot space, how easy the technology is to use and reliability - all are scored by the people who know the cars best, the owners.

So, below are the Driver Power results for 2020, where we find out what owners really think of the cars they own...

Top 10 best cars to own

1. Kia Sorento

It may not be the winning car you were expecting, but the Kia Sorento SUV has ranked top of the Driver Power survey and named as the best car to own in 2020. But what makes this large SUV so good? Well, owners said they rate the Sorento for its practicality, it's high quality interior plus the amount of passenger space and storage. The seats were rated as the most comfortable of any of the cars featured in our top 75.

Other aspects that owners found impressive were the way the Sorento drives, particularly it's smooth ride and very responsive brakes. Like in other Kias, the in-car controls are easy to use with decent smartphone connectivity and excellent sat nav. Slight downsides include that the gearbox could be smoother and fuel consumption could be better. As for any reliability issues that did occur, these were most likely to be electrical.

2. Peugeot 3008

The Peugeot 3008 may be four years old now, but it's second place finish in the Driver Power survey shows that it's still well worthy of consideration if you're in the compact SUV market looking at models like the Ford Kuga and SEAT Ateca. Climbing up from a strong 7th place finish in 2019, the 3008’s solid build quality and reliability were praised, with the small number of complaints focusing mainly on recall work.

The interior is spacious and smartly designed, with the large boot making it an excellent choice for families. Despite its sensible nature, owners say the 3008 is an enjoyable car to drive as well - although the view from the driver's seat could be improved and some of the controls are slightly fiddly to use.

3. Lexus RX

Placing 3rd, two places higher than last year, the Lexus RX won praise for it's comfortable seats and practicality. However, similar to last year, owners of the RX were less fond of the frustrating infotainment system and the car’s thirst. Owners said that the official MPG figures were impossible to match in the real world, hinting that a petrol hybrid may not be the ideal choice of SUV if economy is your top priority.

Despite this, there are plenty of positives in RX ownership, including the interior, which came in for praise for its design and build quality as well as the comfort of the front seats. Elsewhere, Lexus’s hybrid powertrain was also praised for its smoothness and quietness on the move, and owners spoke highly of the car’s safety technology. The RX is reliable as well, with only 9.0% of owners reporting issues.

4. Kia Niro

In its third year in our survey rankings, the Kia Niro has improved, moving up six places to a very respectable 4th place finish for 2020. Owners spoke highly of it's excellent fuel economy and low servicing costs across the hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric models. They also rated the range of the pure-electric Niro, saying that all three versions were impressively smooth and quiet to drive.

Owners said the Niro is a fun car to drive, with sharp steering and refined ride quality. Comfort, space and visibility were also praised, with people liking it's infotainment system and interior design. One minor issue is the car’s styling, with some respondents saying they don’t like the way the Niro looks. In line with prior years, few issues should blight Niro ownership, with electrical problems being the most likely to occur.

5. Mazda CX-5

Mazda takes fifth place with the CX-5 SUV for 2020, with owners raving about the car’s well designed and high quality interior. The generous rear legroom, large boot and substantial amount of interior storage also impressed.

Owners reported that the engines were smooth but could use more power, but they liked the way the CX-5 drives and rated the gearboxes as excellent. You reported that the servicing costs were slightly high, but that fuel economy and other costs were decent. Reliability is said to be strong, with the amount of problems reported being roughly average with 13.6% of owners suffering an issue in the first year of ownership.

6. Skoda Kodiaq

We rate the Skoda Kodiaq as one of the best SUVs available, and you agree with us. It took sixth spot in our survey again with its interior receiving high praise for the amount of space it offers. Owners say that the visibility from the driver's seat cannot be matched by any other car on our list, and that the ride quality is excellent.

The car’s design also won praise, as did the build quality and top notch infotainment technology. Reported issues were mostly to do with electrical gremlins, with 19.3% of owners reporting problems in the first year of ownership. Fuel economy from the petrol and diesel engines and the fact that the Kodiaq is not fun to drive are further grumbles but this is, perhaps, expected in such a large car.

7. Toyota Corolla

The return of the Corolla name to the Toyota line-up has seen the car attract a number of high scores. Owners were highly positive about the ride and handling, refinement and ride comfort being particularly praised. They were less kind about the practicality on offer, due to a small boot and a lack of interior storage cubbies, and were disappointed by the infotainment system. People were more impressed by the car’s design, and the reliability of the petrol/electric powertrain, together with its low running costs.

8. Lexus IS

The age of the Lexus IS didn’t stop it impressing in Driver Power 2020. Despite being a car that often gets overshadowed by the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, it satisfied owners in nearly all areas - with the exception of the aging infotainment system that’s awkward to use.

Owners praised the way the IS drives, with a smooth ride and sharp handling that makes it very refined. The interior is plushly equipped and with strong build quality. It's reliable too, with owners speaking highly of the brand’s impressive main dealers, making it a very easy car to live with.

9. Hyundai Ioniq

Recording it's second consecutive top 10 finish, owners told us that the Hyundai Ioniq excelled in almost every area. Refinement, performance and the seamlessly smooth gearboxes won plaudits across the hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric models. The infotainment system is easy to use and of all the cars featured in the survey, the Ioniq was the top rated for smartphone integration. Add to this the excellent safety technology, low running costs and well judged interior layout.

Owners were less kind about the exterior build quality, and said that the view from the driver’s seat could be better. Common problems reported relate to engines, gearboxes and electrics, with 16% of owners suffering an issue.

10. Skoda Superb

The Skoda Superb may not be as popular as the Czech brand’s SUV model range, but based on what owners say, it is still a satisfying car to own. The results show that the Superb was not seen as the most dynamic car to drive, but boasts a very comfortable ride and is very family friendly. The infotainment system is excellent and while the front seats could be a bit more comfortable, the rear seating offers more than enough space. Owners also said the Superb was dependable and economical for such a sizable car. The low cost of servicing, road tax and insurance also won praise.

The best cars to own 2020: 1-75 rankings

1Kia Sorento Mk392.05%
2Peugeot 3008 Mk292.04%
3Lexus RX Mk491.98%
4Kia Niro Mk191.82%
5Mazda CX-5 Mk291.75%
6Skoda Kodiaq Mk191.73%
7Toyota Corolla Mk1291.71%
8Lexus IS Mk391.64%
9Hyundai Ioniq Mk191.61%
10Skoda Superb Mk391.59%
11Mazda6 Mk391.59%
12Toyota RAV4 Mk591.45%
13Kia Sportage Mk491.44%
14Volvo XC40 Mk191.38%
15Skoda Karoq Mk191.29%
16Toyota Prius Mk491.28%
17Subaru Outback Mk391.12%
18Kia Ceed Mk390.98%
19Lexus CT Mk190.89%
20Subaru Forester Mk490.66%
21Honda CR-V Mk590.64%
22SEAT Arona Mk190.63%
23Kia Rio Mk490.56%
24Nissan Leaf Mk290.55%
25Toyota C-HR Mk190.49%
26Mazda MX-5 Mk490.47%
27Kia Stonic Mk190.41%
28Citroën Grand C4 SpaceTourer Mk190.38%
29Kia Picanto Mk390.34%
30Volvo XC60 Mk290.34%
31SEAT Leon Mk390.28%
32Lexus UX Mk190.27%
33Subaru XV Mk290.22%
34Skoda Octavia Mk390.18%
35Peugeot 2008 Mk190.14%
36Mercedes A-Class Mk490.14%
37Renault ZOE Mk190.11%
38Mazda3 Mk490.06%
39Honda Civic Mk1089.98%
40BMW 5 Series / M5 Mk789.82%
41Ford Kuga Mk289.75%
42Lexus NX Mk189.71%
43Toyota Yaris Mk489.70%
44Peugeot 208 Mk289.70%
45Fiat 500 Mk189.63%
46Audi Q5 / SQ5 Mk289.57%
47Jaguar XF Mk289.49%
48Nissan Juke Mk189.41%
49BMW X3 Mk389.39%
50Volkswagen Golf Mk789.29%
51Volkswagen Tiguan/Allspace Mk289.21%
52Audi Q2 Mk189.20%
53Hyundai Tucson Mk289.14%
54Suzuki Vitara Mk489.14%
55MG ZS Mk189.12%
56Nissan Qashqai Mk289.12%
57Honda Jazz Mk389.11%
58BMW X1 Mk289.08%
59Vauxhall Astra Mk788.99%
60Hyundai Kona Mk188.99%
61SEAT Ateca Mk188.94%
62Renault Clio Mk588.84%
63Peugeot 308 Mk288.81%
64Audi Q3 / RS Q3 Mk288.77%
65Renault Kadjar Mk188.75%
66Citroën C3 Aircross Mk188.74%
67Mitsubishi Outlander Mk388.73%
68Hyundai i20 Mk288.71%
69Vauxhall Grandland X Mk188.62%
70Audi A5 / RS 5 / S5 Mk288.59%
71Ford Fiesta Mk888.59%
72Citroën C1 Mk288.58%
73Citroën C4 Cactus Mk188.48%
74MG 3 Mk188.44%
75Renault Captur Mk188.43%

To take part in the 2021 Driver Power survey, go here.

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