The most reliable cars on the road are Japanese, according to a study looking at over 50,000 cars on UK roads.

Warranty Direct has rated every car maker in the UK based on the average cost of repairs and frequency of mechanical problems and found Japanese car makers come out on top.

Honda was named the most reliable car maker in the UK after its 'reliability index' rating of 37.67 was significantly below the industry average of 100.

The rating is based on a number of factors and is calculated by highlighting where each brand falls in the table compared to the average score.

Suzuki was the second-best manufacturer while fellow Japanese brand Toyota was third, despite media-grabbing recalls over the past month resulting in over 2.7 million cars recalled worldwide.

US car maker Ford and South Korean brand Kia finished fourth and fifth in the table respectively before another trio of Japanese car makers; Mazda, Mitsubishi and Subaru.

Mercedes-owned Smart and Daewoo completed the top ten most reliable car makers in the survey.

Meanwhile, luxury and premium brands did not fare well in the index. Land Rover was the least reliable car maker with 191.25 points, ahead of Porsche and Jeep.

Mercedes, Jaguar, Audi and BMW all finished in the bottom ten, mostly due to the cost of repairing more premium cars.

There were some surprises when it came to the individual car table with the Kia Picanto, a small city car, coming top of the pile.

It was followed by the Vauxhall Agila, the Honda CR-V, Suzuki Alto and Ford Fiesta to complete the top ten.

The Ford Fiesta, the UK's most popular car in 2012, helped Ford perform well overall in the reliability index. The brand also had the Ford S-Max and the Ford Fusion in the top 30 most reliable cars.

It also offered the cheapest average repair costs at £223.92 on average, £11 lower than second-place Suzuki.

Other manufacturers whose repair costs remain particularly low include Peugeot (£251.57), Fiat (£260.25) and Skoda (£261.02).

Reliability indexes such as the Warranty Direct list are important tools for consumers when choosing a new car.

The reliability of a car, including the frequency of breakdowns and the cost of repairs, is an important aspect of choosing a new car.

Buyers are advised by MoneySupermarket.com to take out breakdown cover on any new car purchase and choose a car that has a lengthy warranty to avoid repair costs in future.

Manufacturers have responded to this by offering lengthier warranties in the UK. For example Kia now offers a seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty with all of its new cars while Vauxhall offers a similar 100,000-mile limit but this time for an unlimited period of time.

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