French car brands lack va va voom as they fail to impress British owners

LONDON - French car brands are highly unpopular with UK owners, according to a survey by Which? Car magazine, with none making it into a top ten dominated by Japanese brands and topped by the Porsche Boxster and the Range Rover Sport.

The magazine's car customer satisfaction survey found that six out of the bottom ten cars were Gallic.

French car giant Renault scored an unenviable hat-trick, with three cars in the bottom five, whilst the Renault Espace came last. One owner described the car as "A total waste of money".

Peugeot did not fare much better, with two cars in the bottom ten, and customers saying many of the features were of poor quality. Citroen also appeared in the list.

In February, Citroen courted controversy by launching a marketing campaign for its new C5 model which distanced the brand from its French heritage and claimed it was "more German than the Germans".

Which? Car's top ten was dominated by Japanese car brands including Honda, Lexus and Toyota.

Richard Headland, the editor of Which? Car, said: "Car adverts give you the hype, but car owners give you the low-down.

"Some French cars appear to have lost their va va voom and British owners are less than impressed. It's no surprise to see several Japanese cars in the top ten as they're often reliable, economical and good value."

At the other end of the scale, the most popular car was the Porsche Boxster, followed by the Range Rover Sport, the Toyota Yaris Verso and the Honda S2000.

Mazda also featured prominently in the top ten and there were also appearances by Audi, Lexus and Daihatsu.

*** Top of the table cars:

1. Porsche Boxster (2004 on), 98%. "Fabulous!" "Great looks, wonderful to drive."

2. Range Rover Sport (2005 on), 98%. "A stunning car - there is nothing I don't like about it.

3. Toyota Yaris Verso (2000-2005), 97%. "The best we've ever had. Sorry they're not made any more."

4. Honda S2000 (1999 on), 97%. "Beautiful. Superb drive. Responsive engine, comfortable cabin, reliable."

5. Mazda MX-5 (2005 on), 97%. "Fun to drive with great reliability."

6. Mazda MX-5 (1998-2005), 95%. "A joy to own and drive."

7. Audi TT (2006 on), 94%. "Outstanding build quality and performance."

8. Lexus RX (2003 on), 94%. "Trouble-free, and therefore stress-free."

9. Daihatsu Sirion (2005 on), 94%. "Excellent car with good fuel economy and seating."

10. Honda Jazz (2001 on), 94%. "It's a pleasure to drive and easy to park. Excellent in town and very economical".

Owners' comments on the lowest scoring cars of the 219 models rated include:

210 Chrysler Voyager (1997-2001), customer score 69%. "Very expensive on fuel costs. Sluggish when full".

211 Peugeot 206 (1998 on), 69%. "Poor interior quality." "Clunky gearbox, poor visibility."

212 Peugeot 307 (2001 on), 68%. "Poor quality with lots of small faults."

213 VW Sharan (1995 on), 68%. "Niggling faults, and repairs are expensive."

214 Citroën Xsara (1997-2004), 68%. "Recurring problems." "Clutch has always been stiff."

215 Renault Scenic (1997-2003), 67%. "Radio only works after the engine is warm."

216 Fiat Punto (1999-2005), 65%. "Drives like a tin can, awesomely plastic."

217 Mercedes A-class (1998-2004), 65%. "Terrible ride for a Mercedes".

218 Renault Laguna (2001-2007), 64%. "Unreliable bag of spanners."

219 Renault Espace (2003 on), 61%. "A total waste of money."