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The new Mini grabbed the top gong at the Auto Express Awards.
The new Mini grabbed the top gong at the Auto Express Awards.

The Brits finally enjoyed some success this summer as the latest Mini was named Auto Express magazine’s Car of the Year 2014 at a lavish ceremony in London’s West End.

This third-generation version of the Mini is built in Oxford, with engines made in Hams Hall near Birmingham and body panels coming from Swindon. As well as winning the overall Car of the Year Award, the Mini was also named Best Premium Small Car.

Undated Handout Photo of 2014 Vauxhall Astra GTC. Vauxhall has added its 'whisper' diesel engine to the Astra GTC. See PA Feature MOTORING Motoring News. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature MOTORING Motoring News.

Undated Handout Photo of 2014 Vauxhall Astra GTC. Vauxhall has added its 'whisper' diesel engine to the Astra GTC. See PA Feature MOTORING Motoring News. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature MOTORING Motoring News.

Auto Express editor-in-chief, Steve Fowler, commented: “The Mini is the perfect Car of the Year for 2014 — it’s a small car that’s big on talent. We love the way it drives, the quality, the efficiency and the big-car tech on board. It’s also built brilliantly in Britain — a car the UK can be proud of.”

Chris Brownridge, director, MINI UK said: “The new MINI Hatch has received universal acclaim since we launched it earlier this year. A great deal of work has gone in to refining performance, handling, style and quality with this all-new model and this recognition from Auto Express is testament to that effort.”

There was further good news for British car makers with the new Jaguar F-Type winning Best Coupe, the McLaren 650S being named Best Performance Car and Nissan’s new Qashqai getting the Best Crossover Award. Nissan also took the Safety Award for its Safety Shield technologies.

Last year’s overall Car of the Year winner, the Seat Leon, came away with three Awards this time around as it was named Best Compact Family Car, Best Estate Car and Best Hot Hatch. The trophy for Van of the Year went to the Ford Transit, while Volvo was a surprise winner of the Design Award, voted for by Auto Express readers.

Undated Handout Photo of 2014 Toyota Auris. Japanese cars like the Toyota Auris have topped a reliability survey. See PA Feature MOTORING Motoring News. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature MOTORING Motoring News.

Undated Handout Photo of 2014 Toyota Auris. Japanese cars like the Toyota Auris have topped a reliability survey. See PA Feature MOTORING Motoring News. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Handout. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature MOTORING Motoring News.

There’s some good news for owners of cars from Japanese brands, as they have topped a recent reliability survey conducted by Warranty Direct.

The bad news? Certain UK brands didn’t perform so well.

UK reliability figures were based on the performance of Jaguar, Land Rover and Vauxhall models. Warranty Direct said that UK brands had been placed bottom of the eight-nation table “thanks to low reliability scores from both Jaguar and Land Rover”.

Its reliability table was drawn up from analysis of UK-owned vehicles averaging five years old and with mileages of around 50,000.

The lower the score given to a particular country’s cars, the more reliable they were.

Japan, with a score of 80, was at the top of the list, followed by France (with a score of 113), South Korea (123), and USA (156). Then came Sweden (158), Germany (168), Italy (170.5) and, in last place, the UK with a score of 209.

The most common faults for all the cars analysed were either axle and suspension or electrical.

Warranty Direct pointed out that many Britons drove foreign cars that were made in the UK, for example, the Nissan Qashqai is produced in Sunderland and the Honda Civic in Swindon.

Commenting on the survey, Warranty Direct managing director David Gerrans said: “Though the automotive industry has many blurred lines now in terms of countries of origin, the average consumer maintains certain preconceptions about car brands and the countries that create them.

“’German reliability’ is an oft-used phrase, but as demonstrated here, the country’s output as a whole doesn’t match up to its close neighbours, the French, whose cars as a whole are more reliable.”