Revealed: the UK’s most reliable cars

Revealed: the UK’s most reliable cars

By using data from reliability surveys, you can increase the chances of buying a reliable motor, saving you hundreds, possibly thousands of pounds on repair bills. Using data from the Warranty Direct Reliability Index, we can reveal the 50 most reliable cars in the UK, with the results presented in reverse order.

50. Volkswagen Fox (2006-2012)

Reliability Index: 47

The Reliability Index is based on data acquired over more than a decade by Warranty Direct and includes the number of times a car fails, the cost of repairing it, the average time it spends off the road due to repairs and the average age of mileage of the vehicles. In short: the lower the Reliability Index score, the more reliable the car should be. According to Warranty Direct, the Volkswagen Fox creeps into the top 50 with a score of 47.

49. Toyota Auris (2007-2013)

Reliability Index: 46

The Reliability Index includes information on which parts of the car fail most often: air conditioning, axle and suspension, braking, cooling and heating, electrical, engine, fuel system, gearbox, steering system and transmission are all studied. The Toyota Auris scores well across the board, although the £379 average repair cost is one of the highest in the top 50.

48. Audi TT (1999-2006)

Reliability Index: 45

German cars are conspicuous by their absence, with Japanese cars dominating the upper reaches of the Reliability Index. The first generation Audi TT is the exception to the rule, providing the proof that style and dependability can mix. The braking system is the TT’s weakest point, if the Warranty Direct data is to be believed.

47. Mazda 3 (2004-2009)

Reliability Index: 45

A car will only be included in the Reliability Index when Warranty Direct has the data for at least 50 examples of each make and model. Aside from a poor score in the ‘axle and suspension’ category, the Mazda 3 produced a good set of results across the board.

46. Ford Ka (1996-2009)

46. Ford Ka (1996-2009)

Reliability Index: 43

The original Ford Ka is fun to drive, cheap to run and – according to the Warranty Direct data – is one of the most reliable used city cars in the UK. With an average repair cost of £140, it should be cheap to put right if things do go wrong. You just need to look out for the dreaded rust.

45. Renault Kangoo (2009-2012)

Reliability Index: 42

The Renault Kangoo would have appeared further up the table, but was let down by a poor record for electrical gremlins. If things go wrong, you can bank on spending £297 on fixing this van-based MPV.

44. Citroen Berlingo First (2005-2009)

Reliability Index: 42

If you’re after a no-frills, no-nonsense van-based MPV, you can do a lot worse than the Citroen Berlingo. A high roofline and a pair of sliding doors means this is more practical than a standard crossover, while it should provide years of reliable transport.

43. Renault Scenic (2009-2016)

Reliability Index: 41

Own up, you didn’t expect to a see a trio of French cars performing so well in a reliability survey, did you? The all-new Renault Scenic has gone off in a new direction, offering SUV-like styling and huge alloy wheels, but the Reliability Index suggests the outgoing model was surprisingly dependable. In common with the Kangoo, electrical issues are the primary complaint.

42. Toyota Corolla (2001-2007)

Reliability Index: 37

The Toyota Corolla badge has been banished from the UK, with the Auris taking its place. An evening in with a Corby trouser press might be more exciting, but at least the Corolla won’t let you down. Just don’t ask it to press your slacks.

41. Skoda Fabia (2007-2014)

41. Skoda Fabia (2007-2014)

Reliability Index: 37

The Fabia is the only Skoda to appear in the top 50, but it’s worth noting that the Warranty Direct data is a few years old. The Fabia is based on the Volkswagen Polo, a car that doesn’t make the top 50.

40. Suzuki Jimny (1998-present)

Reliability Index: 37

In more ways than one, the Suzuki Jimny is the car that goes on and on. It’ll venture further off the beaten track than some SUVs costing considerably more, and has been on sale in its current guise since 1998.

39. Toyota Prius (2009-2015)

Reliability Index: 36

The Toyota Prius is arguably the world’s most famous eco car – the darling of green-washed celebrity and Uber cab drivers. The previous generation Prius appears at number 39 on the list of dependable cars, but it’s not the most reliable generation on the list…

38. Vauxhall Zafira (1999-2005)

Reliability Index: 36

Another car you probably didn’t expect to see here: it’s the original Vauxhall Zafira. Thanks to its innovative Flex7 seating system, the Zafira won the hearts and minds of family across the land. It’s the 38th most reliable car in the Warranty Direct survey. Who’d have thought it?

37. Vauxhall Tigra (2004-2009)

Reliability Index: 35

No, not the original and increasingly appealing Tigra, but the second generation ‘Twin Top’ Tigra, introduced in 2004. The Corsa-based coupe-cabriolet is the second and final Vauxhall to appear on the list.

36. Nissan Micra (2002-2010)

36. Nissan Micra (2002-2010)

Reliability Index: 34

The K12 Nissan Micra isn’t the most practical of superminis: a lack of space for rear seat passengers and a small boot are two complaints. But aside from that, the third generation Micra is a thoroughly decent supermini.

35. Kia Rio (2005-2011)

Reliability Index: 34

Kia Rio owners have little cause for complaint, with the brakes being the only real issue highlighted by the Warranty Direct data. It’s not the most refined or exciting car you can buy, but you pays your money and you takes your choice. Or something.

34. Honda Civic (2006-2011)

Reliability Index: 33

The European Honda Civic caused quite a stir when it was unveiled in 2006 and – a decade on – it is no less eye catching. Buy a Civic with the excellent i-CTDi engine and you have the makings of one of the best diesel-engined family hatchbacks you can buy.

33. Audi A4 Allroad (2009-2015)

Reliability Index: 33

When it was new, the Audi A4 Allroad was criticised for being a tad expensive, especially once you had finished working your way through the list of options. On the used car market, this is less of an issue, so grab yourself one of the best looking estate cars of recent years. It’s pretty handy off the beaten track, too.

32. Citroen C3 Picasso (2009-present)

Reliability Index: 32

The compact MPV sector isn’t one for setting pulses racing, but the Citroen C3 Picasso is a rare beacon of light. The funky styling is complemented by a cool interior to provide a welcome tonic to the likes of the Nissan Note and Vauxhall Meri… sorry, drifted off there for a second.

31. Toyota Yaris (2006-2011)

31. Toyota Yaris (2006-2011)

Reliability Index: 32

You’ll have noticed that the Reliability Index isn’t exactly littered with exciting motors. What can we read into that? The cars on the list tend to be owned by caring drivers? Or that more exciting cars tend to be enjoyed and driven hard? We suspect it’s a combination of the two. Meanwhile, the Toyota Yaris takes its place at number 31.

30. Nissan Note (2006-2013)

Reliability Index: 31

Aside from poor results in the ‘axle and suspension’ and ‘electrical’ categories, the Nissan Note performed well in Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index. The Note majors on space, practicality and technology.

29. Toyota Aygo (2005-2014)

Reliability Index: 31

The Toyota Aygo is the result of a platform-sharing venture with Citroen and Peugeot, but it’s interesting to note that the French models deliver a more impressive set of results. On the plus side, at £211, the Toyota Aygo is the cheapest to repair should things go wrong.

28. Nissan Almera (2000-2006)

Reliability Index: 30

Remember the Nissan Almera? This was the family hatchback Nissan ditched in order to pursue a new career peddling crossovers to an unsuspecting public. It might be the automotive equivalent of semolina, but the Almera should prove to be reliable.

27. Hyundai i30 (2007-2011)

Reliability Index: 28

The Hyundai i30 is the beige cardigan of the five-door family hatchback segment: practicality and comfort are more prevalent than magic and sparkle. Val Doonican looked good in a cardigan. We’re not sure he’d have rocked the i30 look, mind.

26. Toyota Prius (2003-2009)

26. Toyota Prius (2003-2009)

Reliability Index: 28

We’re almost at the midway point – assuming you’re still with us – where we find the second generation Toyota Prius. In truth, this was a far superior product to the Prius it replaced and helped to propel the hybrid into the mainstream.

25. Mitsubishi Colt (2004-2013)

Reliability Index: 27

Number 25 in the Reliability Index and number 25 on the list of superminis you’ve probably forgotten. The Mitsubishi Colt has one huge selling point: it’s not a Mitsubishi Mirage.

24. Honda Civic (2000-2006)

Reliability Index: 26

Before Honda went all space-age and daring with the Civic, it built something a little more sombre. But don’t let the bland styling put you off, because this Civic is good to drive, practical and – according to Warranty Direct – should be reliable.

23. Ford Fusion (2002-2012)

Reliability Index: 26

The Ford Fusion is a proper love/hate car. Some will like the Fiesta-meets-SUV styling, while others will be turned off by its frumpy looks. Whatever, the Fusion is reasonably practical and OK to drive.

22. Ford Fiesta (2008-present)

Reliability Index: 24

Given that the Ford Fiesta is the UK’s best-selling car, Warranty Direct would have been able to draw from a large data pool for the Reliability Index. So it’s encouraging to see it sitting just outside the top 20.

21. SEAT Ibiza (2006-2009)

21. SEAT Ibiza (2006-2009)

Reliability Index: 24

We’re getting to the stage where the cars are as dependable as your pet labrador. But that’s where the similarities end, because while the SEAT Ibiza should be a reliable supermini, it won’t fetch a stick for you or shake its wet coat in the hallway.

20. Mazda 2 (2007-2015)

Reliability Index: 23

There’s a tinge of excitement here, as we reach the top 20 most reliable cars you can buy. But before you get too carried away, we should point out that the Almera Tino is still to come. As for the Mazda 2: it’s great to drive, good to look at and won’t let you down.

19. Peugeot 107 (2005-2014)

Reliability Index: 22

Of the three platform-sharing superminis, the Peugeot 107 is likely to be the most expensive should things go wrong. On the plus side, the Warranty Direct data suggests it’s likely to be more reliable than the Toyota Aygo.

18. Peugeot Partner Tepee (2008-present)

Reliability Index: 22

It’s yet another wipe-clean, no-nonsense van-based MPV, and with an average repair cost of £168, the Peugeot Partner Tepee is one of the most cost-effective cars on the list. The Warranty Direct data proves that there’s more to buying a car than just image-friendly badges and glossy brochures.

17. Honda Accord (2008-2015)

Reliability Index: 21

Ah, there’s a sense of comfort associated with the fact that the Honda Accord appears so high on the list. It’s the executive saloon of choice for those who put reliability and dependability above all else when it comes to buying a car. And it’s all the better for it.

16. Toyota Yaris (2003-2005)

16. Toyota Yaris (2003-2005)

Reliability Index: 21

The first generation Toyota Yaris is the 16th most reliable car in the country, but it’s worth noting that the data is based on the facelifted car, built between 2003 and 2005. These later cars are worth seeking out on the used market.

15. Ford Focus (1998-2004)

Reliability Index: 20

The first generation Ford Focus revolutionised the family hatchback sector, sending shockwaves throughout the segment. It was chalk and cheese compared with the Escort it replaced (the Escort was the cheese), and encouraged many carmakers to up their game.

14. Kia Picanto (2004-2011)

Reliability Index: 19

The Kia Picanto didn’t send shockwaves through anything when it arrived in 2004, but buyers were attracted to its five-door practicality and excellent value for money.

13. Nissan Qashqai+2 (2008-2013)

Reliability Index: 18

The Nissan Qashqai+2 – so called because it offers a row of extra seats – does something the standard Qashqai cannot do, by appearing on the list of the most reliable cars. Buyers loved the seven-seat Qashqai, so it was a surprise to see Nissan ditching the option in the new version.

12. Honda Jazz (2001-2008)

Reliability Index: 16

Three things in life are guaranteed: night follows day, there will be a DFS sale on, and the Honda Jazz will perform well in a reliability survey. If only everything in life was as reliable as a Jazz, as a famous Volkswagen ad so very nearly said. This data is based on the first generation Jazz, introduced in 2001.

11. Citroen C1 (2005-2014)

11. Citroen C1 (2005-2014)

Reliability Index: 16

Wait, what? A Honda Jazz beaten by a French car? What next, a person you actually recognise appearing in I’m a Failed Celebrity Get Me in There? Good work, Citroen C1.

10. Ford Ka (2008-2016)

Reliability Index: 16

This is where we split the wheat from the chaff: the top 10 most reliable cars in the UK. The second generation Ka might lack the cheekiness and fun-to-drive dynamics of the original Ka, but the Fiat 500-based city car does something its Italian sibling cannot achieve, by appearing on this list.

9. Chevrolet Kalos (2005-2011)

Reliability Index: 16

The Chevrolet Kalos started life as a Daewoo and was a replacement for the Astra-based Lanos. Now that the family tree has been explained, we’ll leave you to come to terms with the fact that there’s a Chevrolet performing so well in the Reliability Index.

8. Mazda MX-5 (2005-2015)

Reliability Index: 15

The Mazda MX-5 is proof that you can have your cake and eat it. One of the world’s best affordable sports cars just happens to be one of the most reliable, too. Assemble a Honda Jazz and Mazda MX-5 two-car garage and enjoy a stress-free life. Probably.

7. Mercedes-Benz CLC (2008-2010)

Reliability Index: 14

The CLC – the replacement for the old C-Class Sports Coupe – was designed to attract a younger audience to the Mercedes-Benz badge. It was rather expensive when new, which only served to limit sales to younger buyers, but it’s a classy buy on the used car market.

6. Hyundai i10 (2008-2013)

6. Hyundai i10 (2008-2013)

Reliability Index: 12

The Hyundai i10 isn’t the most exciting used city car you can buy, but the Warranty Direct data suggests that it might be one of the most dependable. The new i10 is a much-improved model, but a first generation is perfectly adequate if you intend to drive from A to B without visiting C.

5. Nissan Almera Tino (2000-2005)

Reliability Index: 12

The Spanish-built Almera Tino was Nissan’s response to the likes of the Renault Scenic and Vauxhall Zafira: a more practical version of the Almera hatchback. We’re struggling to find anything interesting to say. Goodness, is that the time?

4. Honda Insight (2009-2014)

Reliability Index: 7

Sadly, not the the original and futurist Honda Insight, but the second generation model, introduced in 2009. While the Mk1 Insight was arguably superior to the Prius, by the time the Mk2 had arrived, the Toyota had raced into a healthy lead. On the plus side: the Insight performs better in the Reliability Index.

3. Honda Jazz (2008-2015)

Reliability Index: 5

And so we reach the top three: the most reliable cars you can buy. It’s no surprise to find a Honda Jazz perched at such a lofty position. Indeed, it’s more surprising to find that it hasn’t grabbed the top spot…

2. Toyota iQ (2008-2014)

Reliability Index: 4

The three-metre long Toyota IQ was the country’s smallest four-seater, although in reality it was best suited to carrying three people. The Reliability Index suggests the tiny city car should be utterly reliable, although 100% of complaints concerned the engine.

1. Mitsubishi Lancer (2005-2008)

1. Mitsubishi Lancer (2005-2008)

Reliability Index: 4

With an average repair cost of just £69 and a near fault-free reputation, the Mitsubishi Lancer is the unlikely star of the Reliability Index. The best news: you can buy a Lancer for as little as £500. Bargain.

Has an unhealthy obsession with cars of the 80s and 90s. Doesn’t really do supercars. Not a huge fan of sports cars. But loves the undervalued and the underwhelming.

Is probably a bit strange.

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