Best and worst family cars for reliability

If you’re looking for a car to transport you and your family, choosing a dependable model that won’t break down is likely to be a priority. Check out our round-up of the most (and least) reliable new family hatchbacks before you buy

Words By Claire Evans

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In our 2017 Reliability Survey, we asked more than 14,200 people to tell us about any faults their cars have suffered during the past 12 months. We asked how long the problem kept the car off the road and how much they had to pay to get it fixed. Those that cost the most and took the longest to repair gained the lowest reliability ratings.

Top three family cars aged 0-3yrs:

1. Lexus CT200h 100%

None of the Lexus CT200h owners we surveyed reported any faults with their cars, giving this premium hybrid a perfect reliability score. Even when you look at the responses from owners of cars more than three years old, less than 10% said their cars had a fault.

Read the Lexus CT200h review

2. Honda Civic 94.5%

Honda’s Civic may have exterior styling that divides opinion, but owners are in agreement about its durability; only 11% of cars had issues. Areas affected included the battery, interior trim, non-engine electrics and exterior lights. All problems were fixed under warranty and most were corrected in less than a day.

Read the Honda Civic review

3. Hyundai i30 91.7%

The Hyundai i30 doesn’t lag far behind its Japanese rivals, with only 15% of cars suffering faults. These were only minor niggles and were fixed under warranty in less than a week.

Read the Hyundai i30 review

Bottom three family cars aged 0-3yrs:

Mazda 3 58.4%

Overall, 28% of Mazda 3s had faults, with petrol-engined versions afflicted by more issues than their diesel counterparts. Suspension, steering and engine electrics were the more serious areas of concern with petrol models. Not all cars were fixed under warranty and more than half spent more than a day in the garage.

Read the Mazda 3 review

Volvo V40 55.5%

Almost half (48%) of Volvo V40s had problems; the most common were on the engine and the exhaust system. Although most were fixed for free, it took more than a day to fix the majority of faults.

Read the Volvo V40 review

Nissan Pulsar 48.3%

The Pulsar was afflicted by more than its fair share of non-engine electrical gremlins, with owners citing air-con as the most blighted area. It took more than a day to fix the majority of faults, but all the work was carried out under warranty.

Read the Nissan Pulsar review

Tell us about your car in the 2018 What Car Reliability Survey and you could win Β£250

2017 What Car Reliability Survey results

Below are the scores for the 32 different car brands owners told us about in the 2017 survey. Over the following pages, we reveal the best and worst contenders in 10 classes from city cars to convertibles.

Reliability by brand cars 0-3yrs

Rank Brand Score
1 Lexus 92.1%
2 Mitsubishi 90.8%
3 Toyota 89.6%
4 Suzuki 86.6%
5 Alfa Romeo 85.8%
6 Honda 84.9%
7 Hyundai 84.8%
8 MG 83.4%
9 Ford 82.1%
10 Subaru 81.8%
11 Kia 81.3%
12 Audi 80.4%
13 Skoda 80.1%
14 Mini 79.6%
15 Porsche 78.3%
16 Mazda 77.9%
17 BMW 77.6%
18 Vauxhall 76.4%
19 Dacia 75.9%
20 Renault 75.4%
21 Seat 75.2%
22 Volkswagen 74.7%
23 Mercedes-Benz 70.4%
24 Fiat 70.2%
25 Volvo 62.3%
26 Jaguar 61.9%
27 Peugeot 56.7%
28 CitroΓ«n 55.2%
29 Nissan 52.7%
30 Tesla 52.4%
31 Land Rover 50.6%
32 Jeep 42.1%

If you're interested in a specific class of car, take your pick from the list below to find out which are the most and least reliable models.

City cars

Small cars

Family cars


Small SUVs

Large SUVs

Executive cars

Luxury cars

Coupes and convertibles

Electric vehicles

Next: City cars >

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