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Best and worst older cars for reliability: electric and hybrid cars

We name the most dependable (and most troublesome) used cars from six to 15 years old, based on owners’ experiences...

Nissan Leaf

The most reliable electric and hybrid cars

1. Nissan Leaf (2011-2018)

Reliability rating 100%

What went wrong? Nothing

It was one of the earliest practical pure-electric family cars, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the best options if dependability is all. It stands out here as one of just three models to gain a perfect reliability rating; owners told us not a single car had put a foot wrong in the previous 12 months.

Owner comment: “Reliability has been excellent, with no issues or breakdowns at all in the three years that we’ve owned the car.” 

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2. Lexus CT (2011-present)

Reliability rating 98.6%

Lexus CT front three quarters

The CT family hatchback upholds Lexus’s excellent reputation for durability – even at up to 10 years old, few cars put a foot wrong. Only suspension and non-motor electrical problems were reported, each by just 5% of owners, and all were fixed within a day, with repair bills ranging from £51 to £100.

Toyota Auris front three quarters

The Auris shares many mechanical bits with the CT, so it’s no wonder it’s almost as bulletproof. Only 12% of cars had glitches, which affected the 12-volt battery, electric motor, steering and suspension. Although two-thirds were undriveable, all were sorted out in less than a week, and all at no cost to owners.

Save money on a used Toyota Auris >>

The least reliable electric and hybrid cars

1. Tesla Model S (2014-present)

Reliability rating 66.2%

What went wrong? Battery 27%, non-motor electrics 27%, suspension 18%, bodywork 9%, brakes 9%, interior trim 9%

Tesla Model S

It’s the high volume of troubles that drags the Model S’s score down, and its fault rate of 64% is by far the worst here. It’s not all bad news, though: nearly half of the affected cars were back on the road within a day, 36% were fixed for free, and only 9% of owners had to pay for repairs, spending up to £750.

Owner comment: “I love my Model S, but it’s let down by its poor build quality, which means it suffers from lots of minor issues.” 

2. Lexus RX (2009-2016)

Reliability rating 92.0%

Lexus RX

Neither of the Lexus models in our bottom three has a poor reliability rating; they’re just in a very high-scoring class. Although 21% of cars had an issue (with bodywork and steering), two-thirds were fixed within a day – a third at no cost to the owner. Most of those who had to pay spent between £101 and £300.

3. Lexus NX (2014-present)

Reliability rating 93.4%

Lexus NX

Only 13% of NXs suffered a fault, with the 12-volt battery giving the main cause for concern. What’s more, the cars weren’t kept off the road for long – two-thirds were rectified within a day and all were sorted out in less than a week. Even better, a third were fixed for free and no owners had to pay more than £300.

Reliability of electric and hybrid cars aged six to 15 years old

Rank Make and model Score
1. Nissan Leaf 2011-2018 100%
2. Lexus CT 2011-present 98.6%
3. Toyota Auris 2013-2019 97.0%
4. Lexus IS 2013-2021 96.5%
5. Mitsubishi Outlander 2014-present 95.6%
6. Lexus NX 2014-present 93.4%
7. Lexus RX 2009-2016 92.0%
8. Tesla Model S 2014-present 66.2%