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

How dependable are cars as they get older? Here’s what the owners of cars between five and 20 years of age have told us...

Toyota Yaris Hybrid

Most reliable Toyota Yaris Hybrid (2011-2020)

Reliability rating 100%

What went wrong? Nothing

If you want a dependable small hybrid car to drive mainly around town, the Yaris should be at the top of your list. Toyota’s small hatchback is just as bulletproof as the brand’s large SUVs; not a single owner reported a fault with their car, putting the Yaris Hybrid in an elite group with a 100% rating.

Owner’s view “This is my first hybrid and I had some reservations before buying it, but it’s exceeded all my expectations, especially for reliability.”

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Lexus CT (2011-on)

Reliability rating 98.0%

Lexus CT front three quarters

Even though some models are approaching 10 years old, the CT remains extremely reliable. Only 4% of the cars we were told about had encountered a problem, and bodywork was the only area involved. All cars remained driveable and were fixed in a day or less, with bills ranging from £301 to £500. 

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Lexus IS (2013-on)

Reliability rating 96.6%

Lexus IS

As with the Leaf and Prius, the IS is actually a very reliable car, even if it isn’t perfect. Only 7% of IS owners reported a fault, and the only areas affected were the wheels and tyres. All of the cars could still be driven and were fixed the same day for a cost of between £301 and £500.

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Least reliable Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (2014-present)

Reliability rating 87.3%

What went wrong? Bodywork 11%, interior trim 11%

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Only 11% of these plug-in hybrid large SUVs had a problem, but all the cars we were told about spent more than a week in the workshop to address issues with bodywork and interior trim. Although all of them could still be driven, they weren’t fixed for free; owners paid out £201 to £750.

Owner’s view “The build quality on my car was bad, the interior plastics looked cheap and the paintwork wasn’t great. I’ve got rid of it now.”

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Nissan Leaf (2011-2018)

Reliability rating 88.4%

Nissan Leaf

The original version of Nissan’s pioneering electric hatchback doesn’t have a particularly high fault rate; only 11% of owners told us their car had gone wrong. However, repairs took up to a week and no work was done for free, leaving owners with repair bills ranging from £301 to £500. The brakes and suspension were the troublesome areas.

Lexus RX

The previous generation of Lexus’s hybrid luxury SUV isn’t an unreliable model, although it isn’t proving quite as bulletproof as other older Lexus models. Some 21% of cars went wrong, with non-engine electrics and the 12-volt battery being the main bugbears, followed by the bodywork and fuel system. All cars were driveable and were put right in a day or less, and 86% were fixed for free with no owners paying out more than £50.

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