Best and worst older cars for reliability: executive cars

How dependable are cars as they get older? Here’s what the owners of family cars between six and 15 years of age have told us...

Used Toyota Avensis saloon 2009-2015

Most reliable Toyota Avensis (2009-2015)

Reliability rating 92.0%

What went wrong? Battery 3% Brakes 3% Fuel system 3% Gearbox 3% Interior trim 3% 

Although 17% of owners told us something had gone wrong with their Toyota Avensis, the problem areas were mostly minor. Most of the afflicted cars could still be driven and were repaired in less than a week. Half of them were fixed for free, but some owners paid up to £1000. 

Owner comment: “I’ve had the car since 2011 and it’s only had one fault that was fixed under warranty” 

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BMW 3 Series petrol (2012-2019)

Reliability rating 90.9% 

Almost 25% of petrol-engined BMW 3 Series cars had an issue, although most were minor issues with non-engine electrical systems and the sat-nav. Although most of the cars could still be driven, they spent up to a week in the garage. Half were fixed for free, though, and no repair bills exceeded £200.

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Honda Accord (2008-2015)

Reliability rating 89.9%

Honda Accord owners told us 22% of their cars had suffered a problem; the exhaust system was the most common culprit, followed by the battery and suspension. However, all cars could still be driven and half were fixed the same day. Two-thirds of bills were below £300, although some were up to £1000. 

Least reliable BMW 3 Series (2005-2012)

Reliability rating 50.4%

BMW 3 Series 320d ES

What went wrong? Brakes 23% Engine 19% Exhaust 13% Air-con 10% Battery 7% Bodywork 7% Engine electrics 7% Gearbox 7% Interior trim 3% Suspension 3% 

The older 3 Series is proving less durable than the newer model, with 58% of cars afflicted by a fault. Although brake issues were the most common complaint, engine problems weren’t far behind. Although three-quarters of the cars could still be driven, a quarter of them cost £1500 or more to put right. 

Owner comment: “Most components around the engine are unreliable; so many things can, and do, go wrong” 

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Mazda 6 (2007-2012)

Reliability rating 59.8%

Owners reported that 28% of Mazda 6s suffered a problem, with the brakes being the most prevalent, followed by the engine and interior trim. That might not sound too bad, but nearly half of cars were rendered undriveable and took more than a week to repair, and a third of bills cost more than £1500.

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Hyundai i40 (2012 on)

Reliability rating 61.2%

It’s unusual to find a Hyundai near the bottom of a reliability league, but a staggering 58% of Hyundai i40s suffered a fault and a third of them were with the gearbox. There were also issues with the air conditioning systems, battery, brakes and suspension. Most cars remained driveable and more than a third were fixed for free; some owners paid out £1500 or more, though.