Best and worst older cars for reliability

Buying a secondhand car can be a minefield. So, to help you pick a dependable motor and avoid problem-ridden models, here we reveal the most – and least – reliable four to 10-year-old cars...

16 May 2019
Older car reliability

The used car market is far bigger than new car sales; around eight million used cars are sold in the UK each year, compared with around two million new car registrations.

If you're buying at the lower end of the secondhand market, you're less likely to be able to afford a car that still has manufacturer warranty remaining, and that means you'll have to foot the bill if it develops a fault. 

That's why you need to choose your used car carefully. If you pick a car that has had one careful owner or been on a corporate fleet and has a full service history, you shouldn't be landed with any nasty surprise bills.

However, some makes and models are more prone to problems than others, and the What Car? Reliability Survey can help you sort the good ones from the lemons. 

Using the 18,000 responses to our survey, we've compiled results for used cars aged four to 10 years old. Those with more faults and costly repair bills are rated lower than the ones that provide problem-free motoring. Here, we reveal the top 10 most reliable older cars and the least reliable ones that are best avoided.

Top 10 older cars for reliability

10. Volkswagen Touareg 2010-2018

Volkswagen Touareg

What Car? Reliability Rating 94.1%

Just over 19% of Touareg owners reported a fault, with the problems split evenly between the engine and non-engine electrics and the engine itself. Three-quarters of cars remained driveable and repair bills didn't exceed £300. 

Read our full review of the used Volkswagen Touareg

See how much you could save on a new Volkswagen Touareg

9. Honda Jazz 2008-2015

Honda Jazz (08 - 15)

What Car? Reliability Rating 94.2%

Only 9% of Jazz owners reported a fault on their car, with the most commonly affected areas being the battery and gearbox. A quarter of the cars weren't driveable, while repair bills ranged from £101 to £500.  

Read our full review of the used Honda Jazz

See how much you could save on a new Honda Jazz

8. Honda CR-V 2012-2018

Honda CR-V

What Car? Reliability Rating 94.6%

Although 25% of CR-V owners reported a fault with their car, many of the most frequently cited causes of concern were minor, including the battery and bodywork. Most cars could still be driven, and some were fixed under warranty, but some owners were landed with repair bills of up to £500.

Read our full review of the used Honda CR-V

See how much you could save on a new Honda CR-V

7. Honda Civic diesel 2012-2017

Used Honda Civic Hatchback 12-17

What Car? Reliability Rating 95.0%

Just over 25% of diesel Civics had a fault, but most were minor, relating to the battery, non-engine electrics and air-con. Most cars we were told about could still be driven, and repair bills ranged from £50 to £750.

Deal of the Day: Lexus RX

What Car? Reliability Rating 95.4%

Only 11% of RXs had a problem, with the two most common area of concern being non-engine electrics and suspension; there were also some reports of issues with the brakes, bodywork and wheels. All cars could still be driven, and most were fixed for free, with just a small percentage of owners faced with repair bills of up to £1000. 

Read our full review of the Lexus RX

See how much you could save on a Lexus RX

Next: the top five cars for reliability >

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