Best and worst older cars for reliability

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...

Whether you’re buying a used car as a second family runabout or as a first car for a novice driver, the last thing you’ll want it to be is an unreliable money pit.

Older car reliability

While new cars come with manufacturer warranties that should cover the cost of any major defects that might occur for at least three years, you have far less comeback when it comes to older cars, and in many cases you’ll have to foot the cost of any repairs yourself. And that means you could be landed with thousands of pounds worth of repair bills.

To help you choose a dependable older car, we conduct the What Car? Reliability Survey each year. In the latest survey, we obtained data from nearly 13,000 car owners. We asked them to tell us if their car had suffered a fault in the previous 12 months and, if so, which areas of the car were affected.

The owners were asked to pick from 14 different categories for faults: air conditioning, battery, bodywork, brakes, engine, engine electrics, fuel system, exhaust system, gearbox/clutch, infotainment/dashboard, interior trim, non-engine electrics, steering and suspension. For each problem, we then asked the owners to tell us how much it had cost to repair, with the responses ranging from fixed under warranty for free to more than £1500. They also told us if the car could still be driven and how long it took to be repaired, from less than a day to more than a week.

Intro (cont.)

Reliability survey header

Their responses were weighted according to the severity of each fault (based on how much it cost to put right and the length of time the car was out of action) and used to create a unique reliability rating we use to rank them in order of dependability.

In total, we were able to rate 175 different models that span 31 brands, giving us a meaningful insight into which will be the most and least reliable cars, whether they’re small city runabouts or big luxury SUVs.

To create these reliability tables, we’ve crunched the data for cars first registered between 2000 and 2015 for each of our categories.

Help us get data on more cars by completing the 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey

Best and worst value and small cars

Used test: Fiat 500 vs Kia Picanto vs Hyundai i10

Most reliable Kia Picanto (2011-2017)

Reliability rating 98.5%

What went wrong? Battery 6%

The Picanto may not be as agile or refined as the VW Group’s triumvirate of the Seat Mii, Skoda Citigo and Volkswagen Up, but it trounces them for dependability. Only 6% of cars went wrong and the only area affected was the battery. All cars were fixed in a day or less and no bills exceeded £100

Owner comment: “The thing I like most about my car is how reliable it has been. It comes with a seven-year warranty, but I’ve not needed to use it.”

Save money on a Kia Picanto with new car deals  >>

Honda Jazz (2008-2014)

Honda Jazz 2008-2015

Reliability rating 98.0%

With its double-folding rear seats, the Jazz is one of the most practical small hatchbacks, and it is also proving durable, according to owners. They told us that only 5% of cars went wrong, with the battery and brakes being the only trouble spots. Half of the cars could still be driven and all were fixed in a day or less for £200 or less.

Save money on a Honda Jazz with new car deals  >>

Mini hatchback petrol (2014-present)

Mini Hatchback

Reliability rating 97.3%

Petrol-engined versions of the latest Mini are proving pretty bulletproof, with electrical issues being the only problem reported by owners. Only 5% of cars were affected and all of them could still be driven, but those that were faulty took up to a week to fix and repair bills ranged from £301 to £500. 

Save money on a Mini Hatchback with new car deals  >>

Next: Least value and small cars >>

Least reliable: Vauxhall Corsa (2006-2014)

Vauxhall Corsa (06 - 14)

Reliability rating 73.0%

What went wrong? Air-con 14%, battery 9%, brakes 9%, engine 9%, engine electrics 9%, exhaust 5%, interior trim 5%, non-engine electrics 5%, suspension 5% 

The Corsa may be popular among new drivers, but reliability is left wanting, with more than a third of respondents’ cars going wrong. All cars could still be driven, but a third took more than a week to fix. Although 7% of cars were repaired for free, two-thirds of owners faced bills of between £101 and £500.

Owner comment: “My car has had a costly fault with its engine electrics that’s been ongoing for two years and still hasn’t been resolved.”

Get a discount on a Vauxhall Corsa with new car deals  >>

Seat Ibiza (2008-2017)

Seat Ibiza Hatchback 08-17

Reliability rating 82.0%

Older Ibizas suffer a lot of faults; 40% of the cars we were told about had gone wrong, with issues covering a wide range of areas, from the air-con and infotainment systems to the engine and suspension. However, all cars remained driveable and nearly two-thirds were fixed in a day or less, and more than 90% of repairs cost less than £200.

Save money on a new Seat Ibiza with new car deals  >>

Ford Fiesta diesel (2008-2017)

Used test: Ford Fiesta vs Volkswagen Polo vs Peugeot 208 vs Kia Rio

Reliability rating 82.3%

Diesel Fiestas aren’t quite as dependable as petrol versions, with 25% of them going wrong (versus 22%). The most common problem area was the suspension, but owners also reported issues with the brakes, fuel system and gearbox. Repairs were costly, ranging from £101 to £750, and four out of five cars spent more than a week in the garage.

Save money on a new Ford Fiesta with new car deals  >>

Next: Most reliable family cars >>

Most reliable: Seat Leon diesel (2013-2020)

Seat Leon

Reliability rating 98.7% 

What went wrong? Brakes 5% 

If you’re after a diesel-powered family car, the Leon is the most dependable option, with just 5% of those we heard about going wrong. All cars could still be driven and were back on the road in a day or less. A third of the work was done for free and no repair bills topped £200. 

Owner comment: “The best things about my Leon are its reliability and the overall high level of build quality.”

Save money on a new Seat Leon with new car deals  >>

Volvo V40 (2012-2019)

2016 Volvo V40 T3 review

Reliability rating 95.6%

Faults were reported by nearly a quarter (23%) of V40 owners, with issues split evenly between the bodywork, engine electrics, exhaust and suspension. However, all cars could be driven and 75% were put right in a day or less, with the same proportion being fixed for free. The rest cost between £101 and £200 to put right.

Honda Civic (2012-2017)

Honda Civic diesel

Reliability rating 95.6%

Honda has a solid reputation for durability, and this is upheld by the previous-generation Civic. Only 10% of cars had a problem, with issues split evenly between air-con, battery, engine and engine electrics. All cars remained driveable and 75% were fixed in a week or less, with repair bills ranging from £101 to £500. 

Save money on a new Honda Civic with new car deals  >>

Next: Least reliable family cars >>

Least reliable Skoda Octavia (2004-2013)

Used car of the week: Skoda Octavia

Reliability rating 54.4%

What went wrong? Engine 24%, fuel system 18%, brakes 12%, suspension 12%, gearbox/clutch 6%, infotainment 6%

A whopping 53% of Octavia owners told us their car had suffered a fault and almost a quarter of those related to the engine. On the bright side, three-quarters of the cars could still be driven and were back on the road in less than a week, but half of the owners paid out £501 to £1500 for repairs. 

Owner comment: “Catastrophe struck after I’d owned my diesel Octavia for less than a week. It needed a new engine and injectors.” 

Save money on a new Skoda Octavia with new car deals  >>

Mercedes-Benz A-Class (2005-2012)

Mercedes-Benz A-Class MPV (05 - 12)

Reliability rating 56.3%

A high percentage (40%) of older A-Classes developed issues, with the brakes being the most common trouble spot, followed by the air-con, engine and suspension. Most of the affected cars remained driveable, but a third lingered in the workshop for more than a week. Repair bills ranged from £51 to £750.

Save money on a new Mercedes A-Class with new car deals  >>

Volkswagen Golf diesel (2003-2009)

Volkswagen Golf (09 - 13)

Reliability rating 74.9%

Far more diesel-engined Golfs suffered faults than petrols (37% versus 8%). The exhaust and suspension were the most common problem areas, followed by the bodywork, brakes and engine. All cars could still be driven, though, and just over half were fixed on the same day. Most owners paid out £51 to £300, but 11% faced bills of more than £1500.

Save money on a new Volkswagen Golf with new car deals  >>

Next: Most reliable executive cars >>

Most reliable Ford Mondeo (2014-present)

Ford Mondeo hatchback front

Reliability rating 97.9%

What went wrong? Engine electrics 7%, exhaust 7% 

It may not be the most prestigious executive car, but the current Mondeo is the most dependable. Only 13% of owners reported having any faults, all cars remained driveable and the problems were resolved in a day or less. The work was done for free in half of the cases, and no bills topped £50.

Owner comment: “The Mondeo is one of the most reliable cars I’ve had; the only one that came close was a previous Skoda Superb Estate.”

Save money on a new Ford Mondeo with new car deals  >>

Mercedes C-Class (2014-present)

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Reliability rating 93.9% 

Only 13% of C-Class owners reported a fault on their car, with the exhaust system being the biggest area of concern, followed by engine electrics. Although all of the affected cars could still be driven, 75% were out of action for more than a week, and while the work was done for free in half the cases, the remaining cars cost between £101 and £750 to fix

Save money on a new Mercedes C-Class with new car deals  >>

Mazda 6 (2013-present)

New 2013 Mazda 6 review

Reliability rating 93.4%

The latest model is proving far more dependable than the previous one. Although 16% of cars had a fault, half were minor niggles with bodywork and interior trim. Other trouble spots were the brakes and engine electrics. Half of repair work was done for free; other bills ranged from £101 to £750. No cars were undriveable and half were fixed the same day.

Save money on a new Mazda 6 with new car deals  >>

Next: Least reliable executive cars >>

Least reliable: Volkswagen Passat (2005-2015)

Deal of the day: Volkswagen Passat

Reliability rating 57.9%

What went wrong? Suspension 17%, battery 11%, bodywork 8%, brakes 8%, engine electrics 8%, exhaust 8%, non-engine electrics 8%, gearbox/clutch 6%, air-con 3%, engine 3%, fuel system 3%, interior trim 3%, steering 3% 

The previous Passat is prone to problems, with 53% of owners telling us that their car had suffered at least one fault. Nearly a third of cars couldn’t be driven and nearly half spent up to a week in the garage. Owners faced a wide range of repair costs, from less than £50 up to £1500. 

Owner comment: “The ownership costs for my car have been high, because it has suffered a lot of faults.” 

Save money on a new Volkswagen Passat with new car deals  >>

Mazda 6 (2007-2012)

Mazda 6 Hatchback (07 - 12)

The Mazda 6 isn’t a particularly robust choice among executive cars. Just over a third of cars suffered a fault, with the brake system, engine electrics and steering the biggest concerns. All cars were put right in less than a week and 42% of them in a day or less, but a third of owners were landed with bills of between £501 and £1500.

Save money on a new Mazda 6 with new car deals  >>

Ford Mondeo (2007-2014)

Used Ford Mondeo 07 - 14

The Mondeo isn’t ageing as well as some rivals; 26% of previous-generation cars went wrong in areas such as the battery, brakes, engine electrics, gearbox/clutch and exhaust system. Nearly a third were undriveable and 11% took more than a week to fix. Most bills ranged from £51 to £500. 

Save money on a new Ford Mondeo estate with new car deals  >>

Next: Most reliable luxury cars >>

Most reliable Mercedes E-Class (2009-2016)

07. Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Reliability rating 94.0%

What went wrong? Non-engine electrics 6%, suspension 3%, air-con 1%, battery 1%, brakes 1%, engine electrics 1%, exhaust 1%

Although 15% of E-Classes suffered a fault, they were mostly minor electrical niggles, followed by the suspension. Four out of five cars could still be driven and most were fixed in less than a week, with 42% of the work done for free. Some owners had to pay £751 to £1000, though.

Owner’s view “I bought my E-Class two years ago, when it was three years old. It’s been very reliable and has never given me a single problem.”

Save money on a new Mercedes E-Class with new car deals  >>

BMW 5 Series (2010-2017)

BMW 5 Series Saloon (10-17)

Reliability rating 82.6%

The 5 Series isn’t one of the most dependable older buys, but it is in the top three here. Thirty percent of the cars we were told about had gone wrong, with suspension the biggest cause for concern. Most cars could still be driven, though, and 41% were fixed in a day or less. Nearly 20% of work was done for free and more than half of the bills were less than £300.

Save money on a new BMW 5 Series with new car deals  >>

Jaguar XJ (2003-2009)

Jaguar XJ Saloon (03 - 09)

Reliability rating 82.0%

The main bugbear for XJ owners is the air-con, accounting for 18% of faults. Other areas concerned the battery, brakes and non-engine electrical systems. Owners told us 27% of their cars had gone wrong, but all remained driveable and 80% were fixed the same day. Bills ranged from £51 to £750.

Next: Least reliable luxury cars >>

Least reliable Mercedes-Benz E-Class (2002-2009)

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Saloon (06 - 09)

Reliability rating 74.9%

What went wrong? Suspension 36%, engine 13% 

The older E-Class isn’t ageing well, with 50% of the cars we heard about suffering a fault. Although three-quarters of the afflicted cars could still be driven and half were fixed in a day or less, none of the work was done for free and owners paid out between £200 and £750 per fault.

Owner comment: “My car hasn’t been reliable and I’ve found servicing very expensive.”

Save money on a new Mercedes E-Class Estate with new car deals  >>

Jaguar XF (2007-2015)

Jaguar XF Mk1 front cornering

According to owners, 35% of previous-generation XFs went wrong with non-engine electrical issues, the biggest trouble spot being the air-con. Other problem areas included the battery, bodywork and engine. Virtually all cars could still be driven, though, and more than half were repaired in a day or less, with 14% of the work done for free and the majority of owners paying no more than £500.

Save money on a new Jaguar XF with new car deals  >>

Audi A6 (2011-2018)

Audi A6 Saloon

Suspension was the main problem area for A6 owners, accounting for 15% of reported faults. Overall, 30% of A6s went wrong, with other problematic areas including the air-con, brakes, engine, engine and non-electrical systems and interior trim. Although 60% of cars were back on the road in a day or less, only one in five was fixed for free; owners paid out £101 to more than £1500. 

Save money on a new Audi A6 with new car deals  >>

Next: Most reliable small and family SUVs >>

Most reliable Audi Q3 (2011-2018)

Used Audi Q3 2011-present

Reliability rating 96.5%

What went wrong? Engine electrics 4%, fuel system 4%, suspension 4% 

Only 12% of Q3 owners reported having had any problems with their car in the previous 12 months. The cars that did go wrong could still be driven and were rectified in a day or less. A third of the repair bills were less than £50 and no owners had to pay out more than £300.

Owner comment: “The quality of materials used inside my Q3 and on the bodywork are top notch compared with most other brands.”

Save money on a new Audi Q3 with What Car? >>

Vauxhall Mokka petrol (2012-2019)

2014 Vauxhall Mokka 1.4T 2WD review

Reliability rating 95.2%

If you’re considering buying a Mokka, go for a petrol model, because it’s almost half as likely to suffer a fault as a diesel (15% versus 29%). The brakes and engine cooling system were the only areas to give problems. All cars remained driveable and were fixed in less than a week, with half of the work done for free and half costing between £201 and £300.

Mini Countryman (2010-2017)

Used Mini Countryman review 10-17

Reliability rating 87.1%

Only 17% of Countryman owners told us their cars had gone wrong, with the issues split evenly between the bodywork, infotainment and the engine. Repair work wasn’t carried out swiftly; two-thirds of cars were in the workshop for more than a week, and while a third of cars cost less than £200 to fix, two-thirds cost more than £1500 

Save money on a new Mini Countryman with What Car? >>

Next: Least reliable small and family SUVs >>

Least reliable Nissan Qashqai (2007-2013)

Nissan Qashqai (07 - 13)

Reliability rating 45.6%

What went wrong? Air-con 13%, battery 13%, brakes 13%, engine 13%, exhaust 13%, fuel system 6%, infotainment 6%, steering 6%, suspension 6% 

Although only 19% of older Qashqais had a problem, a third of them were rendered undriveable and 75% were off the road for more than a week. A quarter of repair bills cost at least £1000 and many exceeded £1500, although a third of owners got off more lightly, with bills of up to £300. 

Owner comment: “My car has spent 12 weeks in the garage in the past six months with a catalogue of faults. I’d never buy another Qashqai.”

Nissan Qashqai diesel (2014-on)

Nissan Qashqai front cornering - 63-plate car

Reliability rating 46.3%

Faults cropped up in 38% of the current Qashqai diesels we were told about, and although 20% were fixed under warranty, 35% cost more than £750 to sort and 15% topped £1500. Problem areas included the air-con, engine, infotainment, battery, engine electrics, fuel system and gearbox/clutch. Still, half of the faults were put right in less than a week.

Save money on a new Nissan Qashqai with What Car? >>

Volkswagen Tiguan (2007-2016)

Volkswagen Tiguan Crossover (07 - 16)

Reliability rating 61.0%

Our data reveals that 38% of previous-generation Tiguans were faulty in a range of areas, including their suspension, gearbox/clutch, engine, exhaust and fuel system. More than a third couldn’t be driven and the majority took up to a week to put right. Although 19% were fixed for free, those who had to pay were landed with bills of £101 to £1500.

Save money on a new Volkswagen Tiguan with What Car? >>

Next: Most reliable large SUVs >>

Most reliable Honda CR-V (2012-2018)

Honda CR-V

Reliability rating 100%

What went wrong? Nothing 

The previous generation of Honda’s large SUV is one of the most dependable cars on our roads, even though the earliest examples are approaching nine years old. Owners told us that none of their CR-Vs had gone wrong in the previous year, giving the model a 100% reliability rating. 

Owner comment: “My wife and I both own CR-Vs and are firm fans because of its faultless reliability and great build quality.”

Save money on a new Honda CR-V with What Car? >>

Toyota RAV4 (2013-2019)

Toyota RAV4 2.5

Reliability rating 100%

What went wrong? Nothing

Toyota has a well-deserved reputation for reliability, and the model that rams home that point better than any other is the previous-generation RAV4. Available with the option of efficient hybrid power, it joins the Honda CR-V in earning a 100% reliability rating, with not a single owner reporting a fault in the previous 12 months.

Save money on a new Toyota RAV4 with What Car? >>

Toyota RAV4 (2006-2012)

Toyota RAV4 (06 - 12)

Reliability rating 95.7%

Although the earliest examples of this RAV4 are getting on for 15 years old, only 10% of cars went wrong, in the areas of the battery and suspension. Half could still be driven, issues were remedied in a day or less 19% of work was done for free and those who had to pay shelled out between £101 and £1500.

Save money on a new Toyota RAV4 with What Car? >>

Next: Least reliable large SUVs >>

Least reliable Land Rover Discovery Sport (2014-present)

New Skoda Kodiaq vs used Land Rover Discovery Sport: which is best?

Reliability rating 51.4%

What went wrong? Exhaust 21%, brakes 14%, non-engine electrics 14%, air-con 7%, engine 7%, gearbox/clutch 7%, interior trim 7%, infotainment 7%, steering 7% 

Land Rover’s poor reputation for reliability is backed up by the fact that 43% of Discovery Sport owners reported faults. A quarter of the cars were undriveable and took more than a week to put right. Although a third were fixed for free, the rest incurred bills of £201 to £1500 or more.

Owner comment: “Although my car has never broken down, it’s had problems with the infotainment, which took weeks to resolve, and the gearbox."

Save money on a new Land Rover Discovery Sport with What Car? >>

Ford Kuga (2008-2013)

2: Ford Kuga (2008 – 2012)

Reliability rating 81.9%

Although the Kuga is in the bottom three, it’s not terribly unreliable; 21% of cars went wrong, with the exhaust, gearbox/clutch and suspension being the biggest causes for concern. Four out of five cars could still be driven, but 20% spent more than a week in the garage. A third of owners paid out less than £200; the rest spent between £301 and £1500.

Save money on a new Ford Kuga with What Car? >>

Volvo XC60 (2008-2017)

Volvo XC60 (08 - 17)

Reliability rating 87.5%

Owners told us 27% of their XC60s had suffered a fault, but most of the problems were minor, affecting the bodywork or electrical components. Four out of five cars could still be driven and 75% were back on the road in a day or less, with 58% of the work being done under warranty. Owners who had to pay faced bills of between £50 and £1000. 

Save money on a new Volvo XC60 with What Car? >>

Next: Most reliable luxury SUVs >>

Most reliable BMW X5 (2013-2018)

BMW X5 2015 front

Reliability rating 86.1%

What went wrong? Exhaust 14%, air-con 7%, engine electrics 7% 

The previous-generation X5 is pretty dependable. Although 29% of the cars surveyed went wrong, four out of five could still be driven and nearly two-thirds were put right within a day. While 20% of work was done under warranty, the rest had to pay between £50 and more than £1500.

Owner comment: “My car has been reliable except for an occasional exhaust sensor error message, but that didn’t cause a breakdown.” 

Save money on a new BMW X5 with What Car? >>

Range Rover Sport (2013-on)

Range Rover Sport '15 plate front corner

Reliability rating 76.5%

Only 13% of Range Rover Sport owners reported a fault on their car, with the bodywork, gearbox/ clutch and engine electrics being the most common gripes. A quarter of those cars were undriveable and two-thirds spent more than a week off the road. Almost half of the work was done for free, but 9% of bills totalled £1000 to £1500. 

Save money on a new Range Rover Sport with What Car? >>

Volvo XC90 (2002-2015)

Volvo XC90 (02 - 15)

Reliability rating 70.5%

Faults were reported on 23% of the XC90s we were told about; the most frequent trouble spots were the air-con, brakes, engine electrics and steering. However, about half of the issues were rectified in a day or less and only one in five cars spent more than a week off the road. While 9% of work was done for free, other bills ranged from £51 to £1000

Save money on a new Volvo XC90 with What Car? >>

Next: Least reliable luxury SUVs >>

Least reliable Porsche Macan (2014-present)

Jaguar F-Pace vs Porsche Macan

Reliability rating 40.4% 

Although the Macan’s fault rate (36%) isn’t among the highest, its reliability rating is so low because 31% of repair bills exceeded £1500 and around 50% of owners had to pay £201 to £750. On the bright side, four out of five cars were fixed in less than a week, with only 15% needing longer to put right. 

Save money on a new Porsche Macan with What Car? >>

BMW X5 (2007-2013)

BMW X5 (07 - 13)

Reliability rating 42.6%

A shocking 53% of second-generation X5s went wrong, with the brakes, engine and suspension being the biggest concerns. Most repair bills were costly (between £301 and £500) and 9% of owners paid out more than £1500. On the plus side, three-quarters of cars could still be driven and the majority were repaired in less than a week. 

Save money on a new BMW X5 with What Car? >>

Land Rover Discovery (2004-2017)

Used Land Rover Discovery front corner

Reliability rating 45.7%

The Discovery’s score is dragged down by the fact that 52% of the cars we were told about had gone wrong and a third of owners faced bills exceeding £1000. The main fault area was the suspension (27%), followed by the battery and engine (12% each). More than three-quarters of the affected cars could still be driven and were fixed in less than a week.

Save money on a new Land Rover Discovery with What Car? >>

Next: Most reliable electric cars & hybrids >>

Most reliable Toyota Yaris Hybrid (2011-2020)

Toyota Yaris Hybrid

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.”

Save money on a new Toyota Yaris with What Car? >>

Lexus CT (2011-on)

Lexus CT front three quarters

Reliability rating 98.0%

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)

Lexus IS

Reliability rating 96.6%

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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Next: Least reliable electric cars & hybrids >>

Least reliable Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (2014-present)

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Reliability rating 87.3%

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

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)

Used Nissan Leaf 2011-2018

Reliability rating 88.4%

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.

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Lexus RX (2009-2016)

Lexus RX (03 - 09)

Reliability rating 96.8%

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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Next: Most reliable MPVs >

Most reliable Ford C-Max (2011-2019)

Ford C-Max

Reliability rating 91.3%

What went wrong? Battery 7%, gearbox/clutch 7%, interior trim 7% 

Although 20% of C-Max owners reported a fault with their car, two-thirds were minor issues that didn’t stop the cars from being driven and were sorted out in a day or less. A third of the faults were dealt with for free, while a third of bills cost £101 to £200 and a third £751 to £1000

Owner’s view “I’ve had lots of Fords over the years; this is my third C-Max on the trot, and none of them has let me down.”

Vauxhall Meriva (2010-2017)

2014 Vauxhall Meriva 1.6 CDTi review

Reliability rating 83.0%

Although 24% of Meriva owners told us their car had gone wrong, most of the issues related to minor areas, such as the bodywork and battery. A few also had faults with the air-con, engine and exhaust. All of them could still be driven and four out of five were fixed in a week or less. Half of the bills were less than £100; the rest ranged from £751 to £1000.

BMW 2 Series Active/Gran Tourer (2015-present)

Used BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer 2015 -present

Reliability rating 78.3%

The 2 Series may be third here, but that isn’t saying much. Owners said 32% of cars went wrong; the exhaust and gearbox/clutch were the most commonly cited issues. Two-thirds of cars could still be driven and four out of five were fixed in less than a week. Although 11% of work was done under warranty, 40% cost £500 to £1500 or more to fix.

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Next: Least reliable MPVs >

Least reliable Vauxhall Zafira (2005-2016)

Used cars of the week: 6k Vauxhall Zafiras

Reliability rating 60.6%

What went wrong? Battery 18%, air-con 12%, exhaust 12%, gearbox/clutch 12%, non-engine electrics 12%, suspension 12%, brakes 6%, engine electrics 6%

Zafira owners told us 35% of their cars had suffered faults spanning a wide range of areas. Twenty percent of cars couldn’t be driven and more than a third took up to a week to repair. While most bills were between £51 and £500, around 20% of owners paid out between £751 and £1500 or more. 

Owner comment: “It’s developed knocks and whining noises; it isn’t robust enough for my daily commute”

Citroën Grand C4 Picasso (2014-2018)

Citroën Grand C4 Picasso

Reliability rating 61.7%

A worrying 58% of Grand C4 Picassos went wrong, with the main areas of concern being the air-con, gearbox/clutch and non-engine electrics. More than a third of them were undriveable and the same proportion spent more than a week off the road. The good news is 27% of repairs were done for free and only 18% of owners faced bills of £1000-£1500.

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Volkswagen Touran (2003-2015)

Volkswagen Touran MPV (03 - 15)

Reliability rating 63.3%

Nearly a third (29%) of Tourans had a problem, with owners citing the battery, brakes and gearbox/clutch as the most common causes of discontent. Virtually all cars could still be driven, but a third spent more than a week in the garage. No work was done for free and repair bills ranged from less than £50 to more than £1500.

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Most reliable Porsche Boxster/Cayman (2012-2016)

Porsche Boxster front three quarters

Reliability rating 94.7%

What went wrong? Air-con 11%, interior trim 6%, non-engine electrics 6%

The previous-generation Boxster and Cayman are ageing well, with only 17% of cars suffering a fault and no major components failing. All cars could still be driven and 75% were put right in a day or less; 75% of work was done for free, with the remaining bills ranging from £501 to £750.

Owner’s view “I’ve owned quite a few Porsches over the years, and this is the best one yet. Build quality and reliability are both excellent.”

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BMW Z4 (2009-2019)

BMW Z4

Reliability rating 94.1%

Only 17% of previous-generation Z4s went wrong, according to owners, with the engine and nonengine electrics being the only areas affected. All cars remained driveable and all were put right in less than a week; half were back on the road in a day or less. Although no cars were repaired under warranty, bills ranged from £101 to £200.

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BMW 4 Series Coupé/Convertible (2014-2020)

BMW 4 Series Coupe

Reliability rating 93.9%

Although 20% of the 4 Series models we were told about went wrong, the most common issue was a minor one: interior trim. All cars could still be driven and 75% were repaired in a day or less. A quarter of work was done for free, and those who had to pay received bills ranging from £101 to £300.

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Least reliable Porsche 911 (2004-2011)

Porsche 911 front three quarters

Reliability rating 71.9%

What went wrong? Air-con 25%, engine electrics 17%, non-engine electrics 8%

A third of 911s of this generation went wrong, according to owners, with just over half being rendered undriveable and nearly three-quarters taking up to a week to repair. Although 43% of work was done for free, other owners were left with bills of between £501 and £750. 

Owner’s view “The 911 is expensive to service and I’ve had a couple of pricey bills for faults.” 

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BMW 6 Series Coupé/Convertible (2011-2018)

BMW 6 Series Coupé

Reliability rating 73.7%

Only 17% of 6 Series owners told us their car had suffered a fault, with the biggest issues being related to non-engine electrics, followed by interior trim and steering. However, half of cars were rendered undriveable and 75% took more than a week to put right. No work was done for free and 50% of repair bills exceeded £1500.

Porsche Boxster/Cayman (2004-2012)

Porsche Cayman front three quarters

Reliability rating 86.5%

Despite their presence here, the second-generation Boxster and Cayman are pretty dependable, with only 18% of owners reporting faults. Problems were split evenly between the air-con, battery, fuel system, gearbox/clutch and non-engine electrics. Nearly two-thirds of cars could still be driven and were fixed swiftly. One in five faults was remedied for free, but some cost £501 to £1500 or more to fix.

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