Best and worst older executive cars for reliability

Executive cars need to have sharp looks, elegant interiors and the ability to devour motorway miles with ease. They tend to be laden with the latest technology, meaning there's more that could go...

Best and worst older executive cars for reliability

Most reliable older executive cars

Executive cars need to satisfy the needs of business drivers during the week and double as family transport at the weekend.

Buying a second-hand executive car makes sound financial sense because you bypass its initial depreciation. However, if you're buying one that's more than three years old, you need to choose carefully because most will no longer be covered by the manufacturer's warranty. This means you'll have to pay if anything goes wrong.

That's where our reliability survey can help. It reveals which are the most and least durable executive cars aged four to 10 years old.

We asked more than 14,200 people to tell us about any faults their cars had suffered during the past 12 months, how long the problem had kept the car off the road for and how much they'd had to pay to get it fixed.

The models that suffered the least problems and were cheapest to fix gained the top ratings in our study, while those that languished in workshops for days on end and racked up expensive repair bills were given the lowest scores.

Here's our round-up of the best and worst performers in the executive car league for cars aged four to 10.

Read the full reliability survey results for cars aged 0-3yrs

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Best older executive cars for reliability

Mazda 6

5. Used Mazda 6

Score 89.1%

The previous-generation Mazda 6 is getting on a bit now, but it has aged well. The 6 actually beats many newer cars for reliability.

Read our full used Mazda 6 review

Best older executive cars for reliability

Mazda 6 interior

5. Used Mazda 6

Score 89.1%

Although more than 50% of the cars owners told us about had faults, 93% of the cars remained driveable and all were fixed in less than a week. The most commonly affected ares were brakes, the gearbox/clutch and non-engine electrics.

Read our full used Mazda 6 review

Best older executive cars for reliability

Vauxhall Insignia

4. Used Vauxhall Insignia

Score 90.9%

Here, we're looking at diesel-engined versions of the previous Insignia. Only 12% of cars suffered a fault and the problems encompassed a wide range of areas including the battery, brakes, engine electrics and suspension.

Read our full used Vauxhall Insignia review

Best older executive cars for reliability

Vauxhall Insignia interior

4. Used Vauxhall Insignia

Score 90.9%

The Insignia's interior trim and switches are impressively hard-wearing, with no owners reporting problems with these areas. More than 70% of cars that suffered a fault remained driveable and most were fixed for less than £200.

Read our full used Vauxhall Insignia review

Best older executive cars for reliability

Skoda Superb

3. Used Skoda Superb

Score 91.3%

Just 10% of Skoda Superb owners reported faults on their cars. The problem areas spanned engines, engine and non-engine electrics in equal measures.

Read our full used Skoda Superb review

Best older executive cars for reliability

Skoda Superb interior

3. Used Skoda Superb

Score 91.3%

Two-thirds of Superbs remained driveable and all were back on the road in less than a week. Average repair bills didn't exceed £300 per fault.

Read our full used Skoda Superb review

Best older executive cars for reliability

BMW 3 Series

2. BMW 3 Series petrol

Score 92.5%

The petrol-engined versions of the latest BMW 3 Series (produced from 2012 onwards) are proving less problematic than their diesel counterparts, with only 16% of cars reporting a problem.

Read our full BMW 3 Series review

Find a great deal on a BMW 3 Series

Best older executive cars for reliability

BMW 3 Series interior

2. BMW 3 Series petrol

Score 92.5%

Non-engine electrics and and interior trim were the main concerns, and all the cars we were told about remained driveable and were fixed in less than a week, with no bills exceeding £200.

Read our full BMW 3 Series review

Find a great deal on a BMW 3 Series

Best older executive cars for reliability

Audi A5 Sportback

1. Used Audi A5 Sportback

Score 92.9%

The previous-generation Audi A5 claims the top spot for reliability – an impressive feat considering that these cars are truly laden with electronic gadgetry. Although 21% of cars had a problem, most were minor niggles.

Read our full used Audi A5 Sportback review

Best older executive cars for reliability

Audi A5 Sportback interior

1. Used Audi A5 Sportback

Score 92.9%

Problem areas included the battery, air-con and steering; half the cars remained driveable and the good news for owners is that no repair bills exceeded £150.

Read our full used Audi A5 Sportback review

Worst older executive cars for reliability

BMW 3 Series saloon diesel

5. BMW 3 Series diesel

Score 83.8%

Diesel-engined versions of the current 3 Series suffered more problems than their petrol counterparts. Just over 18% of cars reported a fault and the most commonly afflicted area was non-engine electrics.

Read our full BMW 3 Series review

Find a great deal on a BMW 3 Series

Worst older executive cars for reliability

BMW 3 Series diesel interior

5. BMW 3 Series diesel

Score 83.8%

Virtually all the cars remained driveable and all were fixed in less than a week. Most cars were fixed for free under warranty; we were only told about a few bills of up to £300.

Read our full BMW 3 Series review

Find a great deal on a BMW 3 Series

Worst older executive cars for reliability

Used Mercedes-Benz C-class saloon

4. Used Mercedes-Benz C-Class saloon

Score 79.6%

A third of diesel-engined Mercedes C-Class saloons had a problem, although most were minor issues concerning non-engine electrics and lights. Just under 5% of cars had a problem with their engine or gearbox, though.

Read our full used Mercedes-Benz C-class saloon review

Worst older executive cars for reliability

Used Mercedes-Benz C-class saloon interior

4. Used Mercedes-Benz C-class saloon

Score 79.6%

More than 90% of C-Classes remained driveable and most cars were fixed for less than £500. Some owners of older cars reported faults being fixed for free even though their cars were out of warranty.

Read our full used Mercedes-Benz C-class saloon review

Worst older executive cars for reliability

Used BMW 3 Series

3. Used BMW 3 Series saloon

Score 65.2%

Here, we're looking at petrol-engined versions of the previous BMW 3 Series, produced before 2012. Less than 37% of owners reported a fault and the most commonly afflicted area was engine electrics, which affected 21% of cars.

Read our full used BMW 3 Series review

Worst older executive cars for reliability

Used BMW 3 Series interior

3. Used BMW 3 Series saloon

Score 65.2%

Other problem areas included the engine, fuel system and exhaust – 10% of cars had problems in these areas. That said, more than 70% of cars remained driveable and were off the road for less than a week. Repair bills ranged from free to £1500.

Read our full BMW 3 Series review

Worst older executive cars for reliability

Used Audi A4 saloon

2. Used Audi A4 saloon

Score 65.2%

The A4 hasn't proved as tough as its big brother, the A5. More than 33% of cars reported a fault, with non-engine elctrics the most common complaint (22% of cars), followed by exhaust and suspension issues (7%).

Read our full Audi A4 saloon review

Worst older executive cars for reliability

Used Volkswagen Passat saloon

1. Used Volkswagen Passat saloon

Score 44.1%

The previous-generation Passat isn't ageing gracefully. Almost 50% of owners reported faults on their cars, making it our worst older executive car for reliability. Areas of concern included suspension, fuel systems, the exhaust and brakes.

Read our full used Volkswagen Passat review

Worst older executive cars for reliability

Used Volkswagen Passat saloon interior

1. Used Volkswagen Passat saloon

Score 44.1%

Nearly 45% of cars were rendered undriveable and 15% were off the road for more than a week. To top off the Passat's poor performance, 15% of owners told us they were landed with repair bills of more than £1000.

Read our full used Volkswagen Passat review