Best and worst older family cars for reliability

Family car buyers prioritise reliablity, not least because suffering a car breakdown is even more traumatic if you have children onboard. Here we reveal which are the most - and least - reliable...

Best and worst older family cars for reliability

Most reliable older family cars

Family cars need to have the broadest range of talents. Not only do they have to be practical, roomy and robust on the inside, they need to be dependable, too, because nobody wants to be left stranded at the roadside with young children onboard.

They also need to be affordable to live with, too, because money can be tight when you've a family to support. That's where our Reliability Survey can help. It offers an insight into the most and least durable family cars aged 4-10yrs old, so it can help you choose the most dependable model.

To find out which cars were the most and least reliable, 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 the 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 family car league for cars 4-10 years old.

Read the full Reliability Survey results for cars aged 0-3yrs

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Best older family cars for reliability

Peugeot 308

5. Used Peugeot 308 diesel

Score 88.6%

Here, we're looking at diesel-engined versions of the 308 that was produced between 2007 and 2013. The problems didn't render any of the cars undriveable. A third were fixed in less than a day, with the remainder back on the road in less than a week. Read on to find out which areas were affected and how costly repair bills were.

Read our full used Peugeot 308 review

Best older family cars for reliability

Peugeot 308 interior

5. Used Peugeot 308 diesel

Score 88.6%

Faults were evenly split between three areas: bodywork, brakes and engine electrics. Although the cars were fixed swiftly, a small number of repair bills exceeded £1000.

Read our full used Peugeot 308 review

Best older family cars for reliability

Toyota Prius

4. Used Toyota Prius

Score 89.5%

The previous Prius is a remarkably robust vehicle. Only 17% of cars had problems, which related to three areas: air-con, the battery and brakes. Read on to find out how much owners paid out to fix faults.

Read our full used Toyota Prius review

Best older family cars for reliability

Toyota Prius interior

4. Used Toyota Prius

Score 89.5%

You won't find many Priuses languishing in service departments. Two thirds of cars owners told us about were fixed in less than a day and the others were back on the road in less than a week. Repair bills were minimal, too: none exceeded £100.

Read our full used Toyota Prius review

Best older family cars for reliability

Hyundai i30

3. Used Hyundai i30

Score 91.5%

The previous i30 has two strong suits: it's impressively reliable and it's backed by a five-year unlimited manufacturer's warranty, which should cover the cost of any faults. Just 11% of cars had problems, with the engine and gearbox/clutch the only affected areas. Read on to find out more about i30 reliability.

Read our full used Hyundai i30 review

Best older family cars for reliability

Hyundai i30 interior

3. Used Hyundai i30

Score 91.5%

The i30's interior trim and switches prove robust as the years roll by – no owners reported any faults with trim or interior electrics. The faults they did tell us about were all fixed for free under warranty, and all cars were back on the road in less than a week.

Read our full used Hyundai i30 review

Best older family cars for reliability

Lexus CT 200h

2. Lexus CT 200h

Score 93.8%

Although 16% of CTs we were told about had faults, none were major and none took more than a week to rectify. Read on to find out which areas were affected and how much owners paid in repair bills.

Read our full Lexus CT 200h review

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Best older family cars for reliability

Lexus CT 200h interior

2. Lexus CT 200h

Score 93.8%

The most common areas with problems were brakes and the clutch/gearbox - 4% of cars had faults in these categories. A further 3% reported issues with interior trim and suspension. Although a small percentage incurred bills of up to £1500, two thirds were fixed for free.

Read our full Lexus CT 200h review

Find out how much you can save on a Lexus CT 200h

Best older family cars for reliability

Honda Civic

1. Used Honda Civic diesel

Score 97.1%

The previous Civic is more robust than many newer models. Only 11% of cars had a fault and all remained driveable and were back on the road the same day. Read on to find out which areas were affected.

Read our full used Honda Civic review

Best older family cars for reliability

Honda Civic interior

1. Used Honda Civic diesel

Score 97.1%

The problematic areas were the battery, non-engine electrics and the windscreen washer system. Two thirds of cars were fixed for free and no repair bills exceeded £500.

Read our full used Honda Civic review

Worst older family cars for reliability

Volkswagen Golf

5. Used Volkswagen Golf diesel

Score 58.7%

Here we're looking at diesel-engined verions of the Golf produced between 2009 and 2012. These models were affected by the Volkswagen Dieselgate emissions scandal, and the most commonly affected areas were engines, engine electrics and the fuel and exhaust systems. A number of owners told us their cars had suffered problems after the emissions fix had been done. Read on to find out which other areas were problematic.

Read our full used Volkswagen Golf review

Worst older family cars for reliability

Volkswagen Golf interior

5. Used Volkswagen Golf diesel

Score 58.7%

Worryingly, almost 50% of the cars owners told us about had been rendered undriveable due to a fault and nearly 30% had cost between £750 and £1500 to get fixed. As well as engine and exhaust problems, owners told us about problems with air-con systems, suspension and bodywork (each of these accounted for 6% of faults).

Read our full used Volkswagen Golf review

Worst older family cars for reliability

Vauxhall Astra

4. Used Vauxhall Astra

Score 56.0%

Here we're looking at petrol and diesel versions of the previous Astra. Although 44% of cars had a problem, the majority of cars remained driveable and were fixed in less than a week. Read on to find out which areas were affected.

Read our full used Vauxhall Astra review

Worst older family cars for reliability

Vauxhall Astra interior

4. Used Vauxhall Astra

Score 56.0%

The most common problems (16%) centred on non-engine electrics, in particular the air-con system. There were also issues with 12% of engine electrical and braking systems, while steering problems affected 5% of cars. No repair bills exceeded £500, though.

Read our full used Vauxhall Astra review

Worst older family cars for reliability

Ford Focus

3. Used Ford Focus diesel

Score 44.9%

Here we're looking at diesel-engined versions of the previous Focus. Around 54% of the cars we were told about had faults, and most (17%) related to the engine. The brakes, engine electrics and fuel system also proved problematic for around 14% of owners. Read on to find out how long cars took to get repaired.

Read our full used Ford Focus review

Worst older family cars for reliability

Ford Focus

3. Used Ford Focus

Score 44.9%

Worryingly, 37% of cars were rendered undriveable by faults, although most were fixed in less than a week. Most repair bills didn't exceed £500, but a small percentage cost up to £1500.

Read our full used Ford Focus review

Worst older family cars for reliability

Seat Leon

2. Used Seat Leon

Score 40.0%

Here we're looking at diesel-engined versions of the previous Leon. Around 39% of cars suffered a fault, with susupension issues the most common, affecting 16% of cars we were told about. Just over 40% of cars were fixed in less than a week. Read on to find out what other areas are problematic and how high repair bills were.

Read our full used Seat Leon review

Worst older family cars for reliability

Seat Leon interior

2. Used Seat Leon

Score 40.0%

Other areas with faults included steering (12%), battery, bodywork and engine electrics (all 6%). Although most repair bills didn't top £500, a small number cost up to £1500.

Read our full used Seat Leon review

Worst older family cars for reliability

Alfa Romeo Giulietta

1. Alfa Romeo Giulietta diesel

Score 39.8%

Half of the Giulietta diesel models we were told about had suffered a fault. The most common areas affected were suspension (22%) and engines (17%), with some reports of timing belts snapping. Read on to find what other areas had problems and how much repair work cost.

Read our full used Alfa Romeo Giulietta review

Worst older family cars for reliability

Alfa Romeo Giulietta interior

1. Alfa Romeo Giulietta diesel

Score 39.8%

The Guilietta's non-engine electrical systems are also prone to problems, with 17% of owners reporting faults, mostly on the air-con and heating systems. A further 6% of owners told us about faultly steering and interior trim. Around 40% of cars were off the road for more than a week, although bills were low - none exceeded £200 per fault.

Read our full used Alfa Romeo Giulietta review

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