Best and worst older family cars for reliability

Family cars need to be dependable; after all, who wants a car that breaks down with children aboard? Here, we reveal the most and least reliable family hatchbacks from four to 10 years old...

2014 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.4 MultiAir 170 TCT review

5. Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2010-present

What Car? reliability rating 92.4%

The petrol-engined Giulietta is really bucking Alfa's usual reputation for poor reliability, with only 24% of cars suffering a fault; in contrast, 50% of diesel models had a problem. Engine electrics were the most frequently cited issue. Most of the other issues were minor, affecting the air-con, bodywork and non-engine electrics. All cars could still be driven and were fixed the same day. A small percentage of work was done under warranty, but most owners paid £100-£200.

Ford Focus Hatchback 11 - present

What Car? reliability rating 93.0%

It's the diesel Focus that's proving more dependable than the petrol version as this car ages;  18% of diesels had a fault compared with 29% of petrols. The biggest area of concern was the battery, followed by the suspension. Just over half of the cars could still be driven and many were fixed in less than a week. A third were repaired for free, but some owners paid up to £750. 

Used Seat Leon 13 - present

What Car? reliability rating 94.9%

Only 13% of older Leons had a fault, with the areas affected split evenly between the bodywork, engine, non-engine electrics and steering. Two-thirds of cars were still driveable and the same number were fixed for free, although a small percentage of owners had to pay more than £1500.   

Read our full review of the Seat Leon

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2. Honda Civic 2012-2017

Used Honda Civic Hatchback 12-17

What Car? reliability rating 96.4%

The newer Civic is even hardier than its predecessor, with only 9% of owners reporting a fault on their car. Top of the list of complaints was the brake system, followed by the air-con, battery, non-engine electrics and wheels and tyres. Three-quarters of cars could still be driven and some were fixed for free; no repair bills exceeded £750. 

Read our full review of the used Honda Civic

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1. Lexus CT 2011-present

Used BMW 1 Series vs Lexus CT200h vs Volkswagen Golf vs Volvo V40

What Car? reliability rating 98.8%

Even fewer CT owners (5%) reported any faults with their cars. The only areas affected were non-engine electrics and the sat-nav. All cars remained driveable and were fixed the same day, plus all work was done for free. 

Read our full review of the Lexus CT

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