Best and worst older small cars for reliability

Small cars and city cars are often bought by new drivers or as family runabouts, so dependability is a top priority. Here we reveal the most and least reliable aged 4-10 years...

Fiat Panda and VW Up star in this week's deals

Bottom 10 older city cars and small cars for reliability

11. Fiat Panda 2005-2012

What Car? reliability rating 80.5%

A whopping 36% of previous-generation Pandas had a problem. The most common related to the engine (14%) and gearbox (9%), followed by the air conditioning, battery, brakes and engine electrics. More than a third of the cars were rendered undriveable and repair bills ranged from less than £50 to £1000. 

Read our full review of the used Fiat Panda

See how much you could save on a new Fiat Panda


10. Mazda 2 2007-2014

Used car of the week: Mazda 2

What Car? reliability rating 80.00%

Although 18% of 2s had a fault, the main gremlin was bodywork. Other problem areas included the battery, brakes, engine, exhaust, suspension and wheels. Although most cars were still driveable and some were fixed for free, other bills ranged from £51 to £750.  

Read our full review of the latest Mazda 2

See how much you could save on a new Mazda 2


9. Skoda Fabia 2007-2014

Skoda Fabia (07 - 14)

What Car? reliability rating 77.1%

Nearly a third of Fabias (32%) had a problem, with non-engine electrics and suspension the most common gripes; the engine electrics, exhaust and exterior lights were also troublesome. Three-quarters of cars could still be driven and a small number were fixed for free, but some owners were landed with repair bills of more than £1500.

Read our full review of the used Skoda Fabia

See how much you could save on a new Skoda Fabia


8. Ford Fiesta diesel 2008-2017

Used test: Ford Fiesta vs Volkswagen Polo vs Citroen C3

What Car? reliability rating 76.0%

More than 28% of cars had a fault, and engine and suspension issues were the most common. Other frequently cited problem areas included the air conditioning, battery and fuel system. Three-quarters of cars were still drivable and a small proportion were repaired for free, but other owners had to fork out more than £1500.  

Read our full review of the used Ford Fiesta

See how much you could save on a new Ford Fiesta


7. Mini hatchback 2007-2014

Used Mini Hatchback 2007-2014

What Car? reliability rating 74.5%

A hefty 34% of Mini owners reported at least one fault on their cars, with the engine and suspension the biggest areas of concern. There were also issues with the bodywork, brakes and non-engine electrics. Three-quarters of cars could still be driven and a small percentage were fixed for free, but quite a few owners faced repair bills in excess of £1500. 

Read our full review of the used Mini hatchback

See how much you could save on a new Mini hatchback


6. Seat Ibiza 2008-2017

Seat Ibiza Hatchback 08-17

What Car? Reliability Rating 69.5%

A hefty 42% of Ibiza owners reported at least one fault on their cars, with brakes and suspension the biggest areas of concern. There were also issues with the air conditioning, bodywork, engine, engine electrics, fuel system and non-engine electrics. Three-quarters of cars could still be driven and a small percentage were fixed for free, but quite a few owners faced repair bills in excess of £1500. 

Read our full review of the used Seat Ibiza

See how much you could save on a new Seat Ibiza

Tell us about your car for the 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey and you could win £250


For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

< Previous | Next: the bottom five city cars and small cars for reliability >

Page 3 of 4


Buy a new car with What Car?

Before you buy, visit What Car?’s new car deals section.

We have discounted deals on most new cars on sale, so you're never far away from finding a new car deal in your area.

It's all based on Target Price, which is the price we think you should pay based on research by our team of mystery shoppers, and the best discounts they can achieve.

If you’re still not sure then our deals team can help; call them on 03302 216207 – lines are open from 8am until 10pm seven days a week.