Best small cars for reliability (and the ones to avoid)

Small cars are bought because they're affordable, but they also need to be dependable. The What Car? reliability survey reveals the gems of the small car world and the clunkers that spend too muc...

Best small cars for reliability (and the ones to avoid)Image 1 of 22

Small cars are often bought as a second family runabout or as a first purchase for a new driver, so it's important that they don't let their users down. An unreliable car that breaks down regularly could put you off a brand altogether.

You're unlikely to remain loyal to a brand that regularly leaves you stranded by the roadside. To save you from finding out the hard way, we asked the owners of 14,208 cars to tell us if their vehicles had suffered from any faults in the past 12 months.

Read the full What Car? reliability survey results

We classified the faults into 14 groups encompassing a wide range of components from the battery and bodywork to engines and suspension. For each fault, we asked owners to tell us how long the car was off the road and how much it cost to fix. We used this data to create a reliablity rating for each model.

This enabled us to rate 32 brands and 169 models for reliability. Click through the slideshow to find out which are the most – and least – depandable small cars aged up to three years old.