Least reliable older small cars

More small hatchbacks are sold than any other type of car, so there are plenty of used examples to choose from. But which are the most and least dependable?...

Ford Fiesta

The least reliable older small cars 

3. Ford Fiesta (2008-2017) 

What Car? reliability rating 84.4%

Diesel Fiestas aren’t quite as robust as petrol versions, with 25% of them going wrong (versus 22%). Cars with both engines suffered a high proportion of suspension issues and problems with the gearbox/clutch and brakes. Around half of repair bills totalled less than £500, but some owners paid out up to £1500. Most cars could still be driven, but many took more than a week to put right. 

Seat Ibiza cornering front three quarters

What Car? reliability rating 82.0%

Older Ibizas suffer a lot of faults; 40% of the cars we were told about had gone wrong, with issues covering a wide range of areas, from the air-con and infotainment systems to the engine and suspension. However, all cars remained driveable and nearly two-thirds were fixed in a day or less, while more than 90% of repairs cost less than £200. 

Read our full review of the used Seat Ibiza >>

See how much you could save on a new Seat Ibiza >>


1. Vauxhall Corsa (2006-2014)

Vauxhall Corsa

What Car? reliability rating 73.0%

The Corsa may be popular among new drivers, but reliability is left wanting, with more than a third of respondents’ cars going wrong. Problems were reported with the air-con, battery, brakes, engine, engine electrics, exhaust, interior trim, non-engine electrics and suspension.  

All cars could still be driven, but a third took more than a week to fix. Although 7% of cars were repaired for free, two-thirds of owners faced bills of between £101 and £500.

Owner comment: “My car has had a costly fault with its engine electrics that’s been ongoing for two years and still hasn’t been resolved.”

Read our full review of the used Vauxhall Corsa >>

See how much you could save on a new Vauxhall Corsa >>


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