WhatCarAwards banner - desktop

In association with MotorEasy

Most and least reliable older cars: executive cars

We name the most dependable – and most troublesome – secondhand cars aged from six to 20 years old, based on owners’ experiences...

Ford Mondeo

The most reliable executive cars

1. Ford Mondeo (2014-2022)

Reliability rating 98.3%

The Mondeo never had the badge appeal of an Audi or BMW, but it has one benefit over premium executive car rivals – its almost faultlessly dependability. A mere 3% of people who completed our reliability survey said their car had gone wrong in the previous 24 months, and the only areas to give any trouble were non-engine electrical systems. All faulty cars could be driven, and all remedial work was completed in less than a week. The only blemish on its record is that no work was done for free, leaving owners to find £301 to £500 to cover repair costs.   

Used Ford cars for sale >>

2. Toyota Avensis (2009-2015)

Reliability rating 95.6% 

Used Toyota Avensis saloon 2009-2015

In spite of its advancing years, the Avensis is a hugely reliable executive choice. Only 14% of the cars in our survey went wrong, and the battery, engine electrics and suspension were the only problem areas. Unusually for such an old model, Toyota covered the cost of 25% of repairs. That left 50% of owners with bills up to £200 and 25% paying up to £750, which is pretty minimal for cars that can be more than 10 years old.

Used Toyota cars for sale >>

3. BMW 3 Series petrol (2012-2019)

Reliability rating 93.3%

BMW 3 Series

Petrol versions of the 3 Series are rated slightly higher than diesels for reliability, scoring 93.3% compared with 91.4% for the diesels. They had fewer faults too: 13% of petrols went wrong compared with 16% of diesels. Petrol 3 Series owners complained about issues with their cars' air-con systems, engines and various electrical components. Two thirds of cars could still be driven, but the same amount spent more than a week in the garage being repaired. Although no cars were fixed for free, two thirds of repair bills were less than £200. The bad news is that the rest exceeded £1500. 

Used BMW cars for sale >>

The least reliable executive cars

3. Volkswagen Passat (2005-2015)

Reliability rating 68.3%

VW Passat and Passat CC models recalled

The Passat has a high fault rate of 40% and suffered issues in all 14 of our fault categories. The most frequently cited problem areas were the battery, bodywork, brakes, electrics, gearbox, interior trim and suspension. No repair work was carried out for free, and most fault fixing cost less than £500, but 5% of Passat owners had to find between £1000 and more than £1500 to get their cars sorted. 

2. Mercedes C-Class diesel (2007-2014)

Reliability rating 67.5%

Used Mercedes-Benz C-Class estate

Diesel C-Class saloons and estates didn't suffer many more faults than petrol versions: diesels had a fault rate of 34% and petrols 33%. However, the diesels were far more costly and time-consuming to fix. A third of remedial work cost C-Class owners between £501 and £1000 and 12% of them had to find even more than that. Only 20% of cars were fixed in a day or less, 50% spent up to a week in the garage, and 30% were there for more than a week. Engine issues were the biggest headache, followed by problems with the brakes, exhaust, electrics and suspension.  

1. Mercedes C-Class petrol (2014-2021)

Reliability rating 54.9%

Mercedes C-Class front - 14-plate car

Diesels are a better bet than petrols if you're considering a previous-generation C-Class. Although the fault rates are similar: 44% of diesels went wrong compared with 46% of petrols, the latter cost more in terms of time and money to put right. Battery problems were the most common gripe, cited by 33% of owners. There were also issues with various electrical systems and the suspension. Although most cars could still be driven, 29% were out of action for more than a week. And, although Mercedes covered the cost of 14% of repairs, that left the remaining owners with bills ranging from £101 to £1000. 

To read the data for other car classes follow these links:

Small cars here
Family cars here
Luxury cars here
Small SUVs here
Family SUVs here
Large SUVs here
Luxury SUVs here
Electric and hybrid cars here
Sports cars here
MPVs here
Car brands here

Reliability of executive cars aged six to 20 years old

Rank Make and model Score
1. Ford Mondeo (2014-2022) 98.3%
2. Toyota Avensis (2009-2015) 95.6% 
3. BMW 3 Series petrol (2012-2019) 93.3%
4.  Hyundai i40 (2012-2020) 92.3%
5. BMW 3 Series diesel (2012-2019) 91.4%
6. Jaguar X-Type (2001-2010) 91.2%
7. Volvo S60 (2010-2018)/Volvo V60 (2010-2018) 90.7%
8. Ford Mondeo (2007-2014) 88.2%
9. Skoda Superb diesel (2015-present) 87.7%
10. Skoda Superb (2008-2015) 86.9%
11. Audi A4 (2008-2015) 86.7%
12. Skoda Superb petrol (2015-present) 85.2%
13. BMW 3 Series petrol (2005-2012) 81.8%
14. Vauxhall Insignia (2008-2017) 80.1%
15. Volkswagen Passat (2015-2022) 79.0%
16. Saab 9-3 (2002-2012) 78.1%
17. Mercedes C-Class petrol (2007-2014) 76.1%
18. Mazda 6 (2013-present) 73.8%
=19. Mazda 6 (2007-2012) 71.8%
=19. Mercedes C-Class diesel (2014 -2021) 71.8%
21. BMW 3 Series diesel (2005-2012) 70.8%
22. Audi A4 (2015-present) 69.7%
23. Volvo V70 (2007-2016) 69.2%
24. Jaguar XE (2015-present) 68.5%
25. Volkswagen Passat (2005-2015) 68.3%
26. Mercedes C-Class diesel (2007-2014) 67.5%
27. Mercedes C-Class petrol (2014 -2021) 54.9%

Also consider