The most reliable cars you can buy

Our exhaustive annual Reliability Survey has revealed the most dependable cars up to five years old, based on your experiences. These are the most reliable cars in every class...

What Car? Reliability Awards 2020

2020 Reliability Awards winners

There are certain things about driving that you can rely on: traffic being bad when you’re running late; someone parking right next to you even when there are loads of empty spaces. But at least your car always starts, right? Well, that probably depends on what you drive.

The results of the 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey show that the gap between the best and worst performers remains huge, with some models suffering no faults at all, while others let down more than half of their owners.

This is based on the experiences of thousands of readers who own a car up to five years old. And our scores aren’t just based on the number of problems reported, but also the cost of the necessary repairs and the time it takes to make them.

Here, then, we present the winners of the 2020 What Car? Reliability Awards – the models that you've told us are more dependable than all their rivals. Plus, we name the most dependable brand of them all.

Most reliable value or small car

Reliability Awards - Skoda Citigo

JOINT WINNER - Skoda Citigo (2012-2019)

What went wrong? Nothing
Reliability Rating 100%

Skoda’s sister to the Volkswagen Up is not only slick to drive and great value but also remarkably durable in its original petrol form (it’s now electric only, and we don't have data for those new cars). Even though the earlier examples dating back to 2015 will now be out of warranty, not one owner reported a fault with their car.

Read our full used Skoda Citigo review >>

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Most reliable value or small car

Reliability Awards - Toyota Aygo

JOINT WINNER - Toyota Aygo (2014-present)

What went wrong? Nothing
Reliability Rating 100%

Sharing first place with the Citigio in the Value and Small Car class is the Toyota Aygo. Again, not a single one of the cars we were told about suffered a problem, so it’s hardly surprising that more than three-quarters of owners cited reliability as the thing they liked best about their car.

Read our full Toyota Aygo review >>

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Most reliable family car

Reliability Awards - BMW 1 Series

WINNER - BMW 1 Series diesel (2011-2019)

What went wrong? Interior trim 5%
Reliability Rating 99.2%

Diesel-engined 1 Series models are twice as dependable as their petrol counterparts; only 5% had a fault, compared with 10% of petrols. Most of the cars could still be driven and were back on the road in less than a week, and all work was carried out for free.

Read our full used BMW 1 Series review >>

Find used BMW 1 Series models for sale deals >>

Most reliable small SUV

Reliability Awards - Mini Countryman

WINNER - Mini Countryman (2017-present)

What went wrong? Engine electrics 7%, non-engine electrics 3%
Reliability Rating 98.3%

The latest Countryman is proving very dependable; only 10% of cars went wrong and electrical issues were the only bugbears. All of the stricken cars could still be driven and two-thirds were put right in less than a week, with all work carried out under warranty.

Read our full Mini Countryman review >>

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Most reliable family SUV

Reliability Awards - BMW X1

WINNER - BMW X1 petrol (2015-present)

What went wrong? Non-engine electrics 5%, air-con 3%, exhaust 3%, interior trim 3%
Reliability Rating 98.1%

If you want a reliable X1, pick a petrol model. Just 8% of petrol-engined examples suffered a fault, compared with 25% of diesels. All of the cars we were told about remained driveable and were fixed in less than a week, and all work was done for free.

Read our full BMW X1 review >>

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Most reliable large SUV

Reliability Award - Ford Kuga

WINNER - Ford Kuga petrol (2013-2020)

What went wrong? Bodywork 5%, gearbox/clutch 5%
Reliability Rating 97.8%

Likewise, you should pick a petrol model if you want a dependable large SUV. The best of the bunch is the petrol Kuga, which had a fault rate of only 5% – in contrast to the 16% of diesel Kugas that went wrong. Half of those petrol cars could still be driven and were put right in a day or less. The others took more than a week to fix, but all work was done for free under warranty.

Read our full used Ford Kuga review >>

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Most reliable executive and electric car

Reliability Awards - Tesla Model 3

WINNER - Tesla Model 3 (2019-present)

What went wrong? Interior trim 5%
Reliability Rating 99.4%

Tesla’s newest model is its most durable so far, with a score that not only puts it ahead of every other electric car, but all the petrol, diesel and hybrid executive cars, too. Just 5% of Model 3s suffered a fault, and those that did could still be driven. All were fixed in a day or less at no cost to the owners.

Read our full Tesla Model 3 review >>

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Most reliable hybrid car

Reliability Award - Toyota Yaris

WINNER - Toyota Yaris (2011-2020)

What went wrong? Motor electrics 5%
Reliability Rating 99.5%

The Yaris is a small and almost perfectly dependable hybrid. A mere 5% of cars suffered a fault, according to owners. And of the affected cars, all could still be driven and were fixed in a day or less for no charge.

Read our full used Toyota Yaris review >>

Find used Toyota Yaris models for sale >>

Most reliable luxury car

Reliability Awards - BMW 5 Series

WINNER - BMW 5 Series (2010-2017)

What went wrong? Exhaust 10%, infotainment/sat-nav 3%
Reliability Rating 96.7%

The previous 5 Series just beats its successor to this award, with owners telling us that 17% had a fault. More than three-quarters of those cars remained driveable and half were repaired in a day or less, while all work was done for free.

Read our full used BMW 5 Series review >>

Find used BMW 5 Series models for sale >>

Most reliable luxury SUV

Reliability Award - Porsche Macan

WINNER - Porsche Macan (2014-present)

What went wrong? Gearbox/clutch 4%, bodywork 3%, engine 3%, fuel system 3%, nonengine electrics 3%
Reliability Rating 96.9%

Overall, Macan owners told us that 13% of their cars had gone wrong; just 9% of diesels had a problem and 15% of petrols. All of the cars could still be driven and two-thirds were rectified in a day or less. Four out of five were fixed under warranty, leaving a small percentage of owners with bills of £750 to £1000.

Read our full Porsche Macan review >>

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Most reliable coupé, convertible or sports cars

Reliability Awards - BMW 2 Series Coupé

JOINT WINNER - BMW 2 Series Coupé/Convertible (2014-present)

What went wrong? Bodywork 7% Non-engine electrics 3%
Reliability Rating 97.4%

Just 13% of two-door 2 Series models went wrong. Bodywork was the biggest cause for complaint, then non-engine electrics and suspension. All examples remained driveable, but three-quarters of them took more than a week to fix. All work was done under warranty.

Read our full BMW 2 Series Coupé review >>

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Most reliable coupé, convertible or sports cars

Reliability Awards - Volkswagen Arteon

JOINT WINNER - Volkswagen Arteon (2017-present)

What went wrong? Exhaust 7%
Reliability Rating 97.4%

Sharing the Coupé honours with the 2 Series is the Arteon. A mere 7% went wrong, according to owners, although those that did couldn’t be driven and took more than a week to put right. Fortunately, all work was carried out for free, keeping owners happy.

Read our full Volkswagen Arteon review >>

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Most reliable MPV

Reliability Awards - Ford C-Max

WINNER - Ford C-Max (2011-present)

What went wrong? Nothing
Reliability Rating 100%

The C-Max has been around for a long time, and it’s ageing very well; none of the cars we were told about suffered any faults at all. If you’re looking for a dependable and practical motor, this MPV is definitely worth putting on your shortlist.

Read our full used Ford C-Max review >>

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Most reliable brand

Reliability Awards - Lexus NX

WINNER - Lexus

Average Reliability Rating 98.7%

The award for most reliable brand goes to Lexus, with owners telling us that its cars spent least time in the garage and cost least when it came to fixing faults. This is based on every model in the range, pushing Lexus to the fore, even though the sample sizes for individual models such as the UX and NX weren't big enough for them to qualify for class wins.

Read our Lexus reviews >>


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See all of the 2020 What Car? Car of the Year Awards winners >>

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