The UK's 10 most unreliable used cars

These are the cars to avoid if you want a stress-free used car ownership...

The UK’s most and least reliable used cars have been revealed as part of new research by the UK’s leading consumer champion and new car buying platform, What Car?

Land Rover Discovery 4

More than 18,000 drivers with vehicles aged between four to 10 years old took part in the study, rating how reliable their cars have been over the previous year, the type of problems they’ve encountered as well as whether they were fixed under warranty. Does your car feature? More importantly, does your next one?

We go in ascending order, starting at number 10, with our reliability rating for each model, working our way up to the most unreliable used car you can buy

10: Renault Clio (2005 – 2012)

Renault Clio

Electrical faults are the main area of complaint here, while gearbox problems have been reported on the faster Renault Sport models.

62.6%

9: BMW 5 Series (2003 – 2010)

BMW 5 Series

Listed issues with this car include axle and suspension problems, and problems with the iDrive infotainment system.

60.8%

8: Land Rover Discovery (2004 – 2017)

8: Land Rover Discovery (2004 – 2017)

This model may be much loved and has a great image, but it's big, heavy and complicated. Common faults are with the air suspension and air compressor. Other issues include electrical and software problems, which produced a range of symptoms including cruise control failure, glitches with the infotainment system and problems with the pre-heat facility for the engine and interior. The electronic parking brake can revert to its failsafe mode, too.
     
60.3%

7: Volkswagen Passat diesel (2005 – 2015)

7: Volkswagen Passat diesel (2005 – 2015)

Common faults are with the suspension on heavily-used cars, while the steering system can also give problems. On automatics, the DSG system is also a cause for concern.
     
59.9%

6: Ford Focus (2004 – 2010)

6: Ford Focus (2004 – 2010)

Issues with this model include blocked diesel particulate filters, rusting front wheel arches, while coil packs can be problematic on the petrol models, causing stuttering performance, while spark plugs can corrode badly, and the heated windscreen often fails. Issues have also been reported with the power steering.
     
59.0%

5: Vauxhall Insignia (2008 – 2017)

5: Vauxhall Insignia (2008 – 2017)

Although 19% of Vauxhall Insignias had a fault, the areas affected weren’t the most serious; 40% of problems related to engine electrics, with some owners telling us about engine stop-start system issues. The other faults were split equally between the wheels/tyres, fuel system and exterior lights (all 20%). 
     
58.3%

4: Vauxhall Astra (2004 – 2009)

 4: Vauxhall Astra (2004 – 2009)

Axle and suspension issues and electrical faults are the most common complaints. The front suspension bushes can wear quickly, the instrument cluster can give false readings and electric windows have been known to fail.

The 1.9-litre diesel appears the least reliable with engine problems and excess smoke. The water-pump system can also fail, wrecking the engine, so it needs to be checked every 50,000 miles. Where fitted, timing belts need changing every 40,000 miles to avoid the possibility of a catastrophic engine failure.

58.3%

3: Nissan Qashqai (2007 – 2013)

3: Nissan Qashqai (2007 – 2013)

Several owners reported clutch problems, while squeaks and rattles can appear, especially around the dashboard and front seats. There are complaints about poorly fitted door trims, too. Some cars suffer from a leak around the edge of the windscreen. 

55.4%

2: Ford Kuga (2008 – 2012)

2: Ford Kuga (2008 – 2012)

We admired this solid and respectable SUV when it first came out, but its reliability has disappointed, with owners reporting a range of faults.
     
44.2%

1: BMW 1 Series (2004 – 2011)

1: BMW 1 Series (2004 – 2011)

And the UK's most unreliable used car is... the BMW 1 Series. Nearly two-thirds of 1 Series owners said their vehicle suffered a fault, with battery and engine problems most common – and repairs costing up to £1,500. 
     
40.1%