Top 10 most reliable small family cars

  • What Car? Reliability Survey 2012
  • Most and least reliable cars rated
  • Top 10 - and worst - in each category, too
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The top 10 most reliable small family cars in our 2012 Reliability Survey aren't exactly a varied bunch. Japanese brands dominate, and only two of the top 10 are non-Japanese models.

One of these exceptions is the Volvo S40 ('96-'04), which takes top spot. It doesn't have the lowest fail rate in this category, but an average repair bill of 126 makes all the difference and helps towards a Reliability Index rating of 22.

Toyota has three cars in the top 10. In second place is the Corolla ('01-'07), which has a fail rate of just 7%. Its replacement, the Auris, fares almost as well, with a Reliabilty Index rating of 27 and a failure rate of 11%. Toyota's Prius ('03-'09) also has a lowly 11% fail rate, but average repair bills of 381 mean that it takes seventh place.

In fourth place is the Honda Civic ('06-'12), with a Reliability Index rating of 31 and a fail rate of just 10%. Its predecessor, the '00-'06 Civic, finishes just behind it, in fifth.

It's a similar story for eighth and ninth place, which are occupied by the Mazda 3 and Mazda 323 (its predecessor) respectively.

The Nissan Almera ('00-'06) rounds out an excellent showing for Japanese brands in tenth place; the Peugeot 308 ('07-) is the only other European brand model, in sixth.

Top 10 most reliable small family cars (by Reliability Index rating)
1 Volvo S40 ('96-'04) 22
2 Toyota Corolla ('01-'07) 26
3 Toyota Auris ('07-) 27
4 Honda Civic ('06-'12) 31
5 Honda Civic ('00-'06) 44
6 Peugeot 308 ('07-) 45
7 Toyota Prius ('03-'09) 48
8 Mazda 3 ('04-'09) 54
9 Mazda 323 ('98-'04) 57
10 Nissan Almera ('00-'06) 62

Mercedes-Benz A-Class ('98-'05) 270

Next: Top 10 most reliable family cars >>

What Car Reliability Survey 2012: results by brand >>

See also: JD Power Dealer Satisfaction Survey >>