Most reliable cars

Toyota iQ
22 Apr, 2015 12:40pm Sam Naylor

The top 10 most reliable cars to own, as rated by over 61,000 drivers in the UK

There are no two ways about it, reliability is the number one most important thing for motorists when it comes to choosing a car. But despite all the hearsay surrounding manufacturers' reliability records you never really know what you're in for when you buy a new car. That's where our Driver Power survey comes in.

Over 61,000 British motorists told us about their cars, making Driver Power the largest survey of its type in the UK, and from that data we can bring you a definitive list of the country's most reliable cars.

This year the top-rated car for reliability was the Toyota iQ - a clever city car with a surprising amount of space inside. It's been around for six years now and its owners are clearly more than satisfied with its dependability over that time.

Driver Power 2015 results in full

Toyota's sister brand Lexus takes the next two places in the list, with the NX and IS models placing second and third for reliability in the 2015 Driver Power results. In fact, the chart is dominated by Japanese and Korean brands, with the SEAT Leon being the only car in the reliability top ten from a European manufacturer.

At the bottom of the top 200 cars this year are the Range Rover and Land Rover Discovery 3 - and that'll be no surprise if you remember previous survey results, as those cars have ranked poorly in the past as well. Scroll down to the bottom of this page for the bottom 10 in our most reliable list...

Top 10 most reliable cars 2015

1. Toyota iQ - 98.81%

Driver Power key car: Toyota iQ

The most reliable car, according to our Driver Power 2015 satisfaction survey, is the Toyota iQ, which finished just ahead of its two premium cousins from Lexus.

The iQ is good to drive, especially in the city, and is cheap to run - although we have always criticised it for a high asking price. It seems you get what you pay for when it comes to reliability though.

2. Lexus NX - 98.71%

The Lexus NX is a very new car, especially next to the winner of this category - so it's no real surprise that owners haven't had many problems with it yet. It actually placed first overall for build quality in our survey, meaning owners feel like it's put together especially well.

3. Lexus IS Mk3 - 98.58%

Lexus IS 300h - static

The Lexus IS was the overall best car to own according to the 2015 Driver Power poll, so it's no surprise to see it make an appearance in this list. The compact executive car trumps all of its rivals in the reliability category - surely a great selling point for the brand.

4. Hyundai i10 Mk2 - 98.46%

Hyundai i10 long-termer - front cornering

We love the Hyundai i10 here at Auto Express, so it's pleasing to see it do so well in this ownership survey. It's a great result for Hyundai too, with the i10 finishing five places ahead of its sister model, the Kia Picanto.

5. Honda Jazz Mk2 - 97.86%

Honda Jazz 1.4 ES Plus static

The Honda Jazz was last year's winner in the reliability category, so it's no surprise to see it back in the charts for 2015. The Jazz scored well for build quality and practicality too.

6. Lexus GS Mk3 - 97.59%

Lexus GS

The Lexus GS scored highly in all categories this year, but reliability is a particularly strong point for the Japanese executive car. According to owners its main bad point is practicality - but it scored strongly for build quality, seat comfort and in-car tech in the 2015 survey.

7. Toyota RAV4 Mk4 - 97.50%

Toyota RAV4 Icon 2.2 D-4D front tracking

It's another success for Toyota at seventh place in the chart with the new RAV4. The latest model is bigger than ever before, giving class-leading levels of interior space.

8. Nissan LEAF - 97.45%

Nissan Leaf front cornering

The Nissan LEAF proves that complicated electric power trains aren't necessarily unreliable. Despite the unconventional propulsion method, the all-electric LEAF scored highly for reliability - and as you might expect owners were pleased with its low running costs as well.

9. Kia Picanto Mk2 - 97.14%

Kia Picanto 1 1.0 front cornering

The Kia Picanto is covered by a seven-year manufacturer warranty, and it's clear why the brand is happy to offer that to customers. According to owners, the car is one of the most reliable models in the UK.

10. SEAT Leon Mk3 - 96.90%

SEAT Leon - front tracking

As the only non-Japanese or Korean car in the top ten, the SEAT Leon has done very well. It's a former Auto Express Car of the Year, so we wouldn't hesitate to recommend one to someone looking for a small family car - especially with this strong reliability result.

Bottom 10 cars for reliability

191. Citroen C5 Mk2 - 86.88%
192. Range Rover Sport Mk1 - 86.00%
193. Peugeot 407 - 85.91%
194. Alfa Romeo MiTo - 85.35%
195. Volvo V50 - 85.21%
196. BMW 3 Series Coupe/Convertible Mk5 - 84.78%
197. Ford Galaxy Mk3 - 83.56%
198. BMW 5 Series Mk5 - 83.48%
199. Range Rover Mk3 - 79.57%
200. Land Rover Discovery Mk3 - 78.36%

Now see the Driver Power 2015 results in full to get an overall view of the best cars to own.

Disqus - noscript

Wow, where is the 5 star Golf?

Thanks for the censorship. We live in a free country

It gets 5 stars for "perceived quality" and generous PR/marketing budget ;-)

I really don't care for unscientific subjective studies like these. I suspect the Range Rover owner will feel far more negatively about their car's reliability given the size of potential repair bills. But it may not actually go wrong that often. Compare to a Yaris that may go wrong, but be cheap to fix with good back up from caring Toyota dealers.

Similarly, you see lots of cars on these reports that share platforms and drive-trains, and yet get different results. Compare VAG products with different branding, or common Fords (or whatever) that amount to the same car with different bodyshells.

Why do Skoda products do so much better than VW or even Audi products? Owner expectations perhaps?
Why are there such different results for S-Max and Mondeo, for instance? Or Insignia and Zafira Tourer? Different ownership profiles maybe?

If only the manufacturers own repair data was in the public domain!

I share this disquiet. Different surveys give different results but, rightly or wrongly, I am more inclined to give credence to surveys prepared by independent organisations rather than by motoring publications themselves. Being a cynic I often wonder if there is black propaganda around!
As for some of the differences I wonder if the aptitude of individual production lines plays a greater part than might be realised. For instance the experience of a colleague's family may be cited, dealing with vehicles purchased new. Endless niggles with VW including a major engine failure. After a change to Skoda the niggles ceased.
Even within Skoda there are significant differences. One satisfaction survey puts the Superb and Yeti at the head of their respective groups. In contrast the Fabia, although faring decently enough, did not do nearly as well as the winners of its group, the DS3 and Jazz.

We are primarily a Skoda family. I have a Superb mk I the only breakdown was due to a boost pipe blowing off after a service and timing belt change fixed for free. My wife a Fabia VRS mk I has never broken down. My sister in law a Roomster has never broken down. My sister hasan Octavia which did have a problem on a journey but still completed the journey but i am not keen on the garage she uses.
Non of them go to the main dealer as I found a really good independant who does the work better. Easily the best car I have owned.

Spot on! Subjective twaddle, lets see some real hard facts please.

Good Points Paul. The production line could make a big difference. But for the engines, I would be surprised if they weren't made at a centralised engine plant?

Dealer back-up might help. I know a Verso D4D owner who had a replacement headgasket, followed by a whole new engine a while later. They still think of it as a reliable car, mostly because Toyota were good enough to pay up for it outside of warranty.

Good to hear Dave. Our family are primarily Vauxhall and Ford owners. Between 6 of us we've never had a breakdown in years, or indeed for as long as I can remember. And yet these cars always come near the bottom of the tables. That I don't get. Are we really so lucky?

My brother-in-law ran his last Mondeo to 125k miles without any problems. His current one is marching on past 60k trouble free. Mine has reached a mere 33k, but still trouble free. And yet they struggle near the bottom of the table?

Thanks for your thoughts. Staying with Skoda, the diesel engines do seem to vary to a considerable extent. They range from the "gutty rough" to the acceptable but IMHO are never as refined as the PSA units. Others have had the same thoughts with the same unit as fitted to Audis and VWs. Where they are made I do not know.
In respects other than reliability I am rather disenchanted with Skoda, following several trips in (now discontinued model) Octavia minicabs recently. I have to look back to Mk. 1 Cortina days to think of rear suspension which gave rear seat passengers such an uncomfortable ride in a mid-sized car. Not helped by seating of plank like resilience either.

Yeah the VAG results are strange. Look under any Skoda or Seat bonnet and all the parts are stamped VW-Audi.

I don't like Toyota's styling but two of my cousins have owned Yaris from new and at 10 and 11 years old both have never broken down.
What surprises me the most is the paint quality. Both are black and the paint doesn't look tired at all and there's not a speck of rust. Now that's real quality.

The mk 1 Yaris was a great car. The mk2 was also good but I feel Toyota have lost something with the current model. The styling is rather bland inside and out. I feel the Mk3 was a missed opportunity for Toyota. And to add insult to injury they no longer sell the the T-Sport or 1800SR. That said I dont doubt they still excel in terms of build/reliability/running costs.

No surprises here then? Eurojunk not doing very well!
Seriously though. Results go from 98.4 to 93.9. Not much difference really. Back in the good old days cars went wrong much more. I know, I worked on them! Not really the good old days at all!

Quite agree about things being better nowadays. However you should choose a new epithet. "Eurojunk" is past its sell by date both as an epithet and in reality. Another survey give four of its top five places to European products. Choose your own survey to mirror your own prejudices! That's why I regard surveys with caution.

The dealer attitude makes a huge difference and shifts peoples perception of what's reliable. The cam belt on my Vectra started to go just 3 months outside warranty (but only 54,000miles) and Vauxhall weren't interested hence I only give the car average for reliability.

meaningless nonsense!!

my bmw 1 series was always breaking down, some errors the bmw main dealer refused to sort out as there were no error codes in the cars computer. My 13 yr old Zafira was more reliable

I wonder if the Yaris will still be no.1 next year? With over 5400 recalled due to a steering fault, plus a 125,000 Toyota's world wide. We've had the brake faults and air bag faults too. I had a Toyota going back 10 yrs it got picked up 12 times in 10 months! I wouldn't touch one now. Plus the styling on all Japanese cars is woeful.

My 53 reg 115,000 mile Yaris' plastic screenwash cap broke off its retaining strip, I am shocked.

Do they even test the American cars at all .... I had nothing but american cars and I know they are better than most of these rice rockets !

The point with Toyota and recalls is that they actually recall cars and fix the problem. Other manufacturers deny they have issues and hope the problem will go away or be fixed at the owners cost

Yeh, Chrysler neon was one of the worst cars ever built.

Exactly. That's what the German crew just don't get. Makes me laugh.

Even better was it's UK arch rival the Astra beating both V and VI models. Even the 7th did surprisingly bad (tho type in Golf VII probs into a well known search engine and you realise even the club owners aren't that happy)

Needless to say, warranty direct or surveys akin to this are way more realistic if the sample size is decent.....

Where it usually is!

Having owned a vauxhall nova mk3 astra gsi 2 mk4 astra one 1.6 for work and gsi for fun not one has ever broken down as for my brothers m5 golf company car 1.9 diesel nothing but problems he now got a ford focus estate company car for the last two years no problem.

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