Reliability is the single thing that colours your opinion of a car more than any other. First and foremost your car needs to consistently work, so the most reliable cars also go along way towards being the best cars to own. This is as true of the largest SUV as it is of the smallest city car or supermini but it’s the more compact end of the spectrum we’re interested in here.
Pinpointing the most reliable small cars on the market isn’t a simple thing for car buyers to do independently but if 50,000 car owners all club together and share their experiences, suddenly you have an extremely powerful car buying tool. That’s where the 2014 Driver Power survey comes in. The UK’s biggest car customer satisfaction survey asked motorists to rate their car’s reliability and the results from owners of small cars make very interesting reading.
The Driver Power results for the most reliable small cars are detailed below. We’ve picked out the top 10 models (from 10th to first) in the survey and further down the page you’ll find a complete list of the top 30 most reliable small cars.
Driver Power reliability score: 93.9%
Citroen’s DS3 aims to bring a funkier feel to the supermini segment with a greater emphasis on design and personalisation options than we’ve been used to seeing from mainstream models. Happily, it’s appeal seems to be more than skin deep with the 10th best reliability score of any small car. DS3 owners were also impressed with the on-road performance of the car, praising its handling and its easy-going driving experience. The DS3 ranked 37th overall in the 2014 Driver Power survey.
Driver Power reliability score: 94.41%
The Mazda2 is in line for replacement by an all-new model soon but the MkII car is still winning the hearts of owners who ranked it in ninth place for reliability. The sharp-looking 2 also won praise for its driving experience but owners were less enamoured by the running costs – possibly because they’ve been enjoying the handling a little bit too much.
Driver Power reliability score: 94.55%
Peugeot has already unveiled the 108 city car but the newcomer will be doing very well if it can eclipse the Driver Power reliability performance of its predecessor. The 107 keeps things simple with a minimalist design and sturdy build quality but feels a little dated compared to the cream of the modern city car offerings. The 1.0-litre petrol engine is a dependable and economical performer but owners criticised its performance, contributing to the car ranking in 115th place overall.
Driver Power reliability score: 94.95%
The third generation Toyota Yaris plays its part in upholding the Japanese marque’s strong reputation for reliability with a 7th place ranking for reliability in Driver Power 2014. It might lack the flair of a Ford Fiesta and the premium gloss of a Volkswagen Polo but the Yaris is a car you can rely on according to these results. The car placed 57th overall with the performance and ride quality being the biggest gripes for owners.
Driver Power reliability score: 95.61%
Nissan’s tough-looking Juke is the only crossover in the most reliable small cars list. Its small rear seats and boot contributed to a low score for practicality and owners also complained about the running costs but it’s hard to argue with a 95.6% reliability score. The Juke came in 101st place overall.
Driver Power reliability score: 95.63%
The original Honda Jazz brought an MPV flavour to the supermini market with its remarkably roomy cabin and a 5th place ranking for reliability show’s it’s still going strong today. It’s reliability, practicality and ease of use that constitute the strongest suits of the Jazz but a 134th placed finish overall indicates that the car is starting to be found wanting in other areas.
Driver Power reliability score: 95.70%
Along with its SEAT Mii and Volkswagen Up! sister vehicles, Skoda’s Citigo is up amongst Auto Express’ best city cars. With a 95.7% score for reliability and 2nd place finish in Driver Power 2014 overall, it seems that owners are pretty fond of it too. The Citigo stays true to the city car blueprint with a simple design but the polished road manners and surprising interior space elevate it above rival models.
Driver Power reliability score: 96.08%
Even though it’s priced higher than the Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii that share its design, the Up! is the cheapest way into a new car with a Volkswagen badge. It’s also unflinchingly reliable according to owners who completed the Driver Power survey and scored it an impressive 96%.
Driver Power reliability score: 96.51%
The Rio is a handsome and well-rounded supermini by Kia and its 96.5% reliability score goes some way to explaining why the Korean marque feels able to offer its industry-leading 7-year warranty. The Rio’s all-round popularity is underlined by a 5th place finish in the overall 2014 Driver Power results.
Driver Power reliability score: 98.89%
And so to our most reliable small car! The first generation Honda Jazz managed a 5th place finish for reliability but it’s the second generation car that takes the crown. There’ll be a new Honda Jazz on sale in the UK during 2015 but until then, the MkII model seems to be ably holding the fort. It’s not the most stylish or dynamic model in the supermini class but the practicality and easy-going style of the Honda go down a storm with owners. The Jazz ranked 47th in Driver Power 2014 overall.
So you know the top 10 most reiable small cars according to Driver Power 2014. Now it's time to explore the list in full...