Most reliable used cars

2013 Mazda MX-5 front
28 Apr, 2014 5:09pm Sam Naylor

The most reliable used cars in Britain revealed, thanks to Driver Power 2014 survey data

Reliability is always on your mind when buying a used car - it's a big factor in choosing what to buy second-hand. A car that works consistently is a top priority for those using it to commute - but most drivers don't want to buy a car that's going to cost them extra money to fix. It's true of every type of car, so we've brought together a list of the most reliable used cars in each class.

It's difficult to judge how a car will fare a few thousand miles down the road from the purchase, but thanks to the 2014 Driver Power survey we can reveal Britain's most reliable cars - and that should apply whether you buy a new, nearly new or used model. It's the UK’s biggest car customer satisfaction survey, with over 50,000 drivers providing details on their ownership experience.

The Driver Power results for the most reliable used cars are detailed below. We've picked out the most reliable model in each class - but make sure you remember that just because a model is reliable, that doesn't mean a specific car will be - always check the car you want to buy carefully for faults or potential problems before you hand over the money.

Most reliable car 2014

Most reliable small cars 2014

Most reliable used small car: Honda Jazz Mk2

Driver Power reliability score: 98.89%

Honda Jazz Si static

The Honda Jazz isn't just the most reliable small car - it's also the most reliable car in Britain, according to 50,000 Driver Power responses. Don't worry if your budget can't quite stretch to the current-generation Jazz, as the first-gen model also placed very highly as well. Neither are particularly stylish or fun to drive, but when it comes to reliability, owners say you can't beat it. The Jazz ranked 47th in Driver Power 2014 overall.

Most reliable used small family car: Toyota Prius Mk3

Driver Power reliability score: 98.84%

Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius is the most reliable car in the small family car class, but it also came second in the overall reliability chart - and the Honda Jazz beat it by just 0.05 per cent. That means that not only is the Prius an efficient and practical family transport, it's also very dependable (the previous-generation model came in third, as well). It might seem odd that a car with a complex hybrid powertrain would be so reliable, but the tried-and-tested parts have proved themselves, and the Prius should be a very solid used buy.

Most reliable used compact executive car: Lexus CT

Driver Power reliability score: 96.90%

Lexus CT 200h Advance static

The Lexus CT feels well built and the dealer network is highly rated by customers, but it's back to that excellent Toyota hybrid powertrain for the compact executive class' most reliable car. A used Lexus CT should see many miles of trouble free motoring according to its owners - in fact, it finished just behind the Toyota Prius for reliability in the 2014 Driver Power poll.

Most reliable used 4x4 or SUV: Audi Q3

Driver Power reliability score: 96.83%

Audi Q3 front tracking

The Audi Q3 is a compact SUV that rivals the BMW X1, and it looks like going for a smaller 4x4 like this is the best way to get a reliable car in this class. While the Q3 scored the best, it was followed by several small SUVs: Skoda Yeti, Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur.

Most reliable used sports car: Mazda MX-5 Mk3

Driver Power reliability score: 96.25%

Mazda MX-5 front tracking

The Mazda MX-5 is one of the best-selling sports cars, so there are plenty of used examples on the roads - and that's also partly because they are so reliable. A good reputation goes a long way, and it's really helped the MX-5, but thanks to the Driver Power results we now know that the reputation holds up. With a fourth-place finish for road handling, the MX-5 promises to provide plenty of driving fun without worries about reliability.

Most reliable used family car: Dacia Logan MCV

Driver Power reliability score: 95.84%

Dacia Logan MCV front action

The Dacia Logan MCV might not have style or performance on its side, but thanks to a very low price as a new car and a top score for reliability in the family car class, it's a great choice of used car. It's very basic inside, but it should make up for that with a low price - in fact, this car is so cheap that you might even consider buying it new - at £6,995 it could tempt you away from buying used at all.

Most reliable used executive car: BMW 5 Series Mk6

Driver Power reliability score: 95.12%

BMW 5 Series saloon 2013 front track

The BMW 5 Series isn't just the highest-ranking executive car for reliability in the 2014 Driver Power survey, it's the highest-ranking executive car overall as well - with owners ranking it highly for build quality, running costs, performance and comfort as well. The 5 Series has always been a top buy in the executive class, but it's now backed up with the evidence from owners that it will be a dependable one too.

Most reliable used MPV: Renault Scenic/Grand Scenic Mk3

Driver Power reliability score: 92.93%

Renault Scenic static

The Renault Scenic and Grand Scenic five and seven-seater is the most reliable MPV, but be aware - it ranked a disappointing 67th overall, with the rest of the MPVs in the survey falling further behind it. It appears that MPVs don't have the best record with their owners for reliability - in fact, it's only the practicality category that gets significant praise from MPV owners. If you're after a dependable used MPV, though, the Scenic range is top of the list.

For the full results from the 2014 Driver Power survey, click here. To tell us about your car in the 2015 Driver Power survey, click here.

Disqus - noscript

I keep saying it, and the data is starting to back me up - the Toyota Hybrid system is not only pretty efficient, but it's also incredibly reliable. No mystery about that really, since it has no DPF, no DMF or clutch, no torque converter, no high pressure fuel system, no gearbox to speak of, etc etc. Just an extra battery and a couple of motors that never seem to break.
Ask yourself which you'd rather have outside of warranty, a flawless Prius or a Golf TDI with DSG...

Very good result for Peugeot! Now they are both beautiful and reliable.

I like how it out classes the Germans on the majority of the results. Just goes to show the French (and British for that matter) are greater than what people think.

All down to an individual's perception sometimes regarding these surveys - the driver of a Mazda MX5 may have a different attitude or priorities regarding how their car is performing compared to someone who drives a Jazz for example.

And there are always exceptions. My brand new Mazda MX5 was the worst car I've have owned in over 25 years of motoring - the car, dealerships and manufacturer all letting me down very badly. Mazda will never get another penny out of me, and I will never recommend their products or services either.

Yes, Renault deserve praise too, many of the categories they fall into they score very well. For example the Megane scores above the Toyota Auris and the Clio 4 beats a couple of Korean cars, both versions of the Fabia and the Polo.

Should put an end to prejudice but won't. Notice how instead of praising the Scenic for its position in the chart, they put a negative spin on this outcome!

Peugeot should not be too smug since all of the models in the Driver Power survey were very new models (launched in 2013) - As AE themselves commented it will be interesting to see how they fare in a year or two down the line - Any car a up to about a year should be completely reliable!

lol, you actually believe that a Peugeot is more reliable than a BMW or Mercedes?! These cars are new, give it a couple more years and you will be rattling around in the french tin can, with plastic trim falling off all over the place while the Beemer feels like it's just left the dealership.

Flawless... apart from the 30,000 that were recalled in the UK.

Hold on! This can't be right! The always 5-star premium people's car, you know, the one AE always praises for low depreciation and quality, is behind Renault Megane, Peugeot 208, Kia Cee'd, Mazda 3 and... well... the low-cost Dacia Sandero? Noooo... lies, lies!

True. There are definitely design flaws in the Prius (so maybe flawless was the wrong word to use!), possibly safety issues too. But the other way of looking at this is that in the time we've had our Prius it's been re-called twice, but it's never, ever actually gone wrong. I'm ok with that.

The Dacia Logan MCV has only been on sale for 6 months so I should hope it is reliable! Goodness me, it is a horrible 1990's place to be though when sitting in one.

The 308 MkI was launched in september 2007. Not quite new, I would say, but don't worry, you can always buy a more expensive and less reliable one should you wish to.

"french tin can"

You heard that from your father and didn't bother to check the reality? The French car industry is quite successful (unlike the British one) and that is not because people from all over the word are plain stupid.

Don't you think it's time to move on from urban legends and silly stereotypes?

Oh - goodness me - just look where the unbreakable, beautifully built Golf came - Oh; towards the end?!

Mmmm. MK7 wasn't exactly great. P.S. - make sure you don't google Golf Mk7 problems, or DSG or TSI....................

I just love my 2006 soft-top to bits. Never had a niggle and she is pushing 130K Km. I am the guy that always arrives at my destination with a smile on my face. And here in South Africa the all year tan is another bonus...


Awwww, did the ickle vw Group quality cars beat the crappy ickle Fords you love so much!

Unless you're into nineties music and want an authentic ambiance in which to enjoy your cooooooool tunes.