Most reliable cars

7 Jun, 2013 4:54pm

We round up the 10 most reliable cars, based on the experiences of more than 46,000 drivers

Having a reliable car is vital to any driver - whether you’re buying a car for its pulse-racing performance, money-saving efficiency or peerless practicality. Reliability is key. And with the cost of motoring at an all-time-high, it’s more important than ever to choose a car that you can depend on.

With this in mind, we’ve trawled through the Driver Power 2013 results to bring you the 10 most reliable cars, based on the experiences of more than 46,000 owners. Our Driver Power results serve as an index of a car maker's reliability.

As you can see, the top 10 is dominated by Japanese models, with a string of cars from the likes of Toyota and Honda.

But the other end of the results, it was bad news for British brands, with four Jaguar Land Rover cars in the bottom 10, and the Range Rover Mk3 finishing in 100th place.

1. Toyota Yaris Mk3

Reliability rating: 98.40%
Overall position: 35th

Superminis aren’t usually renowned for their reliability, but the Toyota Yaris is clearly an exception. The third-generation model – introduced in 2010 – has been voted the UK’s most reliable car, with a score of 98.40 per cent. Although still a relatively new car, the engines have all been carried over from the previous model, so are tried and tested. Plus, every Yaris comes with a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty.

2. Subaru Forester Mk3

Reliability rating: 97.96%
Overall position: 14th

Subaru has always had a very good reputation for reliability, and the Forester continues this trend with an impressive score of 97.96 per cent. It has been thoroughly engineered, with very good build quality and proven – although thirsty - boxer petrol and diesel engines. An all-new model was launched at the beginning of 2013 and uses tech from this third-generation model, which bodes well for its reliability.

3. Honda Jazz Mk2

Reliability rating: 97.87%
Overall position: 23rd

The Honda Jazz has proved hugely popular with owners since it was first introduced back in 2001. Although it has fallen down the charts in recent years, with disappointing results for ride quality and handling, owners are just as impressed by its reliability as ever. And while it might be a bit a long in the tooth these days, the Jazz still offers bags of space and tonnes of versatility, with neat touches like rear seats that flip up cinema-style.

4. Hyundai ix35

Reliability rating: 97.54%
Overall position: 21st

Although the Hyundai ix35 hasn’t excelled in other categories, owners rave about its reliability. This is in no doubt helped by the fact it shares many of its components with the i30 hatchback, which took the overall prize in our 2010 Driver Power survey. Plus, if something were to go wrong, the generous five-year unlimited mileage warranty should provide peace of mind. However, it is worth noting that owners weren’t quite so impressed by its build quality – it finished 65th in that category.

5. Skoda Yeti

Reliability rating: 97.53%
Overall position: 1st

The Skoda Yeti was last year’s reliability champion, and although it has fallen to fifth in the 2013 results, its score has actually improved from 94.80 per cent to 97.53. But it’s not just the Yeti’s reliability that impresses owners: the stylish crossover also finished top overall and in the build quality category, proving just how well they hold together even after several years’ use.

6. Toyota Prius Mk3

Reliability rating: 97.40%
Overall position: 26th

The Toyota Prius uses a complicated petrol-electric powertrain, which could make the popular hybrid a daunting proposition. However, the reality is that the hi-tech set up has been around since 1998 and it has proved to be incredibly reliable in that time. Early models are still going strong, which should go a long way to allay fears over the resilience of the batteries. There’s also a great warranty, which covers the mechanicals for five years or 100,000 miles, the powertrain for five years and the battery for eight.

7. Vauxhall Agila Mk2

Reliability rating: 97.29%
Overall position: 41st

A car doesn’t have to be expensive to be reliable, and the tiny Vauxhall Agila is proof of that. The second-generation Agila arrived in showrooms in 2008, having been developed in partnership with Suzuki. It offers the practicality of five doors, a surprisingly spacious interior and decent dynamics. But best of all, it also came top for running costs.

8. Toyota iQ

Reliability rating: 97.22%
Overall position: 65th

While owners have complained about its lack of performance, harsh ride quality and disappointing practicality, there are two areas in which the Toyota iQ shines. Owners are very happy with its running costs - the tiny city car finished 2nd in that category – but they have also offered a lot of praise for its reliability, despite it being affected by a string of recalls. It also comes with a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty, which is great for a car of its size and price.

9. Honda Accord Mk8

Reliability rating: 97.22%
Overall position: 25th

The eighth-generation Honda Accord has finished ninth in the reliability category on its debut appearance in our Driver Power survey. Although this isn’t quite as impressive as the previous model’s fourth-place finish in the 2012 results, the new car has actually scored a higher result – up from 94.04 per cent to 97.22. Although the Accord hasn’t been a big sales success for the brand of late, it’s results here show it’s worth considering, with owner also praising its build quality, level of in-car tech and ease of driving.

10. Skoda Superb Mk2

Reliability rating: 97.21%
Overall position: 2nd

The second Skoda in our list is the Superb, which has dropped from third in this category in 2012 down to 10th. According to owners, the key to its success is the lack of rattles and squeaks in the cabin, the solid thud of the doors and the fact that breakdowns are few and far between. The petrol and diesel engines have all been tried and tested across the VW Group, too. To quote Terry Larkin from Baintree, Essex, “I describe them as bombproof. They just don’t break down. Ever.”

The full results

Position Make Model %       Position Make Model %
1 Toyota Yaris Mk3 98.40%       51 Honda Civic Mk8 93.92%
2 Subaru Forester Mk3 97.96%       52 Renault Scenic/Grand Scenic Mk3 93.83%
3 Honda Jazz Mk2 97.87%       53 Audi A6 Mk4 93.82%
4 Hyundai ix35 97.54%       54 BMW 1 Series Mk2 93.76%
5 Skoda Yeti 97.53%       55 Nissan X-Trail Mk2 93.68%
6 Toyota Prius Mk3 97.40%       56 Volkswagen Scirocco Mk3 93.68%
7 Vauxhall Agila Mk2 97.29%       57 Renault Laguna Mk3 93.67%
8 Toyota iQ 97.22%       58 Jaguar XF 93.63%
9 Honda Accord Mk8 97.22%       59 Volkswagen Tiguan 93.59%
10 Skoda Superb Mk2 97.21%       60 Mazda CX-7 93.54%
11 Lexus IS Mk2 96.91%       61 Kia Cee'd Mk1 93.33%
12 Mazda MX-5 Mk3 96.76%       62 Skoda Fabia Mk2 93.21%
13 Toyota RAV4 Mk3 96.73%       63 Volkswagen Golf Mk6 93.16%
14 BMW X1 96.60%       64 Mitsubishi ASX 93.09%
15 Kia Sportage Mk3 96.57%       65 Hyundai Santa Fe Mk2 93.08%
16 Nissan Micra Mk4 96.56%       66 Audi TT/Roadster Mk2 92.99%
17 Jaguar XK/R Mk2 96.4%       67 Volvo XC60 92.75%
18 Toyota Prius Mk2 96.34%       68 Ford Focus Mk3 92.63%
19 Kia Picanto Mk2 96.07%       69 Volvo S60 Mk1 92.50%
20 Suzuki Swift Mk2 96.06%       70 Land Rover Discovery Mk4 92.41%
21 Toyota Avensis mk3 96.01%       71 BMW 3 Series Coupe/Conv MkV 92.40%
22 Honda CR-V Mk3 95.93%       72 Audi A4 Mk4 92.30%
23 Honda Jazz Mk1 95.84%       73 Mitsubishi Lancer Mk9 92.16%
24 Mazda 3 Mk2 95.69%       74 Audi A5 Coupe/Cabriolet 92.07%
25 Kia Rio Mk3 95.64%       75 Ford C-MAX Mk2 91.94%
26 Nissan Juke 95.62%       76 Honda Accord Mk7 91.92%
27 Toyota Yaris Mk2 95.60%       77 Vauxhall Insignia 91.79%
28 Toyota Verso Mk1 95.56%       78 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 91.70%
29 Mercedes E-Class Mk4 95.54%       79 Porsche 911 997 91.68%
30 Toyota Auris Mk1 95.51%       80 BMW 3 Series Mk6 91.65%
31 Volkswagen Passat Mk6 95.43%       81 Subaru Legacy Mk4 91.60%
32 BMW 5 Series Mk6 95.27%       82 BMW 3 Series Mk5 91.57%
33 BMW X3 Mk2 95.06%       83 Volvo V70 Mk2 91.43%
34 Porsche Cayman Mk1 94.80%       84 Audi A6 Mk3 91.30%
35 Skoda Octavia Mk2 94.80%       85 BMW X5 Mk2 91.18%
36 Mazda 6 Mk2 94.63%       86 Peugeot 3008 90.95%
37 Mercedes C-Class Mk3 94.60%       87 Land Rover Freelander 2 90.86%
38 Toyota Avensis Mk2 94.52%       88 Skoda Roomster 90.71%
39 Alfa Romeo Giulietta 94.46%       89 Volkswagen Golf Plus 90.67%
40 Mazda CX-5 94.40%       90 Mercedes E-Class Mk3 90.00%
41 Ford Kuga Mk1 94.33%       91 Porsche Boxster Mk2 90.00%
42 Renault Megane Mk3 94.18%       92 Ford Mondeo Mk4 89.54%
43 Citroen C3 Picasso 94.15%       93 Jaguar X-Type 89.37%
44 Citroen DS3 94.15%       94 BMW 5 Series Mk5 88.83%
45 Hyundai i30 Mk1 94.13%       95 Jaguar XJ Mk5 88.30%
46 Mercedes C-Class Sports Coupe 94.13%       96 Volkswagen Touran 88.04%
47 Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 94.12%       97 Ford S-MAX 87.57%
48 Volkswagen Passat CC 94.04%       98 Ford Galaxy Mk3 87.54%
49 Audi A1 94.04%       99 Jaguar S-Type 87.04%
50 Nissan Qashqai 93.95%       100 Land Rover Range Rover Mk3 83.31%

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.

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