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Most reliable small cars to buy 2019

What is the most reliable small car on sale today? Our Driver Power survey reveals all…

Small cars tend to be bought in an effort to keep costs down but an unreliable small car will be a massive drain your bank account. What you need for really cost-effective motoring is a reliable small car and we’ve got the 10 most reliable small cars on sale for you right here. 

Our Driver Power customer satisfaction survey is where you can tell us all about the car you own - good and bad. Thousands of motorists do so every year and the result is an invaluable resource for anyone looking at buying a car today. The most reliable small cars data is taken from models that are between 2 and 10 years in age, the time when reliability issues tend to present themselves, so you can be sure that the cars listed below are the most dependable options out there. 

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The small cars included are drawn from the city car, supermini and small MPV sectors and owners were asked to score their cars on general reliability and build quality as well as detailing what kind of faults had occurred. We’ve stated in detail the top 10 models in descending order. So for your best chance for worry-free motoring on a tight budget, scroll down the page to find out what is the most reliable small car.

Driver Power: top 10 most reliable small cars

10. Hyundai i10 - 90.77% 

Years of manufacture: 2013-presentPrice now: From £2,700


With a top ten dominated by Asian manufacturers, it’s unsurprising to see the Hyundai i10 feature. Owners are complimentary about the car’s reliability, with just 8.8 per cent experiencing a fault. When the i10 does go wrong, it’s usually an electrical issue. The i10’s reliability should help make up for low scores in practicality, space and safety features elsewhere in Driver Power. 

9. Honda Jazz Mk2 - 90.86

Years of manufacture: 2008-2015Price now: From £1,650

The second-generation Jazz did its part for strengthening Honda’s perceived image of reliability. The amount of cherished one-owner cars out there says the Mk2 Jazz is adored by owners and while it’s undergone six recalls, you can be safe in the knowledge that most Jazz models have lived relatively sedate lives.

8. MINI Hatch - 91.01% 

Years of manufacture: 2013-presentPrice now: From £3,750

Feedback from MINI owners suggests its best traits lie in it’s ride, handling and infotainment. But there has been little to gripe about in terms of reliability with only 15 per cent of owners saying their MINI had gone wrong. Engine and electrics have been the most common causes.

7. Kia Venga - 91.15% 

Years of manufacture: 2009-2018Price now: £2,000

The Venga may have died a quiet death in 2018, but owners are still praising the little MPV for it’s clever use of space, interior design and reliability. While 17.9 per cent reported faults, the majority were minor electrical glitches.

6. Hyundai i20 - 91.64% 

Years of manufacture: 2014-present Price now: From £4,800

Along with decent scores for infotainment, safety and practicality, the i20 scores highly for reliability. 11.3 per cent of i20 owners experienced a fault, with electrical issues the most likely to crop up.

5. Kia Rio - 91.87%

Years of manufacture: 2011-2017Price now: From £2,000

Although it came 51st in the Driver Power used car survey, the third-generation Kia Rio scored highly for reliability. Just 7.7 per cent of owners reported faults, with the highest proportion of those issues being gearbox-related.

4. Honda Jazz Mk3 - 92.14% 

Years of manufacture: 2015-presentPrice now: From £6,800


Owners of the third generation Honda Jazz are enthusiastic about the car’s use of space, low running costs and overall build quality. Reliability appears to be another major bonus of Jazz ownership with just 5.9 per cent encountering a fault. Engines and electrics are behind half of all issues. 

3. Toyota Aygo - 92.74%

Years of manufacture: 2014-presentPrice now: From £3,600


While the second-generation Toyota Aygo understandably scores poorly for practicality and space, owners rave about the little city car’s reliability. Just 11.1 per cent have reported a fault with the majority of those brake-related.

2. Toyota Yaris - 92.94% 

Years of manufacture: 2011-presentPrice now: From £2,900


The third-generation yaris has been on sale since 2011 but it’s still proving reliable. Just 9.2 per cent of current generation Yaris owners experienced a fault with their cars - with electrical systems accounting for the highest proportion. 

1. Fiat Panda - 93.39% 

Years of manufacture: 2012-datePrice now: £2,500 


According to owners, the current Fiat Panda excels in two categories; running costs and reliability. While safety features and infotainment rank low, the 7.4 per cent hit rate for faults should at least give used buyers reassurance and it’s the most reliable small car for 2019.

Click below to find out the most reliable cars by sector... 

Click here to take our Driver Power customer satisfaction survey right now...



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