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Best cars to own: Driver Power 2024 results

The best new cars to own in the UK right now according to the people who already do. It’s the 2024 Driver Power results!

Welcome to the Driver Power 2024 New Car Survey, the latest instalment of the UK’s best known and most anticipated guide to customer satisfaction among real-world buyers in the new-car market. 

Based on the opinions of thousands of survey respondents, who have generously taken the time to share personal insights into their car-ownership experience, the Driver Power survey provides a wealth of valuable information for potential buyers of the top 50 cars listed here in our results. 

The results cover a wide range of categories and sub-categories, so that we can measure and compare owner satisfaction levels for each. The scores are processed with proper statistical weighting applied, with the aim of providing a representative picture of car purchasers’ views across the nation. So read on to find out what owners think of the top 50 Driver Power models this year, and to discover our new champion.

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If you'd like to take part in the next Driver Power survey, you can do so right now. You'll automatically be entered in our monthly draw for a £100 Amazon voucher. 

The top 10 best cars to own in the UK

Below you’ll find the top 10 cars in the Driver Power 2024 New Car Survey listed in reverse order. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the full results table listing the UK’s top 50 best cars to own. 

10. Ford Puma Mk1 - 89.55%

The Fiesta may be dead and buried, but its spirit lives on in the Ford Puma, which shares the supermini’s platform and notches up a top-10 rating this year. Owners love the perky acceleration and thrummy sound of its three-cylinder engine, as well as the exterior design and the driving dynamics – the Puma hits the top 10 in all these areas. 

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There are similarly excellent scores across the board in the infotainment category too – and no significant downsides to Puma ownership, it seems. The car’s lowest ranking is a 32nd for insurance costs, with exterior and interior quality at 28th and 31st respectively. 

9. Citroen C5 Aircross - 89.58%

Given Citroen’s reputation for quirky design, it’s interesting that the Citroen C5 Aircross’s styling is one of its lower sub-category scores at 29th. The interior aesthetic fares better in eighth, with second places for cabin quality, front-seat comfort and all-round visibility. Terrific practicality scores include first for child-friendly features and sixth for versatility. 

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Top-10 places for insurance, servicing and economy mean the car earns a podium spot for running costs, but despite sixth for a soft ride, the inert steering (42nd) and so-so handling (41st) mean only 23rd for driving pleasure. The touchscreen and switchgear scores are quite poor, too. 

8. Peugeot 2008 Mk2 - 89.59%

In contrast to the C5 Aircross above, our respondents said the Peugeot 2008’s styling was its most satisfying feature. The exterior design ranks fourth, with the interior third, while the exterior fit and finish are rated best in the survey. 

Owners are deeply impressed by the safety systems too, awarding fourth for the ease of activation/deactivation, and sixth for the number of features. The car makes the top 10 for economy, with a third place for insurance costs, and there are top-10 spots for touchscreen usability and the audio. Less satisfying are the view from the driver’s seat (35th) and the user-friendliness of the controls and switchgear (33rd).

7. Mazda CX-5 Mk2 - 89.71%

A superb second place for quality, and fourth for reliability aren’t quite enough to give this Mazda a category win, but they show how highly owners rate their cars. The exterior styling is popular at 15th, but owners like the interior even more – it earns sixth for style. Sixth place for luggage space and 10th for seating versatility point to a strong practical appeal, and the CX-5 is rated 13th for driving pleasure. 

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Safety features score very well too, as do the controls and infotainment system, with a range of top-10 sub-category scores. Running costs are a potential disappointment, though, with 29th for economy and 36th for economy. 

6. Peugeot 208 Mk2 - 89.89%

The Peugeot 208 deserves its popularity, if the Driver Power responses are anything to go by, with the 10 per cent or so of electric owners clearly giving the model a boost in the powertrain category – it bags second place for both acceleration and noise, and 15th for smoothness. 

The 208 also earns second place for its exterior styling, but excels in ride and handling, with first positions for steering and brake response, and ride quality, plus second for driving pleasure. Front-seat comfort rates fifth, but rear legroom is 42nd. Most practicality scores are average, and owners rate the user-friendliness of controls poorly, in 41st.

5. MINI Hatchback Mk3 - 89.98%

With the all-new MINI Cooper just landing in showrooms, it’s impressive to see the outgoing MINI Hatch scoring so well in our 2024 Driver Power survey. It’s available in both petrol and electric guises, and we had a mix of respondents telling us what they thought of their car. You’d expect a MINI to be fun to drive, and this car delivers with first places for both road handling and driving pleasure. Acceleration and engine noise merit a place on the podium in third, although the firm ride (rated 17th) means the MINI is only ranked second overall for ride and handling. 

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The MINI also takes second place in the infotainment category, with excellent scores for its controls and touchscreen functionality, but losing ground slightly for its audio system, which only musters (a still good) 15th. When it comes to the climate control, user-friendly switchgear and the balance between touchscreen and physical controls, though, the MINI earns podium places all round. 

It’s a bit of a mixed bag when we look at running costs, though. The MINI is ranked an excellent fifth for economy and eighth for insurance, but owner satisfaction with the brand’s servicing costs is scraping the bottom of the table in 44th place. Reliability isn’t the greatest, either, with a 33rd place awarded, but the MINI makes up for it with another first place for overall quality.

Case study: living with a MINI Hatchback

MINI Hatch - case study

Local councillor Martyn Alvey was looking for an electric car to go along with his position as the portfolio holder for Environment and Climate Change, and the MINI Hatchback seemed like the perfect choice for this keen driver. “This particular car – my first EV – is probably one of the best cars I’ve ever owned,” Martyn tells us. 

He uses the car for short daily journeys and describes his Cooper SE as “the perfect daily driver – particularly if your mileage isn’t huge and you don’t need a load lugger”. Martyn says that although the MINI is “compromised” in terms of its range, he’s easily been able to get around 120 miles on a single charge in warm weather, and around 100 miles in the winter months (MINI’s official range figure is 145 miles). 

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One issue he has faced is with the charging-cap sensor – a known issue for this generation of electric MINI – and there was a recall involving a faulty 12-volt battery cover that was replaced during the car’s two-year service. Otherwise, the car has been free of faults. 

“I love how MINIs drive,” Martyn says, “particularly on the narrow roads of Cornwall.” He also tells us he loves the subtle styling. “It’s unmistakably a MINI,” he says. “However, I love how it doesn’t shout about being powered by electricity.” In fact, this is Martyn’s 10th MINI and he adores it so much that he’s already got a new-generation MINI Cooper Electric on order.

4. Toyota RAV4 Mk5 - 90.02%

This fifth-generation Toyota RAV4 was launched with claims that its more advanced suspension would improve on the ride and handling of its predecessors, and this year’s Driver Power responses certainly bear that out. 

The popular SUV ranks eighth for its ride smoothness and ninth for road handling. With ratings almost as high for steering and braking response, the car grabs a strong seventh in the ride and handling category. In fact, the RAV4 is 10th or better in every other category, except exterior and infotainment (19th and 36th respectively). 

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The RAV4’s interior rates most highly – second overall, thanks to podium scores for rear legroom and all-round driver visibility – backed by the seventh most comfortable front seats and the 10th highest-quality interior. Its next-best category is a fourth place for reliability and quality (including first place in the reliability sub-category), which are established Toyota virtues, while the rave reviews continue for the provision and function of safety systems, the generous boot capacity, and seating flexibility. 

 The car’s hybrid powertrain also comes in for significant praise, earning second place for smoothness and sixth for acceleration. But the car doesn’t demand a high price for its performance – owners rate it in an excellent second place for economy, plus 11th for service costs and 20th for insurance.

Case study: living with a Toyota RAV4

Toyota RAV4 - case study

You need a lot of gear to go fishing, and Mike Goode thought the Toyota RAV4 would be the ideal load lugger to replace his ageing Peugeot 3008. “A lot of my friends have a van – but my wife won’t let me,” Mike jokes. 

However, after waiting an agonising 17 months for the car to arrive, and a spec change that pushed the car over the £40k ‘luxury car’ tax threshold, he couldn’t be happier with his Toyota. One of the biggest highlights for Mike is the simplicity of the controls: “The analogue heater is just two knobs,” Mike points out. “It’s so simple to use – you had to go through the touchscreen in my old car.” He’s also pleased with the powertrain, labelling the hybrid system as “incredibly clever”. Driving over 1,000 miles to France to go fishing, Mike says he was able to average around 56mpg at 60mph. 

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It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, though; Toyota RAV4s have recently been common targets of keyless attacks by criminals. Yet, despite Mike’s car having the update that prevents this kind of theft, the criminals who tried to tear off his RAV4’s side panel didn’t know this. Nevertheless, Mike says he was able to pop the plastic cladding back in without any visible damage, saying that ownership has been otherwise fuss-free. “The real clincher for me,” he said, “is that, given how narrow roads can be here in sunny Cheshire, I can fold in the wing mirrors at the press of a button!”

3. Toyota Yaris Mk4 - 90.22%

Our road tests make it clear that the Toyota Yaris is one of the best superminis around. And owners are clearly in agreement after awarding it a richly deserved place on the 2024 Driver Power podium. The high-scoring Toyota can’t quite manage any category wins, but its second place for running costs includes an overall first place in the economy sub-category. That’s backed by a third place for servicing and fifth for insurance, which should ensure respondents are keeping their bank managers happy. 

Elsewhere, owners award the Yaris a second position for the provision of safety features as well as a sixth for their functionality – arguably extra-important in a smaller car. The Yaris doesn’t disappoint when it comes to delivering Toyota’s legendary dependability either, with a third place for reliability and fourth for overall quality.

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But it’s not all about worthy aspects, because responsive brakes and steering help the Yaris to eighth overall for road handling, and seventh for driving pleasure. Ride quality is just outside the top 10, but evidently still satisfies in a way that practicality in a compact supermini can’t. Still, 32nd for boot space isn’t terrible, and the Yaris bags a sixth place for child-friendly features. Finally, it’s evident that owners are very impressed by the hybrid powertrain, which ranks fourth for acceleration, and fifth for sound and smoothness.

Case study: living with a Toyota Yaris

Toyota Yaris - case study

What is the ideal car to learn to drive in? Well, instructor James Keefe says it’s the Toyota Yaris, having spent a lot of time in the previous-generation model before taking the plunge and buying a new one last year. 

“I wrote down 30 reasons why I should upgrade,” James explains. “The new Yaris is quicker and more economical, and handles much better than the old model. It’s incredibly confidence-inspiring for the pupils.” One of the reasons for this is the amount of visibility, which James describes as “excellent”. He says the touchscreen in the centre is easy to see over the top of, he appreciates the height-adjustable driver’s seat, and reckons the car has “nice big door mirrors”.

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The Yaris essentially acts as his mobile office, and James is pleased with how supportive the front seats are. He also praises the quality of the ride, pointing out how the 16-inch wheels of his Design-spec car feel “a lot more plush” than the larger 17-inch rims of Excel cars. However, undoubtedly the highlight of life with the Yaris has to be the Toyota’s efficiency: “The fuel economy is amazing,” James says. “I can get between 65 and 70mpg easily.” 

He also explains that running out of fuel is never a worry, pointing out how the Yaris can get to the nearest petrol station in full-EV mode. “You can’t tell the difference between the petrol and electric power,” James comments. 

So far, he is yet to suffer any issues with his car, describing how his Uncle David “always used to go on about how reliable Toyotas are. Now I know what he meant!”

2. Tesla Model 3 Mk1 - 90.37%

The Tesla Model 3 has been a runaway success for Elon Musk’s electric-car brand ever since it smashed records for advance orders when it was unveiled back in 2016. The best part of a decade has passed since then, but owners clearly haven’t lost any of their enthusiasm for the car with the benefit of hindsight and experience.

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Pulling in a trio of category wins for its powertrain, safety features and running costs, the Model 3 clearly delivers against all the established EV virtues. In fact, it sweeps the board here, with first places in many of the relevant sub-categories. Third place for infotainment proves the appeal of Tesla’s big touchscreen solution too, although feedback suggests owners aren’t keen on the total reliance on touch controls: the car only ranks 30th for the balance between the screen and physical switchgear. 

The Tesla’s scores for practicality are pretty good, though. Good enough, actually, for the car to earn fourth place for cabin storage, 11th for child-friendly features, 21st for luggage space and 22nd for rear legroom. 

By contrast, the Model 3 comes last (50th) for the quality of its exterior finish and materials, and 44th for the interior finishes. Ride quality (40th) doesn’t impress, either, but the Tesla performs so well in so many of its good areas that poor results elsewhere can’t drag the overall placing down. 

Case study: living with a Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 - case study

Self-confessed EV cheerleader Jason Palmer is now on his second Model 3 and has been fascinated by the Tesla brand ever since the beginning. “I’ve always been interested in people pushing the boundaries of technology,” he explains. “When I learned about Tesla and Elon Musk, I knew I had to give one of their cars a try.” 

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Suffering from asthma, Jason is very conscious of clean air and was one of the first Model 3 owners in the UK, saying his leap to electric power was “like going from horse and cart to car!” While he’s downgraded from a dual-motor car to the entry-level RWD, he insists it “still goes like stink”. 

One of the common complaints from owners is the Tesla’s lack of a gauge cluster, but Jason says he doesn’t get “the problem of the offset screen. The speed is big and it’s easy to read.” The quality of the Model 3’s paintwork leaves a lot to be desired, though, with Jason describing it as “garbage”. However, he’s impressed with the build quality of his current car, explaining that while his first Model 3 “wasn’t sparkling in terms of build quality”, he has “no complaints” about the fit and finish of his current one. 

Unlike many who choose the Model 3 as a company car, Jason leases his Tesla privately. He was surprised by the low running costs, saying the £50 service fee was “like going back to the 1960s!”. He typically tops up at home where, thanks to cheap rates from his off-peak electricity tariff, he’s able to charge his car fully for a little over £4.

1. Dacia Duster Mk2 - 90.79%

The Dacia Duster is a no-nonsense SUV that blends exceptional value for money and utility, with decent comfort and convenience. All this is complemented by few unnecessary frills, in a fashionable segment of the car market. That recipe’s appeal shouldn’t need spelling out, but an overall win in the 2024 Driver Power New Car survey surely drives home the point for any doubters.

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There’s a new Duster arriving in UK showrooms this autumn, and these results show it’s got a lot to live up to. Owners of the outgoing version are sold most strongly on its value for money, where it tops the Driver Power table. But that’s not its only strength, because respondents also rate the straightforward layout that has knobs for the climate settings and a touchscreen that’s clear and easy to use. Indeed, owners rate the Duster’s controls first for user-friendliness, with second or third places for the phone connectivity, climate control, sat-nav and audio systems.

Other areas where the Duster excels are its very spacious boot, which is ranked third, the cabin storage in second, and all-round visibility from the driver’s seat in fourth position. Rear-seat legroom finishes a strong 12th, while owners also like the way this affordable bargain drives; it nets second place for steering response, seventh for ride quality and 12th overall for driving pleasure. A worthy 2024 champion!

Case study: living with a Dacia Duster

Dacia Duster - case study

Retiree Mervyn Welch is a long-time advocate of the Dacia Duster. His current model, a second-generation top-of-the range Prestige fitted with the 1.3-litre petrol engine, is the fourth Duster he’s owned. “It ticks all my boxes,” says Mervyn. Now a grandad, he needs something that’s not only affordable to run, but practical, too. 

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A usable roof rack is one of the car’s key benefits, according to Mervyn, with that and the ability to carry five adults making the Duster an ideal car for family holidays. Despite owning several examples over the years, Mervyn says he’s “never had a problem with them”. 

What drew him to the brand in the first place was the “unbeatable” value for money Dacia’s models offer. “It’s the value package,” he explains. “It’s cheap to run, and cheap to maintain.” In fact, Mervyn’s appreciation for the car is so infectious that he’s even convinced his daughter and son-in-law to get their own examples, too. “The Duster suits my daughter’s young family,” he explained. 

But Mervyn isn’t unaware of some of the Romanian SUV’s shortcomings. “It’s not a luxury car,” he admits. “You do get what you pay for, although my car has all the features I need.” This still hasn’t stopped Mervyn from eyeing up the latest Mk3 Duster, though. “I’ll definitely consider replacing mine with a newer one,” he tells us. “If Dacia is looking for owners to participate in test drives before the [new] car goes on sale, tell them to get in contact!”

Best cars to own: places 1-50

PosMake and modelOverall score
1Dacia Duster Mk290.79%
2Tesla Model 3 Mk190.37%
3Toyota Yaris Mk490.22%
4Toyota RAV4 Mk590.02%
5MINI Hatchback Mk389.98%
6Peugeot 208 Mk289.89%
7Mazda CX-5 Mk289.71%
8Peugeot 2008 Mk289.59%
9Citroen C5 Aircross Mk189.58%
10Ford Puma Mk189.55%
11Kia Sportage Mk589.33%
12Kia Picanto Mk389.23%
13Jaguar F-Pace Mk189.21%
14SEAT Ateca Mk189.14%
15Toyota C-HR Mk188.97%
16Skoda Kodiaq Mk188.84%
17Citroen C3 Mk388.59%
18BMW 3 Series Mk788.48%
19Skoda Karoq Mk188.15%
20Citroen C3 Aircross Mk188.13%
21Suzuki Vitara Mk488.04%
22BMW 5 Series Mk787.92%
23Vauxhall Grandland Mk187.85%
24Toyota Corolla Mk1287.69%
25BMW 1 Series Mk387.68%
26SEAT Arona Mk187.59%
27Mercedes E-Class Mk587.39%
28Nissan Juke Mk287.38%
29Ford EcoSport Mk187.37%
30Kia Stonic Mk187.18%
31Mercedes A-Class Mk487.06%
32Volvo XC40 Mk187.03%
33Mazda 2 Mk386.89%
34Vauxhall Mokka Mk286.73%
35Volkswagen T-Roc Mk186.55%
36BMW X3 Mk386.24%
37Ford Kuga Mk386.23%
38Audi A5 Mk286.22%
39Range Rover Evoque Mk285.97%
40Skoda Kamiq Mk185.83%
41Volkswagen Polo Mk685.69%
42Nissan Qashqai Mk385.30%
43Audi A1 Mk285.11%
44Audi A4 Mk585.03%
45Volkswagen Tiguan Mk284.81%
46Ford Fiesta Mk784.74%
47Ford Focus Mk482.80%
48Vauxhall Corsa Mk582.53%
49Fiat 500 Mk181.27%
50Volkswagen Golf Mk881.22%

Now we want to hear from you!

Driver Power relies on owners, so please help other buyers by taking the survey and contributing towards 2025's results. Take the Driver Power survey today and you'll be entered into our prize draw where you could win a £100 Amazon voucher.

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Current affairs and features editor

Chris covers all aspects of motoring life for Auto Express. Over a long career he has contributed news and car reviews to brands such as Autocar, WhatCar?, PistonHeads, Goodwood and The Motor Trader.

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