Best cars & vans

Top 10 most reliable cars to buy 2024

If you’re looking to buy a new car, how do you judge its reliability before taking ownership? The Driver Power survey has the answer…

All modern cars go through years of research, development and testing to ensure they are as robust and dependable as possible, and will keep running as intended for years to come. Despite this, some cars still end up proving far more reliable than others, making reliability one of the most important factors for people buying a new or used car. The Driver Power survey is powered by first hand data from owners and if you want to know which are the most reliable cars on sale, they really are the best people to ask. These results come from our latest 2023 Driver Power survey. 

Whether you’re buying brand new or second hand, large or small, expensive or cheap - everyone wants a reliable car. No amount of technology, performance, luxury materials or stunning design will help you if your new purchase won’t start, breaks down on the side of the road with monotonous regularity or racks up painful repair bills at the workshop.

Reliability might not be the most glamorous quality in a car but it’s absolutely essential if you want a rewarding and enjoyable ownership experience. The problem is that trying to discern which cars are reliable and which are not is far from easy. Car reliability is difficult to gauge until you’ve bought the car and are experiencing it first hand, unless you ask thousands of car owners who have already done the legwork for you. This is exactly what the Driver Power car customer satisfaction survey does every year.

Take our Driver Power survey right now

How we found the most reliable cars

Motorists from across the UK tell us what they think about the cars they own in the Driver Power survey each year and we collect the information to equip our readers with the inside story on the most reliable cars on sale. Knowing which cars or car brands are vulnerable to electrical and/or mechanical faults is highly valuable. Even if you’ve already purchased one of the cars below, this list could prove vital in identifying potential faults that could save you money in the future.

Our most reliable new cars results are based on the latest Driver Power survey data for cars that are currently available to buy new. Owners were asked about their satisfaction with the standard of build quality and reliability in the cars they own and drive every day, so the resulting data offers potential car buyers a useful insight into the ownership experience they can expect.

When buying a new car, few expect there to be any issues at all but even with our top ten most reliable new cars, faults can still occur. That being said, it is usually around the three- to six-year mark (once the manufacturer’s warranty on most models has expired) that cars can develop more serious issues and buying a brand new car is a good way to side-step this more risky period in the car’s lifecycle. The scores below represent the average ratings that owners of these cars gave for reliability and build quality. Only cars with enough responses to give full statistical accuracy are included in Driver Power.

You can visit our most reliable used car page for reliability data on cars aged between one and seven years or scroll down to find out the top 10 new cars when it comes to reliability in reverse order. If you’d like to tell us about your car, take the Driver Power survey now…

The top 10 most reliable new cars

10. Nissan Leaf - 96.69%

Japanese branded cars have always been synonymous with good reliability, and Nissan models are no exception. Coming in tenth on the list for the top 10 most reliable cars in Driver Power 2023, the Leaf does well with a reliability score of 96.69%. The car also scores well for its powertrain, gaining the Leaf a third place in that category.

The Leaf comes with a three-year or 60,000-mile warranty (whichever comes first) and owners were reasonably satisfied with the overall running costs - ranking the car in 23rd place overall in that section of the survey. Maintenance is important if you want your car to remain reliable and Nissan offers servicing plans payable in instalments of £20 per month, taking the sting out of the maintenance and servicing costs and offering peace of mind.

9. Hyundai Kona - 96.75%

Hyundai Kona is both safe and reliable according to Driver Power, as it finishes in ninth place for both categories. It has, however, slipped down from second position for reliability in 2022. 

Drivers and owners told us that the Kona is extremely well screwed together and Hyundai’s generous five-year/ unlimited mileage warranty should cover most of the unexpected issues that arise, putting any concerns to rest. The Kona scored respectably when it came to running costs as well, suggesting that maintaining the car won’t break the bank should the worst happen.

8. Lexus RX - 96.78%

Not only does the Lexus RX finish a respectable eighth for reliability, it also finishes third overall within the 2023 Driver Power survey. Owners tell us that the Lexus RX is really well put together, the car coming out on top for interior quality and finish, so squeaks and rattles should be few and far between. Unexpected surprises should be covered by the initial three-year manufacturer warranty but Lexus also goes one step further, offering an additional 12 months or 10,000-mile warranty for every Lexus main dealer service, up to 10 years or 100,000 miles.

7. Lexus NX - 97.20%

Similar to the RX, the Lexus NX excels in all the expected areas, claiming two 10th place spots for reliability and safety features. Although the NX didn’t appear on the 2022 Driver Power survey, the brand has a first-class reputation for building safe and dependable cars. Owners told us that the finish and quality of the interior was excellent and the car stands up to family life. 

As with all Lexus cars, the NX comes with an initial three-year manufacturer warranty, extended by 12 months or 10,000 for every Lexus main dealer service, up to 10 years or 100,000 miles. There’s three years of Lexus roadside assistance included, too.

6. BMW i3 - 97.38%

While this year marked the demise of the BMW i3 electric supermini, as BMW decided to retire the model, owners came out to champion the German EV in Driver Power. Taking first place in the build quality category, and sixth overall for reliability, the trailblazing electric car should prove a trouble free purchase. 

The BMW i3 ranked 16th overall in Driver Power and comes with the same 3-year warranty as other BMW products, but there is also an additional eight-year, 100,000 mile warranty for the lithium-ion battery pack.

5. Mazda CX-5 - 97.76%

Remarkably, for the third year in a row, the Mazda CX-5 scores a top-5 finish for reliability, albeit down from third in the 2022 Driver Power survey. Overall, the family-friendly SUV performed admirably, top 10 scores for value, reliability and the exterior quality reflects the esteem owners hold it in.

As with the other Japanese branded cars in this list, the Mazda CX-5 comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty but owners were less than satisfied with the servicing and maintenance costs.

4. Toyota Prius - 98.13%

The Toyota Prius finished a very respectable fourth for reliability, continuing Toyota’s strong reputation for building safe and reliable cars. Not only does Toyota offer an initial three-year or 60,000-mile warranty, but similar to Lexus, any servicing done at a Toyota main dealer will add an extra year of warranty up to an impressive 10 years or 100,000 miles. 

Additionally, Toyota’s hybrid system and batteries have been proven to be incredibly reliable. Not only does it come with a separate 5-year warranty and free check with every service, but the tech and systems have also been tested out in the real world with the Prius commonly racking up hundreds of thousands of miles as a taxi.

3. Ford EcoSport - 98.27%

Taking the third spot in the most reliable cars is the Ford EcoSport, with owners telling us that the small SUV from Ford is barely putting a wheel wrong.

While the interior may not feel as premium compared to some of its rivals, the EcoSport was designed to be rugged from the outset. Technical issues and those relating to safety features reported were also few and far between.

For those looking for more peace of mind, the standard, three year or 60,000 mile warranty can be extended to four years and 80,000 miles or five years and 100,000 miles for a one off payment.

2. Toyota GR Yaris - 98.66%

Reliability may not be the first thing you associate with hot hatches but owners aren’t having to accept any compromise when it comes to the reliability of the GR Yaris. It ranks an overall second place for its reliability - ahead of a third position it placed for driving pleasure and value.

The GR Yaris comes with the same warranty as other Toyota and Lexus products, and reaffirms the strong reputation of both brands as Toyota and Lexus take four of the top ten spots on the most reliable new cars list. Owners were keen to state that they felt the GR was both really good value and well built. 

While the GR Yaris may be a specialist model that’s mechanically different to the standard Yaris, many technical components are shared so issues such as software should be easy to fix.

1. Subaru Outback - 98.70%

Taking the top position as the most reliable car to buy in 2023 is the Subaru Outback. A fantastic score of 98.70% puts it at the top of the list for reliability, but owners also rank it first for styling, second for visibility from the driver’s seat, second for rear legroom and third for front-seat comfort.

Seven of the top ten most reliable cars for 2023 have come from Japanese brands but the Outback leads the way. ​The warranty offered by Subaru covers a standard 3-year/60,000-mile period, however, with the Outback ranking so highly, this should give owners peace of mind from the outset.

Click below to see the top 75 cars or best cars to own by class...

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

Content editor

Ryan is responsible for looking after the day-to-day running of the Auto Express website and social media channels. Prior to joining Auto Express in 2023, he worked at a global OEM automotive manufacturer, as well as a specialist automotive PR and marketing agency.

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