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Top 10 most and least reliable cars in the UK – Survey Results

Not everyone can afford a new car, or has a job that provides a company car. New cars are lovely, but they immediately depreciate, dropping a thousand pounds or more off their value when you drive them away from the dealer. Many of us need to budget carefully to stay on the road and buying a used car is a popular option.

But if you are buying a second-hand car, you want one that stays on the road and doesn’t break down every other week – so what should you go for?

The latest UK survey results

While choosing a used car is a very personal decision, results from the latest UK survey into the reliability of second-hand cars are certainly worth a look. You may fall in love with a car that’s not in the top ten, but at least you were pre-warned.

The top ten used cars between three and ten years old that break down the least were from the following brands:

Apart from the Chevrolet (USA-based) and Hyundai (South Korean), all the other brands in the top 10 are made by Japanese manufacturers. Japanese cars have a great track record for reliability too; it’s not just a fluke result. Honda has been the top of the used car reliability chart for the last seven years in a row.

Which used cars are the least reliable?

The survey, carried out by What car? and Warranty Direct, included 36 manufacturers in its survey. Bottom place went to Land Rover. Buy a second hand one of these and you will be in off the road more than on it – a 71% failure rate was the worst by a long way and repairs cost an average of £420. The Land Rover was way below the Alfa Romeo, which has a 55% failure rate and a cheaper average repair bill at £364.

Also trailing were Porsche (39% failure rate, with the highest average repairs £623), Volvo (39% failure rate) BMW (41% failure rate) and Mercedes (45% failure rate).

How does this compare with new cars?

Reliability with new cars is not so much of an issue as most have a warranty period. Another survey, the JD Power Dealer Satisfaction Survey for 2012 instead looks out how satisfied new car owners are with their purchase and their after-care.

This is how the top 10 looks:

So, if you want a used car that will go on being reliable for years, it’s probably wise to choose a manufacture that does well in both lists – Honda, Lexus and Toyota would be obvious choices, but don’t forget the much maligned Skoda. Sixth in the new car satisfaction table and 12th in the used car reliability survey, Skoda is definitely worth a second look.

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