The UK's most reliable cars


Updated on 10 January 2020 | 4 Comments

We all want to own a car that rarely breaks down. Now you can find out if your car, or one you are considering buying, will go the distance with a new ranking of the nation’s most reliable cars.

Breaking down is a miserable experience, and one we would all like to avoid.

When you are shopping around for a new car, you need to consider the reliability of the make and model, as well as other features such as engine size, fuel economy and colour.

Now the experts at Auto Express have revealed the results of its latest ‘Power Survey’ after quizzing drivers on how reliable their cars are, and what faults ‒ if any ‒ have developed.

Here are the 10 cars that performed best in the survey.

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10 ‒ Toyota Yaris (92.94%)

The Yaris performed incredibly strongly, racking up a reliability score just shy of 93%.

While the car is clearly one that many motorists can rely on, if things do go wrong, they are most commonly gremlins in the electrics.

9 ‒ Mazda MX-5 (93.29%)

Auto Express reckons this Mazda is the “most fun car to drive” in the list, which is high praise indeed.

What’s more, it suggests that drivers don’t have to trade in the fun aspect to own a motor they can rely on. 

Another important point to make on the Mazda MX-5 is that it isn’t hugely laden with fancy bits of technology, meaning there are fewer gadgets that can go wrong, which will boost the vehicle’s overall reliability.

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8 ‒ Fiat Panda (93.39%)

The Panda is a unique motor on the reliability list, as the only model from a non-Asian manufacturer to feature in the top 10.

As with the Mazda, a big factor here is that the Panda is pretty simple, as there are few things that can actually go wrong.

Drivers told Auto Express that while electrical faults were the most likely issue to crop up, getting them fixed was generally cheap.

A Fiat Panda parked in a woodland car park. (Image: Shutterstock/J HIME)7 ‒ Lexus CT (93.99%)

Auto Express points out that as with other Lexus models, the general build quality of the CT has won the praise of owners.

As a result, on those occasions when things go wrong and an issue presents itself, the dealer network does a good job in putting things right.

6 ‒ Lexus NX (94.72%)

The NX took top spot in the survey last year, but has now dropped to a still-impressive sixth place.

Electrical issues which have cropped up in other Lexus models have now also started appearing in the NX too, while owners were also less impressed with high running costs.

Despite this, the overall build quality was again highlighted as a selling point of the Lexus NX.

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5 ‒ Kia Sorento (95.66%)

Auto Express points out the Sorento SUV uses a drivetrain, which is modelled on a previous generation of a Kia car, and implies that any serious mechanical faults should have been ironed out by now.

The engine is most likely to cause drivers issues, while the lack of a hybrid option ‒ and the fact that its diesel model is apparently particularly thirsty ‒ have seen the Sorento scored down.

A blue Kia Sportage. (Image: Shutterstock/BoJack)4 ‒ Kia Sportage (95.80%)

The Sportage is clearly a good car to own, and not just for the short term, since it topped last year’s used car survey from Auto Express too. That survey looks at all aspects of ownership for cars that are at least two years old.

Auto Express highlighted that Kia has boosted its reputation for reliability through its seven-year/100,000-mile warranty too, which further adds to the appeal of the Sportage.

3 ‒ Lexus RX (96.02%)

The high running costs of this bulky SUV and poor fuel economy, were flagged by drivers of the Lexus RX as bad points to be aware of.

What’s more, the fact that the vehicle has plenty of tech included may be a contributor to the fact that electrical issues were the most common faults reported.

Nonetheless, the RX won praise for its driving experience and build quality.

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2 ‒ Lexus IS (96.07%)

Yet another Lexus in the top 10 is the IS.

Indeed, since last year’s survey, Lexus has doubled how many models it has in the top performer’s list, from two to four, with the IS the best of all.

A paltry 4% of owners reported a fault with the car ‒ only the Nissan Juke had a smaller proportion of owners experience an issue.

The most common problems with the IS were linked to the engine and brakes.

A blue Toyota Prius. (Image: Shutterstock/Lee waranyu)1 ‒ Toyota Prius (97.43%)

The top spot overall goes to the Prius, the second model from Toyota to make the top 10.

Auto Express noted the Prius popularised hybrid cars thanks to the combination of low running costs and solid reliability, with the current generation improving on that formula to such a degree that it has now landed first place in the reliability index.

Nonetheless, Auto Express noted there have been some reports of drivetrain issues with the Prius, with electrical issues the most common, though owners were effusive in their praise for the overall build quality and low servicing costs.

*This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently.

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