Most reliable automatic cars

Find an automatic gearbox that you can rely on. Check out the most reliable automatic cars

Simon Ostler
Mar 16, 2022

Does the idea of driving without having to juggle the clutch in heavy traffic, or not having to contend with difficult hill starts, sound appealing? The popularity of automatic cars has shot up in recent years, as the efficiency, responsiveness and availability of the most reliable automatic gearboxes has increased. In fact, the sales of automatic cars overtook manuals for the first time in the UK in 2020, accounting for 56% of new cars driving off forecourts - there are currently 10873 used automatic cars on BuyaCar compared with 13174 manual cars. It's a trend bolstered by the increase in hybrid and electric vehicles, which are almost always automatic, and buyers seeking greater comfort and convenience.

Sure, cruising around in an automatic car might be less involving and enjoyable than it is to change gears yourself with a manual gearbox, but if you aren't driving a sports car or hot hatchback, then you're more than likely better off sitting back and letting the car change gears for you. It can often lead to better fuel economy, not to mention a much more laid back driving experience where stalling the engine is no longer a worry.

There are quite a few different types of automatic gearboxes, and you may find you prefer certain setups to others. A traditional automatic, as fitted in many SUVs and luxury saloon cars tend to change gears very smoothly, but might not offer the fastest shifts from one gear to the next. Dual-clutch automatic transmissions offer faster gear changes, so are often found in sporty cars like the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Audi TT, but they can also be a bit jerky while trying to manoeuvre at low speeds and parallel park.

CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) gearboxes can be very smooth and are often found in hybrid models, but they gained a reputation for being uninvolving, with an elastic sensation while accelerating - a problem ironed out in some of the latest models.

One thing is for sure, though: automatic cars are more expensive to buy than manual models. This is due to the complexity of the technology involved, which brings us to their reliability.

Automatic cars are far more reliable now than they were in the early 2000s, but they can be costly to repair if they do develop a gearbox fault. So, you might be interested in hearing more about the manufacturers that have made the most reliable automatic gearboxes. Together with Warranty Direct, we have put together this list of the 10 manufacturers with the least mechanical faults recorded for their automatic cars.

Reliable automatic cars*

1. Lexus (0.14%)

BuyaCar prices from £10,800

2. Aston Martin (0.26%)

BuyaCar prices from £54,999

3. Smart (0.33%)

BuyaCar prices from £8,488

4. Suzuki (0.47%)

BuyaCar prices from £8,600

5. Honda (0.50%)

BuyaCar prices from £8,700

6. Mazda (0.51%)

BuyaCar prices from £9,790

7. Toyota (0.53%)

BuyaCar prices from £7,295

8. Porsche (0.71%)

BuyaCar prices from £26,948

9. Skoda (0.81%)

BuyaCar prices Limited stock

10. Maserati (0.81%)

BuyaCar prices Limited stock

*Manufacturer % of policies with a fault claim. Data from Warranty Direct provided in September 2017.


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