Most reliable used cars

Make big savings on a car that won't let you down: the most reliable used cars

BuyaCar team
Oct 20, 2017

Car reliability continues to improve but when you're buying a used vehicle, there's no harm in playing safe.

And you can't get much safer than the examples on this page. These are the most reliable used cars available, based on real-life ownership data from almost 50,000 owners who responded to Auto Express' annual Driver Power satisfaction survey.

The research covers cars that are between three and six years old, when most manufacturer warranties run out and owners who haven't got an extended warranty are left to foot the bill for any problems.

Each car has been scored on reliability and build quality, then ranked alongside other vehicles in the same class. We've shown the most dependable cars in eight different categories, along with the runners-up.

Of course, a high score is not a complete guarantee of reliability: your chances of snapping up a star buy are improved if you opt for an approved used car that's been through a rigorous inspection and history check.

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Most reliable used small car

Skoda Citigo (97.24%)

Not only is it excellent value for money, but the Citigo is the least likely used city car to let you down. Given that it’s beaten the Hyundai i10, which has a five-year warranty from new, and the Honda Jazz, which has a reputation for quality, it’s an impressive achievement. Read more

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2. Hyundai i10 Mk2 (2013-on) 97.19% More details
2. Honda Jazz Mk2 (2009-14) 97.19% More details


Most reliable used small family car

Honda Civic Mk9 (2011-15) 97.3%

It's pretty clear from these results that Japanese small family cars are the ones to buy for ultimate reliability. Top of the list is the previous-generation Honda Civic, which finished above a hatchback bade by the most reliable brand in the survey - Lexus. The all-Japanese top-three is completed by the Toyota Prius. Read more

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2 Lexus CT (2011-on) 97.2% More details
3. Toyota Prius Mk3 (2009-15) 96.84% More details


Most reliable premium family car

Lexus IS Mk3 (2013-on) 98.28%

It doesn't matter whether you buy the current Lexus IS or the previous-generation version - no other manufacturer makes a car that's as reliable. Owners were also impressed by the current car's ease of driving, stability and build quality. In terms of popularity, sales of the Lexus fall far below German rivals, such as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class. It's the latter that takes third place in tbis category.

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2. Lexus IS Mk2 (2005-13) 94.49% More details
3. Mercedes C-Class Mk3 (2007-14) 93.44% More details


Most reliable used 4x4 or SUV

Lexus RX Mk3 (2008-15) 98.49%

Bored yet? Lexus' famed sees another model, the RX, take top honours among used sport-utility vehicles (SUVs). It's also the highest score of any car in the current survey, which makes the Lexus RX is even harder to fault as a used car buy. Not surprisingly, Toyota, which owns Lexus, takes second place. There's a different badge in third place - but it still comes from Japan: the Subaru Forester.

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2. Toyota Land Cruiser Mk7 (2007-on) 98.06% More details
3. Subaru Forester Mk4 (2012-on) 97.37% More details


Most reliable used sportscar

BMW 4 Series (2013-on) 97.2%

BMW’s sporty coupe has done well to beat off the MX-5, given that the current- and previous-generation take both other spots in the top three. It's a rare victory for the supposedly peerless German engineering. Read more

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2. Mazda MX-5 Mk3 (2008-on) 96.89% More details
3. Mazda MX-5 Mk4 (2014-on) 95.27% More details


Most reliable used family car

Dacia Logan MCV Mk1 (2012-on) 96.86%

The Dacia proves a low price and high quality are not mutually exclusive, with the budget buy claiming first place ahead of the more expensive Toyota Avensis. In a way, it's unsurprising that the Renault Laguna takes third is reassuring since Renault owns Dacia. In this case, at least, reliability runs in the family.

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2. Toyota Avensis Mk3 (2009-on) 95.34% More details
3. Renault Laguna Mk3 (2007-2015) 94.42%


Most reliable used large premium car

Lexus GS Mk4 (2011-on) 98.05%

Lexus makes it a hat-trick of most reliable cars, with first place in this category, in addition to the class-topping Lexus IS and Lexus RX. Not only that, in the same class, the GS’s predecessor took third spot. Sandwiched between them in second place is the Tesla Model S.

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2. Tesla Model S Mk1 (2012-on) 97.54% More details
3. Lexus GS Mk3 (2005-11) 95.08% More details


Most reliable used people carrier

Toyota Prius+ Mk1 (2012-on) 94.80%

No people carrier charted higher than 40 in the reliability league table so there’s clearly work to be done. Even so, Toyota once more proved it can deliver the goods with a class win for the Prius+, a hybrid that brings low running costs to this price-sensitive sector. Another Toyota, the versatile Verso, scores third place but in second spot is the Renault Scenic.

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2. Renault Scenic/Grand Scenic Mk3 (2009-16) 94.75% More details
3. Toyota Verso-S Mk1 (2009-on) 94.75% More details

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