Most reliable medium cars revealedWhich? Car's top 10 new and used medium cars

27 January 2011

The most reliable medium cars

Find out which are the most reliable medium cars

If you want to know how reliable a car is, why not trust the judgment of 66,669 people who told us about their cars for the 2010 Which? Car Survey.

The Which? Car Survey is the biggest of its kind, giving real car owners the opportunity to rate their vehicle, informing other consumers and helping us encourage manufacturers to make improvements.

One key aspect of the Which? Car Survey is to find out which cars are most reliable, and unreliable.

Which? members have full access to all the Which? Car Survey results, including details of the most reliable cars. Non-members can see all of this by signing up for £1 for a month’s trial to Which?.

The Which? Car 2011 Survey is open now, and you don’t have to be a member to fill it in. Completing it also gives you the chance to win £5,000 in our prize draw. 

Fill in the 2011 Which? Car Survey

Most reliable medium sized cars

Using our survey data, we've compiled the top five most reliable new and used cars. New cars are models that are currently on sale new and are aged up to three years old. 

Our used car listing consists of information on cars aged between four and eight years old. Where a particular model appears more than once, this is due two different generations being on sale during the same period. 

New medium cars

Mazda 3

Mazda 3

Mazda 3

Model year: 2009-

Reliability score: 98%

The Mazda 3 came out on top of the reliability scores for new cars, receiving a full five-star rating from owners for reliability. Results show breakdown, fault and niggle numbers with this model are very low, as expected from solid Mazda build quality. Owners were also impressed by the interior space and high level of equipment.

Read our review of the Mazda 3

Mercedes-Benz A-class

Mercedes A-class

Mercedes-Benz A-class

Model year: 2005-

Reliability score: 92%

The Mercedes-Benz A-class just squeezes into this category, being one of the smallest medium-sized family cars around. Non-engine electrics is the most common reported fault, but on a very small scale. According to the survey, the petrol models are slightly more reliable than the diesels.

Read our review of the Mercedes-Benz A-class

Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Golf

Model year: 2009-

Reliability score: 92%

Owners of the sixth generation of the Volkswagen Golf gave rave reviews of their cars' reliability. The Golf receives the highest star rating possible for general reliability, and also ticks the right boxes for safety with a maximum five-star Euro NCAP rating. Owners were impressed by the well-made and refined feel of the Volkswagen Golf.

Get the full Volkswagen Golf review here

Hyundai i30

Hyundai i30

Hyundai i30

Model year: 2007-

Reliability score: 92%

With the medium car market so competitive, the Hyundai i30 is popular thanks to a budget list price starting under £14,000. A five-year warranty means piece of mind for owners, and the 2010 Which? Car Survey found breakdown numbers and faults and niggles with models were very low, particularly in petrol versions.

Full review of the Hyundai i30 available here

Mazda 3

Mazda 3

Mazda 3

Model year: 2004-2009

Reliability score: 92%

The latest Mazda 3 may have topped the new car reliability stats in the 2010 Which? Car Survey, but the model it replaced also received positive feedback from owners who had bought it new. Reliability figures show the diesel performs slightly better for the number of breakdowns, but the petrol beats it for a small number of faults and niggles.

Used medium cars

Mazda 3

Mazda 3    

Mazda 3

Model year: 2004-2009

Reliability score: 84%

A third appearance in our reliability charts - and pole position again - proves the Mazda 3’s phenomenal reliability performance. The diesel has more reported faults than the petrol, with a small number of brake, non-engine electrics and engine electrics problems being the most common issues.

Mercedes A-class

Mercedes A-class

Mercedes-Benz A-class

Model year: 2005-

Reliability score: 82%

Unsurprisingly, the Mercedes-Benz A-class proves impressively reliable as it ages, as our survey results demonstrate. in the four- to eight-year-old category petrol engined models come out ahead of diesels. In fact, the petrol receives almost full marks from owners, while the diesel is let down by faults. The predecessor to this model, the first generation Mercedes-Benz A-class, is a whole different kettle of fish, and is best avoided.

Toyota Corolla

Toyota Corolla

Toyota Corolla

Model year: 2002-2006

Reliability score: 82%

The Toyota Corolla may have gone out of production five years ago (replaced by the Toyota Auris), but it still scored top marks for reliability. The petrol powered versions have a slight edge over the diesels, with a better breakdown rating. However, Toyota has a good background of making ultra-reliable cars.

Read the review of the Toyota Corolla

BMW 1 Series

BMW 1 Series

BMW 1 Series

Model year: 2004-

Reliability score: 81%

The BMW 1 Series combines compact family medium-sized practicality with BMW’s traditional rear-wheel-drive layout. Its reliability score is high considering BMW’s relatively average dependability score as a manufacturer. Facelifted models, on sale from 2007 onwards, with a full range of revised engines are the best options. 

Read the full review of the BMW 1 Series

Honda Civic

Honda Civic

Honda Civic

Model year 2000-2005

Reliability score: 81%

The 2000-2005 Honda Civic offered different things to many people thanks to a mix of practicality and high performance from the Type R model. Reliability scores are high too, especially considering the replacement model doesn’t score quite so well. Petrol powered Civics are the best choice, with very few breakdowns reported.

Read reviews of all Honda Civic models

Get more from Which? Car

Get more from Which? Car

Magazine: Which? Car magazine is the UK's only independent car guide (we don't take ads, so our reviews are totally impartial). The Winter 2011 issue is the first of the new look Which? Car, packed with more new and used car reviews than ever before. We've dedicated more pages to in-depth reviews of all the major cars on sale today, helping you to make the most educated decision about buying a new or used car. It's on sale now, priced at £4.99, available from Sainsbury's, Tesco, WH Smith, Martin McColl and good independent newsagents.

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