Most reliable new and used estate carsThe best estate cars in 2011 - rated by you

04 February 2012

Superb reliability sets the Skoda apart

The latest Superb is the most reliable estate according to your feedback

The latest Skoda Superb is the most reliable estate around, according to your feedback

The Which? Car survey is the biggest and best in the UK. And the 52,563 people who took part last year have helped us to rank the most reliable estate cars - both new and second-hand.

So you're considering buying an estate car? Well, this is the only place you'll be able to find out which ones are the most reliable - and get a steer on the sorts of problems owners are experiencing.

They mostly come in medium to large sizes and offer a practicality often not found in saloon or hatchback versions, without the van-like driving characteristics offered by many MPVs.

Read on to find out the top five most reliable new and used estate cars, according to the 2011 Which? Car Survey.

Fill in the 2012 Which? Car Survey

You can help raise standards in the car industry - or simply get some car-related complaints off your chest - by telling us about your car in this year’s survey. It doesn't matter what car you own - saloon, estate, sports, MPV or off-roader - we want feedback on them all.

Fill in the 2012 Which? Car Survey and you’ll be in with a chance of winning £10,000. It takes no more than 15 minutes for each car you own, and is your opportunity to have your voice heard.

Most reliable new estate cars

Skoda Superb estate

Skoda Superb Estate

1. Skoda Superb Estate (2010-)

Reliability score: 92%

The Superb Estate shows itself as just that for reliability: superb. It scores five stars for not breaking down and the most commonly reported problems are with the auxiliary electrics, but these aren't a serious concern as only 9% of owners reported such issues. Skodas aren't bad for reliability longer-term either, with the Octavia topping the used car list.

Peugeot 308 SW

Peugeot 308 SW

2. Peugeot 308 SW (2008-)

Reliability score: 92%

The 308 SW bucks the Peugeot trend for poor reliability. It manages five stars for breakdown resistance and 13% of owners report electrical problems, with lights and interior issues being reported by 8% and 5% respectively. Certainly worth a look if you're in the market for a medium-sized family estate.

Honda Accord Tourer

Honda Accord Tourer

3. Honda Accord Tourer (2008-)

Reliability score: 89%

The Accord Tourer is great for reliability, but falls slightly short of the best estate cars for niggles - things which annoy, but don't necessarily prevent you from using the car. Just 6% of owners reported exterior bodywork faults and the same number told us about auxiliary electrical faults. Honda's long-term record tells us the build quality on most of its cars is excellent.

Volvo V50

Volvo V50

4. Volvo V50 (2004-)

Reliability score: 88%

Volvo brand reliability is fairly average and the V50 offers a contrast in fortunes, with newer examples (2008 onwards) proving reliable, while older versions tend to break down more than we would like. If you're considering a new one, just 10% of owners reported auxiliary electrical problems as the most significant issuem. If you're looking at an older car, watch out because the electrics - engine and auxiliary - account for a much bigger proportion of faults (21% and 16% respectively). 

Kia Cee'd SW

Kia Cee'd SW

5. Kia Cee'd SW (2007-)

Reliability score: 88%

The Kia Cee'd SW is well-built and owners report that it rarely breaks down. It has a slightly poorer record than some for faults, with 10% of owners reporting interior faults and another 9% telling of electrical problems. But it comes with a seven year warranty, so all these should be readily sorted by the dealer.

Most reliable used estate cars

Skoda Octavia Estate

Skoda Octavia Estate

1. Skoda Octavia Estate (2005-)

Reliability score: 77%

Another Skoda tops the table. Older Octavias offer average resistance to breakdowns - scoring three stars for breakdowns, faults and niggles. Look out for electrical problems  and make sure the cam belt has been changed if buying one. Newer models (post-2008) come in petrol or diesel versions and resistance to breakdowns is better, at four stars. But for annoying niggles, both score a slightly disappointing two stars. 

Ford Focus estate

Ford Focus Estate

2. Ford Focus Estate (2005-2011)

Reliability score: 76%

Early Focuses offer good resistance to breakdowns, faults and niggles - each on four-star ratings. Early diesel versions suffer more electrical problems than we'd like to see (30% of owners report auxiliary electrical faults) and if buying an older model, it's worth checking all the electrics work. Later models (after 2008) are slightly more likely to break down (three stars), while ventilation and engine electrical problems are reported by 10% of owners.

Mercedes C-class Estate

Mercedes C-class Estate

3. Mercedes C-class Estate(2000-2007)

Reliability score: 76%

The solid build of the C-class means that even older models are highly resistant to breaking down (five stars for both petrol and diesel models). Diesel versions are likely to have more niggles, and problems with the auxiliary electrics are reported by 32% of petrol owners and 26% of diesel owners. If you're buying one, make sure the suspension and brakes are in good condition as these are problem areas reported by owners.  

BMW 3 Series Touring

BMW 3 Series Touring

4. BMW 3 Series Touring (2005-)

Reliability score: 75%

The 3 Series is a good bet for resisting breakdowns, but owners report a higher number of niggles than is ideal (newer ones score just one star).  If you're considering buying one, get the auxiliary electrics checked (faults reported by 33% of petrol owners and 20% of diesel owners) and look for problems with the wipers and brakes before you part with your money.

Toyota Avensis Tourer

Toyota Avensis Tourer

5. Toyota Avensis Tourer (2003-2009)

Reliability score: 75%

The Avensis Tourer offers great breakdown performance (five stars for older cars and four for post-2008 cars). It is average for faults  but early models have more niggles than may be desirable (two stars). Make sure all the auxiliary electrics work if you're buying one, and check the brakes have been maintained properly.

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