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Cars & travel.

Most-reliable cars for 2022

Looking for a reliable car that won't let you down? Whether you're after a new or used model, our unique survey reveals the most-reliable vehicles in the UK
Jade Harding
Happydrivers2 466746

Whether you're looking for the most-reliable small car, sports car or SUV, you can use our research to find the  models you can trust - and avoid the ones you can't.

In our annual Which? Car Survey, we ask thousands of motorists about their cars, what issues they've had and if they've broken down, so we can reveal the most-reliable vehicles on the market. With the data we collect, we can determine how reliable a model is in its first four years since being manufactured, aged 5-9 years and 10-15 years.

If we find one that's too unreliable, then it can't be a Best Buy, regardless of how well it performed in our tests. For example, the least-reliable car was reported to have spent a hefty average of 18 days off the road being repaired in the year covered by our survey.  

Keep reading to find out the which new and used ones are the most and least reliable according to our survey.

Revealed: the most reliable cars

Last year, we surveyed more than 48,000 car owners and used their feedback to provide robust reliability ratings for hundreds of vehicles. Use our research to make sure you don't throw away your money on one that will let you down.

Which? members can log in now to reveal our findings. Not yet a member? Join Which? to unlock our results and to access all of our online reviews, including all of our expert, independent new and used car reviews.

Car reliability

In our survey, we heard from more than 48,000 motorists about their cars, including the problems they experienced had and whether theirs broke down. 

Here's a snapshot of our research: 

  • A total of 48,034 drivers reported on 56,853 cars - thank you to everyone who took part in our survey.
  • Only 10 models managed a full five-star rating in the 0-4 and 5-9 year age groups, including one of the best-selling models in the UK. 
  • 19% of owners of a UK best-selling car reported battery problems. 

Most-reliable new cars

The most reliable car under four years old received the full five-star rating after an incredible 100% of owners reported no faults whatsoever in the year running up to our survey, nor any breakdowns.  

The least-reliable car under four years old received a pitiful one-star rating, which comes as no surprise after more than half of its owners had a fault with theirs in the year covered by our survey.

With smaller faults ranging from issues with the paintwork, ventilation and seats, up to more serious engine issues, the least reliable car was reported to have spent an average of 18 days off the road in the year covered by our survey, while a further 52% actually broke down. 

  • The most-reliable car aged 0-4 years had no faults or breakdowns whatsoever in the year running up to our survey. 
  • The least-reliable car for this age group is particularly prone to faults. An alarmingly high 55% of owners had at least one problem that needed a professional fix in the year before our survey.

Most-reliable used cars

The most reliable car aged between 5-9 years old had a below-average proportion of faults and breakdowns for its age and all the common faults were minor - resulting in another fantastic full five-star rating.

On the other hand, a staggering 58% of owners of the least-reliable car (5-9 years) had to take their car to the garage for repairs in the space of 12 months, and a worrying 13% of these cars actually broke down. Add a deluge of common faults and a longer than average amount of time spent off the road, and this car gets a pitiful one-star reliability rating.

  • Only 11% of owners of the most reliable car (aged 5 to 9 years), experienced a fault in the 12 months covered by our survey. Faults reported were relatively minor and just 2% of cars broke down. 
  • More than half of owners the least-reliable car for this age group had to get at least one fault fixed. There were numerous types of issue and 13% of cars actually broke down.

Join Which? to unlock our expert research.

What is reliability? 

To put the one to five-star ratings into context, the table below shows the average fault rates per star rating and age group. 

Age groupReliability ratingFault rate 
0-4 years Five stars11%
Three stars25%
One star40%
5-9 yearsFive stars18%
Three stars31%
One star46%
10-15 yearsFive stars25%

Which brand makes the most-reliable cars?

If you've not yet decided on a model and want to narrow down your search, you can see which manufacturer puts the most effort into making sure its cars don't break down and develop faults. 

'Only one manufacturer achieved a full five-star rating for all three age groups, while a miserable 84% scored three stars or worse in at least one age group.'

We've looked at cars made by 36 different manufacturers to find out which brand makes the most reliable vehicle. 

Head to our most reliable car brands to see which manufacturers we recommend.