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1 October 2020

Most reliable cars

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

Whether you're looking for the most reliable small car, sports car or SUV, you can use our research to find one 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 cars on the market. With the data we collect we determine how reliable a model of car is in its first three years and in years three to eight of its life.

If we find a car too unreliable, then it can't be a Best Buy, regardless of how well it performed in our tests. Over half (66%) of the owners of the least reliable car in our survey reported a fault, and 11% experienced a breakdown.

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

Revealed: the most reliable cars

Last year, we surveyed more than 47,000 car owners and used their feedback to provide robust reliability ratings for hundreds of cars. Use our research to make sure you don't throw away your money on a car that will let you down.

Which? members can login now to reveal our most (and least) reliable cars. Not yet a member? Join Which? to unlock our most reliable cars and to access all of our online reviews, including all of our expert, independent new and used car reviews.

Car reliability

In our annual Which? Car Survey, we surveyed more than 47,000 motorists about their cars, what problems they've had and if they've broken down so we can provide reliability ratings for hundreds of cars. 

Here's a snapshot of our research: 

Most reliable new cars

The most reliable car under three years old received the full five-star rating after an incredible 97% of owners reported no faults whatsoever in the year running up to our survey. And for those that did, none of the faults were serious.

Breakdowns weren’t an issue, nor was the amount of time spent off the road.

The least reliable car under three years old received a pitiful one star rating, which comes as no surprise after nearly half of its owners had a fault with their car in the year before the survey.

There were a staggering amount of common issues, including software glitches and problems with the engines cooling system, while a further 7% actually broke down.

Most reliable used cars

The most reliable car over three years old had a below average proportion of faults for its age and all the faults were minor - resulting in another fantastic full five-star rating.

On the other hand, more than half of owners of the least reliable car (3-8 years) had to take their car to the garage for repairs in the space of 12 months and a worrying 11% of cars actually broke down. 

Add a deluge of common faults and a longer than average amount of time spent off the road and you get a disappointing one-star reliability rating.

Become a join Which? to unlock our research and find out which cars won't let you down.

What 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. 

We've looked at cars from 34 different brands to find out which makes the most reliable cars. 

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

View all New and used cars