Most reliable used cars 2018

Make big savings on a car that won't let you down: the most reliable used cars 2018, from city cars to SUVs

BuyaCar team
Jul 10, 2018

Modern cars might be more reliable than ever, but there’s no harm in playing safe when it comes to reliability.

And if you’re buying a used vehicle, then 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 last year’s Auto Express 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. It's based on owners' satisfaction with their vehicle's reliability, so the highest-ranking cars weren't always the most trouble-free, but didn't frustrate their owners.


Each car has been scored on reliability and build quality. We've shown the most dependable cars in ten 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 a car that's been through a rigorous inspection and history check. You may also want the greater peace of mind that comes with an extended warranty.


Most reliable used cars 2018

Most reliable used city car

Kia Picanto Mk2 (2011-2017) 90.18%

It came with a seven-year warranty when new, so it shouldn’t come as to much of a surprise that the Kia proved supremely reliable, and the most dependable city car that you can buy. It’s spacious and well-equipped for a car of its age and price: finance starts at less than £100 a month to for a three-year-old Picanto in good condition.

2. Volkswagen up! (2012-present) 89.19% Find deals
3. Hyundai i10 Mk1 (2008-2014) 87.88% Find deals


Most reliable used small car

Honda Jazz Mk2 (2008-2015) 91.55%

If you’re looking for a highly reliable small car, then the message here is clear: buy Japanese. Honda, Toyota and Nissan make the three small used cars with the highest reliability rating and the spacious Jazz takes top spot, thanks to 91.22% of owners who didn’t have a single issue. The beaky-nosed hatchback might look a little bizarre, but the shape can seat four adults in comfort and there’s a large boot too.

2. Toyota Yaris Mk3 (2011-2015) 89.76% Find deals
3. Nissan Note Mk1 (2006-2013) 89.17% Find deals


Most reliable used small family car

Lexus CT (2011-present) 94.00%

The Lexus CT might come with the added complexity of a hybrid system underneath its bonnet, but it’s still the most reliable small used family car on the market. In fact, its 94% score makes it the most reliable car in the whole survey. The CT is now showing its age after having been on sale for seven years, but this is an excellent situation for used car buyers as there are plenty of models available to buy.

2. Toyota Prius Mk3 (2009-2015) 92.1% Find deals
3. Seat Leon Mk3 (2012-present) 92.04% Find deals


Most reliable used family car

Skoda Superb Mk2 (2008-2015) 93.00%

It’s big, comfortable and good value, so it’s no surprise that Skoda Superb owners love their vehicles. Extremely good reliability is another reason, wich saw the Superb ranked as the most reliable family car, just above the previous-generation Ford Mondeo. Taxi drivers tend to favour the Toyota Avensis for its solidity and reliability; the survey showed why, as the car received a decent score.

2. Ford Mondeo Mk4 (2007-2014) 89.08% Find deals
3. Toyota Avensis Mk3 (2009-present) 88.49% Find deals


Most reliable premium family car

Lexus IS Mk3 (2013-on) 93.40%

Lexus’ hybrid system records another reliability triumph, this time in the family-sized IS, which is well-loved by its owners, not least because nine in ten of them didn’t have a single problem with their car. In terms of popularity, sales of the Lexus fall far below German rivals, such as the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class. It's the latter two that take second and third place.

2. Mercedes C-Class Mk3 (2007-2014) 90.99% Find deals
3. BMW 3 Series Mk5 (2005-2012) 90.18% Find deals


Most reliable used large premium car

Jaguar XF Mk1 (2008-2015) 93.76%

Few would bet on an ageing Jaguar to record the second-highest reliability score out of all the cars included in this survey, but that’s exactly what’s happened with the XF, which was highly praised for its dependability. It earned the top spot in its category despite at least one issue being reported by almost a third of owners, who were perhaps expecting more issues. The result pushed the German-engineered Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5 Series into the second and third places.

2. Mercedes E-Class Mk4 (2009-2016) 92.56% Find deals
3. BMW 5 Series Mk6 (2010-2016) 91.82% Find deals


Most reliable used family SUV

Skoda Yeti Mk1 (2009-2017) 93.55%

Skoda’s Yeti looks quirky but feels solid and well-built. Owners think so too, as they rated its reliability more highly than any other tall family sport utility vehicle (SUV) or crossover. It’s not that the Yeti is problem free: one in five owners had some sort of issue but most still considered the Yeti a dependable choice.

2. Honda CRV Mk4 (2013-present) 93.36% Find deals
3. Toyota RAV4 Mk4 (2013-present) 92.48% Find deals


Most reliable used premium SUV

Lexus RX Mk3 (2008-15) 92.86%

It’s yet another win for Lexus, and its large RX SUV, which had the lowest proportion of faults in the entire survey. Just one in twenty drivers complained of any problem at all during their ownership period, which includes drivers of the hybrid version. Surprisingly, given the brand’s reputation for poor reliability, the Land Rover Freelander took second place in this category.

2. Land Rover Freelander 2 (2006-2014) 90.18% Find deals
3. BMW X3 Mk2 (2011-2017) 89.86% Find deals


Most reliable used sports car

Toyota GT86 (2012-present) 91.65%

A limited number of responses from sports car owners meant that only two cars were ranked in this category, but that doesn’t diminish the impressive scores recorded by the Toyota GT86 and Audi A5. Neither car was entirely problem-free - in fact, a third of Toyota owners mentioned some sort of issue - but it didn’t have a great impact on the car’s overall reliability.

2. Audi A5 Mk1 (2007-2016) 91.18% Find deals


Most reliable used people carrier

Peugeot 3008 Mk1 (2009-2016) 89.16%

Peugeot’s previous 3008 was very different to the latest high-tech SUV, which is proving extremely reliable in its own right. The older model was more of an egg-shaped people carrier that prioritised interior space over style and comfort above performance. It wasn’t to everyone’s taste but owners do rate the car’s reliability.

2. Ford C-Max / Grand C-Max Mk2 (2010-present) 85.48% Find deals
3. Ford B-Max (2012-2017) 85.44% Find deals


Read more about:

Latest best cars & vans

  1. Best pre-registered car deals 2019

  2. Best cars for less than a gym membership

  3. Best petrol tow cars

What our customers say