Most reliable cars

Last updated: May 20, 2016

Reliability is one of the most important aspects that buyers take into consideration when buying a new car. You want to know your car won’t let you down and leave you stranded at the side of the road, or end up costing you a fortune in repair bills. 

The shine of owning a new car can easily rub off if it's a burden to live with, so it's important to do your research and find out which cars are the least troublesome to own. We’ve done the homework for you by asking owners themselves what their cars are like to live with. The cars in this list are those with the best reliability rating in our 2016 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey. 

Some cars that are available secondhand had better results, but the cars in this list are ones that you can walk into a showroom and buy brand new today, so they all come with a full manufacturer warranty.

Lexus IS saloon

Lexus is a consistently strong performer in the Driver Power survey and the IS saloon has come out on top in the reliability field this year. It’s a compact executive car that goes up against the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Jaguar XE and Mercedes C-Class, but it lives up to its Japanese reputation for good reliability with the highest score of all brand-new cars on sale. It’s not the best executive car on sale – there’s no diesel engine available and it’s not the most enjoyable to drive – but it has a very well built interior and is very comfortable. And even if you do have to take it back to the garage, Lexus dealerships are some of the best in the business for customer service. Read more.

Key points

3.9 / 5
Price 
£28,995 - £36,750

Toyota Land Cruiser SUV

The Toyota Land Cruiser has a reputation for being able to go pretty much anywhere, and its impressive reliability proves you’ll be able to do this safe in the knowledge it’s unlikely to let you down. It feels solidly built and it comes with plenty of equipment, but it feels very old compared to rivals like the Land Rover Discovery and will cost a lot to fuel and tax. It’ll hold its value pretty well, though, so a Land Cruiser could be a worthwhile if you need something rugged and dependable, whether you live at the top of a hill or in the middle of a desert. Read more.

Key points

2 / 5
Price 
£35,895 - £54,895

Lexus GS saloon

The Lexus GS makes it a Japanese hat trick for reliable new cars. Like the smaller IS saloon, the GS isn’t available with a diesel engine and isn’t quite as good an all-rounder as rivals from Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes. But the GS is still very relaxing to drive, has a lot of space inside and is very well equipped. It’s not as much fun to drive as the BMW 5 Series, but you can go for a high-performance Lexus GS F if you want more thrills. Lexus owners are very satisfied with their dealers, too, so if you do have any problems and need to visit the garage, it should be a hassle-free experience. Read more.

Key points

3.5 / 5
Price 
£33,495 - £50,995

Tesla Model S hatchback

The Tesla Model S is the best car to own in the UK according to the 2016 Driver Power survey and it scored well in the reliability rankings, too. It’s the car that got people interested in electric vehicles, proving they don’t all have to be sensible and have limited range. The Model S is capable of travelling around 300 miles on a single charge, but it’ll also go from 0-62mph in less than three seconds! There’s an awful lot of technology on board, including a vast touchscreen dominating the dashboard, but it all seems to be trouble-free, proving that the future of motoring could be quite a reliable one. Read more.

Key points

4.5 / 5
Price 
£58,335 - £106,035

Subaru Forester SUV

Subaru has a good reputation for solidity and reliability and the Forester is its star performer. It won’t set pulses racing in terms of styling or driving experience, but it feels solid and well screwed together and its mechanical components are well engineered and should stand up well to whatever you throw at the car. It’s not a cheap car to run and there are more accomplished SUVs to buy, but the Forester is a practical option with plenty of loyal customers who use the car on farms and in very rural areas – where dependability is key. Read more.

Key points

2.8 / 5
Price 
£25,495 - £30,995

Honda Civic hatchback

The Honda Civic came 40th overall in the 2016 Driver Power survey, but placed an impressive seventh for reliability. It’s a consistent high performer for reliability and it certainly feels like it inside. The dashboard is solid and high quality, it looks stylish and comes with plenty of equipment as standard. It’s not quite as much fun to drive as some of its rivals, but it’s one of the most practical small family cars currently on sale, proving it should be a very easy car to live with. If you go for the diesel, it’s economical, too. Read more.

Key points

4 / 5
Price 
£18,360 - £24,560

Skoda Citigo hatchback

The Skoda Citigo is one of our favourite city cars, offering great value for money, plenty of space, a grown-up driving experience and big-car interior quality. It came 11th overall in the Driver Power 2016 survey but placed an even more impressive eighth for reliability. It’s best for use around town due to its nippy 1.0-litre engine and dinky dimensions, but it can feel a little out of its depth at higher motorway speeds – although it does perform better than some of its rivals in this respect. Skoda dealers are highly rated by owners, too, which is reassuring if you ever have to go back because of any issues. Read more.

Key points

4.9 / 5
Price 
£8,275 - £11,170

Lexus NX SUV

The Lexus NX is the Japanese premium brand’s smallest SUV – competing with the likes of the Audi Q5, Mercedes GLC and Range Rover Evoque. It boasts head-turning looks and a top-notch interior, as well as plenty of equipment and a choice of hybrid or petrol engines. On the road, it’s not as exciting to drive as it is to look at, focusing more on comfort than fun, but it’s still a relaxing car on long journeys. More importantly, owners rated it as having the best build quality of any car in the 2016 Driver Power survey. Read more.

Key points

2.7 / 5
Price 
£29,995 - £42,995

BMW 4 Series coupe

The BMW 4 Series coupe was rated highly in Driver Power for build quality, performance and handling, but it’s also a star performer for reliability. It shares a lot of components with the ever-trusty BMW 3 Series saloon and has a stronger reliability record than any of its coupe or sports-car rivals. There are plenty of engines and trim levels to choose from, as well as coupe, convertible and hatchback bodystyles, so there should be a version that’ll appeal to everyone and it shouldn’t cause you too many troubles during ownership. Read more.

Key points

4.2 / 5
Price 
£30,260 - £45,745

Lexus CT hatchback

The CT rounds off an impressive four-car finish for Lexus in this list. Like other Lexus models, it feels well built and has a quality interior, while owners also benefit from Lexus’ impressive dealer network when the time comes for the car to go back to the dealer for any reason. It’s not quite as comfortable and relaxing as other models in the Lexus range, plus the ride is quite bad compared to its main rivals, but running costs should be low thanks to its hybrid powertrain. Read more.

Key points

2.2 / 5
Price 
£21,245 - £29,745