The best cars to own in the UK: Driver Power 2023 results

Buying your next car? Our annual survey of UK car owners reveals the best cars to buy in 2023

Driver Power 2023 hero

It’s finally that time again, as car owners across the UK reveal their favourite and least favourite cars to live with in the 2023 Driver Power survey.

After thousands of responses covering several categories, we’ve pieced together the data and applied a statistical weighting to come up with a definitive ranking of the 75 most satisfying-to-own cars on the market, while results in individual categories allow you to see which cars are ranked highest in terms of reliability, running costs, and more.

Scroll down to read more about this year’s top ten.

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The top 10 best cars to own in the UK

10. Kia Ceed (Mk3)

DP Kia Ceed

It’s an impressive climb into the top 10 for the Kia Ceed, which finished 16th in 2022’s survey. You’d expect a Kia to score well in terms of value and a fourth-place finish here backs this up, but owners are, if anything, even more keen on the way it looks, the Ceed securing third from all the cars surveyed. It’s up in the top 20 for reliability, practicality, interior and running costs too, though a relatively poor 53rd place for the car’s engine and gearbox hold it back from a higher finish.

Model

KIA CEED MK3 

 

Class

Compact Family Car

 

Category

Position

Score

Overall

10

91.29%

Engine & Gearbox

53

88.14%

Exterior

3

96.08%

Interior

18

91.55%

Practicality & Bootspace

17

91.36%

Ride & Handling

21

93.43%

Safety Features

30

91.09%

MPG & Running Costs

18

87.12%

Reliability

13

95.03%

Infotainment

28

90.00%

Value

4

93.39%

9. Mazda CX-5 (Mk2)

DP Mazda CX-5

Okay, it’s not as impressive as last year’s second place, but Mazda has to be happy with another top ten for the CX-5; its customers certainly seem pleased. The good-looking CX-5 scores highest for its exterior style and finish, with a fifth place, but owners rate reliability and value (seventh place for each) and the look and feel of the interior and infotainment (12th for both), too. The car’s engines could be better though – owners would like a little more performance and a little less noise.

Model

MAZDA CX-5 MK2 

 

Class

Mid to Large SUV

 

Category

Position

Score

Overall

9

91.36%

Engine & Gearbox

42

89.57%

Exterior

5

96.00%

Interior

12

92.17%

Practicality & Bootspace

31

89.64%

Ride & Handling

46

91.62%

Safety Features

23

91.58%

MPG & Running Costs

24

86.06%

Reliability

7

95.88%

Infotainment

12

91.73%

Value

7

92.52%

8. Toyota Prius (Mk4)

DP Toyota Prius

We might not be getting the all-new Prius in the UK, but buyers of the existing model are clearly satisfied. It seems that being a hybrid rather than an electric car is no barrier to the car’s running costs, with a 10th place finish that beats the Kia EV6 ahead of it – but reliability is the real winner here, the Prius finishing second out of all the cars surveyed, behind only the BMW i3. The Prius seems to be a good choice for its drivetrain, safety features, and chassis too, though owners are less enamoured with the car’s practicality.

Model

TOYOTA PRIUS Mk4

 

Class

Compact Family Car

 

Category

Position

Score

Overall

8

91.45%

Engine & Gearbox

7

95.45%

Exterior

34

92.90%

Interior

37

90.12%

Practicality & Bootspace

67

85.05%

Ride & Handling

9

94.59%

Safety Features

7

92.98%

MPG & Running Costs

10

89.50%

Reliability

2

96.53%

Infotainment

23

90.56%

Value

17

90.54%

7. Kia EV6

DP Kia EV6

The EV6 is a new entrant next year, and not only has it shot straight into the top ten, but it’s also the highest-ranked dedicated EV, so Kia has clearly done something right. Digging into the facts and figures, it’s that silent, punchy powertrain that buyers enjoy the most, where it’s ranked sixth out of all the cars in the survey. It’s practical, too, so the EV6 is far more than just a one-trick pony. If Kia wants to learn any other tricks though, it should probably concentrate on reliability and infotainment.

Model

KIA EV6 MK1 

 

Class

Family Car

 

Category

Position

Score

Overall

7

91.50%

Engine & Gearbox

6

95.47%

Exterior

18

94.29%

Interior

10

92.35%

Practicality & Bootspace

8

93.68%

Ride & Handling

14

94.00%

Safety Features

25

91.43%

MPG & Running Costs

14

87.78%

Reliability

47

91.75%

Infotainment

59

87.10%

Value

50

86.38%

6. Ford EcoSport

DP Ford EcoSport

We might not rate the Ford EcoSport very highly against fresher, better looking, and better driving rivals, but it’s clear from this year’s Driver Power survey that the owners who live with it day-in, day-out are much more impressed. 

Not only has it climbed 20 places from last year, but decent scores for both the way it drives and the way it goes suggest the EcoSport hits the mark with owners in a way even the flashy Puma (in 33rd) doesn’t. A fifth place overall for infotainment is impressive too, though the EcoSport’s unusual shape hasn’t paid dividends for practicality and boot space, where it was only 55th.

Model

FORD ECOSPORT MK1 

 

Class

Small SUV

 

Category

Position

Score

Overall

6

91.52%

Engine & Gearbox

17

91.54%

Exterior

24

93.61%

Interior

13

92.16%

Practicality & Bootspace

55

86.72%

Ride & Handling

17

93.89%

Safety Features

22

91.66%

MPG & Running Costs

26

85.94%

Reliability

14

95.00%

Infotainment

5

92.86%

Value

11

91.50%

5. Subaru Outback (Mk6)

DP Subaru Outback

There wasn’t a Subaru to be found in last year’s top 75, but when a Subaru does appear you’ll usually find it in a high position, so this year’s fifth place finish is no surprise. Owners absolutely love the interior – putting it first overall in the survey, and second for practicality and boot space. In other words, you’ll struggle to find a car here better at pleasing a driver and passengers. 

The driver really is in the best seat with a fourth place for ride and handling too, while reliability, value, and exterior style and finish all rank highly. It’s a shame the engines lack poke, because with a higher score here, the Outback would surely have challenged the top three.

Model

SUBARU OUTBACK MK6 

 

Class

Mid to Large SUV

 

Category

Position

Score

Overall

5

91.73%

Engine & Gearbox

48

88.47%

Exterior

10

95.11%

Interior

1

95.28%

Practicality & Bootspace

2

95.06%

Ride & Handling

4

95.85%

Safety Features

39

90.42%

MPG & Running Costs

40

83.88%

Reliability

5

96.01%

Infotainment

57

87.35%

Value

6

92.55%

4. Dacia Duster (Mk2)

DP Dacia Duster

Affordability doesn’t mean getting a second-rate product these days, and the Dacia Duster – 14th last year, and ten places better in 2023 – is a testament to this. Surprisingly, it’s not even in the top ten for value, but 11th place is still right towards the top, and a second place for infotainment (with a first overall for connectivity) shows that simple but effective in-car entertainment is often preferable to a more complex bells’n’whistles setup. Owners also rate the Duster’s MPG and running costs, where it finishes seventh overall, and the car’s well-proven drivetrains land it a 19th place here too. A lower interior quality score is perhaps not unexpected.

Model

DACIA DUSTER MK2 (HJD)

 

Class

Small SUV

 

Category

Position

Score

Overall

4

91.75%

Engine & Gearbox

19

91.42%

Exterior

31

92.97%

Interior

53

88.71%

Practicality & Bootspace

22

91.03%

Ride & Handling

30

93.01%

Safety Features

55

89.15%

MPG & Running Costs

7

90.92%

Reliability

21

94.15%

Infotainment

2

92.95%

Value

11

91.50%

3. Lexus RX (Mk4)

DP Lexus RX

The first of our podium finishers is the Lexus RX, and there’s not a single car in the survey that beat it on practicality and boot space. Only the Subaru Outback received a higher interior score, too, the pair quite appropriately trading punches between these two categories. 

Look at the scores and it’s easy to see why the RX is found this far up the table, with tenth-place finishes in five categories, and only so-so scores for infotainment (owners are clearly as confused as we are by the brand’s navigation controls) and luxury-market running costs bringing down the overall score - it’s towards the back of the pack for insurance costs. Still, an impressive result.

Model

LEXUS RX MK4 

 

Class

Premium Mid to Large SUV

 

Category

Position

Score

Overall

3

92.15%

Engine & Gearbox

13

92.67%

Exterior

6

95.84%

Interior

2

95.22%

Practicality & Bootspace

1

95.15%

Ride & Handling

6

95.38%

Safety Features

14

92.18%

MPG & Running Costs

58

80.94%

Reliability

9

95.32%

Infotainment

35

89.15%

Value

40

87.77%

2. Kia Sorento (Mk4)

DP Kia Sorento

It’s been a bit of a Kia whitewash in this year’s top ten, but best of the three is the familiar face of the strong-selling Sorento SUV. Owners ranked it highest in the entire survey for both the exterior, and Kia’s straightforward, easy-to-use infotainment system, despite some iffy phone connectivity. Interior, practicality and safety features all ranked highly too. 

A 16th place for reliability is impressive, as is 13th for ride and handling. With lower running costs and a better engine and gearbox score - gearbox smoothness being the main thing holding it back here – the Sorento could have been this year’s winner.
 

Model

KIA SORENTO MK4 

 

Class

Mid to Large SUV

 

Category

Position

Score

Overall

2

92.44%

Engine & Gearbox

47

88.55%

Exterior

1

97.20%

Interior

3

94.17%

Practicality & Bootspace

4

94.86%

Ride & Handling

13

94.09%

Safety Features

3

94.35%

MPG & Running Costs

59

80.52%

Reliability

16

94.85%

Infotainment

1

93.08%

Value

30

88.80%

1. Citroen C4 (Mk3)

DP Citroen C4

As the old adage goes, to finish first, first you have to finish. So while the Citroen C4 didn’t win any category in the Driver Power 2023 New Car survey outright, excellent scores across the board are enough to see it waltz onto the top spot out of virtually nowhere – the C4 didn’t even appear in last year’s survey. And just check out that percentage ranking – nearly a full point ahead of the second-placed Kia Sorento

A third-place finish overall for ride and handling (aided by a first overall for ride quality) was one of six top-ten category results for the C4, with comfort, reliability, running costs, safety, drivetrains, and the car’s interior all praised. It finished no lower than 20th in any one major category, and a deeper dig into the statistics showed only touchscreen sensitivity, and outward visibility were in any way lacklustre.

Model

CITROEN C4 MK3 (C41)

 

Class

Compact Family Car

 

Category

Position

Score

Overall

1

93.39%

Engine & Gearbox

8

95.16%

Exterior

9

95.13%

Interior

14

91.92%

Practicality & Bootspace

11

92.68%

Ride & Handling

3

95.93%

Safety Features

5

93.97%

MPG & Running Costs

4

92.78%

Reliability

4

96.11%

Infotainment

16

91.26%

Value

11

91.50%

Past Driver Power winners:

If you’re interested to see how owners have ranked popular models in previous years, take a look at the top 10 results from 2021 and 2022; click on each car to read our full in-depth review.

Driver Power 2022 results: 

  1. Kia XCeed - 93.1%
  2. Mazda CX-5 - 92.22%
  3. Kia Rio - 92.18%
  4. Hyundai Kona - 91.9%
  5. Skoda Kodiaq - 91.52%
  6. Kia Sportage - 91.23%
  7. Honda CR-V - 91.1%
  8. Toyota C-HR - 90.97%
  9. Tesla Model 3 - 90.73%
  10. SEAT Ateca - 90.68%

Driver Power 2021 results:

  1. Hyundai Kona - 92.35%
  2. Kia Rio - 92.16%
  3. Mazda CX-5 - 91.65%
  4. Toyota C-HR - 91.07%
  5. Skoda Karoq - 91%
  6. Skoda Kodiaq - 90.92%
  7. Vauxhall Grandland X - 90.85%
  8. Volvo XC40 - 90.6%
  9. Kia Sportage - 90.51%
  10. SEAT Ateca - 90.4%

Take our Driver Power survey now, or read our list of the UK’s best selling cars.

Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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