A recent study by industry benchmark the Reliability Index identified the top 100 most reliable cars on UK roads. Its measures included metrics such as the number of times a car fails, the cost of repairs and the average time it spends off the road during repairs – all factors which you’re no doubt considering as part of your buying decision.
We take a look at the top five most reliable used cars, and identify the sort of requirements they’re best suited to.
There’s cars of various types and sizes in this list, so whether you need a city-friendly supermini vehicle or a car to comfortably fit five, there should be something to suit your needs.
When buying a used car, remember that although specific makes or models may have a reputation for being reliable, that specific car may not be. Always carry out a thorough check of the vehicle.
Mitsubishi Lancer (2008-11)
First launched in 1973, the Mitsubishi Lancer is perhaps best known in its iconic Evolution form as a performance car. However, the regular models top the list when it comes to reliability, and still hold on to some of those sporty looks.
The Lancers from the 2008 generation onward are available either as a saloon or a hatchback version, and with plenty of models available from the later end of the range such as 2010 and 2011, it’s possible to get a well-built, reliable and good value vehicle without a huge mileage.
The 1.8-litre diesel returns an impressive 45.6mpg, and has a raft of safety features which earned it five Euro NCAP stars.
Axle and suspension faults tend to be the main cause of problems in this car, but these are rare. With low repair costs if anything does happen and great value for money on used Lancers, if reliability is your main concern you couldn’t go far wrong with one of these.
For incredible performance and acceleration, the Evo variant might be more up your street. Despite its rally-car performance, it remains a comfortable and practical vehicle – meaning you can get the best of both worlds.
Overall, though, the Lancer itself remains spacious, sporty and fun to drive.
Toyota iQ (2008-14)
A used Toyota iQ is a good choice if you’re after a supermini vehicle. Thanks to their size and low running costs, these types of cars are ideal for driving around town.
Launched in 2008, the iQ went through some upgrades in 2010. These upgraded the interior cabin and improved the emissions of the iQ without affecting its fuel economy, and there’s enough of the post-2010 models out there to find one of these in good condition.
Coming in at second in the Reliability Index, Toyota aimed to bring a little slice of luxury to the smaller car market, hence the slightly higher price tag than some of its competitors.
There’s plenty to warrant this though. Despite the emphasis on urban driving, the iQ is a capable car to drive on motorways too, which can’t be said for every vehicle in the supermini category. The interior sets it apart – clever cabin design means there’s enough room in the back for two adults, and it sailed through Euro NCAP tests with five stars, thanks in part to revolutionary new safety features such as a rear curtain airbag.
The standard 1.0-litre engine returns 67bhp, but for those after a little more power, a 1.3-litre engine is available in the iQ3.
There’s plenty to separate the iQ from other vehicles in its category, with its top reliability being just one of its many benefits.
Honda Jazz (2008-15)
Honda have a great reputation for reliability, regularly topping lists of the most reliable manufacturer. The Honda Jazz, originally launched in 2001, has had updates on the styling and performance in recent models.
We’re looking at the second generation, launched in 2008. The third-gen model was launched in the UK in 2015, but the previous one still delivers great reliability at the more recent end of its date range, and with a lower price tag, too.
The 2008 updates were partly to try and fix what the Honda Jazz doesn’t have such a great reputation for – it was originally known as a bit of an ‘old person’s car’.
This might not be such a bad thing, as it’s no doubt a practical vehicle. It’s easy to get in and out of and it’s got a very spacious cabin.
Whilst there’s no diesel engine available, there are two petrol engines to choose from. A 1.2-litre gives you 89bhp, and the 1.4-litre will deliver 99bhp. Both of these deliver faster acceleration than the same sized engines in the pre-2008 models. There’s also a hybrid Jazz available, which combines the 1.4 engine with an electric motor to deliver 87bhp.
Like the iQ, if you’re after a solidly reliable compact car, ideal for city driving, a used Honda Jazz would be perfect.
Honda Insight (2009-14)
Launched in 1999 with two doors, the Honda Insight was one of the first hybrid cars in the UK. This second generation model, launched in 2009, is not only reliable, but also delivers fantastic fuel economy thanks to its hybrid status.
With low emissions and fantastic fuel efficiency, the Insight had a long-standing rivalry with the more common Toyota Prius. When launched in the UK in 2009, it quickly started to outsell the Prius, thanks mainly to its low price.
A model from 2010 onward is your best bet, as the suspension was improved on the previous version, making for a comfier ride. The 1.3-litre engine is based on that found in the Civic Hybrid, and although it only delivers 87bhp, it’s boosted by a 14bhp electric motor.
Five doors and plenty of space – the boot is 408 litres – in the latest models, means the Insight makes for a good family car. Add to that hi-tech new features like rear parking sensors and upgraded interiors in the ES models and this vehicle can combine reliability with practicality and comfort.
For a reliable and town-friendly car that’ll save you money at the pumps, choosing a used Honda Insight is a great decision to make.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Japanese cars have dominated in this field. If you’re after a well-renowned reliable used car, the four listed above are good vehicles to start bearing in mind.
These five reliable used cars are a great buy if you want the extra peace of mind that comes with knowing your vehicle’s got a great reputation for reliability. With each of these cars available in a wide variety of different specs on Carsnip, there’s nothing stopping you finding the ideal used car today!