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Most reliable cars to buy in the UK 2023

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If you're looking for the most reliable car you can buy, you're in the right place. We've listed 10 of the most reliable used cars according to their owners - these are the cars that are least likely to leave you stranded on the side of the road.

Even though new cars are often offered with long warranties (and all used cars sold on heycar are covered for at least 12 months), the last thing you want is to be relying on your breakdown cover or wasting your time driving around in hire cars.

The vehicles featured in this list are the most reliable cars in 2023 according to the latest data from HonestJohn.co.uk's annual Satisfaction Index, our sister website. The consumer website surveyed more than 6000 car owners, with drivers asked to rate their car out of 10 for reliability.

As well as identifying the most reliable car models, the data also reveals the most reliable car manufacturers. The top four manufacturers were all Japanese - premium brand Lexus took the top spot, followed by Suzuki, Subaru and Toyota. Perhaps surprisingly, budget brand Dacia took fifth place - proving you don't have to spend a fortune to buy a reliable car.

Most reliable cars 2023

Lexus NX

Year launched: 2014

Lexus NX (2014-2022) Review front exterior

There's a new Lexus NX on sale now, but its predecessor has been rated the most reliable car you can buy according to the HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction Index. Lexus routinely performs well in reliability surveys, so it's no surprise that the NX is included here.

Its owners ranked the 2014 Lexus NX an almost perfect 9.98 on average for reliability. Premium SUVs are often associated with high running costs but as a long-term proposition, the Lexus NX is sure to be a more sensible choice than a BMW X3 or Audi Q5.

Reliability aside, the old Lexus NX is perhaps the perfect SUV for 2023. Not only does it still look sharp and modern, but it's also powered by a very efficient hybrid powertrain - making it a very cheap-to-run choice, capable of up to 54.3mpg.

Hyundai Tucson

Year launched: 2021

Hyundai Tucson Review 2024: exterior dynamic front

The Hyundai Tucson is one of the best family SUVs you can buy, so it's good to hear that it's also one of the most reliable. Owners scored it 9.96 on average in the HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction Index, meaning it was only narrowly beaten by the Lexus NX. And if that's not enough to put your mind at rest - Hyundai also includes a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.

And it's not just reliability that the Hyundai Tucson does well. It's also cheap to run, as you can get its 1.6-litre petrol engine with varying degrees of hybrid assistance. The mild-hybrid provides a small power boost and some extra efficiency (compared to a regular petrol SUV), while the hybrid model is even more efficient without the need to faff around charging. If you're happy to plug your car in, the plug-in hybrid can travel up to 38 miles under electric power alone.

So the Hyundai Tucson makes sense on paper, but will it tug on your heartstrings? We reckon so. Its interior is almost as classy as premium competitors such as the Volvo XC40 and BMW X1, while its bold looks are anything but bland.

Kia XCeed

Year launched: 2019

Kia XCeed Review 2024: static

The Kia XCeed fills a niche that didn't really need to be filled... slotting in between family SUVs like the Kia Sportage and mid-size hatchbacks like the regular Ceed. There's a clear appeal, though - we like the slightly rugged looks, while buyers love the XCeed's slightly raised seating position and pothole-absorbing suspension.

They also love how reliable the Kia XCeed is, scoring it 9.96 on average in the 2022 HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction Index. Kia as a brand performs well, too, ranking seventh in the survey - ahead of Mitsubishi, Mazda and sister brand Hyundai. Just like Hyundai, Kia's known for its generous warranty, too - XCeed buyers are covered for up to seven years and 100,000 miles.

Buy a brand new Kia XCeed and you'll pay upwards of £23,000. Frugal buyers can pick up a used Kia XCeed on heycar for less than £15,000 though.

Skoda Superb

Year launched: 2015

Skoda Superb Side Rear View

The Skoda Superb is due to be replaced in 2023 but the outgoing model is still winning fans thanks to its impressive comfort, upmarket refinement and incredible value for money.

It's also a very reliable choice, with buyers scoring it an impressive 9.95 out of average in the latest HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction index. The Skoda Superb's popularity with long-distance drivers mean you'll see a lot of diesels on the used market - while they might be out of fashion, don't dismiss diesel power if you spend a lot of your time on the motorway.

If you don't, a used Skoda Superb iV could be a winner for you - it's a very frugal plug-in hybrid, combining a 1.4 petrol engine with an electric motor, capable of powering the Superb on its own for up to 35 miles.

Jaguar XF

Year launched: 2015

Jaguar XF Review 2024 on road

Jaguar has form for making sporty and stylish saloon cars, but it doesn't necessarily have a reputation for reliability. The results of this survey suggest that's unfair, though, as the Jaguar XF is the first of two Jags to appear in the top 10. 

In a world where you can't turn a corner without seeing a BMW 5 Series or Audi A6, the svelte Jaguar XF is still looking pretty fresh eight years since the latest model was launched in 2015. It's refreshing, too, that isn't yet another SUV - you can always buy the Jaguar XF Sportbrake if you need a little more practicality.

Prices for a new Jaguar XF start from around £35,000 but half that will get you a four- or five-year-old example which, according to the HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction Index, ought to be a relatively safe purchase. Stick a private plate on it and your neighbours will think you've had a lottery win, too.

Jaguar F-Pace

Year launched: 2016

Approved Used Jaguar Cars for Sale

Proving that you don't have to buy a staid and sensible Toyota Yaris if you want a reliable car, the Jaguar F-Pace is one of the most desirable SUVs on the market. It's second only to the Porsche Macan in terms of driving enjoyment, and you can even buy a hilarious 550PS SVR version if you want the ultimate thrills from your upmarket SUV.

We wouldn't necessarily recommend the range-topping Jaguar F-Pace SVR to the majority of buyers but, if budget allows, we would suggest looking for one of the latest models. The F-Pace was updated in 2021 with a heavily revamped interior including a high-tech new infotainment system. The facelifted car might not look that different to the 2016 original, but it feels so much more up-to-date inside. 

Jaguar F-Pace owners scored their cars an impressive 9.87 scores for reliability although did knock it down slightly for its repair costs - as you'd probably expect, an expensive SUV like this will cost a to repair if it does go wrong, so it's worth buying one with a warranty.

Toyota Auris

Year launched: 2013

Toyota Auris 2013-2019 Review: Rear Side View

Out of all the cars on this list, the Toyota Auris is probably the least exciting. But there's a lot to be said for dull and dependable - there's a reason why the Auris is such a favourite with Uber drivers.

This family hatch is about the same size as a Volkswagen Golf, but its reputation for reliability means it's likely to be a much more dependable choice than European alternatives. It'll be cheap to run, too, especially if you buy one of the ultra-frugal hybrid models (which are capable of up to 72.4mpg).

Its uninspiring image means the Toyota Auris can be a bit of a steal on the used market. Production ended in 2019 (when the Auris was replaced by the more charismatic Toyota Corolla), but you can pick up one of the last examples with low miles on the clock for around £13,000.

Dacia Duster

Year launched: 2018

Dacia Duster Review 2021: Front

The Dacia Duster offers family SUV versatility for the price of a Ford Fiesta. So what's the catch? Well, it's certainly not reliability - while you might expect the bargain basement Duster to be lacking in the build quality department, HonestJohn.co.uk's survey ranks it as one of the most reliable used cars.

The latest Dacia Duster arrived in 2018 with a range of petrol and diesel engines. LPG power followed in 2020 (badged Bi-Fuel) representing an interesting cheap-to-run alternative to hybrid SUVs. Our money would go on the regular 1.3-litre petrol engine, though, badged the TCe 130 - it's a good combination of performance and economy, with some useful extra grunt over the 1.0-litre unit.

One thing to bear in mind with the Duster is that, unlike some competitors (the MG ZS, for one), you only get a three-year/60,000-mile warranty. You can extend that for a fee, though, while all used cars bought on heycar are covered for at least 30 days - or minimum 90 days if you buy online.

BMW i3

Year launched: 2013

BMW i3 Review 2024 Driving Side

The BMW i3 is a quirky and characterful electric city car with an abundance of clever design features and a range of more than 200 miles. It's now been replaced by the more conventional BMW iX1 SUV which is a bit of a shame in some ways - there's nothing else quite like the i3 on the market.

You might think that a used electric car is a bit of an 'out there' purchase for buyers seeking reliability. But, actually, EVs tend to be exceptionally reliable. Mechanically, they're very simple - just a big battery powering an electric motor (or two) driving the wheels. There are much fewer parts to go wrong compared to a petrol or diesel car.

The main issue with the BMW i3 is that owners love them so much they tend to hold their value well. Still, a budget of £20,000 will get you a 2017 BMW i3 with the desirable 'range extender' petrol engine (ideal for those times when you want to travel a little further than the i3's battery allows).

Toyota RAV4

Year launched: 2019

Toyota RAV4 Review 2023: dynamic front

Toyota has a reputation for making some of the most reliable cars on the roads, so it's no wonder the RAV4 features in our list. The hybrid family SUV combines impressive versatility with low running costs and head-turning looks - plenty to set it apart in a crowded market that includes the Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage and Nissan Qashqai.

The latest RAV4 has been on sale for a couple of years, so you can actually pick up a bit of a bargain on the used market. Around £28,000 gets you a three-year-old example in Design trim, with features such as built-in sat-nav, front parking sensors and 18-inch alloy wheels as standard.

With an average reliability score of 9.85 in the HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction Index, you can rest assured the RAV4 won't leave you stranded at the side of the road. Toyota offers a comprehensive warranty, too, extendable for up to 10 years (or 100,000 miles) for free every time you get the car serviced at a Toyota dealer.


Most reliable car FAQs

Written By Andy Brady

Lexus is the most reliable car manufacturer according to the 2022 HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction Index. The premium car brand always performs well in the annual survey, as does sister brand Toyota. Other car manufacturers that ranked highly in the Satisfaction Index this year include Suzuki and Subaru. Bottom of the charts is British SUV manufacturer Land Rover.

According to the latest HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction Index, the previous-generation Lexus NX is the most reliable car you can buy in the UK. That's closely followed by the Hyundai Tucson and Kia XCeed.

Other reliable cars in the top list include the Skoda Superb, Jaguar XF and Jaguar F-Pace – all of which should make very reliable used car purchases.

The cheapest car to feature in our list of reliable used cars is the Dacia Duster. This cut-price SUV proves you don't need a big budget to buy a dependable and versatile family car. Other affordable reliability heroes include the Kia XCeed, Hyundai Tucson and Toyota Auris.