Exclusive: most reliable second-hand cars revealed

September 05, 2022 by

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carwow teams up with Warrantywise to reveal the most reliable cars based on warranty-repair data; Japanese firms dominate the top 15

An analysis of thousands of warranty repairs* has revealed the Honda Jazz is the most reliable second-hand car you can buy, with the Japanese supermini being given an overall reliability rating of 93.7%.

The next most reliable model is the Mazda 2 supermini, while the Toyota Auris comes third in the rankings. That theme continues throughout Warrantywise’s data, with Japanese firms making eight of the 15 most reliable cars on its books, while Korean cars were the next most likely to feature in our most-reliable rundown, with three cars.

The data covers 200 models of cars, and all vehicles in the analysis are out of manufacturer warranty but under 10 years old, while in order to be included in the analysis Warrantywise has to have at least 100 examples of a specific car on its books.

In previous years the Lexus RX was the most reliable car, but we haven’t included this for 2022 as there were not enough RXs on Warrantywise’s books.

Cars’ overall reliability ratings were gauged by assessing a number of factors, including the proportion of owners who made a warranty repair, the age and mileage of cars when a repair was made, and the seriousness of any repair.

We’ve also highlighted the faults owners were most likely to experience with each car, as well as the average cost of repairing these faults (including labour), and the most expensive individual fault paid for by the warranty provider for each car.

15. Fiat 500L (2012-20)

Reliability score 78.7%
Average age 6.0 years
Average repair £551.58
Most common fault Clutch
Most expensive repair Clutch (£1,880.21)

Fiat’s distinctive 500L people carrier comes in as the 15th most reliable car, making it a good bet for family buyers after a dependable MPV. Clutches appear to be a bit of a weak spot based on Warrantywise’s data, with this part being the most common pain point, and also being responsible for the most expensive repair.

14. Toyota RAV 4 (2013-18)

Reliability score 79.2%
Average age 8.0 years
Average payout £846.83
Most common fault Fuel System (Injector)
Most expensive repair Engine (£2,055.74)

The previous-generation Toyota RAV4 has a solid reputation for reliability, and that’s backed up by Warrantywise repairs, with the Japanese SUV getting a 79.2% dependability score. Toyota’s petrol-electric system is fantastically dependable, but one repair against the RAV4 did see Warrantywise pay out over £2,000 for an engine fault.

13. Toyota Yaris (2011-20)

Reliability score 79.8%
Average age 8.2 years
Average repair £795.89
Most common fault Electrical System
Most expensive repair Gearbox/Transmission (£3,106.92)

Another Toyota, another great reliability score, with the previous-generation Yaris being a dependable supermini, with precious few repairs reported from owners. Toyota’s dependable hybrid powertrain may be partly to thank for this, while electrical issues are most likely to cause a snag with Yaris drivers with Warrantywise plans.

12. Renault Kangoo (2007-21)

Reliability score 80.1%
Average age 7.3 years
Average repair £576.37
Most common fault Electrical System (Wiring Looms)
Most expensive repair  Gearbox/Transmission (£1,173.00)

The previous-generation Renault Kangoo can be had as both a van and a van-based people carrier, and while that makes it a relatively niche vehicle, it’s a dependable one among Warrantywise customers. The average repair cost is pretty low, with electrical systems (and the wiring loom in particular) being most likely to cause issues.

11. Honda Civic (2011-22)

Reliability score 80.7%
Average age 7.2 years
Average repair £630.86
Most common fault Air Conditioning
Most expensive repair Fuel System (Injector) (£3,055.73)

The third Japanese car on our list so far (with many more to come), the Honda Civics covered by Warrantywise’s data covers both the previous-generation Civic and the model that came before it, with both these Brit-built hatchbacks giving excellent dependability. If you’re in the market for a used Civic be sure to check the air-con system as this can be problematic, according to Warrantywise customers.

10. Peugeot 107 (2005-14)


Reliability score 81.6%
Average age 7.9 years
Average repair £434.89
Most common fault Electrical System (Heater Fan Motor)
Most expensive repair Clutch (£1,128.44)

Small car, small problems, according to this data, with the Peugeot 107 city runabout being a dependable little thing, with low average repair costs. Interestingly, the 107 was developed in conjunction with Toyota and Citroen, which may have contributed to its impressive showing here.

9. Hyundai i20 (2008-20)

Reliability score 82.5%
Average age 7.6 years
Average repair £520.25
Most common fault Electrical System
Most expensive repair Suspension (£2,361.36)

The Ford Fiesta rivalling Hyundai i20 (covering the previous two generations) is in the next class up from the Peugeot 107, but despite being a larger car it performs slightly better, partly as Warrantywise’s data shows the average amount of time it takes to fix faults is less, and partly because the firm’s records show repairs for the Hyundai tend to at higher mileages than with the 107.

8. Suzuki Alto (2008-13)

Reliability score 83.9%
Average age 6.8 years
Average repair £328.92
Most common fault Electrical System
Most expensive repair Engine (Cambelt) (£733.70)

Suzuki may be a relatively small player in the global car industry, but it punches above its weight in terms of dependability, with the 2008-13 Alto coming in as the eighth most reliable car according to Warrantywise. That low average repair cost no doubt helps towards that achievement, so while the Alto has been around since 1979, it’s a shame it’s no longer offered in the UK.

7. Kia Rio (2011-present)

Reliability score 84.9%
Average age 8.3 years
Average repair £528.23
Most common fault Gearbox/transmission
Most expensive repair Turbocharger (£1,655.39)

The Kia Rio supermini covered by Warrantywise’s data includes both the current and previous-generation car, and ranks slightly better than the Alto due to the age and mileage of cars covered is higher than with the Suzuki, and because labour times for repairs are said to be lower. Do keep a look out for untoward gearchanges on any used Rio you look at, though, as this was the most common thing causing repairs.

6. Kia Ceed (2012-present)

Reliability score 85.0%
Average age 7.9 years
Average repair £485.36
Most common fault Suspension (Wheel Bearing)
Most expensive repair Gearbox/Transmission (£1,914.00)

Kia’s larger Rio features in the number-six spot, with both the current and previous-generation Ceed being cars you can depend on not to let you down. Suspension components are said to be the most likely area to cause issue, while one owner had a fairly punchy bill for their gearbox, but all things considered the Ceed appears to make an excellent used buy.

5. Toyota Aygo (2005-22)

Reliability score 85.5%
Average age 7.5 years
Average repair £375.66
Most common fault Electrical System (Alternator)
Most expensive repair Clutch (£1,339.36)

Remember the Peugeot 107 we covered above? Well, the Aygo is the same car underneath, so unsurprisingly it features in our list, albeit in an even more impressive position than its sibling car. Average repairs for the previous two generations of Aygo covered here are impressively low in cost, (with the alternator apparently behind more repairs than most other parts), but if you’re after low-cost, reliable transport, do give the Aygo a look.

4. Mazda MX-5 (2005-15)

Reliability score 86.5%
Average age 8.4 years
Average repair £341.78
Most common fault Suspension
Most expensive repair Air Conditioning (£586.94)

The Mazda MX-5 is so much fun to drive that it’s one of the best cars you can buy full stop (as long as you don’t need to carry more than one passenger or shift much luggage), and it seems to be a car you can buy with your head as much as your heart, with a really impressive reliability record with Warrantywise. Listen out for strange noises or sensations from the suspension of any used MX-5 you look at, as this was behind a fair few warranty repairs with the previous-generation (2005-15) car covered here.

3. Toyota Auris (2013-18)

Reliability score 89.7%
Average age 8.3 years
Average repair £767.84
Most common fault Gearbox/Transmission
Most expensive repair Gearbox/Transmission (£1,841.60)

Our fourth and final Toyota, the Auris is a mid-size family car that competes with models like the Ford Focus, although it was replaced by the Toyota Corolla in 2018. No matter, owners are most unlikely to have an issue with the Auris, based on Warrantywise’s experience, although do make sure you feel for smooth performance from the gearbox if you’re considering a used Auris.

2. Mazda 2 (2007-present)

Reliability score 89.9%
Average age 8.4 years
Average repair £319.22
Most common fault Suspension
Most expensive repair Steering (Electrical Power Steering Pump) (£2,422.31)

While the Auris competes with Ford Focus, the Mazda 2 rivals the smaller Ford Fiesta – but if you’re looking for a reliable supermini, it’s the Mazda you should go for (we’re covering the current and previous generations). Average repair cost are impressively low, while the age of the 2s Warrantywise has on its books indicates the Mazda remains reliable even as it ages. Buy with confidence, it would seem.

1. Honda Jazz (2007-20)

Reliability score 93.7%
Average age 8.3 years
Average repair £424.31
Most common fault Electrical System (Central Locking Mechanism)
Most expensive repair Air Conditioning (£973.66)

We reach the top spot with the trusty Honda Jazz. This surprisingly practical supermini puts in a stellar performance where reliability is concerned, with the average cost of repair for the Jazz being low, which is all the more impressive as the age of the cars on Warrantywise’s books being high. The data covers the previous two generations of Jazz, made from 2007-20, and indicates that anyone after trouble-free motoring would do well to look into the Jazz.

*Disclaimer: average repair costs collated over a period between 2021 and 2022. Since the sample was selected, Warrantywise has seen a significant rise in the price of labour and parts, which will impact future repair costs.