If you’ve got a family, chances are you will be looking for something that’s reliable when choosing your next car. To help you find the right one, we’ve rounded up the most reliable family cars you can buy using data from our 2018 Driver Power survey.
No car is guaranteed to be reliable. However, knowing how other people have faired during ownership, and how many problems they have had, is the best possible way to get peace of mind before parting with your cash. Using data from Driver Power, the UK’s biggest car customer satisfaction survey, provides an insight into reliability that our usual road tests simply can’t match.
Of course, it’s prudent to check any potential used car purchase thoroughly for faults or problems before buying. Just because a model type appears to be reliable, that doesn’t necessarily mean each individual car will be.
Driver Power 2018: most reliable family cars
10. Volkswagen Golf Mk7
Driver Power reliability score: 91.60 per cent
The Volkswagen Golf struggled for reliability in last year’s Driver Power survey, but what a difference 12 months can make. The Mk7 hatch is now in the top 10 most reliable family cars on the market with a 91.60 per cent rating, while just 15 per cent of owners reported a problem. Check the suspension though, as it’s the most common issue, while many owners also complained that servicing costs are too steep.
9. Skoda Octavia Mk3
Driver Power reliability score: 91.88 per cent
The third-generation Octavia has been on sale since 2013 and is one of the most popular family cars around thanks to its blend of practicality and low running costs. It’s also a car you can depend on, finishing a respectable ninth in its class and 16th overall for reliability in this year’s Driver Power survey. A lot of owners reported faults (34.1 per cent), but the high reliability ranking suggests that most issues are not serious.
8. MINI Countryman Mk1
Driver Power reliability score: 92.04 per cent
The high-riding Mk1 MINI Countryman was replaced in 2017, but the original car scores well for reliability with an impressive 92.04 per cent – good enough for eighth place on our list. Interior trim causes the most complaints among respondents, but reports of other issues are rare (13.9 per cent). Maintenance bills are high if you don’t have one of the pre-paid TLC packs, though.
7. SEAT Leon Mk3
Driver Power reliability score: 92.16 per cent
The Mk3 SEAT Leon has been available since 2012, but its age is no barrier when it comes to reliability as the sporty hatch comfortably makes the top 10 most reliable used family cars you can buy. It’s similar to the Mk7 Volkswagen Golf under the skin, which sits in tenth place on this list, with owners of both reporting almost the same amount of problems.
6. Honda Civic Mk9
Driver Power reliability score: 92.60 per cent
The styling of the ninth-generation Honda Civic has always polarised opinion, but reaction is mostly positive when it comes to reliability. With a score of 92.60 per cent, the hatchback is the seventh most reliable used family car money can buy. On the rare occasions things do go wrong (11.3 per cent), Civic owners taking part in the survey say electrics are often to blame.
5. Honda CR-V Mk4
Driver Power reliability score: 92.72 per cent
The Mk4 CR-V just edged out the Civic to claim the honour of most reliable used Honda with a Driver Power score of 92.72 per cent. Just 11.1 per cent of respondents mentioned that the family SUV had gone wrong, with electrical and gearbox issues the main problem, while reasonable dealers’ charges were also commended.
4. Skoda Yeti Mk1
Driver Power reliability score: 92.86 per cent
The Skoda Yeti excelled in last year’s Driver Power reliability survey, and despite a slight drop, the quirky SUV still has much to offer. A score of 92.86 per cent sees it just creep into fourth place, while just 15.9 per cent of owners said that they have had a problem – with electrics being the biggest gripe.
3. Toyota Prius Mk3
Driver Power reliability score: 93.17 per cent
Toyota’s Prius continues to impress as a used choice, with reliability standing out in our 2018 Driver Power survey. The pioneering hybrid scored an impressive 93.17 per cent, suggesting there is nothing to fear from those hi-tech mechanicals. Although 20.7 per cent of owners reported a problem, the high ranking means issues are unlikely to have been major.
2. Toyota Auris Mk2
Driver Power reliability score: 94.63 per cent
The Mk2 Toyota Auris, which was on sale between 2012 and 2018, may not set pulses racing from a design perspective, but there is no doubting its reliability. It sits second on our list of the most reliable used family cars with a score of 94.63 per cent, which is also good enough for fourth place across all sectors, with just 6.9 per cent of owners reporting issues.
1. Toyota RAV4 Mk4
Driver Power reliability score: 95.48 per cent
The Toyota RAV4 is officially the most reliable used family car in our 2018 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. It’s also the third Toyota on this list. In fact it’s the third Toyota in the top three, suggesting the Japanese brand is still at the forefront when it comes to reliability. Reported issues are scarce (15.4 per cent), with respondents tending to mention the brakes if they did have trouble.