Second-hand cars are becomingly increasingly popular, especially with costs rising and people looking to save money.

According to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), a total of 1,847,149 second-hand cars were sold in the first quarter of 2023, compared to 1,774,351 in the same period of 2022.

But if you’re one of those looking to buy a second-hand car, how do you know what used model to buy? And how can you be confident that you’re getting the best value for your money?

Thankfully, Auto Express carry out an annual survey of car owners to identify ten of the most reliable used cars in the UK and we’re sharing their findings.

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If you’re looking to buy a second-hand car, research must be done beforehand. Think about reliability, performance and value for money.


1. An increasing number of second-hand cars are being sold as more people focus on saving money

2. An Auto Express survey identified ten of the most reliable used cars in the UK

3. The top 10 list includes the Honda CR-V Mk4 and the Lexus RX Mk3

Most reliable second-hand cars in the UK

10. Honda CR-V Mk4

From £8,000

The Honda CR-V Mk4 comes in at tenth place and is a firm favourite with used car owners. With front-seat comfort, rear legroom and child-friendly features, it’s a great second-hand car for fun family road trips.

9. Lexus CT Mk1

From £8,950

Need to fit plenty of stuff into the boot? Don’t worry about boot space with the Lexus CT Mk1. This hatchback landed top-10 scores for its exterior style, running costs and reliability – so it’s clearly a reliable purchase.

8. Subaru XV Mk2

From £15,500

If you want a second-hand car with good road handling and safety features, look no further than the Subaru XV Mk2. There’s plenty of space in the car, making it ideal for those group outings.

7. Subaru Outback Mk5

From £14,200

Next up we have Subaru’s other mid-size SUV, the Outback. The Outback earned first place overall for seating versatility, and second place for boot space, rear legroom and child-friendly features. But poor fuel economy and high servicing costs are also something you need to take into account.

6. Skoda Karoq Mk1

From £12, 500

In sixth place is the Skoda Karoq Mk1, the only non-Japanese car to appear in this top 10.

The Skoda received high scores for its front seat comfort, rear legroom, seating flexibility, user-friendly switchgear, infotainment, servicing costs, value for money, handling, and safety system functionality.

5. Lexus NX Mk1

From £19,495

We’ve reached the halfway point and in fifth place is the Lexus NX Mk1, which arrived in the UK in October 2014 . According to Auto Express, the NX scored a drastically varied range of high and low category scores.

Fuel economy, running costs, servicing bills and insurance were poor, while the controls, switchgear and sat-nav fared even worse. So, if you’re thinking of buying a used Lexus NX Mk1, you might want to do more research.

4. Toyota Prius Mk4

From £14,800

You’ve probably seen this car many times on UK roads – after all, it’s the firm favourite of minicab drivers across the country.

While the Prius Mk4 might not look the most stylish, its hybrid powertrain bagged top spot for fuel economy, and ranked very highly for quietness, smoothness, and acceleration, too.

3. Lexus RX Mk3

From £12,950

We’re now down to the top three cars. In third place is the Lexus RK Mk3, a third-generation RX SUV. If you’re planning big family road trips, this SUV is one to look out for.

In the Auto Express survey, drivers scored the Mk3 high for practicality and comfort and it even outperformed its successor.

2. Lexus RX Mk4

From £22,500

In second place is another Lexus – the RX Mk4.

Owners prefer the Mk4’s styling and powertrain, but the older car’s comfort couldn’t quite be matched. Regardless of which RX you pick, though, class-leading reliability is all but certain.

1. Lexus GS Mk4

From £10,500

It’s a top-three finish for Lexus as the GS has been voted as the most reliable used car, with a reliability score of 97.81%.

Other areas where the GS ranked highly were the audio system, driving pleasure, interior and exterior quality, engine sound and acceleration. The only weaker areas were smartphone connectivity, touchscreen sensitivity, and boot space.

*Pricing costs are from Auto Express in May 2023

Original article written 13th October 2019, updated 12th January 2024

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