Not everyone can afford to shell out on a brand-new car and sometimes a second-hand run-around is all you need. 

But choosing a used car can be tricky. 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 has published a survey of car owners to identify ten of the most reliable used cars in the UK.  

You can use this top ten as a starting point and, before you go shopping, brush up on some important tips on buying a used car

1. Lexus RX 2015-present (from £23,500*)

Top of the list is a high-end model, the Lexus RX. 

Auto Express found that the most common faults identified by owners of these vehicles are minor, affecting only the exterior trim and paint. Also, it notes that the new version of this model ranks third place in the most reliable new cars category.

2. Lexus GS 2010-2018 (from £9,800*)

Lexus takes second spot as well. This time it’s the GS, from 2010-2018. The research showed that “Just 10.4% of owners reported an issue, with a quarter of those problems being related to the electronics”.

3. Toyota RAV4 2012-2018 (from £8,000*)

While Lexus may take silver and gold, Toyota’s well-known reliability and durability have earned it four slots in this ranking.

The 2012-2018 RAV4 takes top spot for the Japanese carmaker with just 10.2% of owners reporting issues. Auto Express’s research identified no obvious fault pattern and noted praise for the model’s robust interior.

4. Toyota Avensis 2008-2018 (from £1,700*)

Next up for Toyota is the Avensis, produced from 2008 to 2018, until production of this saloon stopped. “While 18.8% of owners have reported issues, the proportion of serious (and by association, costly) faults is relatively low,” the findings show.

5. Toyota Auris 2012-2018 (from £4,000*)

The Toyota Auris family hatchback is now sold under the Corolla name, but the Auris shouldn’t be consigned to history. Only 11.3% of owners reported faults with the Auris and the majority of those were electrical, according to the Auto Express survey.

6. Jaguar XF 2008-2015 (from £2,800*)

The Jaguar XF 2008-2015 was the highest rated used car not from a Japanese manufacturer.

According to Auto Express, owners of this executive saloon were keen to voice their praise for the reliability of their cars and no single type of fault stood out as problematic. 

7. Volvo V40 2012-2019 (from £4,000*)

The Volvo V40, a hatchback, is another model that is only available second-hand, after new sales ended in the UK in 2019. 

A fifth of V40 owners had a fault with their car, with the suspension the most likely issue. But, the survey was very positive about the model’s build quality.

8. Toyota Verso 2009-2018 (from £3,000*)

Back to Toyota, and this time a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), the Verso. 

The survey showed that 12.1% of owners reported faults. Just over a quarter of these were related to issues with seats and electrics. 

9. Skoda Yeti 2009-2017 (from £2,800*)

This model won Auto Express’s used car survey in 2017. 

As well as ranking well for overall build quality, only 16.7% of Yeti owners reported faults. Electrical issues were the most common.

10. Nissan Leaf 2010-2017 (from £5,000*)

Tenth place on the rankings goes to a different sort of vehicle altogether: a compact five-door hatchback battery electric, the Nissan Leaf.

As well as praising features such as interior space, driveability and price, Auto Express says: “reliability has become another reason for you to consider the Leaf as over 90% of first-gen owners have not reported a single fault and the rumours about electric car longevity appear to be greatly exaggerated.”

Go to Solved to read more about driving, the rules of the road and road safety.

* All prices are from Auto Express in September 2019