Buying a gleaming new car is exciting. It’s also a big, expensive purchase, and you want to get as much as you can for your money, while also taking home a reliable vehicle.
Whatever discount you might have been able to haggle in the showroom, it won’t seem like such a good deal if you soon need to take the car into a garage for repairs.
How can you be sure your car of choice ticks that reliability box? Here are some new – and nearly new – cars that have won acclaim for doing exactly that.
Toyota Prius hatchback (from £23,449, source: Toyota)
Car reviews website CarBuyer has surveyed owners of new cars, excluding those that are less than 12 months old, to see just how reliable they are and identify what problems to expect.
Among them, the Toyota Prius is praised for its low running costs and comfort, and CarBuyer says this hybrid hatchback has improved with every new generation.
The survey showed that owners praised the car’s low servicing costs and strong build quality. Where there have been problems reported by owners, these have mostly related to the electrics.
Skoda Octavia (from £19,685, source: Skoda)
What Car? has been investigating the reliability of family cars aged up to five years old, and the Skoda Octavia came out among the best.
In fact, the Octavia isn’t just praised for its reliability: it won the What Car? Car of the Year award for best family car in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019.
Lexus IS saloon (from £33,265.00, source: Lexus)
This higher-end model also features among CarBuyer’s top picks for reliability. In fact, Lexus – which is the luxury division of Toyota – has developed a reputation for reliability and came top of What Car’s 2019 reliability survey.
Only 4.2% of owners of the Lexus IS saloon reported a fault, with the engine or brakes generally to blame.
As well as its great record for reliability, this saloon also wins praise for being a smooth and comfortable car to drive, with low running costs.
Peugeot 3008 (from £25,865, source: Peugeot)
Peugeots haven’t always been known for their reliability. But the 3008 is one of the most reliable cars in Britain, according to rankings from BuyACar.
The online car sales portal found that 11% of Peugeot 3008 owners reported some kind of problem, but the 3008 still outperformed other family crossovers, the class of cars that mix qualities of SUVs and hatchbacks.
The 3008 was also Auto Trader's Car of the Year 2019, winning praise for being comfortable, good looking, safe and spacious.
Kia Sportage SUV (from £23,445, source: Kia)
The Sportage, from South Korean car maker Kia, was another of CarBuyer’s top picks.
Owners of this SUV benefit from a seven-year warranty. The vehicle also wins praise for its good handling and spacious interior.
Kia Sorento SUV (from £30,700, source: Kia)
Another top pick for reliability is Sportage’s bigger sibling - the seven-seat Kia Sorento.
This seven-seater still manages to score high in several reliability rankings, despite, as BuyACar notes, being the sort of family-friendly large vehicle that’s likely to undergo a lot of wear and tear.
Like the Sportage, a Sorento comes with a seven year warranty – although BuyACar notes that the vehicle’s reliability means that buyers are unlikely to need it.
Fiat Panda hatchback (from £9,944, source: Fiat)
By far the cheapest model among CarBuyer’s top picks is the Fiat Panda, a rare appearance from a European car in a reliability ranking dominated by Asian marques.
CarBuyer says that its “relatively basic mechanics mean there isn’t a whole lot to go wrong”.
What’s more, owners say the cars are cheap to service. Where there were issues, the majority were related to the electrics.
Mazda MX-5 roadster (from £23,800, source: Mazda)
You may not have expected to see a nippy little sports car on CarBuyer’s list, but here it is, the Mazda MX-5 roadster. As CarBuyer points out, this two-seater “proves driving fun doesn’t require owners to sacrifice reliability”.
The vehicle’s reliability is helped by the fact that it doesn’t have complex electronics, which are often the source of problems for owners of all-singing, all-dancing new cars.
If you’re in the market for a new car, this list may give you a few pointers on what to look for in a reliable set of wheels.