May 182006

Honda AccordJapanese manufacturers have dominated a poll of the Top 100 most reliable used cars over the past decade.


The list, compiled by independent mechanical breakdown insurer, Warranty Direct, found that every car in the Top 10, and an amazing 16 out of the Top 20, were Japanese models. The Honda Accord was at number one.

Models were ranked according to the frequency of failure and based on a database of over 55,000 vehicles. Last year, over 7.5m Britons spent £25bn buying a used car – nearly seven times the number of people who bought a new car privately.

Table Showing The Top Ten Most Reliable Used Cars according to Warranty Direct


Pos Model Used   car expert commentary
1   A   classy package, well put together and feels more special than the average   family car. Superb engines and value for money.
2 Subaru   Forester Not   quite an off roader, much more than an estate with a sporty edge, making it   the perfect combination. Great all round buy.
3 Mazda   MX-5 Blueprint   for the modern roadster with sweet handling and engines to match. Extremely   easy to live with.
4 Mitsubishi   Carisma Despite   the name, not that interesting to look at or drive, but that’s not the point.   Here is a no-nonsense hatchback that won’t let you down.
5 Toyota   Yaris Superminis   don’t come better. Bags of room and perky engines. Probably the best small   car buy.
6 Honda   Civic Solid   build quality and good engines are just part of the appeal, the Civic is one   of the most spacious small cars around. Great value.
7 Nissan   Almera A   dull package, but that’s no reason to dismiss the Almera which is practical   and perfect for the smaller family who need a big boot and utter reliability.
8 Honda   CR-V Proof   that you don’t need an XXXL 4×4. Here is a four-wheel drive estate that is   flexible, easy to drive and own.
9 Toyota   RAV4 So   few four-wheel drives are fun to drive. This car is suitably sporty, but very   practical. Expensive used buy but worth it.
10 Nissan   Micra The   driving school favourite. Tough, fairly roomy, but with its light controls is   easy to steer around town.


The highest placed non-Japanese model was the British built Jaguar X-Type in 13th with the mighty German automotive industry first appearing at number 25 with the sporty executive Mercedes-Benz SLK according to Warranty Direct.

Used car expert, James Ruppert says: “I am regularly asked what car to buy that won’t break down and I always reply, anything Japanese. This is based on my experience and it is great to see that the real life statistics produced by Warranty Direct back this up.”

Volvo’s S/V40 was the highest placed Swedish manufacturer in 15th, with the nation’s most popular manufacturer, Ford, delivering its best ranked model, the Ka, in 22nd. Hyundai’s Lantra was the pick of the Koreans and the Citroen Xsara was the best-placed French model at number 26.

“Obviously reliability is not the main reason why someone might choose one model over another, but it is still an important consideration for the majority,” says Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct.

“However, used car buyers are considerably more cautious. Japanese models may not be the most charismatic but you’re unlikely to spend a great deal of money and time in the garage keeping it on the road.”

The full Top 100 Most Reliable Cars Of The past ten years can be viewed by visiting