Most reliable cars to buy in 2019

24 Sep, 2019 10:30am

Based on responses to our Driver Power survey, we round up the most reliable new and used cars on the market in 2019

If you’re thinking of buying a new or used car, reliability will be one of your most important priorities. If a car is constantly breaking down or not functioning as it should, no amount of comfort, economy, performance or technology will redeem it. However, car reliability is difficult to gauge until you’ve bought the car and are experiencing it first hand.

Fortunately, the Driver Power survey can help. Every year thousands of motorists tell us what they think about the cars they own and we use the information to arm our readers with the inside story on the most reliable cars on sale. Knowing which cars or brands are vulnerable to electrical and/or mechanical faults is highly valuable. Even if you’ve already purchased one of the cars below, this list could prove vital in pointing out potential faults which could save you money in the future.

KinyuKinr Driver Power best cars to own

Our most reliable new cars results are based on the latest Driver Power survey data for cars that are currently available to buy new. Responses about vehicles that are less than 12 months old are excluded to give the most useful snapshot of a car’s reliability in the period where problems are most likely to occur. Owners were asked about their satisfaction with the standards of build quality and reliability in the cars they own and drive every day, making the resulting data an invaluable tool for car buyers.

When buying a new car, few expect there to be any issues at all but even with our top ten most reliable new cars, faults can still occur. That being said, it is usually around the three- to six-year mark (once the manufacturer’s warranty on most models has expired) that cars can develop more serious faults and buying a brand new car is a good way to side-step this more risky ownership period. If you are looking at used cars, our ‘most reliable used cars’ page is the place to go. 

The top 10 most reliable new cars

10. Toyota Yaris - 92.94%

Toyota Yaris owners don’t often encounter faults, but electrical gremlins seem to be the most common of issues they do encounter. Toyota and Lexus dominate the reliability list and it’ll be reassuring for Yaris owners that the build quality hasn’t been solely reserved for more premium products.

9. Mazda MX-5 - 93.29%


The Mazda MX-5 is the most fun car to drive in this list and its presence proves that you don’t have to trade driving thrills for reliability. The little roadster isn’t the most tech-laden car out there so, like the Fiat Panda, there’s little to go wrong and that helps overall reliability to be rated so highly.

8. Fiat Panda - 93.39%

The Fiat Panda is the only car from a non-Asian manufacturer to make the list this year. The simplicity of the Panda is its trump card when it comes to reliability as there just isn’t too much to go wrong. Owners have praised the cheap servicing costs with electrical faults accounting for the majority of issues that have presented themselves.

7. Lexus CT - 93.99% 


The Lexus CT places an impressive seventh with just 7.1% of owners reporting an issue of any kind. As with other Lexus products, the general build quality has won over owners and on the rare occasions when things do go wrong, the dealer network has performed well. That’s not so surprising when you consider Lexus consistently features near the top of the Driver Power best car dealers list.

6. Lexus NX - 94.72%

After coming first last year, Lexus will be disappointed to see the NX drop to sixth. Owners didn’t like the high running costs and the electrical issues that have been reported in other Lexus models have found their way into the NX, too. Despite the SUV proportions, owners say the NX could be more practical. Like the RX and IS, overall build quality has been noted as being a point of the NX.

5. Kia Sorento - 95.66% 

The Sorento SUV uses a drivetrain modelled on the previous generation car so serious mechanical problems should be ironed out by now. The most frequent issues are with the engine and there’s no hybrid option either. The solitary diesel has been marked down by owners for its thristiness but Sorento owners have been left impressed with the interior design, practicality and overall build quality.

4. Kia Sportage - 95.80% 

Kia’s growing reputation for reliability is backed up by its seven-year/100,000-mile warranty and the new Sportage has further contributed to the brand’s positive ownership experiences. Only 12.9% reported problems with their Sportage in the first year of ownership. The Sportage appears a generally great car to own for the long term with it topping the overall Driver Power 2019 used car survey, which looks at all aspects of ownership for cars that are 2 to 10 years old.  

3. Lexus RX - 96.02%

Lexus’ RX SUV comes in an impressive third place with owners praising the driving experience and build quality. What appears to be not so impressive is the running costs with the bulky SUV body and petrol-electric hybrid powertrain resulting in poor fuel economy. Being a h SUV, there’s plenty of equipment but according to owners the electrics are also the most common faults. 

2. Lexus IS - 96.07%

Lexus had two cars in the top ten last year; the NX SUV and CT hatchback, this year it has four. The IS has performed best for Lexus owners this year with only 4.2% reporting a fault - the second lowest after the Nissan Juke. The main issues for the few owners that had faults were usually engine and brake-related. 

1. Toyota Prius - 97.43% 

The Toyota Prius helped popularise the hybrid car segment thanks to its low running costs and overall reliability. The current generation has further improved on the formula to the point where it’s now secured first place in this year’s most reliable cars category. There have been few reports of drivetrain issues on the Prius with electrical problems the most likely faults. Owners have praised the overall build quality and low servicing costs of the Toyota hybrid, too.

Click below to find out the most reliable cars by sector... 

Most reliable cars
Most reliable used cars
Most reliable 4x4s and SUVs
Most reliable small cars
Most reliable family cars

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