The five most reliable cars

Last updated by mustard.co.uk on May 7th, 2021

For a car to be useful, it must be reliable. A reliable car won’t leave you stranded without transport – it’ll cost less in repair fees and bring the peace of mind we all desire.

It can, however, be tricky to know which new cars are actually reliable. After all, a new car dealer isn’t likely to admit whether the model you’re considering is an unreliable heap of junk, are they? And even car review titles can be of limited use, as they’re based off short-term tests rather than long-term ownership.

Our sister title Fleet News solves the problem, though, and the annual FN50 survey asks 50 of the UK’s biggest leasing companies to rate the cars they provide on the basis of warranty and breakdown data. These are cars leased and driven by real people, in their daily lives and over extended periods.

What are the most reliable cars?

Small SUVs

Motorists are spoilt for choice when it comes to sports utility vehicles – or SUVs. Their appeal often lies in the fact that they’re robust and combine practicalities such as space and efficiency, with good looks, they have plenty to offer.

Electric cars

Electric cars are still among the most expensive to buy, so it’s no surprise they are built to be reliable. There are a small number of models that let the side down so it’s important to do your research before purchasing. However, the award-winning Tesla Model 3 has been considered one of the most dependable cars on the market.

Value and small cars

Proving that good things come in small packages –  small, simple cars have less likely to go wrong. A recent survey carried out by Which? found that Luxury and SUV cars are far more unreliable than small city cars, by some margin.

Hybrids

Reliability studies have shown that, despite being a complex class of car, hybrids are some of the least likely class of car to suffer a fault. Even the least robust models scored high on reliability checks, which is higher than the top cars in other classes.

 

The most reliable cars of 2021

We’ve picked the five of the most reliable cars from the FN50 results. It’s rather a Teutonic list, but if you’d like some diversity to your decision-making, the top 10 also features models from Honda, Hyundai and Nissan.

Audi A4

AudiA4 most reliable cars

For the second year in a row, the Audi A4 has hung onto the crown after tipping the BMW off the top spot. Achieving the lowest number of mechanical breakdowns and warranty repairs – the A4 truly has something for everyone. It’s a real all-rounder. The entry level Technik spec has a respectable amount of tech, but the 3.0-litre V6 TDI with 341hp and 700Nm of torque might present quite the meaty insurance estimate.

BMW 3 Series

bmw 3 series most reliable cars

Snapping at the heels of the A4 comes its closest rival – the BMW 3 Series. With a wide engine range and even a plug-in hybrid variant, the baby BMW has plenty to offer. The interior is high-quality and very comfortable, ideal for eating up an hours-long journey as if you were just popping to the shops. The firebreathing M models are incredible, but pricey.

Volkswagen Golf

vw golf most reliable cars

Not just plaid seats and golf ball gear knobs, the Volkswagen Golf is truly a reliable family car – as it should be. Volkswagen has refined the hatchback formula since the first-gen Golf back in 1974 and knows what it’s doing. You pay a little extra for that premium badge, but it’s soon repaid with high-tech features, up-to-date engines and bags of choice.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class 

mercedes c class most reliable cars

Offering a relaxing drive, this executive saloon is a popular leasing choice, with great refinement and up-to-date technology. Aside from the high-performance AMG models, most are available at low monthly costs – ensuring a lot of bang for your buck. Low running costs make the Mercedes-Benz C-Class a popular business choice.

Audi A3

audi a3 most reliable cars 2021

Though it may be junior to the Audi A4 in the Audi lineup, the A3 really does not feel very junior at all and is in fact a capable premium hatchback. Mechanically very similar to both the A4 and the Volkswagen Golf, which would explain its high position on this list. The Audi A3’s range is wide but the petrol engines are the ones to go for, with impressive economy and peppy performance.

Finding the best value car insurance with mustard.co.uk

Engineering prowess does not always come cheap, and protecting your investment in reliability with the best value car insurance will bring further peace of mind and welcome savings. While we all have different ideas about the ideal car, most of us will agree that getting value for money on our car insurance, is a priority; which is why we’re proud to have our Cheapest Price Guarantee*.

We’ll beat any like for like quote* so that you don’t have to compromise between protection and value – because we know that having the right car insurance is just as important as finding the right car.

Related articles that you may find of interest

The five best cars for new drivers
The eight cheapest new cars to insure

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