If you’re buying a second-hand car, reliability will no doubt rank highly on your list of priorities. A used car that breaks down all the time will cost you lots of money to keep on the road – but you needn’t spend that money if you make the correct choice on the classifieds.

Unsurprisingly, Japanese vehicles dominate this top 10 list (as they have done in similar lists for decades) – and you’ll be happy to hear that there are plenty of these used cars in the UK to choose from. However, there are some surprising entries from unexpected brands such as Dacia and Ford.

If you’re particularly concerned about a car’s reliability, a handy tip is to use this government tool to check if your potential purchase has had any recalls. Simply enter the car’s registration number to be presented with a list of all the issues the manufacturer has flagged for recall (if any). You can also search by make/model if you don’t know the car’s registration number.

Scroll down for our list of the most reliable cars on sale in the UK now, as ranked by warranty experts Warranty wise in order of the lowest number of claims recorded. Then, if you fancy a spot of trouble-free motoring, head to a second-hand market to hunt one out.

1. Lexus RX (2015 – present)

The Lexus RX is an unsurprising entrant. It’s built by Toyota – and Toyota has been building bombproof cars since its inception. The RX enjoys a similar reputation, with very low warranty claims and high customer satisfaction. What’s more, you can pick one up for around £15,000. That’s a lot of luxury for your money.

2. Honda Jazz (2015 – 2021)

The previous Honda Jazz has an excellent reliability record. They hardly ever break and, when they do, spares are cheap – which means it’s generally a painless affair to get it back on the road again. They’re also cheap to buy, with used prices starting from around £7,000.

3. Mitsubishi ASX (2010 – 2021)

The Mitsubishi ASX is somewhat of a forgotten gem where reliability is concerned, which is maybe just as well now that its company has left the UK. It has very low warranty claim rates, which means that Mitsubishi built them properly and it’s unlikely to break down on you.

4. Dacia Sandero (2013 – 2021)

Dacia got the Sandero so right. It strikes an excellent balance between practicality, affordability, and reliability – and it’s a great lesson in the amount of technology you need in a modern car. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot less than you think. Its old Renault-based underpinnings also mean spares are cheap.

5. Mazda 2 (2015 – present)

Sadly, the Mazda 2 lives in the shadow of its flashier rivals. Buyers often look past it on their way to buy a Ford Fiesta or a Volkswagen Polo. We can’t work out why, though, because it looks great, drives well, and has an excellent reliability record.

6. Volkswagen Up! (2012 – present)

The Volkswagen Up is still going strong ten years after it was launched – and for good reason. It’s from the era when Volkswagen made solid cars, which is something that can’t be said about a lot of its current line-up. The Up is also cheap to insure, light on fuel and good fun to drive.

7. Nissan Leaf (2011 – 2018) 

Electric cars have fewer moving parts than petrol or diesel cars, which automatically makes them more reliable because there are fewer failure points. The first-generation Nissan Leaf is currently the only truly affordable electric car on the used market, priced from £7,000. Just watch out for battery failures – the cells struggle to hold a charge after a while.

8. Lexus CT (2011 – 2020)

Oh, look, another Lexus. There’s a surprise. This tough little hatchback borrows its mechanicals from the Toyota Prius which, given the sheer amount of those that are used as minicabs, is a testament to the reliability of the components. They’re relatively cheap to buy, too, starting at around £7,000.

9. Ford EcoSport (2014 – present)

The EcoSport might not be the best car in its class, but Warranty wise says it’s the most reliable Ford on sale today, with the lowest number of warranty claims. It’s also been around for ages now, which means Ford has had plenty of time to stamp out all the teething problems.

10. Suzuki Alto (2009 – 2014)

The Alto is the oldest car on this list, having been pulled from the showrooms in 2014. But its reliability record remains enviable, with no major faults to report in the past 13 years. It’s also extremely cheap to buy, with high-mileage example changing hands for as little as £1,500.