Gumtree Awards: the Most Reliable Used Cars

Reliability is arguably the most crucial factor to consider when purchasing a used car. While there are major savings involved with buying pre-owned, you don't want to fork out on big bills further down the line. It's not just important to consider the miles covered, but also the car's reputation at the mechanic and how good the carmaker's service history is. So, what are the most reliable second hand cars? Read on for the big reveal!

What makes a reliable used car?

To find out which used cars are the most reliable, it takes more than just sifting through the recall headlines. There are sometimes potential faults that only those in dedicated Facebook Groups and online communities discuss. So what makes us so confident that we can hand out awards for reliability? We’ve used a five-point checklist to decide which cars make our leaderboard:

  1. How good is the build quality? Checking out whether the electrics and latches work well even after gathering years is a tell-tale sign of a car’s reliability.
  2. Are there common reports of mechanical problems online?
  3. What does the average service bill look like a few years after the warranty expires?
  4. How long were the cars usually off the road?
  5. Finally, of course: were there any recalls on the model?

Which city car is the most reliable?

Blue Honda Jazz

1. Honda Jazz

As such a busy segment, there’s plenty of tough competition here, but there are some models you can never go far wrong with. A peppy supermini, the Honda Jazz is a great car for zipping through packed city streets, and it’s been a leader in customer satisfaction surveys for years. Cheap to run with lots of handy standard equipment, the Jazz is an ideal workhorse for everyday use. But what makes us so sure that it’s the most reliable city car to buy used? Well, it comes with a three-year standard warranty for most parts, a five-year exhaust warranty and a corrosion warranty for ten years. Rest assured that you won’t struggle to find a decent used model.

Yellow skoda citigo body

2. Škoda Citigo

If you want excellent value for money along with top-notch reliability in your city car, look no further than this offering from Škoda. A quiet ride that’s cheap to run, the Citigo ticks all the right boxes for a reliable urban runabout. It shares its platform with the Volkswagen Up and the Seat Mii. All Škodas are well known for their excellent build quality, and the Citigo is no different. Clutch issues have been the most reported problem, but it’s no concern if the service history looks clean. If you’re looking for cheap reliable used cars, the Citigo is a worry-free pre-owned purchase at a great price.

Which hatchback is the most reliable?

Red Toyota Yaris

3. Toyota Yaris

Given that Toyota is one of the most reliable used car brands, it’s no surprise that there’s one on this list. The Yaris is a powerful beast that scores highly on practicality and fuel efficiency. With a five-year/100,000-mile warranty, the car offers one of the better deals compared to rivals in the small car segment, only beaten by the Kia Rio’s seven-year warranty. To make every peak-hour journey a bit more comfortable, high-tech gadgetry will keep you company on the ride. Spacious, easy to manoeuvre and fun to drive, it’s hardly a surprise that this Toyota tops our list of the most reliable second hand small cars.

Blue Alfa Romeo Giulia

4. Alfa Romeo Giulietta

Unlike Toyota, seeing this manufacturer scoop an award for reliability might be surprising to some, but the dependability studies and surveys don’t lie. With the Giulietta and other more recent models, Alfa Romeo has made leaps forward in terms of reliability while retaining all the style and excitement that draw buyers to their models. A hatchback that delivers a superb driving experience, the Giulietta is best known for its neat lines and impressive looks. With a five-year warranty, it makes a reliable family purchase that should last for years. Plus, it’s been on sale for more than ten years now, so it does very well on the used market. With no major recalls or significant problems reported to date, the Giulietta gets our nod for one of the most reliable hatchbacks on the used market.

Which compact SUV is the most reliable?

Red Peugeot 2008

5. Peugeot 2008

Offering a practical mix of good interior space with more manoeuvrability, compact SUVs are becoming a popular choice for families living in the city – and reliability is vital in a good family car. Luckily, you can find this reliability without compromising on all the other features you’ll want to find in a quality used motor. The incredibly stylish Peugeot 2008 offers a pleasant drive in town as well as on the motorways. Easy, light handling, plenty of legroom in the front and super-comfortable interiors make this car a delight to own. Although a tad pricier, the Peugeot 2008 is well worth the money in the used car market. This cool-looking French model is well-built and cheap to run, helping it take our top spot for the best reliable used cars in the compact SUV segment.

Which premium SUV is the most reliable?

Blue Lexus RXSUV

6. Lexus RX

With a premium price tag comes premium expenses at the mechanic if something were to go awry – so if you’re looking in this segment, you want something that’s truly reliable. As well as having a great reputation for reliability, the Lexus RX is a favourite among owners thanks to a comfy ride, spacious interiors and great design. Add in an efficient hybrid powertrain and there’s little reason to think twice about this investment. Despite more expensive repair costs compared to rivals, you’ll rarely find a reason to go beyond the recommended service. Most complaints are about minor issues like the paintwork or the AC system. With such a good reputation in the second-hand market, there’s little doubt that the RX deserves its spot as the most reliable premium SUV.

Which 4X4 is the most reliable?

Black Toyota RAV4 external

7. Toyota RAV4

Although the latest generation of the RAV4 is quite new to UK roads, the performance of previous generations can attest to this Toyota’s dependability. Get your hands on one that’s relatively new, and you can also enjoy the benefit of Toyota’s five-year/100,000-mile warranty. With rarely an issue reported even on ten-year-old cars, the RAV4 is a top choice if you’re looking for a trusty 4X4.

Which automatic cars are reliable?

silver skoda Kodiaq

8. Škoda Kodiaq

One of the best automatic SUVs out there on any metric, the Škoda Kodiaq delivers everything you need in a reliable family SUV. You have the option to choose between a five-seater and a seven-seater, with both petrol and diesel versions available in automatic. The Kodiaq has been on the market for a while, so you can shop around to find the one that suits your lifestyle and budget best. With excellent build quality and superb practicality, the Kodiaq is a consistent favourite among the most reliable cars to buy used.

Which electric car is the most reliable?

Red nissan leaf

9. Nissan Leaf

Electric cars are generally more reliable than their traditional counterparts, as they have fewer mechanical moving parts that can wear, become damaged or need replacing. But the one that’s received rave views from experts is the Nissan Leaf. This smart-looking EV offers a range of 160 miles, which means it’s ideal for zipping through town. For extra convenience, the option of one-pedal driving makes it a whole lot easier to bear bumper-to-bumper traffic. A big boot and plenty of safety kit ensure it’s a practical second-hand purchase that won’t give you trouble at the mechanics.

The best way to make sure you’re in safe hands is to give the service history a thorough read, but these Gumtree Award winners are a reliable place to start your search. Read an in-depth review to learn more, or head over to our listings and find your perfect deal.

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