The most reliable used cars

Reliable Honda

Reliability is usually one of the biggest question marks when you're buying a used car – but chances are, if you pick a Honda you needn't worry. The company just came top in the What Car?/Warranty Direct reliability survey for the seventh year running.

On average Hondas have a one in ten chance of breaking down in the course of a year. The next best manufacturer in the survey, Toyota, saw 17% of its used cars breaking down in a year.

Buying a prestigious (ok, expensive) car isn't necessarily any guarantee of reliability. The worst performing car in the survey was Land Rover, with 71% of cars needing a visit to the garage. Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Audi all languish in the bottom ten places, with BMW close behind.

Honda is one of eight Japanese manufacturers in the top ten – Chevrolet (US) and Hyundai (South Korea) were the others. The results of the survey are based on a study of 50,000 warranty policies on cars between 3 and 10 years old.

What Car?'s editor in chief Chas Hallet said: 'Reliability is so important to motorists and Honda is exceptionally good at this.'

Warranty Direct's managing director Duncan McClure Fisher said: 'It's a balancing act for used car buyers. You can get cars that break down less often, but have higher repair bills, or you can buy a car that won't cost you much when it fails, such as a Renault, but lumbers you with more than a 50% chance of doing so. The one thing you do appear to be able to rely upon is buying Japanese.'