The most reliable used cars revealed, plus the makes and models to avoid

The Lexus CT has been named the UK’s most reliable second-hand car, according to an in-depth study of owners’ experiences.

The Japanese premium hatchback was ranked as virtually faultless by owners who took part in the annual What Car? Reliability survey, leading a table that was dominated by Japanese brands.

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Just four per cent of CT owners reported having any type of problem with their car over the past 12 year, with the battery the only area affected.

The survey polled more than 18,000 motorists on their ownership experience, taking into account any problems they have encountered and how long and how much they cost to repair.

Japan leads the way

Behind the Lexus, which achieved a near-perfect 99.5 per cent reliability rating, were the previous generation Suzuki Swift (98.6 per cent), and the Toyota Auris hybrid (98.5 per cent). In total, seven of the top 10 cars were from Japanese brands.

At the other end of the scale, the 2003-2013 Audi A3 diesel was voted as the least reliable used car in the UK, with a score of 40 per cent. More than a third (37 per cent) of diesel A3s had a fault, and 22 per cent of them were with the engine. According to the study, around a third of bills cost between £500 and £1500 to fix.

The Ford Focus diesel (2004-2011) and Vauxhall Zafira (2005-2016) came second and third from the bottom, with ratings of 46.5 per cent and 51.7 per cent respectively. European models dominated the list of worst models, with two Audis, two BMWs among the poorly rated models.

Across all vehicles, a third of owners told What Car? their car had suffered a fault, with non-engine electrical issues most common, followed by suspension and brake woes. However, 19 per cent of owners said the manufacturer picked up the repair bill under warranty.

Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car?, said: “Reliability is often at the forefront of any vehicle purchase. With nearly eight million used vehicles sold last year*, there is huge scope for things to go wrong. By shining a light on the reliability of various makes and models, we hope to help buyers make the right decision when choosing their next used purchase.”