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The Most Reliable New Cars In The UK (2023 Edition)

Reliability is a significant factor for individuals buying a new car. Here, we offer an insight into the most reliable new cars on sale today.

When in the market for a new car, judging reliability before purchase can be a challenging task. Despite the extensive research, development, and testing that all modern cars undergo to ensure their robustness and dependability, some cars still end up proving to be more reliable than others.

Why Reliability Matters?

Regardless of whether you’re buying or leasing a brand new car, whether it’s large or small, expensive or economical, everyone yearns for reliability. Advanced technology, impressive performance, luxurious materials, or stunning design do not offer much comfort if your vehicle fails to start, constantly breaks down, or incurs substantial repair costs. Reliability may not be the most glamorous aspect of a car, but it’s undeniably vital for a rewarding and pleasurable ownership experience.

However, predicting a car’s reliability is anything but straightforward. It’s a trait that’s hard to determine until you’ve actually purchased the vehicle and lived with it.

Herein lies the value of this guide… Conducted annually, here at Click4Gap we collate the experiences of car owners, providing valuable insights into the dependability of different models. In effect, this post does the hard work for potential buyers, assisting them in identifying the most reliable vehicles in the market.

Note: The following may differ slightly from other guides (Parkers, AutoExpress, WhatCar and Which). This is based on our own analysis of customers and user feedback. Here we go!

1. Toyota C-HR

Owners express sincere admiration for the Toyota C-HR, for its outstanding reliability, distinct design, fuel efficiency, and driving experience.

The engineering behind the Toyota‘s audacious exterior promises a new wave of creative design approaches from Toyota. Yet, this innovation doesn’t compromise on tried-and-tested engineering methods, thus ensuring reliability and durability.

The C-HR is equipped with Toyota’s comprehensive ‘Safety Sense’ package. This includes adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, auto-dipping headlights, and road-sign recognition, all aimed at enhancing passenger safety.

The C-HR’s safety credibility is further bolstered by its five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash-testing. Each model is fitted with seven airbags and stability control. The Excel and Dynamic models offer additional safety features like optional rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring.

This shared platform with the Toyota Prius, a car favoured by high-mileage urban taxi companies, underscores the C-HR’s robust reliability. The hybrid powertrain technology, pioneered by Toyota for mass-production, and the 1.2-liter turbocharged petrol engine used in the C-HR have proven their worth, ensuring that used C-HR buyers can trust in the car’s dependability.

Toyota as a brand earns further accolades for its fuel economy and surprisingly low maintenance costs. It is a proven winner.

2. Honda Civic

The Honda Civic hatchback shines for its safety features, regardless of the specific model you choose. All variants are uniformly equipped with Honda’s full suite of safety features, promising excellent value and peace of mind.

As the car has only recently arrived in the UK, the Honda Civic’s reliability is yet to be firmly established but it will be outstanding. Honda’s reputation for producing dependable vehicles bodes well for the new Civic. Notably, the brand’s Jazz hybrid has been getting rave reviews. Coupled with Honda’s track record for low fault reports within the first year of ownership and its merits in practicality, reliability, and running costs, we can anticipate that the Civic should follow in this tradition of dependability.

The current generation of the Honda Civic underwent a more rigorous Euro NCAP crash-testing process in late 2022 than its predecessor. Despite these tougher standards, it successfully achieved a full five-star rating, excelling in Adult Occupant and Child Occupant categories. These results should make the Civic an attractive option for families, underscoring its commitment to ensuring passenger safety.

Each version of the Honda Civic comes as standard with an array of active safety technologies. These include blind spot monitoring, cross-traffic monitoring, collision mitigation tech, automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane keep assist, traffic jam assist, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, and emergency call. The ample supply of these safety features works actively to decrease the likelihood of accidents, ensuring optimal safety for you and your passengers.


Related Reading: The Safest Cars in the UK: 2023 Edition


3. Volvo XC40

Volvo’s reputation for safety is well-evident in the Volvo XC40 SUV, which comes packed with an array of standard safety equipment. The vehicle secures many top 10 ratings across reputable car forums as owners praise its comfort and build quality. In line with Volvo’s history, the XC40 ensures the safety of not only its passengers but also those sharing the road.

Customer feedback for the Volvo XC40 was overwhelmingly positive in recent years. 2023 has continued that trend, indicating it as a consistently comfortable and secure daily drive. The XC40’s safety credentials are further reinforced by its five-star rating in independent Euro NCAP crash tests, placing it as one of the safest small SUVs.

Its excellent performance in adult occupant protection, with a 97% score, and a high 87% score for child occupants adds to its appeal. The XC40’s City Safety autonomous emergency braking stands out as a crucial safety feature. It can detect not only other vehicles but also pedestrians, cyclists, and even large animals, effectively reducing collision risks or mitigating their severity.

All XC40 models come standard with Volvo On Call, a smartphone app and emergency assistance package. This feature provides the capability to control certain car functions remotely, such as locking and unlocking. In the event of a crash, it can alert emergency services, ensuring an additional layer of safety.

4. Lexus RX

Lexus has a reputation for exceptional reliability and safety, qualities that are synonymous with the RX. Unlike other luxury brands such as BMW, Mercedes, and Audi, which may sometimes disappoint their owners in terms of quality and reliability, Lexus appears to be an exception. This claim is backed up by reviews and rankings of the Lexus RX across most car platforms and reputable auto websites.

Lexus’s reliability earns very high praise for its build quality, ride quality, and safety features. In terms of safety, the Lexus RX was put through its paces by Euro NCAP, in late 2022. Like its smaller sibling, the NX, the RX was awarded the full five-star safety rating. Notably, it scored 90% and 91% in the Adult Occupant and Safety Assist categories, offering added reassurance to potential buyers.

In addition to its stellar safety ratings, all Lexus RX models come equipped with Lexus’s comprehensive Safety System + suite of driver aids. This includes pre-collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. These features are designed to enhance both safety and driving comfort, adding to the luxury appeal of choosing a Lexus.


Related Reading: The Best Commuter Cars in the UK


5. Mazda CX-5

The Mazda CX-5 has garnered recognition for its reliability, distinguishing it among the very best SUVs. Its safety credentials have also been solidified with a five-star rating from Euro NCAP, proving it to be a safe choice for drivers.

CX-5 owners have lauded various aspects of the vehicle including its styling, build quality, and quick yet quiet engines coupled with smooth gearboxes. The interior design and build quality, along with the comfort provided by the front seats, have also received appreciative feedback. Furthermore, owners are pleased with its on-road performance, especially the responsive brakes, steering, ride quality, and fuel efficiency.

When it comes to safety, the latest Mazda CX-5, like its predecessor, has earned a five-star rating from Euro NCAP. The model received excellent ratings in adult occupant protection (95%), child occupant score (80%), and pedestrian impact result (78%). Testers also lauded the CX-5 for maximum points in the rigorous side pole impact test.

The Mazda CX-5 comes as standard with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), which triggers brakes automatically when an obstacle is detected. Euro NCAP also praised the performance of the AEB system in the CX-5, highlighting its effectiveness in avoiding collisions at all tested speeds.

Additional standard safety features include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keeping assistance. On Sport versions, and as standard for GT Sport, the CX-5 is equipped with technology that scans behind the car when reversing, applying brakes automatically if an obstacle is detected.

6. Kia Sorento

The Kia Sorento, a favourite among owners, has been upgraded with new safety technology and a reliable hybrid powertrain. The previous model secured the top spot in many reviews, and the new model is already demonstrating impressive performance, getting rave reviews in 2023. It comes equipped with cutting-edge technology, including innovative safety features aimed at minimising the risk of collisions.

The latest Sorento consistently scores highly in various reliability and build quality categories. As a brand, Kia has a very satisfied customer base too, consistently receiving high marks in areas such as value for money, practicality, infotainment, and reliability.

In terms of safety, previous models of the Kia Sorento received a five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests in 2009 and 2014. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the latest version has maintained this rating, even with the tests becoming more rigorous.

The car comes equipped with a plethora of safety features that detect and automatically brake in the face of a potential collision with a pedestrian, cyclist, or another vehicle. The Sorento also monitors moving traffic when pulling out of a junction and checks for vehicles in the driver’s blind spot while cruising on the motorway.


Related Reading: 10 Tips for Driving Long Distances


7. Tesla Model 3

While the Tesla Model 3 may have some quality issues, it is often considered the best-built and safest model from Tesla so far. Despite the fact that electric cars should be more straightforward than their petrol, diesel, or hybrid counterparts due to fewer mechanical components, the Model 3’s reliability holds up well.

Notorious for quality inconsistencies in fit and finish, and issues in year 1 of ownership, Tesla still manages to maintain a high overall ownership experience rating for the Model 3. As a brand, Tesla claims high marks for reliability and safety, which bodes well for the overall ownership experience but stresses the importance of leveraging Tesla’s warranty and customer service in case of any issues.

In terms of safety, the Model 3 performs exceptionally well in Euro NCAP crash tests, achieving the highest score ever in the safety assist category with an impressive 94%. The overall five-star rating includes strong scores for adult and child occupant protection, as well as decent performance in the vulnerable road user category.

Its compact electric powertrain allows for sizeable crumple zones and a rigid passenger compartment, making the Model 3 one of the safest cars on the market. Additionally, the semi-autonomous Autopilot technology equips the Model 3 with numerous sensors and cameras, offering protection to passengers by identifying hazards and automatically braking or steering around obstacles.

8. Audi A3

The Audi A3 Sportback hatchback, despite being a new model, relies on established engines and underpinnings, lending credence to its expected reliability. From a safety perspective, the A3 performs well, boasting a five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests.

Owners are most impressed with the A3’s engines and gearboxes, with reliability of paramount importance as the model is a crucial player in Audi’s line up. (Audi as a brand is synonymous with quality, placing it alongside similar rivals BMW and Mercedes.)

The A3’s safety credentials are underscored by its five-star Euro NCAP rating. The A3’s sister car, the Volkswagen Golf, has already achieved a top safety score with high marks across the board, and the A3 follows suit with an 89% score for adult occupant protection. The A3 introduces new safety features such as the Car2X technology that can communicate with nearby vehicles and infrastructure to alert the driver about potential hazards, traffic, and even traffic light timing.

However, it’s disappointing to see a significant amount of safety equipment listed as optional extras, including a lane change system and a Driver Assistance Pack featuring parking sensors, traffic sign recognition, and adaptive cruise control. Be aware of this when looking to purchase the right model for you.


Related Reading: Buying vs Leasing: Pros & Cons To Help You Decide


9. Skoda Kodiaq

The Skoda Kodiaq, a recent addition to the SUV market, benefits from proven mechanical parts and includes standard autonomous emergency braking. It leverages the established and reliable Volkswagen Group’s ‘MQB’ platform, contributing to its expected reliability and safety.

The Kodiaq shares the same platform as vehicles like the Audi TT, A3, Q2, Volkswagen Passat, Golf, Tiguan, and the Skoda Octavia and Superb. As a result, we can confidently expect the Kodiaq to be thoroughly engineered and durable over time. Its engines are likewise proven, as they are common across many VW Group cars. The Kodiaq’s performance is extremely encouraging. It ranks highly amongst owners for engine performance, interior quality, ride comfort, practicality, and reliability.

In terms of safety, the Kodiaq earns a five-star rating from Euro NCAP. It receives a high score of 92% for adult protection and 77% for child occupant protection. The safety assistance systems, featuring automatic emergency braking standard across the range, received positive remarks. In addition, every Kodiaq comes equipped with Skoda’s ‘Care Connect’ feature, which automatically contacts emergency services if the airbags are deployed in a collision.

10. Citroen C4

The Citroen C4, with its 20 driving aids, marks a new era for the Citroen brand. As it’s a new model, it’s still early to assess its long-term reliability, however, it does incorporate tested engines and technology, enhancing its reliability expectations we are confident will be 5-star rated in the near future.

The C4 is an evolution for Citroen, sharing its underpinnings with the Peugeot 208, 2008, and Citroen C3 Aircross. Despite the relatively new status of these models, no significant reliability concerns have been raised thus far. Citroen’s 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel engines are widely utilised and have demonstrated consistent reliability in other models, which augurs well for the C4.

In terms of brand reliability, Citroen models are praised for their running costs and affordable servicing. On the safety front, Citroen prides itself on equipping the C4 with 20 driving aids, equivalent to the number in the larger and more expensive Citroen C5 Aircross SUV. These aids include autonomous emergency braking and Highway Driver Assist, which combines adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping technology.

The C4 also features a driver alert system, proposing a break if erratic driving is detected or after two hours of driving above 43mph. Additional features such as road sign display, blind spot monitoring, and automatic headlight adjustment enhance safety. However, despite these measures, the C4 currently scores a four-star rating in Euro NCAP tests, with scores of 80% and 83% in adult and child occupant categories respectively. We expect this to improve in the not too distant future.


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