How to choose the most reliable supermini

Mazda dealership servicing area

Checking whether the car you want to buy should be reliable is easy to do (Picture © Mazda)

It used to be one of the most difficult questions to answer for a car buyer – what is the most reliable car money can buy? Yet is has always been one of the most important too, as no driver wants to invest their hard-earned cash in a car that’s going to be as temperamental as a toddler. 

Fortunately, it is possible to build a picture of which are Britain’s most reliable cars. Auto Express and What Car?, two of the biggest consumer brands for the motorist, turn to their readers each year and ask them how they find living with their car.

Thousands of drivers take part in the customer satisfaction surveys, and with both Auto Express’ Driver Power and What Car’s JD Power, browsing the most reliable cars overall can be done with a simple click of the mouse button.

Of all the types of car on sale, superminis – small, sensible and affordable hatchbacks to you and me – are by far the most popular, outselling all other types. These, then, are Britain’s most reliable superminis, according to the thousands of vehicle owners who took part in the two biggest surveys of their kind.

Most reliable supermini: Auto Express readers say it is the Hyundai i10

Hyundai i10 is the most reliable supermini, according to Auto Express readers

Hyundai i10 is the most reliable supermini, according to Auto Express readers (Picture © Hyundai)

If you’re looking for a reliable supermini, look no further than the Hyundai i10. The small, affordable car (prices start from £8,705 for a new model) topped the lot when it came to small cars, according to the results of the 2015 Driver Power survey.

More than 61,000 British motorists took part, providing exhaustive data on over 200 different models of car. That makes it the most authoritative consumer satisfaction survey of its kind. Overall, the Hyundai i10 was the fourth most reliable car, and the most reliable supermini.

Owners of the i10, on sale since 2013, probably won’t be surprised to learn this. The small hatchback is not only affordable to buy, economical on fuel and surprisingly practical to live with, but comes with a five-year warranty. Only Kia and Toyota can match or improve on this offer, and it suggests that Hyundai has sufficient confidence in the robust construction of its cars to provide drivers with an extra two years’ worth of warranty cover over big-selling competitor cars, including rivals from Ford, Vauxhall and Volkswagen.

Finishing in second and third place respectively for their reliability performance were the Mini hatchback (the third-generation model) and the MG MG3 (the first-generation version).

Most reliable supermini: What Car? readers say it is the Mazda2

Mazda2 is most reliable supermini according to What Car? readers

What Car? readers say Mazda2 is the most reliable small car (Picture © Mazda)

Although its survey is not as robust as Auto Express’ Driver Power, the 2014 What Car? JD Power survey took in detailed scores and feedback from more than 15,500 drivers, who had driven a collective 331 million miles, so its results are not to be sniffed at. And taking the top step of the podium as the most reliable supermini was the Mazda2.

In fact, the Mazda2 performed so well when it came to teething troubles that it proved to be the second most reliable car overall in the survey of car owners. Snapping at its heels, however, was the slightly smaller Volkswagen Up!, which was the third most reliable car overall, followed by the Hyundai i10 in fifth position – in itself a reassuring prospect, as that mirrors the Hyundai’s impressive performance in the 2015 Auto Express Driver Power survey.

The Mazda2 is similar in size and price to the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo, and the latest model costs from £11,995. However, it was the previous generation of Mazda2 that What Car’s readers rated so highly – so only time will tell whether the new version can live up to its predecessor’s reputation for reliability.

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Most reliable superminis: Honda Jazz tops Warranty Direct’s “reliability index”

Another helpful source of information when checking car’s reliability is the Reliability Index compiled by Warranty Direct. The company is a provider of warranties for used cars, and releases data from its policies, based on the number of times a car fails, the cost of repairing it, and the average time spent off the road due to repairs. It says that the Honda Jazz is the most reliable small car, something that has been reflected in past years with both the Auto Express Driver Power and What Car? JD Power surveys.

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