Buying a second-hand car can be a daunting prospect, especially when you’re in the market for one with relatively high mileage.
While some will consider a car with 60,000 miles on the clock to be over the hill, others will look at it as barely broken in.
Whatever view you have, you’ll still want to know which models are most likely to keep running faultlessly even with many miles under its belt – and we can help.
Keep on running: This list reveals which 10 second-hand motors (including the Toytoa Avensis pictured) are the most reliable, even after previous keepers have put 60,000 miles on the clock
For those on a tight budget, a new car will be out of the question.
However, the models listed below should offer good reliability even when they’ve been heavily used by a previous owner.
According to What Car?’s reliability survey, these are the cars that are proving to be most dependable, even with more than 60,000 miles covered.
It’s based on the feedback of 18,000 owners of vehicles that have clocked up more than 60k.
Most have an expired new-car warranty, though some are examples where the manufacturer is still covering the cost of repairs.
We’ve listed the top 10 most reliable models, based on the number of reported faults, how long they were off the road and the cost to fix them.
While the data is based on real-world ownership, we still recommend that you do your homework and buy second-hand cars with a full service history and plenty of documentation supporting their background.
And just to ensure you dodge a used-car lemon, we’ve also listed three models that owners said are riddled with problems by the time they’ve hit 60,000 miles.
RELIABLE CARS WITH 60K MILES ON THE CLOCK
10. Toyota RAV4 (2006-2013)
What Car? reliability rating: 81.9%
The Toyota RAV4 is the only SUV to appear in the list. Big 4X4s are synonymous with expensive repair costs, but this one bucks that trend and is still going strong when the mileage ticks past 60,000
It’s not much of a shock to see a Toyota already make an appearance in this list, given the Japanese car maker’s long history of making robust motors.
The RAV4 is a compact family SUV that, in the most part, is still dependable when the mileage racks up.
More than seven in ten (71 per cent) of owners with this 2006 to 2013 model said their 60k-mile example hadn’t suffered a fault in the last 12 months.
Those who did said the most common issue was the brakes and suspension, while engine electrics along with exhaust and fuel system issues were also reported.
Most faulty versions were repaired in a day or less and the repair bills ranged from free to £750.
9. Toyota Avensis (2009-2015)
What Car? reliability rating: 82.3%
There’s a reason why so many taxi and cab services use the Toyota Avensis. It might be a little bland, but it makes up for it with near bullet-proof reliability, even for those with plenty of use
There’s a good reason why you see so many taxi drivers using the Toyota Avensis – the family-size saloon car has always been considered bullet-proof motoring.
While it might not offer the luxury and style of German rivals like the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and VW Passat, far less seems to go wrong with them.
Just 19 per cent of owners of this generation of Avensis reported a fault with their car in the last year. These were either bodywork or gearbox issues.
Three quarters of these were still driveable, though repair costs ranged quite substantially.
For instance, the lowest charge – we imagine to fix some bodywork – was £51 while the priciest item was £1,000, which was likely a new gearbox.
8. Kia Cee’d (2007-2012)
What Car? reliability rating: 83.6%
Even the newest of this generation of Kia Cee’d is outside the Korean brand’s market-leading 7-year warranty, but they’re still proving very dependable with lots of mileage recorded
You might not initially think of reliability when you consider Korean car makers, but fairly recent examples are proving why Hyundai and Kia are willing to offer five and seven-year warranties respectively with their new vehicles.
The Kia Cee’d, according to owners, is proving to be a dependable purchase.
Fewer than a quarter (22 per cent) of examples with 60,000 miles and more on the clock had a reported fault in the last 12 months, with gearbox and clutch issues being most frequent.
Half of these cars were rendered undriveable, though a third were fixed under warranty. Those outside of warranty costs owners up to £500.
7. Honda Civic – petrol (2006-2012)
What Car? reliability rating: 83.7%
Battery issues were the cause of most problems with petrol-powered Honda Civics, though some more expensive defects have been cropping up with those that have covered over 60k
When this generation of the Honda Civic arrived in 2006 it really stood out for the unique design. The sleek shape and spaceship-like interior garnered plenty of attention.
Enough owners reported back in the What? Car reliability survey for the sample to be split between petrol and diesel cars, and it’s the unleaded models that have taken seventh spot in the most reliable list.
Almost one in four (24 per cent) examples with more than 60,000 on the clock have suffered a problem in the last year of ownership, with most of these being battery related – and therefore quick and cheap to fix.
However, some have suffered suspension issues, which might explain why the highest repair cost was £1,500 and almost half of cars with faults were undriveable because of the issue.
6. Skoda Octavia – diesel (2004-2013)
What Car? reliability rating: 85.3%
A high-mileage Skoda Octavia is the ideal large family car for a buyer on a budget – as long as you buy a diesel one
If you want a large, practical family car that’s affordable to purchase second-hand and run, then look no further than the Skoda Octavia.
Like the Toyota Avensis, it’s a mini-cab driver’s favourite, thanks to the acres of space and dependability.
Just a quarter of diesel models with over 60,000 on the odometer suffered a fault in the previous 12 months, with bodywork complaints being most frequent.
However, less common issues also included engine and suspension faults, which might explain why repair bills rose as high as £750.
That said, the vast majority of high-mileage versions could still be driven with the defects they had.
5. BMW 3 Series (2012-2018)
What Car? reliability rating: 88.7%
Finding a second-hand BMW 3 Series with more than 60,000 on the clock isn’t difficult – this is one of the most popular rep mobiles of recent years
Finding a high-mileage 3 Series shouldn’t be difficult – the smallest of BMW family saloons is a popular motor for travelling sales reps and trusted companion of those undertaking long-distance motorway journeys on a weekly basis.
While the model hasn’t always been bathed in glory when it comes to dependability, the previous-generation version is enduring the test of time with flying colours.
According to owners of cars with 60,000 miles or more, just 17 per cent had a fault last year.
The most commonly reported problems are linked to non-engine electrics, including the air conditioning system.
Most cars could still be driven and most were fixed for free under warranty, with only a few repair bills of up to £750 for older variants.
4. Toyota Avensis (2003-2009)
What Car? reliability rating: 89.5%
This Avensis is even older than the one we featured earlier, but testament to Toyota’s robust build quality it is proving to be a super-reliable motor, despite the oldest versions being well over a decade old and clocking up thousands of miles
Wait, you’ve already been told the Toyota Avensis is reliable. However, this isn’t the same model. In fact, it’s older than the generation we featured in the list at number nine.
Incredibly, this 16 year old family saloon is still going strong today, with plenty of owners vouching for it’s unwavering dependability.
Just 14 per cent of all Avensis models of this era were recorded as having a problem last year.
However, most of these concerns were fairly serious, including the engine, engine electrics, fuel system and suspension woes.
Two thirds of cars could still be driven, though, and only a small percentage of repair bills cost between £300 and £500.
3. Ford Focus – diesel (2011-2018)
What Car? reliability rating: 89.6%
Diesel-powered versions of the recently-replaced Ford Focus are getting rave reliability reviews from owners, with a near 90% What Car? reliability rating for 60k-plus cars
Ford treated us to a new Focus hatchback last year that packs more technology than we’ve ever seen before from its flagship hatchback. That said, the previous model is still an accomplished family transporter.
And it’s this recent generation car fitted with diesel engines that are proving super reliable, even when examples have gone beyond 60,000 miles.
Some 18 per cent of diesel Focus models owned by What Car? readers had a problem, with the most frequently reported area of concern being the battery, followed by the engine, fuel system and gearbox.
Half of these vehicles were so new that they were fixed under warranty, though a small percentage racked up repair bills of up to £750.
Still, two thirds were driveable, even with this mechanical gremlins.
2. Honda Civic – diesel (2006-2012)
What Car? reliability rating: 89.8%
We featured petrol-powered Honda Civics earlier in our list, but it’s the diesel variants with 60,000 on the clock that are even more dependable, according to their owners
The petrol-engined Civics have already been covered in this list, but it’s the diesel variants of this particular generation car that have the strongest reliability track record.
Just 15 per cent of all diesel-engined Civics with 60,000 on the clock suffered a problem in the previous year, according to owners.
Battery issues topped the list of problems followed by faults with the air conditioning system, suggesting most frequent gremlins aren’t all that serious.
There were, however, a small number of problems with the brakes, fuel system and interior trim, which might be pricier to repair. That said, almost all cars remained driveable and no repair bill exceeded £300.
1. Ford Fiesta – petrol (2008-2017)
What Car? reliability rating: 89.9%
The Ford Fiesta has been the nation’s favourite new and used car every year for well over a decade. It’s easy to understand why they’re so popular among second-hand motor buyers with reliability records for well-used versions
It’s a fairly fortunate coincidence that the most reliable high-mileage car is also the most-bought model in the country – and has been every year for more than a decade.
There were plenty of owners who took the What Car? reliability survey who had petrol variants of the previous-generation Fiesta at home, and just one in five said they had a problem with theirs last year.
Most of the common faults were small niggles, such as bodywork and non-engine electrics.
The proof of this was that more than three quarters of these cars could still be driven and most were fixed for free under warranty.
Those that were repaired at cost were cheap, with just a handful of bills costing up to £200.
LEAST RELIABLE CARS WITH 60K MILES ON THE CLOCK
3. Volvo XC60 (2008-2017)
What Car? reliability rating: 39.3%
The new Volvo XC60 is arguably one of the best medium-size family SUVs on the market today. But drivers should heed this warning from What Car? when it comes to the previous model with high mileage
While just over a quarter (26 per cent) of XC60s with 60,000 miles clocked up suffered a fault in the previous 12 months, most issues were pricey problems with engine and non-engine electrics, the exhaust system and the suspension.
While virtually all examples could still be driven and some were fixed under warranty, others racked up bills exceeding £1,500.
2. Nissan Qashqai – diesel (2007-2013)
What Car? reliability rating: 30.9%
The Nissan Qashqai is – and has been for over a decade – the UK’s favourite SUV. Diesel versions of the original model with 60k and more on the clock tend to rack up problems, according to owners
Fewer than a quarter of Qashqai diesel owners said their 60K-mile-plus cars had a fault, but the problems that were experienced happened to be multiples.
Defects included dodgy brakes, engines, exhausts, fuel systems, gearboxes, suspension parts, wheels and air conditioning systems.
This faults rendered a third of cars unusable and repair bills often exceeded £1500.
1. Volkswagen Passat (2011-2015)
What Car? reliability rating: 16.6%
The VW Passat is a premium saloon, and the repair bills reflect that. Its 16.6% reliability rating for models with 60,000 miles on the clock is the worst by far
More than two in five (42 per cent) of Passats with 60,000 miles or more covered in their lifetime suffered a fault, according to owners – way more than any other model.
Non-engine electrics were the most frequent gripe, followed by the brakes and engine woes – all of which are pricey to fix.
Around a third of cars were rendered undriveable and some owners were faced with bills of up to £1000.
*prices based on lowest value examples listed on AutoTrader with close to 60,000 miles on the clock
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