Top 10 most reliable small cars to buy 2022

We reveal the most reliable small cars you can buy according to the 2022 Driver Power survey

If you’re buying a small car, this may be because you want to keep running costs down, but any savings you make will quickly disappear if it’s always in the garage. If you truly want to own the most cost-effective small car, it needs to be reliable.

Our Driver Power customer satisfaction survey is where you can tell us all about the car you own - good and bad. Thousands of motorists do so every year and the result is an invaluable resource for anyone looking at buying a car today. 

The small cars included here are drawn from the city car, supermini, small SUV, and premium small SUV sectors and we’re looking at the combined scores owners provided for general reliability and build quality. 

Here are the top 10 most reliable small cars in reverse order…

10. Volvo XC40 - 93.69%

The Volvo XC40 is enjoying its third appearance on this list, after placing fourth last year and first in 2020. Owners continue to be satisfied by this premium small SUV (the only one appearing in this top 10), with build quality being a particular strongpoint of XC40 ownership. Indeed, 24 per cent of owners reported electrical gremlins but these should be covered by the three-year/60,000 mile warranty in most cases.

9. Kia Niro - 93.74%

The Kia Niro is another car to find itself on this list for the third time, after ranking eighth in both 2020 and 2021. Kia has been an increasingly successful brand in terms of reliability, with four of its cars appearing in this year’s list, more than any other brand. Even though the Mk1 Niro’s production is now coming to an end, it continues to provide stress-free motoring for the vast majority of owners.

8. Kia Picanto - 93.92%

The only city car to make this list is also the ‘best to own’ in its class. The Kia Picanto seems to perform just as well as its much larger siblings when it comes to quality, with less than 17 per cent of owners reporting a fault of any kind. Out of the relatively small number of faults experienced, 23 per cent related to electrical systems.

7. Honda Jazz - 93.95%

The practical Honda Jazz supermini is another regular in the most reliable small car rankings, and is also boasting its third year on this list. The difference this year, though, is that the newer Mk4 model is now carrying the torch. Little over 10 per cent of owners have experienced a problem with their new Jazz, however a notable majority of the issues that did occur related to the electrical systems. Such issues could be a cause for concern, but these should still prove rather rare, and the Jazz performed very strongly in all other areas.

6. Renault Captur - 94.27%

The first Captur was a huge success for Renault, and has put the brand in a very strong position within the highly popular small SUV market. The second generation of Captur has been upgraded in all the right places and, as a result, now has great reliability under its belt. Only 13.30 per cent of owners claimed to have experienced a fault.

5. Kia e-Niro - 94.36%

Most people would probably agree that fitting a car with fewer complex moving parts should go towards making it more reliable, and this is certainly the case with the all-electric e-Niro. Although both versions of the Niro are proving to be dependable, the e-Niro just has the edge with an overall reliability score of 94.36 per cent. 

4. Kia Rio - 94.45%

Last year’s most reliable supermini has just fallen short of holding on to the title this time around, but the Kia Rio has still performed impressively with a score of 94.45 per cent. The engine and gearbox seemed to suffer from the more severe issues that were encountered by owners, however these are uncommon and should be covered by the brand’s 7-year/100,000-mile warranty.

3. MINI Hatchback - 95.48%

One of the only new entries on to the list is the MINI Hatchback. The F55, F56 and F57 generation cars are certainly giving reassuring signs that the brand is committed to improving the build quality of its cars, with only 12.10% of owners reporting an issue. The MINI seems to be strong both mechanically and electronically, but interior trim and safety equipment concerns do let it down in some cases.

2. Kia XCeed - 95.56%

This year’s ‘best car to own’, the Kia XCeed, just loses out to last year’s winner when it comes to reliability. The small number of owners who experienced an issue have highlighted the engine as a more common cause of problems. That said, these issues are something of a rarity and should be resolved under warranty. All other areas of the car are holding up very well.

1. Hyundai Kona - 95.71%

Last year, the Kona took the title of ‘best car to own’, and while it may have just lost out on that title this time around, this small SUV is still proving to be a solid purchase. Despite being a more affordable small car, the build quality of the Kona is especially good. What’s more is that you can even enjoy the Kona’s reliability across a variety of different drivetrains, including a full-hybrid and an all-electric model.

Most reliable small cars top 20

Below you’ll find the full list of Driver Power’s 20 most reliable small cars for 2022…

Ranking

Model

Class

Reliability Score

1

Hyundai Kona Mk1 (OS)

Small SUV

95.71%

2

Kia XCeed MK3 (CD)

Small SUV

95.56%

3

MINI Hatchback F55/F56/F57

Supermini

95.48%

4

Kia Rio Mk4 (YB)

Supermini

94.45%

5

Kia e-Niro Mk1 (DE)

Small SUV

94.36%

6

Renault Captur Mk2

Small SUV

94.27%

7

Honda Jazz Mk4 (GK/GH/GP)

Supermini

93.95%

8

Kia Picanto Mk3 (JA)

City Car

93.92%

9

Kia Niro Mk1 (DE)

Small SUV

93.74%

10

Volvo XC40 Mk1 (536)

Premium Small SUV

93.69%

11

Toyota Yaris Mk4 (YA7) (XP210)

Supermini

92.81%

12

Peugeot 2008 Mk2 (Ph1) (P1)

Small SUV

92.59%

13

Ford Ecosport Mk1 (B515)

Small SUV

92.39%

14

Mercedes-Benz GLA H247

Premium Small SUV

92.00%

15

Ford Puma Mk1 (BX726)

Small SUV

91.99%

16

Dacia Duster MK2 (HJD)

Small SUV

91.87%

17

Audi Q3 Mk2 (F3) (Q3)

Premium Small SUV

91.83%

18

Peugeot 208 Mk2 (Ph1) (P2)

Supermini

91.51%

19

Toyota Aygo Mk2 (AY2)

City Car

91.47%

20

Kia Stonic Mk1 (YB CUV)

Small SUV

90.73%

Click below to see the most reliable cars by sector...

Click here to take our Driver Power customer satisfaction survey...

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