Peugeot 207 The Peugeot 207 has been revealed as the most reliable used car. According to research by Warranty Direct, only 6 per cent of Peugeot 207s break down in an average year – that’s just one in 17.

The Fiat Panda is the second most reliable, with only 14 per cent of owners likely to have to pay for repairs. This is followed by the Peugeot 206 CC, which, as well as needing relatively little attention, is cheap to repair when it does go wrong, costing an average £185 to repair.

Warranty Direct analysed more than 20,000 policies on European cars aged between three and seven years, to measure their overall reliability and running costs, including rate of failure, average mileage, age and repair cost.

Warranty Direct’s Duncan McClure Fisher said: “Some people might be surprised to see Fiat and Peugeot claiming the top three positions, but the data doesn’t lie – these cars are very dependable – It’s perhaps less surprising to see a couple of VWs in the top 10.

“Running a car is a costly business, particularly when a car moves into its fourth and fifth year, when most cars leave the protection of a manufacturer warranty. Anything that gives a little extra peace of mind, like getting further warranty cover or simply doing research about the car you’re buying, is worthwhile.”

At the other end of the scale, 47 per cent of the Mercedes SL models covered by Warranty Direct recorded a fault making it the least reliable car, with 36 per cent of those problems suspension-related.

The Renault Clio is the cheapest used car to repair, costing an average £173, while the most expensive single claim among the bottom five cars was £7,239 for a BMW 7 Series fault.

Top 10 most reliable European cars

Reliability Index Rating / Incident Rate / Average Repair Cost (£)
1. Peugeot 207 (2006 – ): 22 / 6% / £331.92
2. Fiat Panda (2004 – ): 28 / 14% / £195.95
3. Peugeot 206 CC (2000 – 2007): 32 / 17% / £185.40
4. Volkswagen Polo (2005 – ): 35 / 18% / £190.48
5. Renault Clio (2005 – ): 36 / 21% / £173.40
6. Volkswagen Beetle (1999 – ): 39 / 20% / £198.25
7 Smart Forfour (2004 – 2007): 48 / 25% / £194.67
8. Volvo S40 (2004 – ): 51 / 23% / £223.13
9. Peugeot 107 (2005 – ): 54 / 21% / £248.46
10. Mercedes SLK (1996 – 2004): 55 / 18% / £296.73

Top 5 least reliable European cars

Reliability Index Rating / Incident Rate / Average Repair Cost (£)
1. Mercedes SL (2002 – ): 349 / 47% / £742.10
2. Range Rover (2002 – ): 264 / 53% / 499.43
3. Renault Espace (2002 – ): 264 / 54% / 491.26
4. Mercedes S-Class (2006 – ): 239 / 47% / 505.22
5. BMW 7 Series (2001 – 2008): 232 / 45% / 514.40

By Rhian Angharad Jones