Family life is tough enough even without having to make a decision on what family car to buy next. While practicality, economy and safety will be at the top of the priorities list – reliability is arguably even more important, but a trickier attribute to measure.

The last thing any motorist wants is a breakdown but the whole experience just gets worse when you’ve got a gaggle of unhappy children in the back seats. That’s why reliability is so key for any car aimed at families and to help you find the right one, we’ve rounded up the most reliable family cars you can buy using data from our 2023 Driver Power survey. 

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Despite the increasingly thorough testing and development processes that new cars are put through, there are no guarantees that any car will be reliable. With information about the experience other motorists have had with the same car from Driver Power – the UK’s biggest car customer satisfaction survey however, we can provide insight into the real-world reliability of new family cars that is unmatched elsewhere. Our list of the most reliable family cars should help you decide which car to go for next.

Our data below reveals the top 10 new family cars for reliability according to the people who own them. The data is based on cars that are available to buy new and owners who’ve owned the car for a year are asked about their satisfaction with standards of exterior and interior build quality and reliability – giving you invaluable tools to go out and buy your next family car. For a longer term look at reliability, our most reliable used family cars page takes data from people after two to seven years of ownership.

Here are the 10 most reliable new family cars in reverse order

10. Volkswagen T-Roc – 96.08%

The T-Roc has made the list as one of the most reliable family cars to buy, albeit slipping down the rankings from third in our 2022 Driver Power survey. As one of the most popular cars currently on the market, Volkswagen has made progress over the years, not only impressing drivers with the sporty style, but also with the cars overall reliability which is resonating well with owners.

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Common faults include electrics, safety kit and interior trim quality, however the T-Roc combats these issues with a warranty that lasts for three-years or 60,000-miles, with the option of extending up to five-years and 90,000-miles.

9. Citroen C4 – 96.28%

The Citroen C4 is the best new car to own, according to those that do, coming out on top in the 2023 Driver Power survey. It’s no surprise, then, that many of its owners are shouting about its overall economy, reasonable running costs, its safety features – and most important, its reliability. 

Owners tell us the C4 is well put together and the overall quality, both interior and exterior, is fantastic. The servicing and maintenance costs are pretty reasonable, so unlikely to break the bank should something go wrong outside of its warranty. 

Citroen offers the C4 with a three-year/60,000-mile fully transferable warranty, with the option to extend for an additional 12 months with flexible monthly plans, to help reduce the overall costs.

8. Kia Ceed – 96.42%

It’s business as usual for the Kia Ceed. Not only does it maintain its eighth position from the most reliable family cars of 2022 with owners championing the family hatchback for its exterior and interior build quality, they also rank it as one of the overall best cars to own, currently on the market. 

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Should any faults occur, Kia offers one of the longest standard warranties of any car manufacturer – 7 years or 100,000-miles – giving new and used owners additional peace of mind.

7. Skoda Kodiaq – 96.46%

A common appearance on the ‘most reliable’ list of the past few years, the Skoda Kodiaq is a dependable family workhorse, and owners are happy to rave about the reliability of their Czech SUV. While it may have slipped down the order from its first place as most reliable family car in the 2022 Driver Power survey, the Skoda’s interior and exterior quality is still loved by its drivers, adding to its ability to compete in the cutthroat family SUV market.

As with any car, the Kodiaq isn’t perfect, however, Skoda offers the Kodiaq with a typical three-year/60,000-mile warranty, with the option to extend for up to five years and have the mileage capped at 100,000 miles.

6. Lexus UX – 96.60%

Lexus has become synonymous with safety, reliability and build quality over the years, the UX being no exception. Owners were keen to tell us that the Lexus UX is really well put together, receiving strong scores when it comes to its overall build quality, engine and gearbox.

Unexpected surprises were few and far between and Lexus’ initial three-year manufacturer warranty should provide confidence for any prospective customer. However, the Japanese brand goes one step further than its rivals, offering an additional 12-months or 10,000-mile warranty for every main dealer service, up to 10-years or 100,000-miles. Additional peace of mind comes in the form of three years, Lexus Roadside Assistance.

5. Nissan Leaf – 96.69%

While the Nissan Leaf didn’t rank particularly highly overall in the 2022 Driver Power survey, owners have come out to commend the Japanese EV for its powertrain, quality and reliability.

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The Leaf comes with a three-year or 60,000-mile warranty (whichever comes first) and owners were reasonably satisfied with the overall running costs – ranking the car in 23rd place overall in that section of the survey. Maintenance is important if you want your car to remain reliable and Nissan offers servicing plans payable in instalments of £20 per month, taking the sting out of the maintenance and servicing costs and offering peace of mind.

4. Lexus NX – 97.20%

Like the UX, the Lexus NX excels in all the expected areas, with owners extremely satisfied with its overall quality, safety and reliability – making the NX an ideal car to withstand day-to-day family life. 

As with all Lexus cars, the NX comes with an initial three-year manufacturer warranty, extended by 12-months or 10,000-miles for every Lexus main dealer service, up to 10-years or 100,000-miles. There’s three years of Lexus roadside assistance included, too.

3. Mazda CX-5 – 97.76%

The Mazda CX-5 is the third most reliable family car you can buy today, with owners championing its build quality and usability.

Owners suggest that the Japanese SUV feels solid and upmarket, with niggles few and far between. CX-5 running costs, such as servicing and maintenance, ranked lower than its rivals, however, Mazda only offers the CX-5 with a standard three-year/60,000-mile warranty.

2. Toyota Prius – 98.13%

The Toyota Prius is a strong contender, not only finishing as runner up as one of the most reliable family cars to buy, but also a commendable fourth place as one of the most reliable cars overall in 2023 – continuing Toyota’s strong reputation for building reliable cars. 

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Toyota’s hybrid system has a proven reputation for being extremely robust, with the Prius regularly racking up hundreds of thousands of miles in the real world as a common taxi vehicle, owners were also impressed with its safety features and running costs.

An initial three-year/60,000-mile warranty may not sound impressive at first, however for every service at a Toyota main dealer can add an extra year of warranty or 10,000 miles up to an impressive 10 years or 100,000 miles.

1. Subaru Outback – 98.70%

Taking the top spot in the most reliable family cars list (as well as being the most reliable car in the survey overall) is the Subaru Outback – with owners commending the Japanese car for its overall build quality, ruggedness and ability to withstand day-to-day family life.

The top six most reliable family cars this year are from Japanese brands, demonstrating that Japanese manufacturers understand how to build a quality car, but also ensure it can continue running day to day.

While some of the Outback’s rivals better Subaru for extended warranties, the ​standard warranty offered by Subaru covers a 3-year/60,000-mile period. However, with the Outback ranking so highly, this should give owners peace of mind from the outset.

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Ryan is responsible for looking after the day-to-day running of the Auto Express website and social media channels. Prior to joining Auto Express in 2023, he worked at a global OEM automotive manufacturer, as well as a specialist automotive PR and marketing agency.

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