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Top 5 Best and Most Reliable Used Cars to Buy

Discover these 5 car models that have been revealed as some of the most reliable cars by one of the biggest automotive surveys in Europe.
close up of a person's hand on a steering wheel

Ever wondered what are the best cars to buy used? When it comes to buying used cars, it's definitely a good idea to pick those that will keep going even after years of use and still be reliable.

For our car traders, choosing a reliable car is an excellent investment, both financially and also in terms of providing great customer service. After all, selling a used car with a superior reliability record will mean your customers will come back for more. The most reliable used cars will break down less often, which makes buying and selling them very profitable in the long run.

But how do you know which ones are the most reliable cars, except for first or second-hand experiences you hear from your friends or other car traders? Thankfully, we don't have to keep wondering. Data to the rescue!

To try and help you decide which are the best used cars to buy, we've rounded up the most reliable used cars according to OCU's latest survey data in five different European countries - Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, and Italy.

Who is OCU anyway? OCU is the Organisation of Consumers and Users in Spain that currently has more than 305,000 members and carries out an annual survey on vehicle reliability and satisfaction for the European market. In 2022, exactly 52,430 people took part in this survey.


What are the most reliable used cars to buy?

“All of the participants indicated their car model, the breakdowns they had suffered since they bought it, and their level of satisfaction with the vehicle”, states OCU in their report.

In total, OCU gathered information on 326 models in 523 versions with different engines. To evaluate reliability, the survey took into account: 1) the number of breakdowns and 2) their severity.

The beauty of OCU’s survey is that it allows us to get a real-life look into the long-term reliability of vehicles. This data is invaluable because no road test will ever come close to the conglomerative experience of thousands of drivers. Thanks to all these car owners, we can take this data as a fact and help traders find the most reliable used cars that will help their businesses grow.

We’ve selected cars from OCU’s survey that are really popular amongst our traders and in the markets where eCarsTrade is present. Read on to discover the top 5 best used cars to buy based on their reliability score.

Top 5 most reliable used cars our traders buy at eCarsTrade

1. Volkswagen T-Roc

2. Audi Q3

3. Toyota Corolla

4. Toyota RAV-4

5. Skoda Octavia


1. Volkswagen T-Roc
blue used volkswagen t-roc for sale at ecarstrade

The Volkswagen T-Roc is basically an SUV version of its much more famous sibling, the Volkswagen Golf. It’s still a Golf at heart, though. While it may look off-road-y, it definitely feels more at home on easy roads. The T-Roc was made to be practical, affordable, and look a bit more “fun” than the VW Golf.

The T-Roc is currently extremely popular in Europe. It was the no.1 top selling car in July and August 2022 cummulatively on these European markets - Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland. Number of units sold in 2021 amounted to a whopping 181,000 in 2021, and its popularity continues to grow in 2022.

In the OCU survey, the 1,600cc T-Roc comes in first as the most reliable car in the diesel category. Pairing reliability with popularity, this is certainly a model that we will see a lot on the used car market and one that could be easily sold onwards.

Buy used Volkswagen T-Roc at eCarsTrade.

2. Audi Q3
gray used audi q3 for sale at ecarstrade

The Audi Q3 leads OCU’s list as the most reliable gasoline car. This small luxury SUV offers style, technology, and excellent handling. 

The Q3 has been on the market since 2015 and interestingly, this is one of our top-selling cars for our Italian market. If you’re a trader from Italy or dealing with the Italian market, definitely look into this car. In 2021, more than 92k units of Q3 were sold across major European markets.

Like Volkswagen, Audi is one of those brands that just screams reliability. It’s worth investing in this brand - particularty the popular Q3 - as a trader who is looking into cars that won’t break down easily and that your clients could be happy with for years to come (and come back for more).

Despite technically being an SUV, most people wouldn’t think to take this Audi off-road anyway. Its focus is still on providing a smooth riding experience on easy roads. Its competition includes the BMW X1, Nissan Qashqai, Skoda Karoq, and VW Tiguan.

Buy used Audi Q3 at eCarsTrade.

3. Toyota Corolla
gray used toyota corolla for sale at ecarstrade

Meet Toyota Corolla - the world's best-selling car for 48 years straight, and one of eCarsTrade bestsellers as well.

The Corolla is a cult favorite family hatchback that offers fantastic build quality, a smooth ride, practicality, and reliability. This hybrid powertrain perfectly combines economy and performance.

If Toyota is famous for anything, it's their outstanding reliability and refusal to break down. Does anyone remember the iconic episode of Top Gear when they try to destroy a Toyota Hilux and desperately fail? That pretty much sums up just how seriously Toyota takes reliability. 

Every Toyota is covered by a 5-year / 150,000 km manufacturer warranty that can be renewed to cover extra years or more kilometres. This can be continuously renewed for up to 15 years if service is done with a Toyota specialist. Why do we even mention this? Because cars we sell on eCarsTrade are never older than 5 years, which means that the Toyotas will still be covered by their original warranty. This is great news for you as a car trader! No extra work and ultimate customer satisfaction.

Buy used Toyota Corolla at eCarsTrade.

4. Toyota RAV-4
metallic gray blue used toyota rav4 for sale at ecarstrade

Another bullet point, another Toyota. This time the RAV-4 - another staple from the Japanese manufacturer. 

Specifically, the 2013-2018 model made OCU's list of most reliable cars in the petrol hybrid category. This crossover SUV combines practicality with hybrid technology and the world-famous reputation of reliability (seriously, you need to check that Top Gear video).

European markets where SUVs are most popular and where you could quickly flip the RAV-4 for a profit are Belgium, France and Germany, among others. Additionally, the RAV-4 was 2021’s best-selling car in the world. So if you want to expand your fleet with this super popular SUV that's big on reliability and longevity, the RAV4 is a strong choice. 

Toyota provides a three-year warranty with the opportunity to extend the cover if you get the car serviced at an authorized Toyota repair shop - up to a total of ten years and/or 150,000 km. Why do we mention this? Because cars we sell on eCarsTrade are never older than 5 years, which means that the Toyotas we sell will still be covered by their original warranty. This is great news for you as a car trader! No extra work on warranties and ultimate customer satisfaction.

Buy used Toyota RAV-4 at eCarsTrade.

5. Skoda Octavia
gray used skoda octavia for sale at ecarstrade

This wouldn’t be a proper “best and most reliable used cars” list without mentioning everyone’s favorite practical car, Skoda Octavia. The model that made OCU’s reliability list is the 2013-2020 one.

The Octavia has been Skoda’s best-selling model since way back in the mid-90s. Known for its practicality, reliability, and generous space, it’s still hugely popular as a family or business car.

Like Toyota, Skoda has a strong reputation for making reliable cars that will last for years. Its popularity is the most significant in Central Europe, with Germany, Poland and Czech Republic as Skoda’s biggest markets by number of sales. Skoda is also popular in France, Italy and Spain.

Octavia is in fact so popular that it was one of the top selling cars in most of European car markets multiple times during 2021. The Octavia is one of those car that you see everywhere, and for a good reason. And that means that traders should definitely have a few of these in their stock.

Buy used Skoda Octavia at eCarsTrade.

Which are the best cars to buy used?

In interesting outcome of OCU’s 2022 survey on most reliable cars is that Japanese car manufacturers lead the list by a considerable majority, with Lexus, Subaru, and Toyota at the forefront of the reliability index.
OCU 2022 survey on most reliable cars in Europe


OCU’s survey confirmed the amazing reliability of gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles and better than that of fuel and electric cars. The Lexus IS hybrid, and Toyota Corolla hybrid lead this example, with very low failure rates. 

From the diesel category, the most reliable car is the Volkswagen T-Roc, and the Audi Q3 wins first place in the gasoline category. 

There you have it, our shorlist of the best used cars to buy in 2022. After all, it’s all about reliability and profitability in the long run, especially for our car traders who want to keep customer satisfaction as their ultimate goal. Good cars mean happy clients. And happy clients turn into returning clients.

And the best part is - you can find all of these cars at eCarsTrade! Register now and browse thousands of cars in our online auctions or buy them directly from our own stock.


eCarsTrade offers online auto auctions of ex-lease vehicles from Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Germany, with a complete maintenance history. We guarantee the quality of our vehicles, and a fast, simple and transparent purchasing process with fixed commission costs. We work with both European and international used car dealers and traders. Our dedicated managers are always here to help you with any questions!

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