There is so much to consider when buying a car. It’s not just daily running costs, yearly tax and MOT that you need to consider. On-going maintenance and reliability are just as important, if not more so than the purchase price. No one wants to be stuck on the side of the road waiting for the RAC to get you going again or a HUGE repair bill when it comes time for your yearly service. Low maintenance and easy to take care of are two qualities to look out for in a car. These five best low maintenance cars have both of those in spades!
Kicking off our list of best low maintenance cars is Skoda’s Citigo. Very much like the Volkswagen Up! this little hatch has the biggest issues with its air conditioning. Average repair costs each year run to around £168. Aside from the aircon, watch out for brakes which could push repairs up to around £187 and the timing belt which will hit your pocket for a cool £451.
The Citigo’s all-electric sister, the Citigo-e iV is even cheaper to run. With fewer moving parts, maintenance and repairs tend to sting less too. Being that the Citigo-e is a newer model, your repairs and services will be fixed with Skoda’s pricing and covered by your new car warranty.
Mercedes Benz is well known for its exceptional engineering and their little A-Class hatchback is no exception. As one of the UK’s favoured luxury cars, it’s easy to see why when we take a look at average maintenance costs. Tallying up regular servicing, MOT and unexpected repairs, Mercedes A-Class drivers can expect to pay a mere £289 a year to keep their wheels ship-shape.
The little A-Class is best in the third generation models and it received some efficiency upgrades. The most common problems appear to be the electrics and older models have seen a series of recalls. Faulty airbags were the cause of the first re-call in 2013, oil leaks from the engine had owners taking their A-Class back for more work in January 2015 and in July of the same year, drive shafts needed inspecting for issues.
If you’re a fan of a Mini, a countryman is one of the most durable models available. Just 10% of owners surveyed had experienced problems with their wheels in the past 12 months and a third of issues were able to be fixed in the same day. You can expect good mileage and you shouldn’t need to pay for maintenance every few months like other cars. The first oil change isn’t needed until it’s reached its second birthday.
When things do go wrong, it can cost a pretty penny, so if you are looking at buying a used mini, do your due diligence. That means asking for a full-service history and even getting an HPI check before parting with any cash.
If you need something a little larger than a hatch, Dacia’s Duster is a good bet. It’s one of the most reliable 2WD SUVs on the road today with just 8% of owners surveyed having problems with their wheels in the past 12 months. Fuel efficiency is good for the size and repairs tend to be quick without affecting drivability. As for the kind of issues you might expect, bodywork, engine problems and electrics were top concerns for owners who did experience difficulties.
An MOT will set you back around £120 but additional yearly repairs are unlikely if you take good care of your wheels. It’s worth noting that insurance on the Duster tends to be considerably lower than its rivals Seat Ateca and Kia Sportage.
Suzuki’s Swift offers sporty handling and a low purchase price that also translates to lower maintenance fees. It’s a three-star Euro NCAP rating for safety and it usually ranks within the top 20 UK cars for reliability too. Reliability and maintenance needs tend to go hand in hand, showing that the Swift is relatively budget friendly.
Owners tend to rate their Swifts as fairly problem-free. Common complaints such as squeaking suspension is fairly easy to fix with a replacement bush or suspension arm and engines are described as ‘bullet proof’ by What Car? In an average year, you can expect the total for the MOT, full service, interim service and an aircon re-gas to set you back around £380 according to Who Can Fix My Car’s research.
One of the smallest cars on the UK market also comes with the smallest maintenance costs too. The engines are pretty reliable and most complaints are about the coolant system. Replacement parts are affordable and it shows in the average maintenance costs. An MOT, full service and unexpected repairs will put you out of pocket by a measly £255.
However, if safety is also high on your list, the Punto isn’t the car for you. It received the lowest score possible in the Euro NCAP test – zero stars and a better score for pedestrians in the event of a crash than adult drivers. We’re all for reliable and easy to take care of wheels, but safety should come first.
Although the Punto is the undeniable winner in terms of the best low maintenance cars, the same can’t be said about safety, so we can’t give it our number one spot. Instead, that goes to Vauxhall’s Corsa. This little car blends performance, comfort, economy and, of course, safety perfectly. It’s a reliable set of wheels that will set you back in yearly maintenance somewhere around £375 per year – that’s your MOT, two services and an aircon re-gas, should she need it.
Euro NCAP gave her a four-star rating in 2019 and it’s been one of the UK’s top ten sellers for almost thirty years. That’s gotta say something! So in good conscience, the Corsa gets the number one spot for our list of best low-maintenance cars. There are a few on our marketplace too, so you can check if there are any well-looked after models in your area.
As might be expected, the smaller the car, the smaller the maintenance costs tend to be. When it comes to choosing the right vehicle for you, it’s definitely a balancing act between a number of factors. We’d recommend you always consider safety along with maintenance, reliability and running costs.