The Which? report – Driving a Bargain – sampled more than 30,000 cars up to eight years old. Among the 12 vehicles that Which? recommends avoiding are the previous generation Vauxhall Vectra, the Omega, Peugeot's 406 and the Ford Galaxy/ SEAT Alhambra/Volkswagen Sharan MPVs.
It also highlights the best used buys which include the Toyota Yaris and Ford Focus in the under £5,000 range; Audi A4, Honda Accord and Nissan Almera Tino in the £5,000 to £10,000 range; Mini, Mercedes-Benz E-class and Lexus IS200 in the £10,000 to £15,000 range and nearly-new Jaguar X-type and Audi A3 in the £15,000 to £20,000 range.
Which? top 12 worst buys
CITROEN Saxo: 'Doesn't make the grade for safety or security, wanting in a host of performance areas.'
Peugeot 106: 'Unable to compete with newer superminis on safety, security or driving experience.'
Mitsubishi Carisma: 'Frugal on fuel but owners simply do not enjoy driving them.' Fiat Brava/Bravo: 'Avoid buying. Few owners recommend that their friends buy one.' Vauxhall Vectra (Oct 1995 – June 2002): 'Lots of problems and faults.'
Vauxhall Omega: 'Poor reliability, high depreciation and many faults.'
Peugeot 406: 'Trouble spots so numerous, it's almost certain to let you down.'
Ford Galaxy/Volkswagen Sharan/Seat Alhambra: 'Essentially the same multi-purpose vehicle and share very poor ratings for reliability. Steer clear of them all.'
Renault Laguna: 'Has an exceptionally poor reliability record.'