What are the best cars to own?

If you’re in the process of deciding your next lease car it can be difficult to figure out where to start. Regardless of what kind of car you need there can be so many options that it’s hard to narrow them down to a few possibilities. Thankfully, there is a way to help with the decision: The 2023 AutoExpress Driver Power Survey.

Each year, thousands of owners take part, reporting back on the cars they’ve been driving over the last two years.

Drivers can leave detailed feedback on a wide range of categories covering everything from how comfortable they are, to how fast they accelerate, how well they handle, and if they can be depended on to start first time. These results can give you a good idea of what life is really like with these models over the course of a typical lease period.

The survey lists the top 75 cars available for you to lease in the UK right now.

If you’re on the lookout for your next car to lease we’ve had a look through this year’s results to find the best options. Whether you’re looking for a little city car, a big SUV, or something sporty to put a smile on your face, these are the ones Auto Express drivers rated.


Best city car: Kia Picanto

The city car segment used to be an incredibly busy one but over the last few years it does seem to have shrunk a little, possibly down to the rise in EVs which can go some way to cancelling out the running cost advantages of a small car. There are many reasons why people could choose a city car beyond running costs though. If you are still on the lookout for something small and cute then the Kia Picanto is currently the best one to go for.

Amongst the city cars, it ranks highly on value for money, fuel economy, and servicing despite only placing 25th overall. It seems drivers are not just enamoured with the running costs as the little Kia also ticks a lot of boxes for safety features, reliability, the stylish interior, and overall build quality. Its closest rival, the Toyota Aygo, could only manage 67th on the list so it’s clear the Kia Picanto has a lot to offer.  You can lease the Kia Picanto here.


Best supermini: BMW i3

It’s a little bit ironic that the year the BMW i3 tops the supermini category is the year BMW decided to end production of its first electric production car. Essentially, that means this could be your last chance to get hold of one. The i3 was up against some serious competition from the likes of Kia, MINI, Citroen, Honda, and Toyota. What may have tipped the balance in favour of the little BMW is the fact it makes more use of electricity than some of those rivals.

The BMW scored highly enough to push last year’s winner, the Kia Rio, down into second place. Placing 13th overall, the BMW i3 only falls down in the practicality and space, and ride and handling categories, but it more than makes up for it in terms of comfort, reliability, equipment levels, and running costs. That achievement is all the more impressive when you realise that all of the superminis the BMW was up against finished in the top half of the table.


Best compact family car: Citroen C4

Given it’s the car that topped the entire poll it’s inevitable that the Citroen C4 leads the way in its class too. And it didn’t just win the class, it won it by a comfortable margin ahead of quality contenders as the Toyota Prius, Kia Ceed and Hyundai Ioniq.

With an overall score of 93% it's clear that the Citroen C4 doesn’t really have any weaknesses. The lowest scores were for interior comfort and the infotainment system, but we doubt they’ll be low enough for anyone to actually be concerned. The C4 scored highly in every single category so it seems the Citroen is definitely the one to lease in this sector of the market.


Best family car: Kia EV6

Kia’s EV6 has been winning awards since it first appeared so it’s no surprise to see it score so highly. An overall 7th place finish is more than enough to see the EV6 top the family car class. The fact it's fully electric adds an extra bonus too. The EV6 delivers high scores for engine and gearbox smoothness and acceleration, as well as for styling inside and out. It also scores very well on rear legroom and its handy cabin storage. It falls down a little on boot space and overall build quality, but clearly not enough to upset the current crop of drivers. Here are our lease offers on the Kia EV6.


Best mid-to-large SUV: Kia Sorento

With 18 cars to choose from it’s a crowded category - but again those Auto Express readers love a Kia. And so do we! Overall, the the Kia Sorento placed second and was a clear winner with other options from Subaru and Mazda  making it into the top 10.

At the top of the standings, the Sorento scores highly for safety features, exterior style, and infotainment. It’s also well regarded for its practicality, ride quality, and reliability. Where it does fall down is on engine and gearbox options and running costs. Having said that, any big SUV is likely to struggle on fuel economy as it’s the nature of the beast. As long as you can accept the slightly higher fuel bills, the Kia Sorento definitely offers enough to keep most drivers very happy.


Best premium mid-to-large SUV: Lexus RX

With the Lexus RX finishing third overall in the 2023 survey, it’s no great surprise to find it leading the premium mid-to-large SUV category, too. After that you have to go all the way down to the 17th placed Polestar 2 to find the next best option.

To finish in 2nd place overall while the rest of the category struggles to make it to mid-table, the Lexus RX is clearly doing something right. In fact, with the exception of running costs, infotainment, and value, it appears to be doing a lot of things right. Current drivers are clearly very pleased with almost every aspect of the Lexus so if you’re leaning in the direction of a premium SUV the RX is obviously the one to choose for your next lease.


Best executive car: Tesla Model 3

After a top-10 finish last year hopes were high for Tesla’s Model 3 saloon to repeat the trick. In fact, it actually dropped down to 22nd overall but it still managed to finish well clear of its more traditional rivals from Mercedes, BMW, and Audi. What was once the preserve of the German prestige cars is now a much broader category with a lot more options.

The Tesla scores very highly for its smooth electric powertrain, and obviously a free pass in terms of mpg means it’s hard to beat on running costs. It also scored particularly well on servicing (first place) and insurance costs (16th place) compared with its rivals. In comparison, the Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5 Series are ranked 72nd and 73rd respectively. It does fall down on exterior styling and build quality, but overall, it’s easily the best option in its class. Lease your electric Tesla Model 3 here.


Best sports car: Toyota GR Yaris

The sports-car class is one of the hardest to judge. All the usual criteria of build quality, equipment levels, running costs, and so on, are totally irrelevant in a category that places performance and handling above everything else. That’s the reason the utterly brilliant Toyota GR Yaris walked away with the title despite only placing 68th overall.

That result has more to do with the way the Driver Power survey is constructed rather than any particular issues with the contenders. The GR Yaris handles brilliantly, approaches the horizon at ridiculous speed for such a small car, and puts an enormous smile on the face of everyone that gets behind the wheel. Owners scored it in the top three for its road handling, braking response, and driving pleasure. Frankly, that’s all that really matters.

No matter what category of car you’re looking to lease, the AutoExpress Driver Power Survey is a great way to help you narrow the field. Once you’ve done that part you can leave it to us to get you a great deal on your next lease car.

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