Few things will ruin your day faster than a car that won’t run. Ok, being struck by a meteor would probably be worse, but the point is that mechanical failure is a real drag, and it’s far more likely than getting head-butted by an asteroid.
Overall, vehicle reliability is much better than it was 20 years ago, but there are a select few people-carriers that rise to the top. If you’re on the prowl for a new car, look no further, because we’re listing 10 of the most reliable cars on the market today. And we do mean cars specifically, because we’re saving trucks, SUVs, and the like for another list.
Just how do we judge reliability? We’ve gleaned our data from a variety of sources, including J.D. Power’s Dependability Studies, Consumer Reports’ reliability rankings, and our very own noggins, and we’ve included vehicles with healthy current ratings as well as those with impressive scores over the last few years. In no particular order, these are the most trustworthy rides you can buy.
It should be no surprise to see Lexus make an early appearance on our list, because the Japanese brand’s reputation for quality has been well-earned. Want proof? 2016 was the fifth consecutive year the automaker topped J.D. Power’s coveted Dependability Ratings list, with three of its products winning their respective categories.
Specifically, the ES — which comes in ES 350 and ES 300h guises in the United States — has scored particularly well recently due to its bulletproof construction and overall consistency. Its competitors may be more engaging behind the wheel, but if you’re after a comfy ride that won’t leave you hanging on the side of the road, the Lexus ES could be just what the doctor ordered.
The phrase “good things come in small packages” might as well have been written for the plucky Honda Fit. It may be petite, but the car offers a shocking amount of rear legroom and cargo volume for its size, so much so that it makes physics professors blush. Perhaps the best part, though, is that its owners have confidence that the five-door will start every time they turn the key.
Honda’s reliability ratings have historically been rock solid, but the cherry on top is that if they do break down, the company’s products are generally less expensive to fix than the competition. Hondas also hold their
value quite well, which makes the Fit a great choice for new car buyers and small families alike. Read our full 2015 Honda Fit EX-L review.
German cars often get a bad rap in terms of dependability, but in recent years, that stigma has become outdated. J.D. Power’s 2015 Vehicle Dependability Study showed that after three years of ownership, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi owners reported fewer problems per 100 vehicles than the industry average, and that’s great news for drivers that appreciate intuitive tech, rousing performance, and classy styling.
The Audi A4 embodies all of those qualities in a safe, trustworthy package, which makes sense given it’s Audi’s best-selling car. Admittedly it wasn’t always this way, as Consumer Reports once labeled the brand “a sinkhole of service problems,” but the A4’s sturdy engineering is evidence of the carmaker’s improvements. Read more.
Believe it or not, Porsche is right up there with Lexus in terms of vehicle reliability. Yeah, we did a double-take, too. That’s an incredibly impressive feat for a brand that primarily makes sports cars, especially when you consider the amount of stress these high-performance machines are under.
The Boxster may be on the low end of the Porsche hierarchy in terms of track capabilities, but it’s certainly no slouch and it makes up for it with consistency. So long as you adhere to Porsche’s admittedly strict maintenance schedule, the mid-engined two-door will keep purring as long as you will.
Toyota Motor Corporation is back on our list, but instead of being under the Lexus banner, it’s Toyota proper’s time to shine with the trend-setting Prius. One of the most fuel-efficient cars in the world, the hybrid has been racking up reliability trophies for years, and the latest iteration has added improved interior materials and engaging driving dynamics to an already winning formula.
The Prius comes in a variety of variations, but no matter which model you choose, rest assured that you’re getting a quality product. The 2013 Prius V recently won J.D. Power’s three-year Dependability Award for compact multi-purpose vehicles, and the 2016 Prius C garnered Consumer Reports’ Most Reliable prize for subcompact cars. Read more.
Subaru is known for making rugged, practical automobiles that can take its customers just about anywhere they want to go, and the manufacturer’s penchant for toughness is quite relevant for our purposes here.
For the price, the Impreza is roomy, comfortable, and in typical Subaru fashion, fitted with the latest and greatest in safety tech. Turbocharged models like the WRX STI offer a more thrilling ride, but high-performance options generally burn more oil and suffer from more prominent mechanical issues. So while it won’t win many races, the Impreza will always have your back, and that’s what really matters.
Korean cars were once known as cheap, sluggish, and uninspired machines suited for basic transportation and not much else. Modern cars from the region have shown drastic improvements however, in both build quality and general comfort. The Hyundai Sonata in particular is an excellent example of Korea’s recent resurgence, most notably the seventh generation that kicked off in 2014.
The new model is sexy, smooth, and packed full of luxury features, but its ever-advancing dependability benchmarks could mean the best is yet to come. Read more.
Few automakers have made greater strides in recent years than Buick. The brand’s commodities are better looking, better performing, and more comfortable than ever, but the firm’s advancements in reliability are truly worthy of praise. In fact, Buick had three winners show up on J.D. Power’s 2016 Vehicle Dependability Study, the most notable of which was the Verano luxury sedan.
The Verano didn’t just win its segment; the 2013 model captured perfect scores in every category, and the manufacturer has carried that momentum into 2016. In terms of overall reliability, Buick ranks just behind Lexus and Porsche, which certainly something to be proud of.
Surprised? For many years, the Chevy Camaro was known as a boat with a big engine in it, a simple pleasure with little refinement to speak of. The sixth-generation pony car is changing that perception, though, one shredded tire at a time.
Not only are the interior, transmission, and suspension setup vastly improved over its predecessor, the new ‘Maro’s fit and finish is better by several magnitudes, and the car’s reliability ratings reflect that. Even the fifth-generation model has proven quite sturdy, as the muscle car was the highest-rated entrant in its category in J.D. Powers 2016 Dependability Study. Read more.
The best-selling sports car of all time happens to be one of the most reliable rides on the road. Perfectly balanced in more ways than one, the artist formerly known as the Miata leverages British-style driving dynamics with trusted Japanese build quality, and the results are nothing short of fantastic.
There’s certainly a lot to love about the MX-5, but at the same time, there isn’t. It’s a small car with little trunk room or practicality to speak of, but thankfully the MX-5’s driver-focused approach is sprinkled throughout the Mazda lineup. What’s more, the company’s creations are some of the most hassle-free forms of transit on the road. Read our full review.