What is the Most Reliable Car - Clever Customer

What is the Most Reliable Car?

When you decide you're in the market for a new-to-you used car, one of the first things you'll want to do is start to narrow the field of cars down to a few models. That will help reduce distractions when searching through ads and car lots.

If you start to search around for the “best” car, you'll see that different authorities create all types different lists based on different classifications. There's a list of the 'Best Family' cars, the 'Most Fuel Efficient' cars, the 'Best Car Under $10,000”, and even the very broad “Best Deals” types of lists. By the time they've created all of their lists, they've listed virtually every vehicle in production.

They simply all can't be the 'best'. In fact, 'best' is different for different people. Some people need an inexpensive commuter that's small and easy to park downtown. Some people need to carry a lot of family members. In terms of styling, some like sporty, some like hip, some like conventional. Some people need 4-wheel drive, some wouldn't know what to do with it.

The one common thread which everyone can agree on is that they want a dependable car. What is the most reliable car? Well, there are several most-reliable cars in each category. We need to determine which organizations can speak with some authority on the topic of dependability. Some of the lists are created by organizations that never touch one of the automobiles they're ranking. Many of the lists are recaps of someone else's list, without the context that this is a single list in a sea of lists.

What is the most reliable car

Authorities on Reliable Cars

At Clever Customer, we've chosen four authorities on reliability, we've studied their lists, and we're presenting what we've learned as a result. The first authority is Consumer Reports. They have a long-lived and well-earned reputation of being a consumer advocate. They do their testing on vehicles they purchase, not donated ones. The second authority we are using is Kelley Blue Book. As the de fcato reference on vehicle values, they understand which vehicles hold their value for longer periods of time, a reflection of their quality. The third authority we are using is J.D. Power. The information they collect for their Dependability survey is from actual owners of the vehicles, three years after the vehicles are new. Their surveys are not sponsored by a manufacturer or dealer, they intended to represent the voice of the consumer. The last authority we are using is CarMD. The name might not be as familiar to you, and that's because their customers are primarily auto repair facilities. They collect and analyze data from actual diagnoses and repairs from cars in North America and around the world. One of the reports they publish is a list of vehicles least likely to encounter a “check engine” related problem. We've used the top 20 vehicles from that list on ours.

One thing you would learn from reading all of these lists is that each organization seems to have it's favorites. The same organizations ranks many of the same models year after year, category after category. Part of that result is because those models are reliable. Part of that result may also be some partiality, which is why we're looking at four different ranking organizations. No single model has rankings from all four authorities. Two models, Toyota's Camry and Prius, have three rankings.

Vehicle history report

So, what is the most reliable car according to our authorities? Find the category you're shopping in the list below and see which models were ranked, and by how many organizations. We've omitted model years in order to help normalize the rankings. One model may have shown up multiple times because different model years of the same model were on different lists due to their value. For example, the same model can be on a “Best under $10,000” for older model years, and a “Best Under $20,000” for newer model years, we list the model once because it's ranked as reliable, regardless of price.

Most Reliable Cars

Subcompact Cars

Show/Hide Most Reliable Subcompacts
Most Reliable Subcompact Cars
Consumer Reports Kelley Blue Book J.D. Power CarMD
Chevrolet Sonic
Honda Fit
Kia Rio
Mini Cooper
Toyota Prius C

Compact Cars

Most Reliable Compact Cars
Consumer Reports Kelley Blue Book J.D. Power CarMD
Buick Verano
Honda Civic
Kia Soul
Mazda 3
Nissan Leaf
Subaru Impreza
Toyota Corolla

Mid-Size Cars

Most Reliable Mid-Size Cars
Consumer Reports Kelley Blue Book J.D. Power CarMD
Buick LaCrosse
Chevrolet Malibu
Ford Crown Victoria
Honda Accord
Mazda 6
Nissan Maxima
Subaru Legacy
Toyota Camry
Toyota Prius
Toyota Prius Prime
Toyota Prius V

Luxury Cars

Most Reliable Luxury Cars
Consumer Reports Kelley Blue Book J.D. Power CarMD
Acura TL
Acura TSX
Acura TLX
Audi A3
BMW 5-Series
BMW i3
Infiniti Q50
Lexus CT200h
Lexus ES
Lexus GS
Lexus IS
Lexus LS
Mercedes Benz S-Class
Toyota Avalon

Sports Cars

Most Reliable Sports Cars
Consumer Reports Kelley Blue Book J.D. Power CarMD
Dodge Challenger
Mazda Miata MX-5
Porsche 911

Minivans and Wagons

Most Reliable Minivans and Wagons
Consumer Reports Kelley Blue Book J.D. Power CarMD
Chrysler Town & Country
Volvo XC70

Sub-Compact and Compact SUV's

Most Reliable Sub-Compact and Compact SUV's
Consumer Reports Kelley Blue Book J.D. Power CarMD
Audi Q3 (subcompact)
Audi Q5
Chevrolet Equinox
Honda CR-V
Honda HR-V (subcompact)
Hyundai Santa Fe
Lexus NX
Mazda CX-5
Nissan Rogue Sport
Subaru Forester
Toyota RAV4
Volkswagen Tiguan

Mid-Size and Full-Size SUV's

Most Reliable Mid-Size and Full-Size SUV's
Consumer Reports Kelley Blue Book J.D. Power CarMD
Acura MDX
Acura RDX
Ford Expedition
GMC Acadia
Lexus GX
Subaru Outback
Toyota Highlander
Toyota 4Runner
Toyota Venza (last produced in 2015)

Full-Size Pickup Trucks

Most Reliable Full-Size Pickup Trucks
Consumer Reports Kelley Blue Book J.D. Power CarMD
Chevrolet Silverado HD
Nissan Frontier
Toyota Tundra

Now that you have a good idea of the model of vehicle you're looking for, continue on to Step 2 below in our used car buying process.

Used Car Buying Guide

The Proven Used Car Buying Process for Clever Customers - Follow our detailed steps, and you'll be confident in your used car purchase. Avoid that sinking feeling of buyer's remorse. You'll know exactly what you bought, and that it was the best option for you.