Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Feb 17, 2022

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Key Takeaways

  • Every car on the market, whether used or brand new, will have annual maintenance costs that correlate directly to reliability
  • Cars with higher reliability are less likely to require repairs within the first three years of ownership
  • Dependability scores use consumer-reported issues that directly affect the burden of ownership

Browsing for cars may leave prospective buyers scratching their heads in confusion. Often, the amount of information online can be exhausting to sift through. Browsing online advice and information can feel contradictory and inconsistent.

That’s why we’re here to help take the guesswork out of finding the reliability of a myriad of car brands that will make you excited to window shop. There are many factors to consider, like getting car insurance quotes. However, the first step is finding reliable cars that fit your needs.

This list seeks to help casual and serious car browsers alike by providing the essentials about the most reliable cars of all time. Alongside annual maintenance costs and safety ratings, you’ll discover which car brands fit your needs the best, as well as what reliability truly means.

Don’t forget to compare your car insurance rates by entering your ZIP code above before you learn more about the most reliable cars.

What makes a vehicle one of the most reliable cars of all time?

It’s no secret that cars require maintenance, care, and some elbow grease. However, some vehicles require more than others. The constant need for attention, frequent trips to a mechanic, or recalls are only some of the factors that play into a car’s unreliability.

Reliability uses a variety of metrics, but most of these metrics rely on one factor: how often a car breaks down or requires a repair. Many models on the road prove unreliable for consumers, require major repairs quickly, and cause undue stress. Luckily, some studies and reports look into every aspect of a car’s interior, exterior, and complex operating systems to rank which cars are the most reliable and trustworthy.

The J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study considers how thousands of cars react to usage for three years, monitoring their interior and exterior systems, along with the complex motors and inner workings. The findings of this study evaluate how reliable these cars are and which particular issues many car owners may come across.

Surprisingly, the most severe point of contention for many car owners of newer model vehicles is consistently the infotainment system, which is the part of the vehicle on the dashboard that enables you to use a touchscreen to maneuver through music settings, maps settings, and phone calls. In some cases, owners have found the infotainment to have incorrect or out-of-date information regarding maps, trouble accessing voice recognition, or simply not having enough plugs to satisfy owner or passenger needs.

Using this data, current or prospective car owners can decide which cars fit their needs and budget – all without skimping on the features they desire the most.

Here are the most reliable car brands available on the market today.

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The Most Reliable Cars of all Time

These reliable vehicles include options for all lifestyles, designs, and trims – including luxury brands and everyday commuters. Car browsers and owners alike may find something they enjoy among these most reliable vehicles on the market.

Honda CR-V

With a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, the Honda CR-V screams sporty without emptying the wallet on gas and other necessities. The CR-V is performance-centric with a top-of-the-line suspension system that can handle even the most difficult potholes. Honda, as a company, takes safety ratings seriously and has managed to nail safety ratings for all its models. The CR-V ranks with a solid five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The annual cost for repairs and maintenance for the 2022 CR-V is around $500. With this low-cost maintenance and upkeep cost, the Honda CR-V proves to be reliable, smooth, and overall comfortable.

Lexus UX, NX, and RX

Lexus remains unchallenged in balancing a mixture of affordability and affluence. The UX, NX, and RX models vary as they are all different styles. The UX is a luxury subcompact crossover SUV, available as a gas-operated vehicle and a hybrid version. The NX and RX versions are compact luxury crossover SUVs. All three models have high safety and dependability scores with an estimated annual repair cost like the Honda CR-V, at around $600. These models cost less than $10,000 in repair and maintenance fees during ten years of ownership.

Lexus is a luxury brand, but that doesn’t automatically indicate a higher insurance price. Many car insurance companies may offer competitive rates. Enter your ZIP code below to compare rates from a variety of companies.

Kia Sorento

According to the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study, Kia builds many of the most reliable vehicles in the United States market. With only around 145 reported consumer problems for three years and 100 cars, Kia remains unmatched in reliability, affordability, and dependability. Car owners or prospective owners looking into a Kia Sorento are in for a treat. Not only does the Sorento offer more interior space, but this upper mid-size SUV offers an overall four-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Kia is only one car brand under the Hyundai Motor Group, a company that produces Hyundai and Genesis cars in the United States. However, Kia is the brand that makes the Hyundai Motor Group shine above the rest.

Porsche Cayenne

When someone thinks of luxury cars, their mind might list off a dozen different car brands, and usually, Porsche is among the first cars to come to mind. The iconic sporty look isn’t just for show. The Porsche Cayenne has a low number of consumer-reported problems over three years. With a five-star safety rating and an annual maintenance and repair cost of around $400 to maintain, the Porsche Cayenne is an easy choice for people browsing for a mid-size luxury and utility vehicle. Additionally, Porsche is known for its horsepower and powerful specifications.

Toyota Corolla

An everyday commuter, Toyota Corolla’s only competition for a better, more dependable, and reliable car is a Honda Civic. When driving, many consumers may notice Toyota Corolla’s everywhere – and with good reason. A Corolla is notoriously reliable, with impressive gas mileage and typically low insurance costs annually. The Toyota Corolla has a five-star safety rating and is so common that nearly every mechanic knows its inner workings proficiently. This keeps annual maintenance costs are relatively low. Over ten years, a Corolla will likely not require more than $5,000 worth of maintenance and repairs.

Buick Encore

The Buick Encore is a small SUV with a small annual maintenance fee of nearly $500. While the safety rating is an overall solid four stars, the Encore requires few significant repairs over the first three years of ownership. While the Encore is not known for its power or speed, it is a perfect starter car for young adults who are just learning about ownership, maintenance, and reliability.

Finding Your Next Reliable Vehicle

Part of the search for the most reliable car is knowing how much the annual maintenance cost is, the safety rating, and how well they rank on dependability surveys.

While tricky, you now know which car models are the most reliable of all time, and you can weigh in on the pros and cons of what features you’re looking for, which models are the most visually appealing to you, and what you envision driving.

The next step to finding out which reliable car works best for you is to compare insurance quotes.

When ready, enter your ZIP code below to compare insurance rates on the trustworthy makes and models listed here.