When it comes to buying new cars or finding the best deal for old cars, everyone has different criteria. Some want performance for a specific purpose, others are after the latest technology, and some care more about their safety.

However, some people want a car from the most reliable car brands; one they won’t have to take to the shop frequently.

In case you’re wondering “what is the number 1 most reliable car?” – Some automakers produce more reliable vehicles than others, but picking certain brands based on reputation has become more complex over the years as recently introduced models get integrated with new technology.

Thanks to Consumer Reports’ reliability ratings of new vehicles and J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability study on vehicle models from three model years ago, we can tell which car brand has the least problems.

We’ve put together a compressive list of top auto manufacturers whose vehicles are considered most reliable (could last 20 years), plus some brands and models whose ratings have declined.

1. Lexus

Lexus is the luxury vehicle division of the Japanese automaker Toyota. Having being created around the same time as Japanese rivals Nissan and Honda developed their Infiniti and Acura premium brands, Lexus is known today for their slogan, “Experience Amazing”.

In an Annual Car Reliability Survey of over one million vehicles across the U.S in the 2000s (decade), Consumer Reports named Lexus one of the top five most reliable brands.

Although revamping its lineup with lots of new models and new technology has seen Lexus slid down the rankings a little, it still remains a dependable brand across several studies. The RX midsized crossover is Lexus’s best-selling model in the United States, while the ES mid-sized car is the most popular sedan in the line-up.

2. Porsche

In 2021, J.D Power ranked the Porsche 911 (Nine Eleven) sports cars as the most dependable model. Six of the company’s strong lineup scored higher than BMW, and Mercedes-Benz and much higher than Volvo, Jaguar, and Land Rover.

In a poll to determine the Car of the Century back in 1999, the 911 emerged fifth being one of two in the top five that had remained continuously in production.

The image above is shot of the one-millionth Porsche 911 – an Irish green Carrera S built on display at Volkswagen Group Forum, Berlin for the celebration 2017. It was taken on a global tour before becoming a permanent exhibit at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgar.

Bucking the norm among European brands, Porsche’s new and three-year-old vehicles continue to score highly in reliability surveys.

3. Kia

Claiming the third spot is South Korea’s second-largest automobile manufacturer Kia, outranking its parent company Hyundai in the latest durability report. Although Kia fell short again this year from taking the overall title, a recorded sales of over 2.8 million vehicles back in 2019 has seen it earning the title of the most reliable budget brand.

Lately, there have been serious activities in Kia’s plant. The brand has been churning out visually interesting, economical, and reliable automobiles that are also dependable, earning a Prolem Per 100 (PP100) rating of 97. Kia led in three categories with its Optima (K5), Sorento, and Sportage models.

4. Toyota

With evergreen vehicles such as the Sienna minivan, and Highlander SUV, Corolla, Camry, and Prius cars, Toyota continues to be dependable. Just like its Luxury division, Lexus, Toyota has staked a reputation on reliability; the brand is a close fifth among three-year-old cars in J.D. Power’s rankings.

Although, the company’s latest infotainment systems need some updates to satisfy customers. Consumer Reports however says Toyota is also in the middle of launching new models with hit-or-miss mechanical reliability in their first years.

5. Buick

For a brand that has been around way before GMC and Chevrolet, Buick has really stood the test of time. It is one of the oldest automobile brands in the world, and a division of the American automobile manufacturer General Motors (GM).

Over the years, Buick has been an increasingly reliable brand and typically the most reliable American brand. Its Encore small SUV being the brand’s oldest vehicle has been highly reliable among current models; dispelling the notion that only Japanese brands do well in these surveys.

Buick has a relatively limited lineup, and its models have had a few years to work out some early problems. Among discontinued models, the Regal and LaCrosse saw good market sales, as has the Cascada convertible. Compared to other divisions of its parent company, Buick has posted fewer problems with infotainment systems.

6. Cadillac

Seeing two of its subdivision, Buick and Cadillac on the list with a PP100 rating of 100 is something American automobile manufacturer, General Motors should be proud of.

With the new CT4 and CT5, we got to see an interesting side of the Cadillac. This year, Cadillac has put so much work into enlarging its lineup and augmenting the XT5 and Escalade SUV model with the XT4 and XT6.

7. Hyundai

Hyundai has always been a competitive brand with killer products. Although its luxury lineup didn’t do as well as the mainstream models on the rating scale Hyundai still remains the largest automobile manufacturer in South Korea leading the reliability train.

While Hyundai was able to earn a decent 101 PP100 rating on this year’s J.D. Power’s dependability scale, its new Sonata, Palisade, and Elantra are not taking it easy on the competition; will one of them make the list in their segment? Time will tell.

8. Genesis

Genesis fashions itself as the luxury division of Hyundai. With the launch of its first model, the G90 in December 2015. Genesis expanded into the U.S market in late 2016, with the sale of the G80 and G90 (its flagship model)

Although it did wasn’t rated in Consumer Reports’ 2020 vehicle study due to its limited lineup.  2020 and 2021 saw the best of Genesis as it garnered praises for the way its vehicle drive; topped J.D Power’s dependability study for both years

Remember that awesome car that saved Tiger Woods? That was the Genesis GV80, the brand’s first SUV which debuted in January 2020. Genesis vehicles are reliable that’s why they make the list of the topmost reliable brands.

With several new Genesis vehicles on the horizon, it remains to be seen if the Hyundai luxury division can keep at the top of the rankings, but these results are promising.

9. Lincoln

Named after American’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, the brand is a division of American automobile manufacturer Ford and is marketed among the top luxury vehicle brands in the United States.

Compared to last year’s study, Lincoln fell two points downward but don’t get it twisted, It’s only because the competition got fierce. Recording a 13-point improvement, scoring 106 PP100, Lincoln still remains one of the most reliable brands over 10 years.

Currently, there is some revolution going on in the company, deciding to discontinue two of its models – the Continental and the MKZ so as the channel more attention on its line of SUV.

10. Acura

Launched in 1986 as the first Japanese automotive luxury brand in the US and Canada, Acura is a luxury vehicle division of the Japanese carmaker Honda.

Being one of the top ten most reliable brands is no small feat! Receiving a score of 108 PP100  (which is 31 PP100 less than the previous year’s rating), Acura claimed the tenth spot as one of the most reliable car brands.

With the launch of the second-generation TLX, it’s been goosebumps for the Japanese company. The MDX which is the brand’s first in-house SUV happens to be another game-changer on the Japanese brand’s line – proving to be a reliable SUV since its launch in the early 2000s.

Honda’s Acura division also continues to have reliability problems in both surveys, although the company has still produced more dependable vehicles in recent years than Nissan and its Infiniti division.

11. BMW

This German automobile manufacturer has recorded significant reliability improvements in recent years, BMW scores highest in luxury cars for the first time in 2021. Seeing it on the top 1o in the J.D. Power survey tells us that the brand has consistently refined its mechanicals, and ironed out the technology glitches of a decade ago.

BMW’s recently updated 3 Series and X5 have impressively posted good reliability scores, surpassing full-line luxury brands (apart from Lexus) like Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and even Infiniti.

12. Chevrolet

Scoring well for both new and three-year-old vehicles, Chevrolet is another American branded car that tops the list of most reliable car brands.

is the only domestic brand other than Buick that s. While that still doesn’t speak well for American-branded cars, it gives some guidance for buyers who want to buy from a U.S.-based company.

Although General Motors (GM) phased out many of their more reliable models like the compact Sonic and Cruze and the full-size Impala, Consumer Reports noted that the reliability of the brand’s full-size pickup trucks and the Bolt electric vehicle has recently improved – being more reliable than mechanically similar trucks from the GMC brand.

While some of its new SUVs experienced some first-year problems, J.D. Power found its three-year-old vehicles scored above the survey average

13. Mitsubishi

By global vehicle production in 2011, Mitsubishi Motors was the sixth largest automaker in Japan and the 19th largest in the world. The brand was founded in April 1970 from the automotive division of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries., and is headquartered in Minato, Tokyo.

Ever since Mitsubishi became part of the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance in 2016, the brand has been one-third (34%) owned by Nissan. Mistubishi has manufacturing facilities in five countries, its products sold in more than 160 countries are known to be reliable. The brand earning a Problem Per 100 (PP100) rating of 116.

14. Mazda

For a company that made its debut with a tricycle truck, truly, Ahura Mazda (God of Light), from which its name was gotten has indeed brightened the image of these compact vehicles.

If you’ve read the Story Behind the Name of “Mazda”, then seeing it make this list shouldn’t be a surprise.

In 2015, Mazda was the fifteenth largest automaker by production worldwide, and in 2019, . Most recently, outranking Lexus and Toyota in Consumer Reports’ reliability rankings for the second year in a row.

While Mazda’s largest market is the US, in 2015, Mazda was the fifteenth largest automaker by production worldwide. In 2019, the manufacturer sold over 250,000 vehicles in Europe (including the UK) and was placed 19th in MotorEasy dependability ratings.

According to other metrics, Mazda is actually one of the top manufacturers when it comes to reliability – they’ve always had a reputation for manufacturing reliable vehicles. Among mainstream reliable car brands, Mazda is now one of the most premium car choices.

What are the most reliable Mazdas?

  • Mazda MX-5
  • Mazda2
  • Mazda3

J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS)

Problems per 100 vehicles. 2018 model year.

Rank

Brand

Score

1

Lexus

81

2

Porsche

86

3

Kia

97

4

Toyota

98

5

Buick

100

6

Cadillac

100

7

Hyundai

101

8

Genesis

102

9

Lincoln

106

10

Acura

108

11

BMW

108

12

Chevrolet

115

13

Mitsubishi

116

14

Mazda

121

15

Mercedes-Benz

122

16

Ram

123

17

Dodge

125

18

Mini

125

19

Subaru

125

20

Audi

127

21

Nissan

128

22

Ford

130

23

Infiniti

137

24

Jeep

141

25

GMC

143

26

Volvo

143

27

Honda

145

28

Volkswagen

163

29

Chrysler

166

30

Jaguar

186

15. Mercedes-Benz

Problem Per 100 vehicles (PP100): 122

16. Ram

Problem Per 100 vehicles (PP100): 123

17. Dodge

Problem Per 100 vehicles (PP100): 166125

18. Mini

Problem Per 100 vehicles (PP100): 125

19. Subaru

Problem Per 100 vehicles (PP100): 125

20. Audi

Problem Per 100 vehicles (PP100): 127

21. Nissan

Problem Per 100 vehicles (PP100): 128

22. Ford

Problem Per 100 vehicles (PP100): 130

23. Infiniti

Problem Per 100 vehicles (PP100): 137

24. Jeep

Problem Per 100 vehicles (PP100): 141

25. GMC

Problem Per 100 vehicles (PP100): 144

26. Volvo

Problem Per 100 vehicles (PP100): 144

27. Honda

The past few years may have been rough for Honda – a couple of problems emerged in its long-standing popular vehicles such as the CR-V crossover, and Civic compact. While the brand scored below average in the J.D. Power study, Consumer Reports noticed in 2021 significant improvements for these standbys, and most of the company’s models are recommended.

Although the engine and transmission issues were ironed out for Honda in 2021. Some infotainment glitch still remains. The Odyssey Minivan and the recently introduced Passport didn’t get an impressive reliability score on publication.

28. Volkswagen

Surprised to see Volkswagen make the list?

Volkswagens are portrayed to be one of the most problematic and expensive cars to maintain (It’s an open secret between many consumers). The good news is that, the German automobile brand has worked out some bugs and has a lineup that has proven reasonably dependable.

According to Consumer Reports, some of their newer redesigns like the Jetta and Tiguan earned competitive scores. Among 3-year-old VWs, J.D Power places the brand in sixth place, trailing Toyota and other brands.

Well, there is still some work to be done, although the brand’s Golf and Golf GTI hatchback have produced inconsistent results over the years, it’s not wrong to say VW is on the right track.

29. Crysler

Problem Per 100 vehicles (PP100): 166

30. Jaguar

Problem Per 100 vehicles (PP100): 186

What are the most reliable Jaguar Cars?

  • Jaguar XE
  • Jaguar XF
SUV

About the Author

Larry Cruise

Editor

I know a lot about cars, man. I can look at any car's headlights and tell you exactly which way it's coming.

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