Buying Guides

Top Reliable Vehicles

If you want to bankrupt your mechanic, these will help

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

Some folks have to have cars that are head-turners, while others want the kind of vehicle that outperforms virtually everything else on the road. Then there are the sensible car owners who just want their vehicle to drive without breaking down. That's what vehicle re;liability is all about. Here are the top five most reliable vehicles you can buy right now.

2018 Lexus GX 460


for owners with big families

  • PROS: The best reliability of any vehicle today, serious towing capability, built like a tank, luxurious appointments, prodigious V8 power.
  • Looks tall and awkward from some angles, infotainment system is mediocre, styling is getting dated.CONS: Enter car cons here

The GX is a big luxury SUV that's been around largely unchanged since 2010. The 301-hp V8 engine is powerful but it's more for hauling and towing duties rather than outright acceleration. Inside you'll find real leather and wood, room for seven, and superb optional features like a 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system and a dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system. But the most important aspect is the fact that it tops the charts in reliability, which means it may never see the inside of a repair shop for more than oil changes and tire rotations.

2018 Toyota Prius C


for the truly thrifty

  • PROS: Easy to use, supremely dependable, less than thrilling to drive given its economy leanings, comfortable front seats.
  • CONS: Cheap interior, sloths on Benadryl move faster.

Though Toyota will get rid of the tiny C after this year, it's still a great option for those who want efficiency and affordability, as well as seriously good reliability. The C's 37/43 mpg (city/highway) is nothing to balk at, and it should save you a ton on gas over the years, and you won't have to worry much about it breaking down over its long life since it one of the most reliable vehicles around. It also happens to come standard with emergency auto-braking system for added safety. Just don't expect anything fast or engaging since the C's main purpose is efficiency.

2018 Toyota Prius Prime


for the tree-hugger

  • PROS: The best-looking Prius model available, spacious and open interior, miserly in the best of ways, solidly built.
  • CONS: Still looks weird, shift knob takes some getting used to, interior is polarizing.

The Prime is the PHEV in the Prius family, and it just happens to also be impressively reliable. It'll also do 23 miles just on electric power, and then it runs just like the regular Prius with the gas engine paired to it. 50 mpg is an impressive figure, and the Prime is also roomy enough for everyday duties. Most importantly for those who want to save, you may not even get a repair bill during the time you own the prime.

2018 Mazda MX-5 Miata


for the driving enthusiast

  • PROS: The most reliable sports car on earth, drives like a champ, handsome roadster styling, easy to operate soft-top, manual transmission rocks, also comes in the super RF retractable hard top.
  • CONS: Needs more power, needs more cabin storage, needs better seats.

You didn't expect to see a zippy roadster on this list, did you? Well, the Miata roadster is more than just a backroads carver or a mid-life crisis car. It's also seriously reliable with one of the best records in the industry when it comes to a dependable vehicle that won't likely go to your local mechanic. The only real demerit is the fact that the 2018 has 155 horsepower, but the 2019 gets bumped to a more potent 181.

2018 Toyota Corolla


for the first-time owner

  • PROS: Very easy to drive, conservative styling will hold up for years, roomy for a small sedan, will likely outlast your first marriage.
  • CONS: Not inspiring to drive, a lot of body roll, infotainment system looks and feels dated.

The new Corolla sedan should prove to be very good, but don't overlook last year's model since it bears the kind of reliability we expect from Toyota. The four-door is roomier inside than you'd expect, and it's one of those cars that's not exactly thrilling to drive but instead quite easy to helm by drivers of all skill levels. And what you sacrifice in terms of driving fun is replaced by reliable vehicle that shouldn't impeded your daily life with repair problems.

What does reliable actually mean?

  • Reliability equates to the frequency of visits to the repair shop for a defect or issue.
  • Consumer Reports has the best body of knowledge based on 470,000 vehicles on which owners have filled out questionnaires regarding problems with their vehicles.
  • Reports typically cover issues within the first 12 months of ownership.

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