Useful Car Tips

Top 5 Most Reliable Car Brands

September 21, 2020
Every year, the well respected nonprofit organization Consumer Reports releases its list of the most reliable automotive brands in the US. Vehicles are tested on the road and evaluated in terms of their general performance, reliability, safety, and holistic ownership experience. Although prospective buyers of new cars should consult multiple sources, Consumer Reports provides an excellent baseline for evaluating if a car is right for you. Instead of focusing on just one or two vehicles from a brand, Consumer Reports instead evaluates all vehicles sold by each brand in order to provide a clearer picture of overall reliability. Consequently, the top five is prone to fluctuating year-to-year since no brand gets a free pass based on its reputation. Thus, you may be a little surprised with the presence—and absence—of certain brands.


Toyota’s big luxury brother makes a most-unsurprising appearance on the top five list. Lexus is renowned for its reliable sedans, SUVs, coupes, and sports cars. This reputation even extends to its US$375,000 halo supercar, the LFA. Fortunately for those of us who don’t have an extra $375,000 burning a hole in our bank accounts, an IS sedan, NX crossover, or LC grand tourer coupe will likely last a lifetime, and perhaps even a little past that.


Mazda gets the recognition it deserves with a well earned spot at number four on the list of the most reliable brands. It’s no secret that many Mazdas get rave reviews from journalists and automotive publications alike, and this is due in no small part to the steadfast reliability of these rosy red vehicles from Japan. From the CX-5 crossover to the venerable Miata sports car, Mazdas allow you to zoom-zoom to your heart’s content.


Mazda isn’t the only major player in the non-luxury automotive segment however, as it faces stiff competition from fellow Japanese brand Subaru. Subaru is known for its impressive suite of vehicles equipped with all-wheel drive, but this relatively small brand is proving to the automotive world that its vehicles should be known for their stout reliability too. Its crossovers are proving to be their best sellers, a trend echoing throughout the industry.


Just 15 years ago, few brands had a poorer reputation than Hyundai. In the US, Hyundais were popularly considered to be cheap and poorly built A to B consumer cars. In recent years, however, Hyundai has worked hard to change this reputation. While modern Hyundais receive excellent reviews, it’s their Genesis luxury brand which takes spot number two on the list. Genesis vehicles now not only have a unique badge and brand, but excellent reliability too.


Topping the list is a brand many may not have expected to see in this position: Porsche. In post-war Germany, Porsche emerged as one of the battered country’s premier automotive manufacturers. Although its rear-engined 911 sports car—widely regarded as one of the greatest cars ever made—has been the crown jewel of the brand since its inception in 1963, Porsche has since added a slew of sports cars and SUVs to its storied resume.


As we’ve noted, prospective buyers of new vehicles should preferably consult more than one source when shopping for the right vehicle. There is naturally some variation among reliability ratings, with each publication establishing slightly different parameters when evaluating reliability and longevity. Thus, the data Consumer Reports has collected may differ from the data other publications have collected, ultimately leading to a wide range of reliability rankings. However, Consumer Reports nevertheless serves as a steady baseline when evaluating reliability. Its editors are free from interference from the publication’s owners due to a wider range of policies entailing editorial independence. In a nutshell, this ensures that editors are free to publish material in an impartial manner that does not serve any manufacturer’s agenda. In this way, Consumer Reports serves as a relatively honest and transparent publication. The major caveat to all of this is an obvious one: no matter how reliable a particular vehicle is, it’s possible it may simply not be the right one for your needs. Read and watch reviews, consult your favorite automotive blog Fortem, and contact your local dealership for a test drive if you feel that it is safe to do so. Although Consumer Reports will explain exactly how reliable a vehicle is, only you can decide if it’s the vehicle you really want in your garage.
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