What are the Most Reliable Cars?

The Lexus ES 350 is rated as one of the most reliable cars

Most reliable cars for each automaker ranked and sorted by the probability of major repair, maintenance costs and residual value after 10 years.

By Scott Baker (CarEdge.com) | Published on January 6th, 2021 | Last Updated on
By Scott Baker (CarEdge.com)
Published on January 6th, 2021. Last Updated on .

We have reviewed 150 vehicle models to determine the most reliable cars in the market.  Our analysis is based upon historical vehicle data, and not surveys and the opinions of others.  We have provided you the facts on reliability, so you can see the results for yourself, and make your own judgements. 

Reliability is a measurement of something doing what you want and expect it to do.  In the case of cars and trucks, you want them to not break down, not to cost a fortune to maintain, and not to lose significant value over time.  Knowing that reliability is a very important consideration for vehicle buyers, CarEdge.com has analyzed the history of millions of vehicles to determine how often they break down, how many times they have to go to the shop, and how much they depreciate from one year to the next.  We wanted to determine for ourselves which vehicles were the most reliable and dependable, and while Consumer Reports has done an admirable job with their annual reliability rankings, we didn’t want to rely upon ‘opinions’ and ‘surveys’ to reach our conclusions—we wanted facts and hard data.

For our analysis, we focused on vehicle models that have a long track record, and have been in the marketplace for at least 10 years.  The factors we used to determine reliability fell into three categories.  The first is the probability that a vehicle would need a major ($500+) repair during our 10-year measurement period (40% of rating).  The second, is the total expected cost of repairs and maintenance as compared to its original purchase price (20% of rating).  The third is the residual, or resale value, of the vehicle after 10 years. 

Our goal in this exercise was to really look closely as to whether vehicles met expectations with their repair and maintenance costs.  Were they appropriate for the value of the vehicle purchased, recognizing that luxury vehicles are more expensive to maintain that subcompacts?  We were also very focused on the vehicle’s resale value, and whether it had much life left in it after 10 years?  Was it headed to the junkyard, or was it just reaching its prime, with another 10+ years left in it? 

Jeep Wrangler

Jeep Wrangler Maintenance Costs. Photo: Jeep

The Jeep Wrangler and its predecessors have been battle tested since World War II, and they continue to be the vehicle that just never surrenders.  Wranglers are built to be fun, off-roaders and the perfect vehicle to drive along the coast on a sunny day.  They aren’t known for their fine craftsmanship or precision engineering.  In fact, Wranglers require a fair bit of maintenance, and they spend a good bit of time in the shop.  However, if you take care of your Wrangler, and don’t abuse it on the trails or park it in salt water for a month, Wranglers will literally last forever.  See our Depreciation Rankings.  At 10 years of age, Wranglers are like teenagers leaving puberty and are ready for the next chapter in their life—this die hard just doesn’t die. 

  • Probability of Major Repair:  31.4%
  • Maintenance Cost vs. Purchase Price:  24.4%
  • Residual Resale Value:  44.6%
  • Repair Rank:  110th  Maintenance Rank:  115th  Resale Rank 4th
  • CarEdge.com Reliability Ranking out of 150 models:  58th 

Hyundai Elantra

Hyundai Elantra Maintenance Costs. Photo: Hyundai

The Korean-built Elantra has been rolling down the assembly line since 1990, and it hasn’t missed a beat.  Given the long production history, Hyundai has been able to fine-tune their build quality and parts are inexpensive and easy to obtain.  While the Elantra will not win any styling awards or get you to 60 mph in under 4 seconds, it’s a very reliable car that likely won’t need any major repairs, and does a reasonably good job of holding its value—especially compared to other entry-level sedans.  MotorBiscuit has a great write-up of just how reliable the Elantra has been over the years. 

  • Probability of Major Repair:  17.7%
  • Maintenance Cost vs. Purchase Price:  26.9%
  • Residual Resale Value:  28.1%
  • Repair Rank:  36th  Maintenance Rank:  128th  Resale Rank 59th
  • CarEdge.com Reliability Ranking out of 150 models:  51st

Porsche 911

Porsche 911 Maintenance Costs. Photo: Porsche

The Porsche 911 is a beast—and has been since its debut in 1963.  The 911’s flat-6 engine is perhaps one of the finest production engines ever built, and has been a trusted friend of 911 owners for decades.  Rarely, do owners encounter any issues with the engine or powertrain, as Porsche has been fine-tuning the engine for over 50 years.  This makes the 911 one of the least expensive vehicles to maintain relative to its purchase price.  However, should your 911 need to see the shop for more than just an oil change—likely not engine related—the bill could be a big one.  Porsche parts and service isn’t expensive, but thankfully the unscheduled visits are seldom.  The other major attraction of 911s, is that they do a tremendous job of holding their resale value, especially if purchased 6 years or older.  As you’ll see with our Depreciation Calculator, 911 depreciation literally stops in year 7, and can turn into a great investment.  We even wrote an article about it

  • Probability of Major Repair:  46.1%
  • Maintenance Cost vs. Purchase Price:  9.7%
  • Residual Resale Value:  38.0%
  • Repair Rank:  136th  Maintenance Rank:  6th  Resale Rank 16th
  • CarEdge.com Reliability Ranking out of 150 models:  49th 

Kia Soul

Kia Soul Maintenance Costs. Photo: Kia

In production since 2008, the Kia Soul has outlived just about what anyone would have expected.  Its early radical design, and iconic hamster ads, had most believing that that the Soul was going to be a short-term flash in the pan.  Not so, however, and the Soul has been going strong for a dozen years, much to the delight of Kia, but also the 1.2 million US Soul owners.  Given its ongoing popularity, the Soul has been able to maintain its value (CE rankings) quite well relative to the competition.  Visit US News to see how the Soul’s reliability stacks up against other subcompact SUVs. 

  • Probability of Major Repair:  20.9%
  • Maintenance Cost vs. Purchase Price:  32.5%
  • Residual Resale Value:  34.2%
  • Repair Rank:  53rd  Maintenance Rank:  141th  Resale Rank 26th
  • CarEdge.com Reliability Ranking out of 150 models:  46th 

Subaru Impreza

Subaru Impreza Maintenance Costs. Photo: Subaru

This Subaru compact has been in showrooms for almost 30 years, and it has been a rock-solid part of the Subaru line-up.  Over this period, the Impreza has shown itself to be a nimble and attractive set of wheels that does not disappoint its owners.  Major repairs are seldom, and for a sedan, it does remarkedly well in holding its value.  See our Depreciation Rankings to see how it compares to other popular models.  Edmunds also does a nice job of presenting reviews from Impreza owners, which tell more of the story. 

  • Probability of Major Repair:  17.7%
  • Maintenance Cost vs. Purchase Price:  25.1%
  • Residual Resale Value:  29.8%
  • Repair Rank:  38th  Maintenance Rank:  120th  Resale Rank 48th
  • CarEdge.com Reliability Ranking out of 150 models:  43rd    

Audi S5

Audi S5 Maintenance Costs. Photo: Audi

We agree with RepairPal’s assessment that the S5 spends a fair bit of time in the shop, and that the probability of a repair greater than $500 is high.  However, relative to other Audis, and compensating for its high performance pedigree, its maintenance costs are actually relatively low compared to other luxury performance machines.  We’re definitely not saying that the S5 is the most cost-effective sports sedan on the road, but if you’re in the market for something in this class, see how it stacks up to the BMW M5 or Porsche Panamera.  Compared to some of its peers, the S5 is a bargain, that holds its value better than almost anything in its class.

  • Probability of Major Repair:  25.9%
  • Maintenance Cost vs. Purchase Price:  13.8%
  • Residual Resale Value:  29.5%
  • Repair Rank:  81st  Maintenance Rank:  29th  Resale Rank 49th
  • CarEdge.com Reliability Ranking out of 150 models:  41st 

GMC Yukon

GMC Yukon Maintenance Costs. Photo: GMC

When it comes to big, beefy SUVs, who can fit the whole junior baseball team, and its coach, the Yukon comes through with flying colors—and has been doing so for 30 years.  While not a hand-crafted precision machine, the Yukon is one of the most inexpensive vehicles in its class to maintain.  GMC dealers are plentiful, and given its shared parts with the Chevy Tahoe, repairs aren’t too bad on the wallet, or pocketbook.  See a complete review of the Yukon at Consumer Reports

  • Probability of Major Repair:  23.0%
  • Maintenance Cost vs. Purchase Price:  12.7%
  • Residual Resale Value:  27.3%
  • Repair Rank:  67th  Maintenance Rank:  19th  Resale Rank 66th
  • CarEdge.com Reliability Ranking out of 150 models:  39th 

Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Mercedes-Benz G-Class Maintenance Costs. Photo: Mercedes-Benz

We’re not fans of the G-Class’s ride quality or price tag, but this Mercedes has the durability of a Panzer tank.  While repairs for any Mercedes aren’t inexpensive, the G-Class has fewer problems than average, which is a welcome sign after spending $150,000+.  What really sets the G-Class apart from the others, is its ability to hold its value, especially among its peers.  Check out how the G-Class holds its value versus a Range Rover or BMW X5.  When it comes to durability, the G-Class is just warming up during its first 10 years.  Autoweek also has a nice write-up on the G-Class, which is worth a read. 

  • Probability of Major Repair:  43.1%
  • Maintenance Cost vs. Purchase Price:  9.6%
  • Residual Resale Value:  42.0%
  • Repair Rank:  132nd  Maintenance Rank:  5th  Resale Rank 7th
  • CarEdge.com Reliability Ranking out of 150 models:  38th 

Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang Maintenance Costs. Photo: Ford

The iconic mustang has been Ford’s bread and butter sports coupe for more than half of a century.  With some rough spots during the 70’s and 80’s (as all domestic cars had), the Mustang has been a dependable steed for its owners for years.  In terms of reliability, the Mustang is not a standout—but the availability of less expensive parts, and the accessibility of thousands of Ford dealers across the country, make the Mustang a reliable 2-seater that won’t break the bank.  Motor1.com has a nice profile on the Mustang, with reviews from years past.

  • Probability of Major Repair:  20.6%
  • Maintenance Cost vs. Purchase Price:  19.3%
  • Residual Resale Value:  31.9%
  • Repair Rank:  48th  Maintenance Rank:  65th  Resale Rank 36th
  • CarEdge.com Reliability Ranking out of 150 models:  30th 

Dodge Challenger

Dodge Challenger Maintenance Costs. Photo: Dodge

The Dodge Challenger has been one of America’s favorite muscle cars for decades.  With ever-increasing horsepower, the Challenger has met the demands of its owners for speed and skin-ripping acceleration admirably.  Normally, this level of performance requires significant expense on the part of the owner, as Challenger owners are known for not being soft of the accelerator—or brakes.  But, the Challenger performs well from a reliability and dependability standpoint as well.  While the likelihood that one needs a major repair is about average, its overall maintenance costs are relatively low.  What makes the Challenger high in our reliability rankings, is its ability to maintain its resale value over the years, as displayed in our Depreciation Rankings

  • Probability of Major Repair:  23.4%
  • Maintenance Cost vs. Purchase Price:  16.6%
  • Residual Resale Value:  42.0%
  • Repair Rank:  70th  Maintenance Rank:  45th  Resale Rank 8th
  • CarEdge.com Reliability Ranking out of 150 models:  28th (tie)

Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Golf Maintenance Costs. Photo: Volkswagen

Can you believe the Golf has been on the road for 45 years—doesn’t seem possible.  If there was an award for the vehicle that has had dependable looks through the decades, the Golf is the hands-down favorite, as its signature body line are unmistakable.  While tied on our list with the Challenger, the Volkswagen Golf earns its Reliability Rankings in a very different manner.  The Golf is one of the vehicles that is least likely to require a major repair over a 10-year period.  Moreover, Golfs are known for the ability to just keep going, mile after mile, and JD Power did a nice write-up on the Golf a couple years ago that speaks to their endurance. 

  • Probability of Major Repair:  16.3%
  • Maintenance Cost vs. Purchase Price:  20.5%
  • Residual Resale Value:  31.2%
  • Repair Rank:  21st  Maintenance Rank:  79th  Resale Rank 40th
  • CarEdge.com Reliability Ranking out of 150 models:  28th (tie)

Honda Fit

Honda Fit Maintenance Costs. Photo: Honda

If the Honda Fit was a person, it would be your friend that never gets sick, or has to see the doctor.  Perhaps the folks at Honda had the foresight to anticipate this, as the name definitely “fits” the car.  The Fit is simply a very reliable car, that requires little maintenance and rarely needs major repairs.  In our Maintenance Rankings, the Fit is right near the top, costing a mere $5,033 to maintain and repair over a 10-year period.  Not only does the Fit save you money during your ownership period, but when you go to sell it, the Fit falls in the top 20% for resale value as well—which is very unique, given its low selling price.  If you’re looking for reliability and low-cost maintenance, the Fit fits the bill. 

  • Probability of Major Repair:  15.0%
  • Maintenance Cost vs. Purchase Price:  24.0%
  • Residual Resale Value:  36.4%
  • Repair Rank:  6th  Maintenance Rank:  111th  Resale Rank 22th
  • CarEdge.com Reliability Ranking out of 150 models:  21st   

Mazda MX-5 Miata

Mazda MX-5 Miata Maintenance Costs. Photo: Mazda

The MX-5 Miata is just fun on four wheels.  Whether it is your everyday driver, or something that you just bring out on sunny weekend mornings, the Miata is the type of car that runs well and is dependable, regardless of how you use it.  The little roadster rarely forces you to incur a major repair expense, and its maintenance costs won’t break the bank either.  An additional benefit is that the Miata look just never goes out of style—they are either modern, with sleek and stylish lines, or older, with a retro look that is already a classic.  As a result of its ongoing appeal, the MX-5 does an excellent job at maintaining its value, and owners can depend on an attractive resale price when its time for something new—that is the definition of reliability.

  • Probability of Major Repair:  17.0%
  • Maintenance Cost vs. Purchase Price:  18.7%
  • Residual Resale Value:  37.0%
  • Repair Rank:  31st  Maintenance Rank:  57th  Resale Rank 19th
  • CarEdge.com Reliability Ranking out of 150 models:  20th 

Lexus ES 350

Lexus ES 350 Maintenance Costs. Photo: Lexus

The Lexus ES 350 is the Old Faithful of luxury sedans.  In production for 30 years, the ES 350 is exactly what you want in a reliable family car.  Of luxury cars, it has the lowest chance of requiring a major repair, and its maintenance costs are on par with much less expensive vehicles.  While the resale value of the ES 350 is just above average, when ranked against other luxury sedans, it is in league by itself. 

  • Probability of Major Repair:  15.1%
  • Maintenance Cost vs. Purchase Price:  12.9%
  • Residual Resale Value:  28.9%
  • Repair Rank:  8th  Maintenance Rank:  20th  Resale Rank 54th
  • CarEdge.com Reliability Ranking out of 150 models:  15th 

Chevrolet Corvette

Chevrolet Corvette Maintenance Costs. Photo: Chevrolet

The iconic Chevy Corvette is the ultimate, when it comes to delivering what vehicle owners want in dependability.  Will it deliver fun?  Yes.  Will it cost a fortune to fix?  Not nearly as much as its peers?  Will it be worth anything at the end of 10 years?  Absolutely!!!  The Corvette’s reliability comes in two forms; mechanical reliability and financial reliability.  On the mechanical side, the Vette is one of the least expensive vehicles to maintain relative to its original price—which is already a bargain compared to what it competes against.  On the financial side, the Corvette holds its value better than any other vehicle model over a 10-year period. 

  • Probability of Major Repair:  19.7%
  • Maintenance Cost vs. Purchase Price:  10.2%
  • Residual Resale Value:  49.0%
  • Repair Rank:  47th  Maintenance Rank:  8th  Resale Rank 1st  
  • CarEdge.com Reliability Ranking out of 150 models:  7th 

Nissan GT-R

Nissan GT-R Maintenance Costs. Photo: Nissan

If you want a pulse-raising machine, whose repair bills won’t give you a heart attack, the GT-R is the ride for you.  With production entering its 14th year, Nissan’s flagship acceleration machine has had a great track record for staying on the track—or at least on the highway, and out of the service department.  Despite its formidable purchase price, the GT-7 only has a 16.8% chance of needing a repair greater than $500—over a 10 year period.  On top of that, the GT-R is ranked the least expensive car to maintain relative to its purchase price, outdistancing all of its expensive rivals.  If that weren’t enough, the GT-R continually holds its value, and by its 10th year, it rises to the #3 spot, of over 300 models.  While it will cost you to get your foot into the GT-R owners club, you’ll be delighted once you’re there, as it’s nothing but fun, once all the payments are made.  Top Gear has a great piece on the value that a GT-R brings to its owners. 

  • Probability of Major Repair:  16.8%
  • Maintenance Cost vs. Purchase Price:  5.6%
  • Residual Resale Value:  47.0%
  • Repair Rank:  27th  Maintenance Rank:  1st  Resale Rank 3rd  
  • CarEdge.com Reliability Ranking out of 150 models:  2nd

Toyota Land Cruiser

Toyota Land Cruiser Maintenance Costs. Photo: Toyota

What vehicle would you want if you were stranded in the middle of nowhere, and needed to get safety, shelter, or just a tank of gas and some beef jerky?  Answer – the Toyota Land Cruiser.  In a class by itself, the Land Cruiser has been in production since 1951, and has sold more than 10 million units over its revered history.  Land Cruisers have been utilized by explorers and adventurers for decades, and it’s not an accident that they pop up on movie sets, being depicted in some remote and inhospitable land, as they are the epitome of ruggedness and reliability.  Even though Land Cruisers are known for getting you through some rough spot on the road, remarkably they have some of the highest resale values, especially when compared to its peers.  MotorBiscuit sums it up well in their article, ‘Here’s What Makes Land Cruisers So Reliable’.  While the Land Cruiser is going away after the 2021 model year, there will still be thousands of used ones available, who may not even reached the prime of their life. 

  • Probability of Major Repair:  16.2%
  • Maintenance Cost vs. Purchase Price:  7.4%
  • Residual Resale Value:  41.4%
  • Repair Rank:  18th  Maintenance Rank:  2nd  Resale Rank 10th
  • CarEdge.com Reliability Ranking out of 150 models:  1st

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most reliable pick-up truck? 

Using our Reliability Ratings methodology described in this article, the Toyota Tacoma is the most reliable pick-up truck.  The Tacoma has only an 18.9% chance of requiring a repair greater than $500 over a 10-year period.  Its 10-year maintenance costs are just 17.5% of its purchase price, and its resale value is currently the highest of any vehicle on the road

What is the least reliable car brand?

Measuring repair costs, routine service, and factoring in lost value through depreciation, BMWs are the least reliable, with 5 of the 10 lowest-ranked models of the 150 models we analyzed.  See our Maintenance Rankings and Depreciation Calculator to view hundreds of vehicle models. 

What is the most reliable luxury SUV?

The Lexus RX 350 rates the highest on our reliability scale.  The RX 350 has only an 20.6% chance of requiring a repair greater than $500 over a 10-year period.  Its 10-year maintenance costs are just 13.4% of its purchase price, and its closest competitor is the Lexus RX 450h, which is one place behind the RX 350. 

Top 25 Reliability Rankings – All Models

  1. Toyota Land Cruiser
  2. Nissan GT-R
  3. Toyota 4Runner
  4. Toyota Corolla
  5. Nissan 370Z
  6. Toyota Avalon
  7. Chevrolet Corvette
  8. Toyota Sequoia
  9. Toyota Highlander
  10. Toyota Prius
  11. Toyota Tacoma
  12. Toyota Camry
  13. Toyota Highlander Hybrid
  14. Toyota Tundra
  15. Lexus ES 350
  16. Toyota Rav4
  17. Lexus IS 350
  18. Lexus LX 570
  19. Lexus GS 350
  20. Mazda MX-5 Miata
  21. Honda Fit
  22. Honda Accord
  23. Toyota Yaris
  24. Chevrolet Camaro
  25. Toyota Camry Hybrid

Reliability Rankings of Other Auto Sites

Recent Articles