When purchasing a car, especially a car that will be financed over the course of several years, reliability is vital. Nobody wants to get stuck making payments on a car that spends all its time in the shop, so getting the best value in auto loans also means getting a good deal on a reliable car (learn about zero down car loans). However, the reliability of individual car models and even car brands varies year to year. The most reliable used car brands from a few years ago might not be the most reliable car brands of today.
Every year, several sources publish reports that rank both used and new cars for reliability. U.S. News & World Report publishes a “10 Most Reliable Car Brands” report, J.D. Power publishes a “Car Dependability Ratings” report, and Business Insider publishes a list of the “19 most reliable used cars of 2018” with the help of market research from J.D. Power studies.
Guide to the top 10 most reliable used car brands
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Here is a look at brands that are considered the most reliable out of 2015 models. We also checked that brand against a list of most reliable new cars of 2018. If a brand matches on both lists, then used car buyers are more likely to get a reliable car whether they purchase a 2015, 2016, or 2017 used car of that model. Other factors, such as how many models a brand has on lists, are also considered. With that in mind, here are the top 10 used car brands of 2018:
Chevrolet makes the brand reliability list for new cars of 2018, and it has four models—the Malibu, Equinox, Traverse, and Silverado—that make the list of reliable used cars. That is an impressive lineup of dependability across several types of vehicles. From midsize car to compact and midsize SUV to full-size pickup truck, Chevy has dependable vehicles that drivers can rely.
The Prius and Tacoma make the list for Toyota. It is no surprise to lovers of the Prius hybrid that the 2015 model makes the list for most reliable compact car. Despite the fact that the Toyota Prius is one of the most electronically and mechanically complex cars on the market, it has an extraordinarily good track record of reliability. Toyota cars are unlikely to break down, and they suffer catastrophic malfunctions at a much lower rate than the competition. While the Prius isn’t for everyone, the high initial price tag is justified by the savings both in fuel and in maintenance. Having the Toyota Tacoma on the list for most reliable midsize pickup just shows that Toyota consistently delivers dependable vehicles across all types. Toyota’s years and years of reliability makes this brand a good choice for first time car buyers who might need to keep their used car for several years.
Another of the usual Asian brands is back. The Kia Rio wins most reliable small car of 2015. While other Kia models do not win top recognition in their category, the fact that new Kia models continue to be popular with consumers keeps Kia as a front-runner for most reliable car brands. The Kia Rio comes in a sedan or hatchback and is a simple small car. Kia models come with some of the best warranties in the industry, meaning that even a slightly used car may have several years of warranty left. That combined with a modest price tag makes Kia a dependable and affordable car brand for someone like as a student on a tight budget.
In the category of minivans, Honda delivered big with the 2015 Honda Odyssey. The Odyssey gets good gas mileage for its size, but its reliability is most important. If you need a minivan, then you have kids who need to get to school, sports, and other events. A used Odyssey has proven reliable for the last few years. In fact, most Honda models consistently achieve high reliability ratings year after year. The brand’s dependability and affordable pricing makes a used Honda a good choice for car buyers with bad credit. The best loan you can get may not have ideal terms, but a used Honda with a competitive price will help you pay off the loan faster.
Making sure not to disappoint, Hyundai makes the list of reliable used car brands. The 2015 Hyundai Tucson is the most reliable used small SUV on the market today. There have been zero recalls issued on this small SUV. Compact size means good gas mileage. That along with brand dependability make this car a great buy. Hyundai cars are typically affordable, which makes this brand a viable option if a no credit check car loan is the only type of loan you can get.
American automaker Ford makes the list with two large vehicles topping their categories. The 2015 Ford Expedition and 2015 F-250 Super Duty pickup truck are the most reliable large SUV and large heavy duty pickup, respectively. Gas mileage is average for the size of the vehicles, and both vehicles are dependable with no recalls issued for the Expedition and only one recall ever issued for the F-250 pickup. While Ford is not a most reliable brand for new cars, these large models are very dependable for anyone needing ample interior room or hauling capabilities.
The 2015 Dodge Challenger takes the award for most dependable midsize sporty car. This category is separate from midsize car and luxury midsize car, but the Challenger still beat out a few other sports cars. Not only does the 2015 Challenger have a distinct and stylish look, but it has had relatively few problems. Like all sports cars, the vehicle must be finely tuned for proper performance. With good maintenance, the 2015 challenger has proven itself more dependable over other used midsize sports cars. Do you want a sports car but have bad credit? Don’t feel that this car is impossible for you to get. Even if you are considered a high-risk borrower, it may be possible to get in the driver’s seat of a sports car. And a Challenger should reliably keep you on the road throughout the length of a loan.
The Buick Lacrosse is the most dependable large car of 2015. Not only is the Buick Lacrosse a dependable used car, but the Buick brand is highly trusted as well. Buick consistently performs well, and all of the brands new models have even received above-average reliability rating. Whether it’s the 2015 Buick Lacrosse or another used Buick model, chances are that the vehicle will be very dependable for years to come.
A well-made vehicle with luxurious interior and great driving—that’s a BMW. No recent BMW models have been awarded best used car in their category, but several models did rank high in their categories. The BMW brand remains dependable for used cars, but foreign car maintenance and repair fees must be considered. Plus, a recent used BMW can still be expensive and may require a longer auto loan to pay for that top of the line BMW model you have your eye on.
Toyota Motor Company’s luxury brand Lexus has several dependable premium vehicles. The 2015 Lexus CT, ES, GS, and RX all rank high in their used car categories that range from premium compact car (the ES) to premium midsize SUV (the RX). It is a safe bet that most any recently used Lexus model and year will provide reliable transportation for years to come. However, even slightly used, these luxury cars can be expensive. You can lease a luxury brand car, but if you have bad credit you will want to research possible leases and find one right for your credit score and the luxury car you want.