Before looking at some of the most reliable cars in the United States, let us first know why the reliability of a car is important, and why it is one of the most defining factors in a car. Suppose you buy a vehicle for any purpose, be it for commuting from point A to point B, or towing and carrying goods and stuff if you go for a pickup truck, or maybe you want to have some fun and buy yourself a sports car or a supercar. But if the car develops problems quite frequently and needs to visit the service center regularly, it won’t be a very good value owning the car, no matter how good the car is in other aspects. Moreover, regular repairs mean more burden in your pocket for the maintenance of the car. Hence, buying a well-built car with a good reliability quotient is as important, if not more, like other aspects of the car such as fuel economy, cargo capacity, or any other aspect of a car.
In fact, a recent investigation from the automotive research firm J.D. Power found that the car buying preference of the consumers has taken a shift in the last 12 months. More and more people are taking notice of the reliability of the car before buying one. Moreover, reliability concerns were one of the main reasons for avoiding specific cars or brands, the first time something like this has happened in the last 10 years.
For the current scenario, people are actually more concerned about the reliability of their vehicles more than how much they are concerned with the fuel economy and mileage of their vehicles. Some statistics even suggest that the majority of the consumers, about 55%, selected reliability as the defining factor for their new car purchase, which makes sense because people don’t want to spend a fortune on repairs and other maintenance of their new vehicles. And the car makers have noticed this trend as well, especially the American automakers.
The Japanese automakers are arguably the go-to brands if build quality and reliability are your top priorities. The German and the South Korean automakers come a close second in terms of build quality and reliability. Historically, American built cars were looked down upon for having below-average build quality and reliability. In other words, American automakers are not quite known for producing well built reliable cars. But things seem to be changing the US auto industry for the past few years, as the newer cars from the US brands are having above-average build quality and significantly improved reliability as well. For example, a car as recent as the 2019 Jeep Compass had an overall J.D. Power score of 76 out of 100 with 75 out of 100 in terms of “Quality and Reliability”, which although is pretty decent, is below average for a modern crossover SUV. But the 2020 model year of the car has an improved overall score of 78 out of 100 with a significantly improved score of 82 out of 100 in terms of “Quality and Reliability”, which is carried forward to the 2021 Jeep Compass as well.
Reliable cars in the United States
Let us now look at the most reliable cars in the US according to their segments and how they fare against their competition. There are a few organizations that rate the cars based on their reliability quotient, and we will be preparing the list based on the reports of one of the most reputed organizations, i.e. Consumer Reports.
Most reliable compact car: Hyundai Elantra
In the days of crossover SUVs and electric sports cars, compact cars still hold their position in the market and are the go-to choice for the regular commute from point A to point B. The Elantra has been in the US market for quite a while now and has served its purpose pretty well. J.D. Power has also rated the 2020 Hyundai Elantra quite high with an above-average overall score of 83 out of 100 along with a staggeringly high score of 87 out of 100 in terms of “Quality and Reliability”.
Most reliable family sedan: Ford Fusion
In the market full of reliable Japanese and German cars, the Ford Fusion managed to be one of the best cars in terms of reliability in the family sedan segment. Although Ford has lost its interest in the passenger car segment and shifted its focus to trucks and SUVs, the Fusion still remains a solid midsize sedan with a good track record for build quality and reliability. The 2020 Ford Fusion did pretty well in the J.D. Power reports as well, scoring an overall rating of 81 out of 100 with a pretty solid score of 87 out of 100 in terms of “Quality and Reliability”.
Most reliable luxury car: Lexus GS
It is not a surprise for a Lexus making the list of most reliable cars. Many of the cars from Lexus have a significantly high-reliability quotient than their direct competitors and many of their cars make it to the top 10 list of most reliable vehicles according to Consumer Reports. Although their sales figures might not justify the fact, they do make some of the most interesting and well-built cars in the market that are highly reliable as well, and the GS is one of them. The GS is an upmarket luxury vehicle competing with the likes of the luxury executive cars from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes, the GS is filled to the brim with modern luxury tech and creature comforts, most of them being advanced complicated technology that is hard to maintain and repair if something goes wrong. But the GS is reasonably worry-free in that regard and the chances of something going wrong is pretty minimal. The 2019 GS managed to get an overall rating of 82 out of 100 in the J.D. Power report, with a surprisingly good score of 84 out of 100 in “Quality and Reliability”. Although the 2020 model of the GS has not been rated by J.D. Power yet, it should be pretty similar to the 2019 model.
Most reliable crossover: Lexus NX
The second Lexus in the list, the Lexus NX is one of the most reliable crossover SUV which solidifies the reputation of Lexus of making some of the most reliable cars in the market. The NX delivers all the refinement, tech, and styling of their more premium offerings, but in a smaller, more affordable package. The 2020 NX managed to score an overall J.D. Power rating of 82 out of 100 with 80 out of 100 in “Quality and Reliability”, which is pretty decent for a compact luxury crossover SUV. That being said, the American automakers are also catching up in this segment with the 2020 Jeep Compass scoring an overall J.D. Power rating of an average 78 out of 100. It managed to score 82 out of 100 in terms of “Quality and Reliability”, which is more than the score of the Lexus NX. The dealership experience of Jeep is a letdown which resulted in the Compass scoring a pathetic 67 out of 100 in “Dealership Experience” which plummeted the overall score of the car. That being said, the Lexus NX and the Jeep Compass are not exactly on the same level, with the NX being significantly more premium and upmarket with more complicated tech and features than the Jeep, but its scores were worth mentioning.
Most reliable SUV: Toyota 4Runner
In a market full of modern SUVs, the Toyota 4Runner takes the cake for being one of the most reliable SUVs in its segment. Introduced in 1983, the SUV has evolved quite significantly over these years, while maintaining the same rugged potential and improving it over the years. With a dependable truck platform, high resale value, and generations of 4Runners to prove its capability and dependability, it is still one of the go-to SUV for enthusiasts. The 2020 4Runner scored an overall J.D. Power score of 82 out of 100 with 79 out of 100 in terms of “Quality and Reliability”.
Most reliable truck: Toyota Tundra
As it is a list of the most reliable cars in the US, the list won’t be complete without a pickup truck in the list, and the Toyota Tundra rightfully deserves to be one of the most reliable pickup trucks. Although there are a few competitors that are better than the Tundra in other aspects, the Toyota Tundra is still the go-to choice in terms of dependability and reliability. This fact is proven by the fact that the 2020 Tundra managed to score an overall J.D. Power rating of 85 out of 100 with a genuinely impressive score of 88 out of 100 in “Quality and Reliability”.
Most reliable performance car: Honda Civic Si
The Civic Si is a more performance-oriented version of the regular Civic sedan. Although some sources might suggest that the Mazda MX-5 Miata is the most reliable performance car, in fact, the Honda Civic Si is more powerful and more reliable than the Miata. Although the 2020 Civic Si is not rated by J.D. Power yet, the regular Civic has been rated and the scores of the Civic Si should be close to the regular Civic sedan. The 2020 Civic managed to score an overall J.D. Power rating of 80 out of 100 with 76 out of 100 in “Quality and Reliability”.
Most reliable Minivan: Toyota Sienna
With another Toyota in the list, the Japanese automaker is dominating the list with back-to-back reliable cars in the market. On top of being one of the most versatile and user-friendly minivans in the market, the Toyota Sienna is also one of the most reliable as well. The 2020 Sienna managed to score an overall J.D. Power rating of 79 out of 100 with 75 out of 100 in “Quality and Reliability”.
Most reliable EV: Chevrolet Bolt
Demand for an EV is at an all-time high now and there is a lot of hype surrounding electric cars nowadays. The Bolt is marketed by Chevy and is developed and manufactured in partnership with LG Corporation. Unlike the Teslas with their ridiculous straight-line speed and performance, the Bolt is just your regular runabout vehicle that happens to be electric. It has a back-to-basic approach for an electric car that gets its job done pretty well in going from point A to point B with a perfectly acceptable range which is comparable to a Tesla as well. The Chevrolet Bolt EV has not been rated by J.D. Power yet for some reason.
Most reliable car overall: Toyota Prius
Unsurprisingly, the overall most reliable car on the list is a Toyota as well. Although the Prius has lost its hype like its early days, it is still one of the most popular “eco-friendly” cars in the market which happens to be one of the most reliable in the market as well, which is a win-win situation overall. But for some reason, the 2020 model didn’t do pretty well in the J.D. Power reports. The 2020 Prius managed to score an overall rating of 73 out of 100 with 64 out of 100 in “Quality and Reliability”, which is significantly below average, to be honest. But it is something to do with the 2020 model. The 2019 model managed an overall score of 80 out of 100 with 76 out of 100 in “Quality and Reliability” which is perfectly acceptable.
So, these are some of the most reliable cars in the States currently available in the market.