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Most Reliable Car Brands in the USA: Hits and Misses 

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The search for the most reliable car brands has risen in recent years. Increasing fuel costs and the booming acceptance of electric and hybrid vehicles have influenced people’s mindsets. However, since buying a car is a long-term investment, you should be extra careful in finding the best car for your needs. 

According to recent trends, some brands have gained acceptance among the US public, while some popular names have fallen to the bottom. In addition, the hybrid cars category proved to be the most reliable, while electric vehicles were at the opposite end. Be warned, there are some shockers on there! 

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We will discuss how reliability is measured and what brands you can count on. You will also see some of the most reliable car brands and some of their best-performing models. In addition, you can also find some of the least reliable brands of the year. 

How do you measure the reliability of a brand? 

most reliable and least reliable cars in America

The survey compiled results from more than 300,000 cars and owners and learned about many issues that may hinder the vehicle’s performance. In a broader classification, mechanical problems and other serious issues are considered in determining whether a car is the most reliable or vice versa. 

Problems arising factoring in the cost (of repairs), failure (engine and other systems), safety (airbags not considered), and downtime are taken into account for measuring how reliable a car brand is. How often you visit repairs and how much money you spend on repairs will greatly impact your finances. 

All problems covered in the warranty are not taken into account. A total of 17 trouble areas are studied, and each of these is ranked in terms of how severe they are. After collecting the data, the reliability score is calculated on a scale of 0 to 100. 

reliable cars

Among the data collected, major engine and transmission troubles, engine cooling, and drivetrain issue are given more weight when given a reliability score. Since these are errors that could cause more damage, cost more to repair, and even render your car useless in the worst-case scenario. A few other problems considered in ranking the most reliable car brand are given below. 

  • Minor Engine (or Electric Motor) and Transmission. 
  • Emissions or Fuel System 
  • Charging System/ Electrical System 
  • Climate System 
  • Steering and Suspension 
  • Brakes 
  • Exhaust 
  • Trim or Paint 
  • Body Integrity 
  • Body Hardware 
  • Power Equipment and Accessories 
  • In-car Electronics 

What is the most reliable car brand? 

Japanese manufacturers have impressed this year, with four of the top six reliable car brands in the US being from the island nation. The surprising (worrying) inference from the top six reliable brands is that there is not one US brand made it to the list. Among the six, four are Japanese, and the rest are German; both BMW and Audi are more inclined to produce luxury cars. 


Toyota Car Logo

The Japanese manufacturer that reigns supreme is Toyota. Among all models studied, the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid is the most reliable car. Similarly, the 2022 Toyota Prius, Prius Prime, and 2023 Toyota Corolla have very high reliability scores. 


Lexus Logo

The 2023 Lexus GX comes second in terms of reliability, scoring 91. It is among the most reliable cars because of its better fuel economy, low maintenance charges, and top-rated technology. Similarly, the Lexus NX Hybrid is the most reliable model in Hybrid SUVs and plug-ins variety. In addition, all cars manufactured by Lexus scored more than average in reliability rankings. 


BMW logo

With a brand reliability score of 65, BMW comes third in the rankings. Two of the most reliable cars include the 3 Series and 4 Series, which have 80 and 78 scores, respectively. In addition, the 2023 BMW 3 Series finished ninth in the top ten most reliable cars this year. 


Mazda Logo

Even though Mazda finished in the top five, they dropped two spots compared to last year. Their best-performing model was the MX-5 Miata which scored 85, and coming in second with 71 points was the CX-5. Also, the MX-5 Miata is the fifth most reliable car in the United States. 


Honda Logo

Honda Passport, Accord Hybrid, and Civic helped Honda stay among the most reliable car brands this year. Apart from these, the Honda Accord, Odyssey, and Ridgeline performed well with above-average scores in the survey. 


Audi Logo

With an impressive score of 95, the Audi A5, the successor of the successful A4, is the most reliable car by this German manufacturer. However, despite having a highly reliable model, the other cars fell short with average ratings for the Q7, Q3, and A4. 

What is the least reliable car brand? 


Tesla Car Logo

Recent accidents and mishaps have made Tesla fall into the limelight for the wrong reasons. Also, a recent recall for more than 40,000 vehicles due to power steering failure has caused a further fall for the biggest EV car manufacturer in the US. 


Chevrolet Logo

Despite having a couple of reliable cars like the Chevrolet TrailBlazer and the 2023 Chevrolet Blazer, the Chevy brand is going through troubled times. Especially the EV owners of- the Chevrolet Bolt, Bolt EUV, and Silverado 1500 have reported issues with the battery pack and electric motor.  


GMC logo

Another American manufacturer who had a bad time in recent months is GM. In general, SUVs are not considered too reliable by many people. However, recently GM decided to recall more than 340,000 SUVs due to headlight trouble. So it seems many SUVs of this least reliable car brand are yet another manufacturer that cannot get the electronics right. 


Volkswagen Logo

A problematic rear suspension assembly led to Volkswagen’s recall of more than 10,000 vehicles. The German brand has been under scrutiny for a few years now. Some of their models, like the Jetta and Atlas, has average reliability. But they went terribly wrong with cars like Tiguan and Tasos. 


Jeep logo

Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator, built between 2019 and May 2022, were recalled due to multiple issues. Some of these include fuel pump and seat belt issues and an irregular fuel supply to the engine. However, the Cherokee is one model that saved the Jeep brand in the rankings, with a reliability score of 53.  


Mercedes-Benz Logo

For the first time, the German brand fell to the bottom of the rankings. A series of electronic issues reported by many owners, including the screen going black, has affected the brand’s reliability. 

*Disclaimer: The data is taken from the annual survey of U.S. nonprofit Consumer Reports and is based on car owners’ feedback. 

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