Top 10 Most Reliable Cars: 2018 Consumer Reports
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This post has been updated for 2019 with a video!
If you don’t like taking trips back to the dealership with your brand new car, here are this year’s most reliable cars.
Based on Consumer Reports 2018 Annual Auto Survey, these models are the 10 most reliable cars today. The publication predicts these vehicles will give owners fewer problems than their competitors, based on data collected from over 500,000 survey respondents. The study takes a look at 17 different trouble areas, ranging from broken interior trim and squeaky brakes to out-of-warranty transmission repairs and issues with four-wheel-drive systems.
Each vehicle gets a Predicted Reliability Score which is then combined with data collected from Consumer Reports‘ own track testing, along with owner-satisfaction survey results and safety data.
10. Toyota Highlander
Ranked as one of the best midsized three-row SUVs is the Toyota Highlander, offering a balance of an absorbent ride, responsive handling, and generous interior space. Powering the Highlander is a 3.5-liter V6 engine paired to an eight-speed automatic, helping improve fuel economy to 22 mpg compared to the previous six-speed unit. There is also a hybrid variant that returns 25 mpg overall. Consumer Reports does note that it’s a long reach to some controls inside the cabin, particularly the touchscreen.
9. Kia Sedona
There aren’t very minivans left in today’s market, but the Kia Sedona is one of the most reliable. Refreshed for the 2019 model year, the Sedona offers a 3.3-liter V6 engine with 276 horsepower paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s available with either seven- or eight-passenger seating and has a quiet, roomy cabin. The ride, however, is overly stiff and doesn’t compare to the Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, and Toyota Sienna. It’s also not as enjoyable to drive, with ungainly handling, but does feel secure. It does get praises for its nicely finished and inviting interior, as well as a new front console that offers handy concealed storage.
8. Honda Fit
A popular model for decades, the Honda Fit offers similar versatility to that of a small, subcompact crossover. It returns 33-mpg overall, but it is noisy with its CVT that keeps the engine at high revs. The ride is stiff but handling is responsive. Unfortunately, the cabin is loud, which makes the Fit uncomfortable for long drives. One major complaint with the Honda Fit is its button-free, touchscreen radio found on the EX and higher trims, which can be frustrating to use. Also, the seats and driving position aren’t particularly comfortable.
7. Toyota Prius
Arguably the most recognized hybrid in the automotive industry, the Toyota Prius is a safe bet if you’re looking for something reliable. Returning 52 mpg overall in Consumer Reports testing, the Prius handles more responsively and rides more comfortably than its predecessor. The seats, however, offer mediocre support and tire noise is noticeable during drives. In addition, the car’s lower stance makes it a challenge to get into and out of.
6. Lexus NX
The Lexus NX is the Japanese luxury automaker’s offering in the compact crossover market, delivering responsive handling but a rather firm ride and a somewhat noisy cabin. The standard NX 300 is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that returns 24 mpg overall, while the NX 300h hybrid nets 29 mpg overall. The hybrid, however, does feel a bit underpowered, says Consumer Reports. Front cabin room is tight on this model, and its styling does compromise rear visibility and cuts into cargo space. Another noticeable complaint is its fussy touchpad, which is used for most controls. The publication notes its frustrating and distracting to use.
5. Toyota Corolla
For decades, the Toyota Corolla has delivered reliable performance on a budget. It continues to offer a comfortable ride and a quiet, spacious interior, although handling is lackluster but secure. The CVT does its job well, but does make the engine a bit noisy under higher revs. Fuel economy on the Corolla is impressive, delivering 32-mpg overall and 43 mpg on the highway.
4. Mazda MX-5 Miata
Now in its fourth generation, the Mazda MX-5 Miata finds itself on the list of top 10 most reliable cars. Returning 34-mpg overall, the Miata features a “delightfully accurate” six-speed manual transmission, although an automatic is available as an option. As expected, the Miata delivers quick and precise steering, although some body roll is noticeable. Taking some points off the car, however, are high levels of noise, thin and unsupportive seats, and a stiff ride. Overall, cabin space is snug and opening or closing the convertible top is a breeze. Power did get increased from 155 hp to 181 hp for the 2019 model year. Consumer Reports did note the optional dial-controlled infotainment system takes some time to master.
3. Toyota Prius Prime
Joining the standard Toyota Prius on the list is the plug-in hybrid version, the Prius Prime. Complaints about the Prius Prime include its seating for four, lack of a rear wiper, and an unintuitive infotainment system. Its ride is complaint and it does offer responsive handling, similar to what can be found on the standard Prius.
2. Toyota Prius c
Rounding off the Prius family is the compact Prius c, less expensive than the standard Prius. It’s not really a substitute for a Prius, with the c offering a harsher ride, a noisy engine, and slow acceleration. In addition, the interior looks and feels cheap, the driving position and rear seats are cramped, and it offers little cargo space. But it does return 43-mpg overall and 37 mpg in the city, making it a natural fit for urban driving. It’s worth mentioning that the 2019 model year is the final year for the Prius c.
1. Lexus GX
Topping the list and serving as this year’s most reliable vehicle is the Lexus GX, which is one of very few body-on-frame SUVs left on the market. Despite its size, the Lexus GX is quick and very quiet, and is even capable off-road while offering a 6,500-pound tow rating. It’s powered by a 4.6-liter V8 engine paired to a six-speed automatic transmission, but returns just 17 mpg overall. Its ride is comfortable, but the body does tend to jostle when driving over uneven payment.
As you would expect from a Lexus, the interior is plush and well-finished, offering a good driving position.
Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at AutoGuide.com saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.
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