Choosing a reliable car is one of the most important factors when purchasing a new vehicle.
Nobody wants a new motor that breaks down or starts falling apart the minute you drive it away from the dealer, or that causes you problems down the line.
Research organisation J.D. Power goes to great lengths each year to find out which are the most dependable cars on the road.
They have been producing reports on vehicle dependability for 27 years now, and base their findings on the experiences of thousands of drivers.
Here is their list of the most reliable cars of 2016.
1 City Car – Fiat 500
The Fiat 500 has become a bit of a phenomenon — especially in Europe where it has become an extremely popular city car.
The Italian manufacturer really pulled if off with the 500, managing to make a subcompact car that was also actually cool.
The Fiat 500 has beautiful styling, as many Italian cars do, and the good news is it’s also the most reliable car in its segment, beating the Smart Fortwo and the Chevrolet Spark hands down.
It got a 5/5 “among the best” rating for both its overall dependability, for its features and accessories, and for the reliability of its powertrain in J.D. Power’s research.
The only thing that let it down was the craftsmanship of its body and interior, for which it received a 3/5 “about average”. But as an overall package, for a city car it’s hard to beat.
2 Small car – Honda Fit
The Honda Fit was ranked as the best subcompact car on the road for 2016 by Consumer Reports, and the fact it won’t let you down played a big part in that.
The small car class has become much more popular in recent years, especially for urbanites. And if you’re looking for a hassle-free buy the Fit is an excellent choice.
It tops a category which includes the Nissan Vera, Hyundai Accent, Chevrolet Sonic, Kia Rio and Ford Fiesta, with 5/5 for both its powertrain and overall dependability.
3 Compact car – Buick Verano
Topping the compact car class is an impressive feat — as there are just so many contenders.
But the Buick Verano is the stand-out winner in terms of reliability, receiving full marks for all areas including features and accessories, body and interior, and powertrain, as well as its overall dependability.
If the Buick’s not to your taste, the Toyota Corolla also fared particularly well, only losing a mark for the quality of its body and interior.
The two cars stood head and shoulders above the rest of the pack in this class, which includes all sorts of popular names including the Honda Civic, Kia Forte, Chevrolet Volt and Volkswagen Golf.
4 Compact multi-purpose vehicle – Toyota Prius V
Not everyone loves the Prius, but if you’re eco-minded and looking for a reliable ride then the V is almost certainly the car for you.
Unlike the revamped regular Prius, this year’s model is a carryover from 2015 but it’s a car that won’t let you down, and that’s Japanese reliability for you.
It’s also plenty spacious and thanks to its hybrid engine very easy on the pocket when it comes to gas, managing around 44mpg in the city and 40mpg on the highway.
5 Compact Sporty Car – MINI Coupe | Roadster
MINIs have got a massive following and that’s not just because they’re fun and quirky — they’re good cars too.
Since 2001, they have been produced by BMW so come with a dose of quality German engineering.
The Mini Cooper and Mini Coupe and Roaster all got a 5/5 “among the best” rating for their overall reliability, with the Coupe and Roadster doing slightly better in terms of powertrain dependability.
The Volkswagen GTI and Scion tC both also did well in the category, although the GTI’s powertrain didn’t stand up as well as other models, while the weak point of the tC was its body and interior.
6 Compact premium car – Lexus ES
If you’re buying a Lexus you’re paying for a premium brand, so you expect a car that will cause you very few problems over the years.
The ES has a starting price of $38,000, and in terms of reliability, thankfully, it doesn’t disappoint. Both its powertrain and features as a whole are among the best in its class.
A close second in the compact premium car category is the BMW 1 Series, which actually fared better than the ES in terms of its accessories, body and interior, but didn’t do quite as well as regards its powertrain.
7 Midsize Car – Chevrolet Malibu
The midsize car segment is the most popular of all, and contains the best-selling car in the US, the Toyota Camry.
But while the Camry fare exceptionally well in reliability stats, the Malibu just clinches the top spot in the segment.
Another car that has shown to be a trustworthy ride is the Hyundai Sonata, but all three of these models are unlikely to cause you any major problems down the line.
8 Midsize Sporty Car – Chevrolet Camaro
The Camaro isn’t your every-day runaround, that’s for sure.
But there’s a time and a place for a sporty car, and if you’re in the market for one the Camaro is head-and-shoulders above its rivals in terms of reliability.
It is also the only car on this list to receive a 5/5 “among the best” rating for all four categories for which J.D. Power carries out ratings.
No other midsize sporty car comes close, with the Ford Mustang receiving “about average” 3/5 ratings in each category, and the Dodge Challenger and Hyundai Genesis Coupe faring even worse.
9 Midsize premium car – Lexus GS
The second Lexus to make this list, the GS is a mark of prestige for any car-buyer. And again Toyota’s premium brand shows its quality as the midsize premium car category’s hands-down winner.
Its German rival the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is also a safe bet, but all other vehicles in the segment including the Infiniti M, BMW 5 Series and Lincoln MKS received an “about average” rating or below in terms of dependability.
10 Large Car – Buick LaCrosse
If you’re looking for something more substantial as a runaround then the large car segment is where you’ll be looking.
There are plenty of popular models in this category, including the Toyota Avalon and Chevrolet Impala.
But for a large car that will cause you very few visits to the mechanic, the Buick LaCrosse is probably you’re best bet.
It is the only car in the large car category to get full marks for its overall dependability, and the reliability of its body and interior.