The Most Reliable Cars On The Road

Picture of the most reliable car on the road, the Scion xB

The Scion xB was found to be the most reliable car on the road by Consumer Reports

The most reliable car on the road is the Scion xB, according to Consumer Reports. The compact car, produced by Toyota, topped their annual car reliability survey which tests owners’ experiences with over 1 million vehicles and is the biggest study of its kind.

In terms of brands, Toyota came second from top, with the car maker’s luxury marque Lexus coming first.

Here are the main findings of the study:

Most reliable cars

Scion xB
Lexus CT 200h
Lexus ES 300h Hybrid

Least reliable cars

Fiat 500L
Ford Fiesta
Mercedes-Benz CLA 250

Most reliable SUVs

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Toyota Highlander (V6)
Lexus RX

Least reliable SUVs

Jeep Cherokee (4-cylinder)
Nissan Pathfinder
Jeep Grand Cherokee (diesel)

10 most reliable car brands

Lexus, Toyota, Mazda, Honda, Audi, Buick, Subaru, Scion, Porsche, Kia

You can see the full list of car manufacturer reliability in this infographic:

Infographic of the most reliable cars by Consumer Reports


Lexus also came top in the latest Vehicle Dependability Study by J.D. Power (see more details below).

As the Consumer Reports list shows, the best way to go if you’re looking for a reliable car is to shop for one from an Asian firm. The only brands outside Asia to make the top ten were Audi and Porsche, both made in Germany, and Buick — the highest US manufacturer.

Consumer Reports said the reason they believe that firms like Lexus and Toyota are more reliable is because when they introduce new technology they do it slowly and on tried and tested platforms, whereas firms like Ford will sometimes completely revamp a car from the bottom up and fill it with vast amounts of new technology.

The most problematic areas of cars in terms of reliability were infotainment systems, but Consumer Reports said that reliability is improving.

The firm’s survey is the largest of its kind, and uses data from the past three model years (unless a vehicle has been changed drastically in that time) to predict which cars will be most reliable in the future.

But as buyers are usually looking for a particular type of car, the report also broke down the most reliable cars in each category.

Here are the top three in each:

Most reliable subcompact cars

Toyota Yaris
Kia Rio
Hyundai Accent

Most reliable compact cars

Scion xB
Honda Civic Coupe
Honda Civic Sedan

Most reliable luxury compact cars

Lexus IS 350 Sedan
Acura ILX
Buick Verano

Most reliable midsized cars

Volkswagen Passat
Toyota Camry

Most reliable midsized/large cars

Lexus LS
Lexus ES (V6)
Audi A6 (4-cylinder)

Most reliable large cars

Kia Cadenza
Nissan Maxima
Hyundai Azera

Most reliable coupes and convertibles

Audi A5
Honda Accord
BMW 4 Series

Most reliable sporty cars

Honda Civic Si
Mazda MX-5 Miata
Porsche Cayman

Most reliable Hybrid/Electric cars

Lexus CT 200h
Lexus ES 300h
Toyota Prius C

Most reliable Small SUVs

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Subaru Forester
Subaru XV Crosstrek

Most reliable luxury compact SUVs

Audi Q5 (V6)
Audi A5 (diesel)
Mercedes-Benz GLK (diesel)

Most reliable midsized SUVs

Toyota Highlander (V6)
Toyota 4Runner
Chevrolet Equinox

Most reliable luxury/midsized/large SUVs

Lexus RX
Lexus RX Hybrid
Lexus GX

Most reliable large SUVs

Chevrolet Traverse
Toyota Sequoia
Chevrolet Tahoe

Most reliable compact pickups

Toyota Tacoma (V6, 2WD)
Toyota Tacoma (4-cylinder)
Toyota Tacoma (V6, 4WD)

Most reliable full-sized pickups

Toyota Tundra (V8, 2WD)
Toyota Tundra (V8, 4WD)
Ford F-250 & F350

Most reliable wagons

Audi Allroad
Toyota Venza (V6)
Toyota Venza (4-cylinder)

Most reliable minivans

Toyota Sienna (FWD)
Toyota Sienna (AWD)
Nissan Quest

Full details of the study can be found on the Consumer Reports website.

JD Power dependability survey

The annual Vehicle Dependability Study by JD Power is the second major survey that tries to give consumers an idea of the most reliable cars on the market.

It uses a different system to rate cars, and so has different results — although some general trends are evident. For example, as mentioned above, Lexus topped their study as well, with full top ten being: Lexus, Buick, Toyota, Cadillac, Honda, Porsche, Lincoln, Mercedez-Benz, Scion and Chevrolet.

You can see the full results here:

Vehicle Dependability Study infographic

It was the fourth year in a row that Lexus has topped the JD Power study.

It looks at problems drivers have over the past 12 months with cars that are three years old. So rather than trying to predict what will happen with models bought today, it explores how cars bought three years ago have held up. The survey covers 177 different problems experienced by drivers and they then rate cars by the number of problems per 100 vehicles.

One notable finding of the study was that Scion had shot up their rankings by 13 places from the year before. This huge improvement, if carried over into the past three years, may coincide with how their xB managed to top the Consumer Reports survey.

Here are two infographics which show the most reliable cars in each segment following the JD Power study:

Most dependable cars infographic 1

Most dependable cars infographic 2

Conclusion: The most reliable cars

While these two surveys may vary, it is evident that cars made by Toyota (including Toyota, Lexus and Scion, have a generally impressive record on reliability, so are a good place to start if you are looking for a reliable car. In terms of American-made cars, Buick comes out top.

Scion’s xB and XD models appear to be particularly reliable, but it all comes down to what particular category of car you are looking at buying. But as a general guide, any of the cars that appear at the top of the category listings in either of the two surveys will likely have above average reliability.

The surveys serve as a useful guide, but it is obviously also worth doing some extra research on each particular model you are interested in by reading some reviews on car websites around the web.

UPDATE: This article was updated on June 26, 2015.