• Buying Guides

Most Reliable Used Cars

By Michael O'Connor | September 24, 2022

When shopping for a used car, one of the most important things to keep in mind is how well it is going to serve you over the years. Getting the most value out of your used car purchase will depend heavily on how reliable it is and how much you can depend on it. If you can’t be sure that your used vehicle will start up every time you get behind the wheel, it won’t be worth owning, no matter how good of a deal you got.

If you are going to purchase a used car, you must know how reliable that particular model and year is. Taking the time to understand the dependability of various vehicles is the best way to decide if they are right for you. By knowing what you can expect from the most reliable used cars, you can narrow down your search and make the smart choice.


2008 Toyota Corolla

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Toyota has long been known as an automaker with a focus on quality assurance at the factory and a simple, economical design. The Corolla is one of their crown jewels when it comes to dependability and the 2008 model year is one of their best. With a “Great” reliability score from J.D. Power, it is an excellent choice for people looking for a dependable daily driver.

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The 2008 Corolla features a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine putting out 126 horsepower through a five-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic. With an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 26 mpg city and 35 mpg highway, it is a great option if you are a commuter who relies on their vehicle to do their day-to-day long-distance trips.

Browse used 2008 Toyota Corolla listings here.


2017 Honda Accord

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When it comes to reliable midsize sedans, the Honda Accord is most likely the first vehicle that comes to mind. With a 5/5 reliability rating from Consumer Reports, the 2017 Accord is the epitome of everything this practical vehicle stands for. Its mix of simplicity and elegant design makes it one of the vehicles most likely to still be on the road well after the 200,000-mile mark.

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The 2017 Accord comes with a choice of a 2.4-liter four-cylinder or 3.5-liter V6 engine, both of which make the Accord Honda’s top-performing economy car. With plenty of space in the cabin and trunk, it is as practical as it is reliable and is perfect for families and drivers of all types.

Browse used 2017 Honda Accord listings here.


2017 Mazda3

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Just because a vehicle is dependable, that doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice sporty performance and style. The 2017 Mazda3 is a great example of what can be achieved when you combine economy with a sleek exterior. This is why it was at the top of Consumer Reports’ vehicle ratings for all categories, including reliability, for the 2017 model year.

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The 2017 Mazda3 comes with a base 2.0-liter inline-four engine putting out 155 horsepower through a FWD configuration and a six-speed automatic transmission. The Mazda3’s interior consistently received best-in-class ratings with a high level of design and good build quality that makes it feel much more premium than you would expect for the price point.

Browse used 2017 Mazda3 listings here.


2021 Nissan Rogue

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As Nissan’s best-selling vehicle, the 2021 Rogue is a great option for people looking for a comfortable SUV with enough capabilities and utility features for all kinds of applications. With a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine putting out 181 horsepower, it is powerful enough for most daily drivers, and the available all-wheel-drive means you can take it almost anywhere. On top of that, it has a “Great” reliability rating from JD Power so you can depend on it no matter what kind of driving you do with it.

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Even though the Rogue is a compact SUV, it features enough cargo space for families and vacationers and has a comfortable, high-quality interior. With a standard 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, there are all kinds of connectivity options and safety features.

Browse used 2021 Nissan Rogue listings here.


2018 Lexus RX 350

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If you are looking for a new car that has the sporty feel of a hatchback and the utility of a crossover SUV, the Lexus RX 350 is your best bet. With an above-average reliability rating from JD Power, it is a great choice for people who want something dependable with a little extra comfort behind the wheel. There is no shortage of features and touches available with the 2018 RX 350 and it could be a good choice for all kinds of drivers.

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One of the best things about the 2018 RX 350 is the 295-horsepower V6 engine. With enough power for all kinds of applications and excellent interior quality, it is a great option for those who want both comfort and excellent rankings in almost every category.

Browse used 2018 Lexus RX 350 listings here.


2014 Honda Civic

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Perhaps the most iconic economy car of all time, the Honda Civic has gone through many changes over the years. However, it remains one of the most reliable cars on the market and the 2014 model year is the best when it comes to this category. This is why the 2014 Civic has a perfect reliability rating with JD Power, making it one of the best-used cars you can buy if you are looking for something that will last for many years.

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The 2014 Honda Civic is available as either a coupe or sedan and comes with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine running through a continuously variable automatic transmission. The exterior of this model year is especially sleek, as well, giving it fantastic styling to go along with its unparalleled practicality.

Browse used 2014 Honda Civic listings here.


2016 Toyota Avalon

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Sometimes it can feel like the days of the large sedan are over but the popularity of the Toyota Avalon is evidence that it is simply hiding in a slightly smaller package. Although the 2016 Avalon is a full-size sedan, it drives more like a small car and has the interior and exterior styling of a luxury sedan without the high price tag. On top of that, it has a 4/5 reliability rating from Consumer Reports, making it a great choice for people who want something comfortable that they can depend on.

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The 2016 Avalon comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine putting out 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. In addition to this power, it also features high-quality interior materials and a much more high-end, luxury car-like look on the outside.

Browse used 2016 Toyota Avalon listings here.


2017 Kia Forte

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In the world of compact cars, Kia has been producing high-quality vehicles for years. Their sedan, the Forte, is a great example of reliability, comfort, and fuel-efficient performance wrapped up in one package. It has a 4/5 reliability rating from JD Power, putting it at the top of the list when it comes to dependability in Kia’s lineup. If you want a vehicle that will feel more high-end than what you pay for it, the Forte is a great option.

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The 2017 Forte comes with a 2.0-liter inline-four engine that puts out 147 horsepower using the high-efficiency Atkins combustion cycle. This results in a fuel economy of 29 city and 38 highway, making it a great choice for commuters. The Forte’s handling is relatively responsive for a vehicle in its class and while it won’t feel like a sports car, it has enough pickup and steering feedback for a fun driving experience. The interior is also comfortable and streamlined and makes good use of its budget-friendly materials.

Browse used 2017 Kia Forte listings here.


2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata

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When looking for a reliable car, you most likely think that you have to settle for something nondescript and potentially uninteresting. With the 2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata, you get the best of all worlds in a subcompact vehicle that has the sporty handling of a Porsche and the reliability of a Toyota Camry. The 2012 MX-5 Miata features a reliability rating of 4/5, so you know you can depend on it every time you get behind the wheel for some fun.

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With a 2.0-liter inline-four engine, the 2012 MX-5 puts out 167 horsepower, which is more than enough for its compact frame and wheelbase. It features a zero-to-60 time of just 6.9 seconds and has a quick, responsive feel that is incredibly fun to drive.

Browse used 2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata listings here.


2021 Honda CR-V

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The CR-V is Honda’s compact SUV and its performance and quality are well-known in the car buying world. With an easy, car-like feel, the CR-V is a great alternative to a minivan for families and busy parents. Plus, it has a JD Power reliability rating of 84/100, putting it well above average for dependability.

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When searching the dealership for a small or midsize SUV, you may be tempted to go bigger. However, the 2021 CR-V features a turbocharged inline-four engine putting out 190 horsepower, making it powerful enough for almost any driver. The interior is roomy and well-put-together and it is both practical and reliable, which is standard for Honda vehicles of any type.

Browse used 2021 Honda CR-V listings here.


2020 Audi A3

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If you want an entry-level luxury vehicle but don’t want to take a chance on a BMW or Mercedes, the Audi A3 could be the best option for you. With a JD Power reliability rating of 86/100, it is high on the list when it comes to dependability in its class. This small sedan is a great choice for all kinds of drivers who want comfort without the risk of some higher-end luxury cars.

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The 2020 A3’s 2.0-liter inline-four engine puts out 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque through a seven-speed automated manual transmission. While the maintenance you will need to do once it is out of warranty could add up, major repairs are much less likely for this model year than others. This makes it just as practical as it is exciting.

Browse used 2020 Audi A3 listings here.


Final Thoughts

While practicality and reliability shouldn’t be the only thing you look for when you buy a car, it is incredibly important. Whether you are purchasing a Chevrolet, Hyundai, Acura, hybrid, electric car, or traditional vehicle, knowing that it will start up every time you get behind the wheel is essential. By Knowing which cars are on the market and what they have to offer, you can make the right choice for your particular needs and driving habits.