5 Most Reliable Cars of the Decade: 2010-2020
Oftentimes, “best of” lists are speed-obsessed, only delving into how many valves per cylinder and power an engine has. Although differences in internal engine parts matter, typically, the more moving parts, the less reliability.
Each component has its breaking point. But these five reliable cars made in the 2010s proved that the sum of their parts provided transportation for their owners far beyond the 200,000-mile range, and it was cheap to get there.
1. Toyota Camry
The seventh-generation Camry debuted in 2011, but it built a reputation for bulletproof reliability since its appearance 30 years before.
It wasn’t one of the world’s best-selling cars for no reason, as it allowed transport for five in an inexpensive package that was also easy to maintain.
TRD models featured the big 3.5-liter V6, which carried into the eighth generation in 2018. Regardless, many picked the smaller powerplant to get extraordinary fuel economy.
According to a study conducted by iSeeCars, the Toyota Camry has a potential lifespan of over 223,000 miles, all with just regular maintenance. And that won’t be a hassle either.
RepairPal reports that the average annual Toyota Camry maintenance in 2010 was $381, increasing to $407 in 2019. That beats the cost of inflation, meaning not only that the Camry was continuously equipped with more standard features, but it also became even more reliable.
2. Toyota Avalon
As the Camry’s big brother and the Lexus ES’s mass-market cousin, the Toyota Avalon prides itself on longevity. It had much of the standard equipment many receive on luxury cars, yet it was understated. The face-lifted third, full fourth, and the beginning of the fifth generation are the Avalon models gracing the 2010s.
The Toyota Avalon was discontinued in 2022 as the Japanese giant refocuses its energy on electric-powered vehicles. Unfortunately, they take away one of the most dependable cars teetering on the threshold of the luxury segment.
For instance, luxury cars often have a myriad of issues because of innovation, especially with infotainment systems. However, the Avalon was able to offer similar amenities that, in 2010, cost $450 to maintain and repair annually, RepairPal notes. By 2017, that cost had increased to $463, but it’s far less if you’re considering inflation.
3. Honda Accord
Reviewers raved about Honda’s slightly more mature Civic for the end of the eighth, the entirety of the ninth, and the beginning of the tenth-generation Accord in the 2010s. Much like the Avalon, the Honda Accord was noted for delivering luxury car technology at mid-range pricing.
Neither of its four-cylinder engines will inspire fast and furious driving, rather bold and attentive maneuvering. However, each makes it a little easier to stave off the need for a hybrid, even though newer versions feature electrically-assisted propulsion. Regardless, the Accord switched from its slightly sporty offerings more than a decade ago to the competent-handling comfort cruisers they became.
The longevity study places the Accord above the popular Civic and Fit in reliability, with at least 1% of models lasting beyond 226,000 miles with regular maintenance routines, more than 20,000 miles longer than the Honda’s compact cars.
This is particularly impressive considering the relative inexpensiveness of maintenance routines. RepairPal states that upkeeping an Accord in 2010 was roughly $389 per year, but that went down to $345 over two succeeding generations, thus beating inflation’s grip on car ownership.
4. Mazda Mazda6
Mazda’s midsize sedan never rivaled the popularity of offerings from Honda or Toyota, but the five-seater Mazda6 competed well in reliability and dependability.
While the first-generation Japanese sedan had its issues, when the second generation came to the U.S. in 2009, the Mazda6 began reaching the pinnacle of the brand’s reliability. By the time the third generation debuted in 2014, the car’s common issues had dropped dramatically.
A life beyond 200,000 miles is perfectly normal for the Mazda6. And despite the tech innovations, the sedan is cheap to fix. For the 2010 model, the average annual repair cost is approximately $398, RepairPal says. Seven years and one generation later, repair costs dropped to $396.
5. Toyota Prius
Of course, most reliability lists will feature a torrent of Toyotas. But the Prius? Isn’t it complicated? Actually, no; it’s one of the most reliable cars Toyota, or anyone else for that matter, has ever made.
Reportedly, the Toyota Prius has a potential lifespan of a quarter-million miles. There are only a handful of General Motors and Toyota SUVs, as well as the Tundra, that can go a similar distance. The Prius was designed for hypermiling with its rather minimalist powertrain and general accommodations. The biggest change for the hybrid from the third to the fourth generation was the adoption of the Toyota New Global Architecture in 2015, which made the Prius even more aerodynamically superior.
Repair costs have increased, however, from a RepairPal-reported $392 per year in 2010 to $457 in 2017. Nevertheless, it seems not to bother its fans much as iSeeCars published findings that show the Toyota Prius is the car kept longest by American drivers.
What is the most reliable car from the 2000s?
For most, it’s probably a toss-up between the Honda Civic and the Toyota Camry. It’s not uncommon to see either running for several hundred thousand miles with the manufacturer’s scheduled maintenance followed to the T. Moreover, the Civic is listed as one that iSeeCars found that owners kept the longest.
For those scratching their heads wondering why the Civic wasn’t mentioned on the list above, there’s a simple answer. Since it’s so similar to the Accord, it’s easier to consider the two equally reliable without explaining it twice.
What brand of car lasts the longest?
The longevity of a car can be influenced by many factors, including the car’s make and model, how it’s driven, how well it’s maintained, and even the conditions in which it’s used. That being said, certain brands are often recognized for their reliability and longevity. In 2023, J.D. Power conducted its Vehicle Dependability Study, rating brands by problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). The brands mentioned above were ranked also follows:
- Toyota: 168 PP100
- Mazda: 174 PP100
- Industry average: 186 PP100
- Honda: 205 PP100
And as for why Lexus wasn’t mentioned, you should know by now it’s a Toyota with fake wood on the dashboard. However, it seems more recently the prevailing standards at Lexus are more stringent. The luxury brand was rated with a 133 PP100 by J.D. Power, the best score in the industry, and a brilliant start to the 2020-2030 decade.