3 Car Brands Only Have 1 Model Among the Best Used Vehicles According to CarComplaints

Shoppers in the used car market have an abundance of choices. Currently, the used car market is roughly three times the size of the new car market. Therefore, most, if not all, desires can be satiated for a fraction of the price of a new vehicle.

A silver 2009 Kia Sorento on display ate an auto show.
2009 Kia Sorento | David McNew via Getty Images

While outlets like J.D. Power, Car and Driver, and Edmunds focus on the latest and greatest, used cars fall by the wayside. Luckily, CarComplaints has gotten into the business of evaluating vehicles. Given that they compile owner grievances and investigate manufacturer defects, they’re perfect for used car assessments.

CarComplaints ranks vehicles with years of complaint history or those part of an exceptional model generation with no alterations from prior years. While their list may not be exhaustive yet, it included 18 popular brands. Plenty of manufacturers have multiple entries on the CarComplaints “Best Vehicles” list. For example, Ford has eight, Subaru 15, Chevrolet 21, Nissan 22, and Toyota has an impressive 94 – some of the most reliable car brands. However, three mainstream manufacturers had only one vehicle selected as good enough for the shrewdest used car shoppers. The cars that made the list are the most reliable used cars according to the data.

1999 Audi A8

When the A8 debuted, the Bavarian business-class sedan ticked all the boxes on performance, technology, and build quality. Edmunds reported the 1999 A8 featured a “warm weather package” to enhance electronic accessory performance. One of those premium electronics was a multi-disk CD changer—how nostalgic. Beneath late-90s electronics, this luxury sedan sat on the revolutionary Audi Space Frame, propelled by a 3.7-liter twin-cam aluminum-alloy V8. The smaller-capacity V8 produced 230 hp, but the Quattro version came with Audi’s iconic 4.2-liter V8, producing 300 hp.

CarComplaints reports only a few issues with the A8, most of which have only one example. The most severe case was a single complaint about transmission failure. They reiterate that the lone problem occurred on a car with 200,000 miles on the clock. Compared with other vehicles, the repair cost of an Audi is steep because of the high parts cost. Therefore, since the A8 doesn’t seem to be a problem child, it’s a great pick as a used car.

RELATED: Which Used Audi Is the Most Reliable?

2005 Buick Park Avenue

Buick Logo in full color on a piece of paper against a dark backdrop
Buick Logo | Reuter Raymond/Sygma via Getty Images

2005 was the last model year the Park Avenue was available in the U.S. market. With industry-leading seat comfort and Buick’s long-lasting 3.8-liter V6, it’s a gem. Supercharged versions are available that put 240 hp through the front wheels. It may have been a tad floaty on the road, but the luxury-laden American cruiser featured solid safety scores. Edmunds says Park Avenue models optioned with the Gran Touring package make for a more stable ride, but it’s hard to go wrong with its reliability.

One of the biggest issues with Buick is corrosion where the chrome plating contacts the wheels, according to CarComplaints. Fortunately, they state, “there’s just not that many complaints about it.” Although Buick’s smooth, comfortable ride was primarily enjoyed by grandparents, it’s a perfect pick for any age group. Plus, it was a hood ornament.

RELATED: Does Buick Sell Any Cars That People Actually Want?

2009 Kia Sorento

The second-generation midsize SUV was the first from the South Korean manufacturer to be built in America. It may not have been as roomy as its competitors and had unproven reliability, but there’s plenty to like. Cars.com boasted about its value, towing capacity, seat comfort, and impressive standard safety features. The Sorento’s body-on-frame construction, four-wheel drive, and powerful V6 made it an excellent selection for towing or off-road ventures.

According to analysis from CarComplaints, there are a lot of areas where owners had issues. While complaints are seen in the brakes, powertrain, airbags, and interior sections, they all have one thing in common. The 2009 Kia Sorento had fiddly electronics, which was typical for that span of Kia products. In the early to mid-2000s, the brand was cemented at the bottom of J.D. Power’s annual Initial Quality Study, Popular Mechanics said. However, by 2009, Kia spent well over $1 billion researching quality, and their second-generation vehicles proved their worth. While there are still complaints about Sorento’s, they aren’t big-ticket mechanical issues. Given their relative inexpensiveness on the used-car market, they’re an easy pick to make. Moreover, CarComplaints quells concerns by giving the Kia its “Seal of Awesome.”

RELATED: How Many Miles Will a Kia Last?