Auto consumers and car makers watch carefully for the annual reliability ratings when they appear on the Consumer Reports (paid subscription) website. The auto research and testing site uses information submitted by the publication’s subscribers to predict how well a vehicle will hold up based on how well its held up in the recent past. We recently looked at the least reliable brands on the market. Now, let’s look at the most reliable car models.
While you could argue the Consumer Reports demographic tends to skew in one direction or another, it’s tough to disqualify information submitted on 1.1 million vehicles, and everyone will agree that there’s some truth to the reputation of the automobiles that landed on top. On a purely technical level, no one is stricter in their tests than CR, and as a result, cars are worked hard to earn the consumer watchdog’s praise.
So looking at the top-rated cars — sorry, no SUVs, crossovers, or trucks on this list — here are the seven most reliable cars from the Consumer Reports rankings from the end of 2015. The vehicles listed are the top scorers in reliability for each class.
7. Subcompact: Toyota Prius C
The newest member of the Geek Squad has been having a hard time finding buyers lately thanks to competition from the all-new Prius and low fuel costs, but the Prius C is that rare subcompact that’s both efficient and beautifully built. With Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system, the smallest member of the Prius family returns a solid 53 miles per gallon in the city, and 46 on the highway.
6. Compact Car: Subaru Impreza
Available as both a sedan and hatchback, the Impreza has exploded in popularity lately thanks to its spacious interior and standard all-wheel drive. And now that it’s been crowned CR’s most reliable compact, Subaru’s like to win over a few thousand car buyers.
5. Midsize Car: Toyota Camry
It isn’t the fastest, sexiest, or sportiest midsize sedan out there (though Toyota’s made some big strides in those categories lately), but for sheer volume alone, no competitor can touch the Camry. At a time when the midsize sedan’s dominance is on the wane, the Camry name is still shorthand for reliability and resale value. As a result, it’s sitting comfortably as the fourth best-selling vehicle in America in 2016.
4. Large Car: Toyota Avalon
Taking all the high points of the Camry and transposing them to a slightly bigger package, Toyota continues its dominance of the industry with the Avalon. With its good looks, interior that could be mistaken for a Lexus, and bulletproof engineering, Toyota’s biggest sedan is perfect for buyers who want a big, comfortable car, but don’t have to worry about anything other than putting gas and oil into it.
3. Luxury Compact: Lexus CT200h
And while Toyota dominates entry- and mid-market categories, its luxury brand Lexus has the top end locked down. A close cousin of the Prius family, the CT200h is a handsome five-door hatch that returns 43 miles per gallon city, and 40 on the highway. Sharing its powertrain with the prius, it isn’t exactly quick, but it’s one of the most luxurious hybrids on the market. According to CR, it’s also one of the best built.
2. Luxury Midsize/Large: Lexus ES
While the CT200h is linked to the Prius, the ES is a close relative of the Avalon. The ES nameplate has been a popular seller for Lexus for over 25 years now, and this current model’s reputation for luxury, comfort, and reliability makes it one of of the most popular luxury cars on the market.
1. Sporty Car: BMW 2 Series
Joining with the Impreza to break the Toyota-Lexus hegemony is BMW’s compact 2 Series. At a time when the brand is diversifying into a number of different segments, the 2 Series is a throwback to what the brand does best: Build agile, engaging cars that offer both world-class luxury and performance. Available as both a coupe and convertible, the 2 Series has quickly become a favorite for BMW fans, Consumer Reports, included.