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For decades, Toyota has cultivated a reputation for being both affordable and reliable. However, they are no longer alone in presenting reliable cars to the American market. These days, Honda produces the most reliable compact car while offering one of the cheapest options in the new Honda Civic.

Where the Toyota Corolla landed

In the latest iSeeCars report detailing the most reliable compact cars, the Toyota Corolla sat third behind a pair of siblings from rival Honda. That said, the top two models are both variants of the Honda Civic. The Civic Coupe takes the top spot, while the four-door version sits just behind.

To find the most reliable compact car, the site analyzed 12 million cars over several years to determine which models are most likely to reach 200,000 miles or more. Unsurprisingly, there are several Toyota and Honda models on the list, including several that are no longer in production.

Out of 26 compact cars ranked, Toyota and Honda claim five total positions. Four of those are the top four most reliable compact cars. These include both Corolla and two versions of Civic, along with the now-defunct Honda Fit. Strangely, the Honda Civic Hatchback sits lower on the list in ninth place.

Other models in the Top 10 include the Volkswagens Golf and Jetta, plus the Subaru Impreza. The overall cheapest compact car on the most reliable list is the Kia Rio, which ranks eighth. Its cousin, the Hyundai Accent, sits in 10th.

Why the Honda Civic is the most reliable compact car available today

The Honda Civic Coupe is far and away the most reliable compact car, besting the Toyota Corolla by over half a point in reliability. Meanwhile, the four-door Civic sits 0.1 points ahead of its Toyota rival.

Better yet, the Civic carries a starting price of $23,750, so it’s about $2,000 more than the base Corolla. That said, the Civic comes with more standard kit than the Corolla. Getting a Toyota compact with equal features to the base Civic substantially levels the playing field.

Red 2022 Honda Civic, the most reliable compact car 2023
2022 Honda Civic Sedan | Honda

Significantly, the Honda Civic wins compact car reliability thanks to its consistency. A legacy of impressive engineering and low maintenance costs make Honda Civics easy to own for hundreds of thousands of miles. 

Even recent changes to Honda’s compact car don’t dampen reliability outlooks. The added complexity of a turbocharged engine is no match for Honda’s engineering chops. With proper maintenance, these cars are still getting to 200,000 miles or more.

Toyota and Honda duking it out in several categories

In addition to the compact car segment, reliability rankings for midsize and large cars heavily favor the Japanese contenders as well. The Honda Accord and Toyota Camry take top honors in the midsize segment, respectively. And for large cars, the jettisoned Toyota Avalon sits atop the charts in a category where Honda has no contender.

The same is true for luxury reliability ratings as well. Honda’s Acura and Toyota’s Lexus consistently sit near the top of those charts for longevity thanks to their parent brand’s excellent engineering.

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