The 3 Most Reliable New Cars Consumer Reports Recommends

No new car is perfect, but some are better picks than others. As you do your car shopping, you’ll want to make sure your likely new vehicle has the latest features, but it should be dependable too. To help you with your search, we’ve gathered some of the most reliable cars you can buy for 2021. 

2021 Toyota Prius 

An electric blue 2021 Toyota Prius parked on the street.
2021 Toyota Prius with all-wheel-drive | Toyota

The Toyota Prius is at the top of Consumer Reports’ list of most reliable cars for the 2021 model year. CR gives a vehicle its predicted reliability score based on 17 potential trouble spots, including a car’s engine and transmission. The org also uses survey data to determine a car’s reliability and grades each one from 1 to 100. 

CR gave the 2021 Prius a score of 93 for predicted reliability. For 2021, the Prius still stands out for the same reasons as the first generation. It has a wonderfully spacious cabin and excellent fuel economy. This Toyota features a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. Together, the two power sources produce 121-hp. The Prius isn’t a speed demon. But it’s EPA rating of 54 mpg makes it more appealing. 

Front seats of the 2021 Prius.
2021 Toyota Prius interior | Toyota

The Prius has room for five and offers plenty of modern tech. Toyota now has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard infotainment gadgets. It comes with many active safety features, too, including forward-collision warning and adaptive cruise control. 

2021 Lexus NX

A red Lexus NX on the track.
2021 Lexus NX | Lexus

Unsurprisingly, another vehicle under the Toyota umbrella makes it on CR’s list of most reliable cars. CR gave the Lexus NX a 91 for dependability. The NX is a compact SUV that competes against the likes of the Porsche Macan. Drivers don’t gravitate toward the NX because it’s the quickest option in the class. Instead, it wins out for its exceptionally smooth ride quality and posh style. 

The Lexus NX interior in Roja Red.
Lexus NX interior | Lexus

The NX has enamored critics and buyers alike with its pristine cabin. Like the outgoing model, the 2021 NX gets its power from a turbocharged 235-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder linked to a six-speed automatic. The NX’s standard engine is a solid option for fuel-efficiency. But if you’re interested in something more eco-friendly, the NX is also available as a hybrid.  

2021 Buick Encore 

2020 Buick Encore|Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Buick’s Encore comes in as the No.3 most reliable car for 2021. Well, technically, it ties with the NX with a grade of 91. You’ll appreciate the Encore because of its cutesy looks and luxury touches. The Encore’s tiny size makes it more appealing to city-dwellers in need of a car that’s easy to park.

Front seats of a 2020 Buick Encore with leather seats.
2020 Encore interior | Buick

You Aren’t Crazy If You Want the 2021 Mazda CX-5 Over the Lexus NX

The 2021 Encore has a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder linked to a six-speed auto. Most reviewers say the Encore is sufficient for city driving. However, it can feel underpowered at highway speeds. Another bummer is that it’s only average for fuel-efficiency. 

This Buick earns higher marks for its interior. The Encore has a tranquil cabin with upscale trimmings. There are seats for five, but accomodating four people is more realistic.