What is the Most Reliable Car Ever?

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Lisa Steuer McArdle
Updated on Apr 27, 2022 · 5 min read
We all know that one person who
refuses to part
with the car they’ve owned for decades, insisting that it’s exceptionally reliable. 
Whether or not they’re right, expert opinion certainly differs on which cars are the most reliable. Still, some cars are more reliable than others. 
Here are some top contenders for the most reliable cars
of all time
, as well as for the
most reliable models of 2021
No one agrees on what is the most reliable car ever.

No consensus on what’s the most reliable car ever 

While some cars are clearly more reliable than others, there’s no consensus as to which car is the most reliable of them all. 
You can gauge a car’s reliability fairly well using surveys from JD Power and Consumer Reports, but even these are fallible. After all, they evaluate
new cars
the year they come out, and it’s hard to predict long-term reliability in a model’s first year on the market. 
Nevertheless, reliability is important to most car-buyers and is often their number one concern. Luckily, car sites such as Hot Cars and CarBuzz offer well-researched lists of the most reliable cars.  

Some contenders for the most reliable car ever 

Unsurprisingly, Hot Cars and CarBuzz differed greatly in their choices of top 10 most reliable cars of all time. 
In fact, only one model made it on both sites’ lists. The Honda Civic, which
Hot Cars
ranked in the number 10 spot, was a mutual favorite. According to Hot Cars, the Honda Civic is a car “that just won’t die,” and that tends to be passed down from generation to generation. 
“It’s not uncommon to see models from the early 90s in surprising numbers,” says Hot Cars. The site notes that these models were manufactured in high quantities and continue to sell for a good price.  
agrees, citing the 1991 through 1994 versions of the Civic as the most reliable models. These cars boast good fuel economy––51 mph on the highway and 44 mpg in the city––though subpar horsepower, at only 70 to 125. “The Civic is still noted for its longevity,” the site says. 
Many other models on the list have proven their reliability as well. Hot Cars ranked the Crown Victoria in the number one spot, saying that it “takes the cake for reliability.” 
The Crown Victoria is a high-powered car, with a V8 engine. Hot Cars notes that used models tend to be in good shape, and it’s easy to find spare parts to revamp an older model. 
Another top pick was the Volkswagen Jetta, at number two. This is a long-lasting and
affordable car
, and it has impressive mileage. With a 1.9-liter turbocharged engine and plenty of passenger space, it’s a great family car––and considering it’s durability, it might last you all the way from towing around your toddler to teaching your teenager to drive. 
The number three spot went to the Volvo 850, which has stood the test of time not only in terms of durability, but also design. 
CarBuzz is more enthusiastic about older models, such as the Volkswagen Beetle. “When one of the few parts on a Beetle eventually does fail, it’s easy to fix,” the site says, adding that though VW largely stopped producing this model in 1978, you can still spot this
classic car
in some places. 
“It’s hard to kill an engine that’s so easy and inexpensive to maintain and repair,” says CarBuzz. 
A few other picks include the Toyota Corolla, the Mazda MX-5, the Subaru Outback, the Nissan Maxima, the Jeep Cherokee XJ, the Honda Accord, and the Subaru Legacy, among others. Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine which of these is truly the most reliable.  

Most reliable cars of 2021

Most of the cars on these two lists have proven their durability over the decades, and many are no longer being manufactured. This means that judging the reliability of a new car is a different story. 
has compiled a thorough list of the 20 most reliable cars of 2021, giving each pick a precise reliability score out of 100.
The site’s top reliability choice for 2021 is the Toyota Tundra. With a 5.7-liter V8 and 381 horsepower, this vehicle is high-powered and durable. J.D. Power gave it a predicted reliability score of 88 out of 100, and the model won J.D. Power’s top dependability award in the large light-duty pickup category. 
The number two pick is the Hyundai Tucson, followed by the Buick Envision at number three. The Kia Sportage took the number four spot, and fifth place went to the Ford Fusion.
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