What Are the Most Reliable 3-Year-Old Cars?

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If you’re on the hunt for a new car, you may want to consider a used car instead, especially in today’s car market. While new cars can be a good investment, with chip shortages, rising prices, and decreased inventory, a used car may be easier to find and cost you less in the long run.
Purchasing a car is a big investment. Being informed about the most reliable used cars before you start shopping is one of the best ways to make sure you find the perfect car.
Closeup of Mazda 3 emblem on a red vehicle
Three-year-old models are some of the best options when you’re shopping for a car.

Which cars are the most reliable according to Consumer Reports?

Consumer Reports investigated which used cars are known to last and found that three-year-old models were likely to be the best investment. The review site compiled a list of the most reliable cars from the 2018 model year. The results are based on annual survey answers from Consumer Reports members.
The most reliable small cars are the Chevrolet Bolt, Honda Fit, Mazda 3, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Prius, and Volkswagen Beetle. For mid-sized and large cars, they found the Mazda 6, Toyota Avalon, and Toyota Camry to hold up the best.
If you’re looking for a luxury line of used cars, the top contenders are the Acura TLX and the Infiniti Q50. For families or anyone looking for a roomier ride, the best options are the Honda CR-V, HR-V, Hyundai Kona, Lexus NX, Mazda CX-5, and the Toyota Highlander.

Used cars could be a better investment than new cars

By now you probably know there’s a huge chip shortage causing delays in car manufacturing. But this shortage wasn’t only caused by shutdowns.
The supply was limited further by hazardous weather conditions in Texas that disrupted chip production as well as a fire at a Japanese manufacturing plant. These issues combined with competition for the chips from consumer electronics have caused unprecedented car shortages.
These chips are critical components of car safety and entertainment systems. Without the chips, car manufacturers are unable to keep up with demand. The lack of supply has caused car prices to skyrocket.
While used car prices have also increased due to the shortage, buying used cars could still be the best financial decision. Used cars don’t depreciate as quickly as new cars, which means you’re more likely to get your money back when you decide to trade it in.

Why should you choose three-year-old car models?

Consumer Reports provides several reasons why a three-year-old model may be your best bet for purchasing a used car.
These models have very similar safety systems, comfort, and entertainment features as brand new vehicles. While there have been some car innovations within the past three years, they’re minor enough that used models could still have better value.
Another benefit of three-year-old used models is that most leases last three years. This means the car will likely have low mileage, considering there are usually mileage caps on leased vehicles.
Used cars that were leased are also generally well taken care of because dealers require the vehicle to be brought in for regular inspections and maintenance. Older models can also have a lower cost of maintenance in the long run, as well as lower car insurance premiums.
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