If you are looking to purchase a new or used vehicle, there are several factors that come into play. As owning a car can be quite expensive, it’s important to choose a vehicle that tailors to your specific needs. If you live alone, a large SUV may not make the most sense. Neither will a two-seater sports car for a family of four with pets. Besides its size, the amount of use it will get is also an important factor when choosing a vehicle. Despite all these variables, perhaps the most important factor to consider is its reliability. In this article, we look at what makes a vehicle reliable, as well as categorize some of the most reliable vehicles, by brand.

What makes a car reliable?

Buying a car is a big investment, and you want to be satisfied with your decision years into the future. According to recent studies, new vehicle buyers in Canada are keeping their vehicles 6.4 years and driving them 116,797 km before trading them in for a new model. However, the time and distance differ significantly by type of car. To help consumers make better decisions when buying cars, J.D Power reports that vehicle dependability is at an all-time high and all categories have improved (exterior, driving experience and communication).

According to mechanics and auto professionals, vehicle reliability is rated on a number of factors:

  • Average cost of repairs
  • Meet or exceed Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations (MVSR) standards
  • Vehicle resale and trade-in value 
  • The rating from the U.S. Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) evaluates how well a vehicle protects its occupants in a crash and the technology that can prevent a crash or diminish its severity
  • The average lifespan of a vehicle model
  • Safety rating
  • Major and minor engine issues
  • Vehicle technology and fuel
  • Brand, make, model reputation
  • Recall history
  • Brakes
  • Suspensions and steering
  • Body integrity
  • Vehicle safety features

As reliable as the car may be, you also have an effect on the longevity and/or dependability of your vehicle as the driver. Where you live, the climate, conditions of the roads you travel on, as well as the number of kilometres you drive, affect reliability of the vehicle.

Most reliable vehicle brands

Being aware of the more reliable vehicle manufacturers can help to customize your search for your new ride. Here is a list of some of the industry’s most reliable car brands from consumer reports:

  1. Mazda
  2. Toyota
  3. Lexus
  4. Buick
  5. Honda
  6. Subaru
  7. Kia
  8. Infiniti
  9. Audi
  10. BMW
  11. Hyundai

Top 15 most reliable vehicles of all time

Meanwhile, carpages.ca analyzed data related to interior/exterior features, commonly reported problems and overall driving experience to come up with the 15 most reliable cars of all time:

  1. Honda Civic
  2. Honda Accord
  3. Toyota Camry
  4. Honda CR-V
  5. Toyota Corolla
  6. Mazda MX-5
  7. Mazda 3
  8. Lexus LS 400
  9. Lexus RX 350
  10. Acura TSX
  11. Ford Escort
  12. Subaru Outback
  13. Audi A4
  14. Volvo 850
  15. Hyundai Elantra

Most reliable, best-selling vehicles

There is overlap when looking at different sources for reliability. However, if you want a definitive list of reliable cars, driving.ca examined Consumer Reports latest list of the 10 most reliable vehicles and J.D. Power’s 2022 Vehicle Dependability Study, merged that with Canada’s 2021 sales results, and found the 10 most reliable vehicles that also happen to sell well:

  1. Toyota Corolla
  2. Subaru Crosstrek
  3. Toyota Highlander
  4. Hyundai Santa Fe
  5. Lexus RX – SUV
  6. Kia Sorrento
  7. Lexus NX
  8. Toyota Prius
  9. Toyota Tundra
  10. Mazda CX-9

Car reliability and your insurance

The vehicle you drive helps inform your insurance provider of your risk as a policyholder. Each vehicle has its own Canadian Loss Experience Automobile Rating (CLEAR) based on:

  • Its claim probability as well as its cost to repair and replace.
  • Safety features may lower your claim risk while also increasing the cost to repair due to their advanced technology.  However, if you drive a vehicle with built-in security features, such as anti-theft devices, you may qualify for discounts on you premium.
  • Cars that have an excellent safety rating will likely result in lower car insurance premiums.
  • Loss prevention: If your model has zero loss-prevention features and a high occurrence of being stolen, your rate may be higher as a result.

Having a reliable car will help lower your car insurance quotes, but the most important aspect is driving a vehicle you can trust for years to come. Whether you are looking to buy a new or used car, you want the cheapest, but most reliable, car. Be sure to speak with one of our isure representatives before beginning your car search to learn more about possible discounts or incentives that you may be eligible for.

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