Value-minded consumers know that buying a reliable used car is often the best choice, but that finding one takes research. To help simplify the process, Consumer Reports has identified the most and least reliable used cars for 10 years – from model years 1999 to 2008 – in the magazine’s 2009 Annual Auto Issue. Reliability data was compiled from the magazine’s Annual Auto Survey, which generated
responses about more than 1.4 million new and used vehicles.
Consumer Reports identifies the most reliable used vehicles in its “Best of the Best” list, which highlights the most well-rounded vehicles and lists other contenders in order of the overall reliability scores for model years 1999 to 2008. The list features nine categories – small cars, family cars, upscale cars, luxury cars, sports and sporty cars, minivans, small SUVs, midsized and large SUVs, and pickup trucks. Toyota and Honda dominated the majority of the categories, demonstrating consistent reliability and performance, but some recent domestic models are also worthy choices. Below are Consumer Reports’ picks in five categories:
Small Cars: Honda Civic, Toyota Echo, Scion xB, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Matrix, Pontiac
Vibe, Mazda 3, Mazda Protege, Subaru Impreza.
Family Cars: Honda Accord, Toyota Prius, Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, Toyota Camry
(except ’08 V6), Subaru Outback (6-cyl.), Nissan Altima.
Minivans: Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey.
Small SUVs: Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, Mitsubishi Outlander.
Midsized and large SUVs: Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Lexus RX, Toyota Land
Cruiser, Toyota 4Runner, Infiniti FX35, Acura MDX, Infiniti QX4, Lexus GX, Hyundai
Santa Fe, Subaru Tribeca, Nissan Xterra (’05-’08), Toyota Sequoia.
To help consumers identify cars within their budget, Consumer Reports’ Annual Auto Issue also
contains a “Models to Look For” list (available to online subscribers), which is categorized by price. It features a variety of used vehicles that all have above-average reliability and are priced from less than $4,000 to $30,000 and up. CR found 19 cars that can be purchased for $6,000 or less including the 1999 Acura CL and the 2003 Buick Century.
The report also features a list of “Used Cars to Avoid” (available to online subscribers) and the “Worst of the Worst,” which names vehicles with multiple years of much-worse-than average reliability, including models from the following manufacturers: Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, GMC, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Mazda, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Porsche, Saturn, Volkswagen, and Volvo.
Visit the annual auto issue special section for quick access to the latest Ratings, articles, and videos.