Most Reliable 3-Year-Old Cars and SUVs That You Can Buy Right Now

As a global chip shortage delays some new cars, Consumer Reports shows you the used-car sweet spot

Woman with sunglasses in drivers seat of car Photo: Getty Images

Even with the incredible rise in used-car values, it's still a wise financial move to buy a 3-year-old car instead of a brand-new one. That’s because they have many of the same safety and comfort features found in brand-new cars. This strategy also allows buyers to get a vehicle that’s almost equivalent to a new car, but at a lower price.

Some new models have been delayed or are in short supply because of a global shortage of chips needed for car safety and infotainment systems. Already in competition with consumer electronics, the supply chain of chips was disrupted by bad weather in Texas in February that shut down some raw materials production capacity and by a fire in Japan at a key chip manufacturing plant. Because of this, buying a used car might be more than a wise choice, it might be the only reasonable option, depending on the vehicle you want.

Three-year-old models are attractive because most leases are for three years. That means many of these cars have low miles, and because the lessor had to keep the car in good condition, the vehicles are likely to have been maintained properly and have interiors that were treated well.

More on Auto Reliability

Below you’ll find our list of the most reliable 3-year-old cars and SUVs we’ve identified based on our Annual Auto Surveys of Consumer Reports members.

The vehicles are listed in alphabetical order by manufacturer within their vehicle category. We also identify when active safety systems, including forward collision warning (FCW), automatic emergency braking (AEB), blind spot warning (BSW), lane keeping assistance (LKA), lane departure warning (LDW), and rear cross traffic warning (RCTW) are optional or standard.

Some of these models have our new Green Choice designation, which highlights the vehicles with the cleanest emissions. You can read more about Green Choice here.

If you’re a CR member, this article and the list below are already available to you. But if you haven’t signed up, click below and become a member to access the list and all our exclusive ratings and reviews for each vehicle we buy and test. Joining also gives you full access to exclusive ratings for all the other products our experts evaluate in multiple categories, including electronics and home appliances.

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