Ask any gear lever and they’ll tell you the same thing: cars aren’t built the way they used to be. There are a few ways to interpret this, but for the sake of today’s list we will refer to their reliability. Take Land Rovers for example. They used to be reliable and destined to tackle rough terrain, but since technology has come to play a pivotal role in their upbringing, these British SUVs are more vulnerable than ever. That is also one of the reasons why they are so vulnerable to depreciation. Another tempting offering is cheap, luxury sports cars. They may be tempting, but in the long run they will bankrupt you if you’re not too careful.
So you want to pick up a sturdy, nearly bulletproof vehicle without crippling yourself financially; we’ve got you covered. Today we are talking about the most reliable second-hand cars any common person can acquire. We cover everything from luxury sedans to SUVs and even sports cars.
11/11 Lexus GX (2019-2021)
The Lexus GX is a luxury SUV built by Toyota that’s just a step above the Lexus RX, and it’s just as talented on the road as it is on the road. These usually sell for about $40,000 on the used market nowadays. That might be out of your budget, but let’s dissect the GX a bit more before making any assumptions.
Under the hood is a well-built 4.6-litre V8 that produces about 300 hp. According to Consumer Reports, the GX is one of the most reliable cars they’ve ever tested, scoring a perfect 5/5 in reliability. Lexus is, after all, just Toyota’s luxury division.
10/11 Mazda3 (2014-2018)
The new Mazda 3 may be one of the best first cars to buy, but their high price and inconsistent reliability may be too much of a letdown for some. But fear not, the previous generation Mazda 3 is more affordable and better built too.
This particular Mazda 3 generation received an excellent 5/5 reliability rating according to Consumer Reports. They also sell for between $10,000 and $15,000 in the used car market today. The only flaw we have with this Mazda is the fact that it’s not as exciting to drive as its successor, so if you want a sporty Mazda hatchback you might want to look at the older Mazdaspeed 3.
9/11 Nissan 350Z (2007-2008)
We’ve reached the first sports car on our list, the Nissan 350Z. All 350Zs had the same 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V6 that nestled under their hood, the VQ35. This powerplant sent up to 306 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels only, and it would also be possible with a six-speed manual transmission — just like the brand new Z.
The US News & World Report stated that the 2007 and 2008 model years of the 350Z received a reliability rating of 4.5/5. Older models are reliable too, but some had a few recalls, including clutch disc failure, camshaft failure, and your run-of-the-mill mid-2000s electrical problems. The cheapest 350Zs currently go well under $10,000, but if you looking for one with fewer miles on the clock, don’t expect it to pay less than $15,000.
8/11 Honda Civic (2012-2021)
The Honda Civic and Toyota Camry are arguably the two best-selling, most reliable cars out there. There have been eleven generations of the Civic, some bigger than others. For the purposes of our list today, we assigned this spot to both the ninth and tenth generation Honda Civics.
According to Warrantywise, Civics built between 2012 and 2021 are nearly indestructible as they have been awarded a benevolent reliability rating of 80.7%. Civics can be worth pennies, but if you want a more exciting, more expensive version of the Civic, you can still go for a Civic Si or even a Civic Type R.
7/11 Toyota Yaris (2012-2020)
Unfortunately, the Toyota GR Yaris isn’t affordable enough to make it onto our list today, but we’ve got the next best thing, the base model Yaris. It may not look as cool or as fast as the one built by Gazoo Racing, but it’s a beautiful econobox.
These usually sell for less than $12,000 on the used market today, but older ones with higher mileage cost just over $5,000. And in traditional Toyota fashion, the Yaris is nearly indestructible with a score of 79.8%.
6/11 Toyota RAV4 (2013-2018)
The Toyota RAV4 is a sublime SUV, especially if you can get your hands on the RAV4 Prime, but then again, the latest generation of RAV4 models are ridiculously expensive. Instead, we recommend going for the second newest generation.
They look good, are functional off-roaders and are big enough for the whole family and the dog. Like other Toyotas on today’s list, the RAV is extremely reliable with a 79.2% rating according to Warrantywise.
5/11 Hyundai Kona Electric (2018-2022)
Small, quirky EVs are all the rage right now, just look at the Volkswagen ID.4 for example. But there is a new contender in the EV market, Hyundai. They have done their best in recent years and they are showing no signs of slowing down in the short term.
One of their most interesting electric cars on the market today is the Kona Electric. The Kona is Hyundai’s subcompact SUV and even has a performance variant called the Kona N. But in a world of absurd gas prices, the Kona Electric is the one you’re looking for. It received a 98.5% reliability rating according to What Car, making it one of the most reliable EVs out there.
4/11 Lexus RX Hybrid (2016-2022)
With the unveiling of the new Lexus RX, the prices of previous RX models have fallen. For owners who bought them new, that might be a bitter feeling, but for used car buyers like us… well, that’s music to our ears.
The RX is generally a reliable luxury SUV, but there are a few model years to avoid like the plague. If you want the best bang for your buck, the RX Hybrid is the way to go. The 2022 RX Hybrid has an average fuel economy of about 30 mpg and more than 300 horsepower at its disposal. Combine that with its 99.1% What Car reliability score, and you have a fast, practical car that consumes little fuel and lasts a lifetime.
3/11 Mazda MX-5 Miata (2012-2015)
Every Mazda Miata ever built has never had any glaring build quality issues. And if we’re honest, any generation would make an excellent affordable sports car. However, for the purposes of this video, we need to list them according to renowned reliability rankings, which is why we decided to determine the second half of the NC Miata’s model years.
Under the hood of the NC Miata was a rev-happy four-cylinder engine, although not the most powerful, providing the driver with an engaging driving experience. The Miatas produced between 2012 and 2015 achieved a score of 86.5% on Warrantywise, making them the most reliable modern Miata.
2/11 Lexus LS400 (1997-2000)
The Lexus LC 500 is the perfect proof that luxury cars can still be reliable. Unlike other dodgy, extravagant luxury sedans, the LC 400 embodies simplistic design and a bulletproof 4.0-liter V8 under the hood.
The Lexus LC 400 is one of the most reliable cars of all time. According to cars.com, the Lexus LC 400 models produced between 1997 and 2000 are the most reliable models with a perfect reliability score of 5/5. To prove his unbreakable soul, Matt Farah drove his LC 400 so many times that the odometer more than 1 million miles passed. Oh, and did we mention they’re incredibly cheap too?
1/11 Honda Jazz (2012-2020)
If you’re not sure which car to get first, you can’t go wrong with the Honda Jazz (aka the Honda Fit). It is safe, fuel efficient and has a more exciting driving experience than, for example, a Toyota Corolla.
All Jazz models have four-cylinder engines, whether petrol or diesel, and are also available with a standard transmission. The Jazz also scored the highest of all cars in Warrantywise’s reliability tests with a score of 93.7%.