Where to find the most dependable used cars without a lot of homework

A little quiz.

What do the Toyota Prius and Chevrolet Silverado have in common? Or the Dodge Challenger and Honda Odyssey?

And how about the Ford Super Duty and the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class?


Photo credit: Toyota via newspressusa
J.D. Power rated the Toyota Prius most dependable 2015 compact model.

The 2015 models of these vehicles, along with 13 others, are the most reliable in their segments, according to the J.D. Power (JDP) Vehicle Dependability Study for 2018.

That’s significant, because reliability is what Americans look for more than anything else when shopping for a vehicle, with nearly 80 percent calling it “very important,” according to other research. And since more than twice as many shoppers are looking for used cars, trucks, SUVs, crossovers or minivans versus new vehicles, it’s not difficult to understand why reliability is so important.

JDP surveyed tens of thousands of original owners of three-year-old (2015) vehicles for reliability data, asking them how dependable their vehicles have been during the prior 12 months. Based on this information, the company calculated which models are most dependable within 19 different segments.

Here are the winners on a list dominated by Chevrolet and Lexus (Toyota’s luxury brand), each of which captured four vehicle segments:


Photo credit: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles via newspressusa
Dodge Challenger was rated most dependable 2015 midsize sporty car.

Small – Kia Rio

Compact – Toyota Prius

Midsize – Chevrolet Malibu

Midsize sporty – Dodge Challenger

Small premium – Lexus CT

Compact premium – Lexus ES

Midsize premium – Lexus GS

Large – Buick LaCrosse


Photo credit: Chevrolet via newspressusa
The Equinox compact SUV was one of four Chevrolets to win a segment.

Small – Hyundai Tucson

Compact – Chevrolet Equinox

Midsize – Chevrolet Traverse

Small premium – Audi Q3

Compact premium – Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class

Midsize premium – Lexus RX

Large – Ford Expedition


Photo credit: Chevrolet via newspressusa
Chevrolet’s Silverado was named most dependable light-duty pickup.

Midsize – Toyota Tacoma

Large light duty – Chevrolet Silverado

Large heavy duty – Ford Super Duty


Honda Odyssey

The research company provides complete lists of the segment results in addition to the award winner.

Examples include, the Buick Verano and Nissan LEAF both receiving five “power circles,” the highest overall rating, in the compact car segment won by the Toyota Prius, while the Nissan Frontier scored five circles in the midsize pickup truck category won by the Toyota Tacoma.

A total of 50 vehicles were named by JDP among the top models in the 19 segments.

Brands that beat the industry average of 142 problems per 100 vehicles were Lexus (99), highest-ranked luxury brand; Porsche (100); Buick (116), best mass market brand; Infiniti (120); Kia (122); Chevrolet and Hyundai (124); BMW and Toyota (127); Lincoln and Nissan (133); Honda (140) and Audi (141).

But JDP research doesn’t end there for used-car shoppers.

Those looking for older vehicle models can scan easily accessible JDP ratings lists as far back as 2010 (models from 2007) that include not just the segment winners but complete rankings. That’s eight years’ worth of used vehicles that have gotten past a large portion of their depreciation.

Shoppers will have to look a little harder for older vehicles, but JDP had done the study for 29 years. If that doesn’t cover your used-car search, well …

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