What are the 10 most reliable car brands?

Updated Apr 13, 2021 | Same topic: Latest Consumer Reports

Think Japanese or German cars rank as the most reliable? Think again.

Before starting off the list, we believe it is just right to define what car reliability is and how it is measured. Car reliability shows how well a car performed under various circumstances. In contrast, an unreliable car is defined as a car with a constant number of component failures.

Car reliability is measured by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100). This means that the lower the number, the higher the reliability of the vehicle. To give you a good reference, the industry average in the U.S. is 93 problems per 100 vehicles. The data in this list comes from the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Initial Quality Study.

J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Initial Quality Study

J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Initial Quality Study - Top 10

“Automakers continue to make progress in areas like infotainment that attract a lot of consumer attention,” said Dave Sargent, Vice President of Global Automotive at J.D. Power. “However, some traditional problems crept up this year including paint imperfections, brake and suspension noises, engines not starting and the ‘check engine’ light coming on early in the ownership experience. Also, more people are having issues with their advanced driver assistance systems, which are critical for building consumer trust in future automated vehicles.”

You might think that a Japanese or German car brand will definitely top the list. Surprisingly, the number one spot belongs to a Korean car brand – which also includes the number two and three spots. What’s even more surprising is that all European car brands are below the average number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles.

To know more about how the different car brands ranked, here is the list for the most reliable car brands based on the market-research firm, J.D. Power in 2019.

Tied 10th: Most reliable car brand: Toyota (90 PP100)

Toyota may be recognized by many as the most reliable car brand in the world, but it was surprisingly ranked at the tenth spot – tying with its automotive partner, Lexus, and the American car brand, Dodge.

Toyota Corolla on the road

Toyota Corolla is the epitome of a reliable car for many people

Toyota Motor Corp.’s Cambridge North plant In Canada received the Platinum Plant Quality Award for producing vehicles with the fewest defects or malfunctions. One car worth noting that is manufactured in Toyota’s Cambridge North plant is the Toyota Corolla which garnered an outstanding 17 PP100.

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Tied 10th: Lexus (90 PP100)

As the luxury division of Toyota, it is not a surprise the Lexus’ ranking was tied with its automotive partner, Toyota – as the two-car brands share almost the same platform.

Lexus RX in the open

The Lexus RX bagged the number one spot in the midsize premium SUV segment

Lexus RX was ranked as the most reliable midsize premium SUV competing against the Mercedes-Benz GLE and Lincoln Nautilus. We all are not expecting Lexus to drop off anytime soon from the top 10 list as the Japanese automaker always managed to stay in the reliability ranking.

Tied 10th: Dodge (90 PP100)

This was the year for the car brand that started in Michigan as Dodge received a 90 PP100 ranking – which was the highest-ranking Dodge has received. There was an eight PP100 improvement from Dodge which also equals the improvement Volvo achieved.

Gray Dodge Challenger

The Dodge Challenger is the only American Muscle car to rank the highest in a given segment

The Dodge Challenger definitely dominated the midsize sports car segment, while the Dodge Grand Caravan ranked 2nd in the minivan segment.  

7th: Nissan (86 PP100)

Nissan may have faced different adversities regarding its possible shutdown due to the lack of growth and progress of its company under the directives of Carlos Ghosn. However, the Japanese marque continued to strive for the better as it was graded seventh in the car reliability ranking in 2019.

Nissan Maxima at night

A Nissan Maxima featuring its floating roof

The Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. models that rank highest are Nissan Maxima in the large car segment and Nissan Titan in the large light-duty pickup segment.

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6th: Chevrolet (85 PP100)

Beating Nissan for the sixth spot is Chevrolet with 85 problems per 100 vehicles. The American automaker’s focus in making its SUVs great like its rivals seems to be working as three Chevrolet SUVs ranked number one.

A Chevrolet Silverado HD with white background

Chevrolet Silverado HD

The SUVs that ranked the highest in their respective segments were Chevrolet Equinox in the compact SUV segment, Chevrolet Silverado HD in the large heavy-duty pickup segment, and Chevrolet Tahoe in the large SUV segment. Moreover, Chevrolet Malibu also ranked the highest in the midsize car segment, tying with the Ford Fusion.

5th: Lincoln: (84 PP100)

Lincoln ranks fifth with a ranking of 84 PP100, marking the first time both Ford Motor Company brands place in the top five in the same year. Lincoln is the luxury division of American auto company, Ford.

A Lincoln Navigator on the road

Never go out of class with a Lincoln Navigator

There were no Lincoln vehicles that topped any segment whether car or SUV. However, the Lincoln Navigator sits behind the famous Cadillac Escalade in the large premium SUV segment while its Lincoln Nautilus was ranked third in the midsize premium SUV segment in terms of ranking.

4th: Ford (83 PP100)

Ford continues to do a great job in the different aspects of the automotive industry as it received an 83 PP100 ranking. In addition, the American automaker ranked fourth in the ranking of the largest car companies in the world with $156 billion dollars of revenue in 2019.

Ford Fusion on a roof

Ford Fusion and Ford Mustang were the only cars Ford retained after it decided to focus only on its SUV units

The Ford Ranger was awarded as the most reliable midsize pickup while its Ford Fusion was tied with Chevrolet Malibu as the top model in the midsize car segment. Ford was the most reliable American car brand.

3rd: Hyundai (71 PP100)

The three highest-ranking for the most reliable car brands: Genesis, Kia, and Hyundai are all from the Korean manufacturer, Hyundai Motor Group.

A Hyundai Sante Fe on a parking lot

The All-new Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai cars were all over the top two or three segments but only the Hyundai Santa Fe was ranked the highest which was in the midsize crossover/SUV segment.

The Hyundai Tucson was once the least reliable vehicle by Hyundai. But in 2019, it was ranked 2nd in the small SUV segment.

2nd: Kia (70 PP100)

In 2019, the three Korean car brands were at the top of the overall ranking for two years in a row, and it was the fifth consecutive year that Kia was the highest-ranked mass-market brand. 

Kia Sportage driving down the road

The first Kia Sportage was introduced in 1993

The Kia Sportage may have a bad start in the ranking of the most reliable cars, but it did not take long before Kia Sportage topped the competition in the small SUV segment, beating Hyundai Tucson and Hyundai Kona.

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Most Reliable Car Brand in the world: Genesis (63 PP100)

Despite debuting only in 2008 to the automotive industry worldwide, Genesis has still managed to bag the number one spot alongside its Korean car brand sibling, Kia, at second and Hyundai at third.

We can not only expect some cutting-edge car designs from Genesis but also expect more reliable cars.

A red Genesis G70

The Genesis G70 embodies an elegant and sporty design

Surprisingly, 16 out of 18 models from Hyundai Motor Group rank in the top three in their respective segments. The Genesis G70 was ranked the highest in the compact premium car while the Genesis G80 ranked second in the midsize premium car segment.

Here at Philkotse.com, we value your interest in the automotive industry. You can visit our website to find our more. 

Rex Sanchez

Rex Sanchez


Rex Sanchez grew up in Saudi Arabia where he saw and got into the automotive scene. He started his career for an aviation company in the said region, writing about turbines and rotors which are later distributed for educational purposes. And now, he joined Philkotse.com as a staff writer. Currently, he is the youngest on the team and is more than ready to grow in the field.

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