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Car Reliability Rating

The first reliability measurement based on the cost, frequency, and severity of actual repairs.

Learn about your vehicle's reliability

RepairPal's 2018 Reliability Rating Leaders

Kia and Hyundai lead RepairPal's 2018 Reliability Rating with 5 out of the top 10 most reliable vehicles.
Last year, RepairPal created the first ever Reliability Rating based on actual vehicle repairs. For 2018, the updated RepairPal Reliability Rating has analyzed millions of repair orders from over 2,000 auto shops across the country, measuring dependability by evaluating the cost, frequency and severity of repairs.
While other reliability scores are based on subjective results from consumer surveys, RepairPal's Reliability Rating uses real-world data to help consumers seek out the best car for them.

Most Reliable Car Brands

Asian automakers continued to rack up top reliability ratings with Kia, Hyundai, Mazda, Honda and Toyota forming the top five.
  1. Kia claimed the title of most reliable brand, led by the Rio and Soul, with almost every model scoring an Excellent rating.
  2. Hyundai was a close second, thanks to its Accent, Tucson and Elantra GT all ranking among the 10 most reliable cars.
  3. Mazda, Honda and Toyota rounded out the top five, with Honda moving down from the No. 1 spot due to its CR-V dropping out of the top 10 most reliable cars.
  4. Acura was the most reliable luxury brand, coming in just ahead of Lexus, which dropped from second overall in 2017.
  5. The Toyota Yaris was the most reliable model for the second year in a row, while the Porsche Panamera scored lowest.
Domestic and European manufacturers rated behind Asian brands. Chrysler and Buick scored highest among domestic brands, while Fiat, Volkswagen and Volvo were the only European manufacturers to earn an Above Average ranking or higher.

Reliability Rating Breakdown For All Cars

We looked at the data to find the average yearly repair cost, as well as the frequency and severity of repairs, for all vehicles. Here's what we found.

Cost

The average annual repair cost for all cars is $631 per year. This includes both major scheduled maintenance and unscheduled repairs.
$631
inexpensive
expensive

Frequency

The average car visits a repair shop approximately once every two years for a major unscheduled repair, or 0.4 times per year. The best cars average two to three years before needing a major repair, while some models averaged more than one visit per year.
0.44
not often
very often

Severity

On average, across all models, 11% of repairs are considered severe. By analyzing the cost and frequency of major repairs, we can determine the probability of a repair being a major issue.
11%
not urgent
urgent

Kia and Hyundai Top Most Reliable Cars

These eight major car makes achieved an Excellent Reliability Rating of 4.5.
1.
Kia
Annual Repair Cost
$428
Annual Repair Cost
$453
$466
$414
$439
$487
$466
$589
Kia and Hyundai moved up to take the top two spots in RepairPal's 2018 Reliability Rating. Although the Toyota Yaris kept the crown as the most reliable car for the second year in a row, Kia and Hyundai landed five models in the top 10.
Kia's No. 1 overall ranking was driven by strong scores across its entire model range. All of Kia's cars scored an Excellent rating with the exception of the Cadenza, which ranked Above Average.
Hyundai had three vehicles in the top 10: The Accent, Tucson and Elantra GT. At third and fourth overall respectively, Mazda and Honda saw their entire model ranges rate Above Average or better.
Toyota and Nissan scored Excellent ratings overall, but ranked slightly behind Honda due to the proportion of SUVs and trucks in their lineups — these vehicles have higher average annual repair costs. Acura just edged out Lexus among luxury brands, but both retain Excellent ratings compared to other similar manufacturers.
Asian manufacturers account for nine of the 10 most reliable car brands, with Chrysler rated the most reliable domestic brand at 10th place. The weighted average reliability of Asian brands rated Excellent at 4.5 compared to 3.5 (Above Average) for domestic and 3.0 (Average) for European brands.
While the overall European rating was hampered by the number of luxury brands, domestic brands ranked lower due to their number of large trucks. Luxury cars and large trucks are often more expensive to maintain.
Brands such as Chrysler, Buick, Fiat and Volkswagen rated higher than truck-oriented brands like Ford and Ram, or luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Porsche.

What is the RepairPal Reliability Rating?

The Reliability Rating by RepairPal is a measurement of vehicle dependability based on the cost, frequency, and severity of unscheduled repairs and maintenance. RepairPal combines an extensive proprietary database including millions of vehicle repair invoices with additional automotive statistics and predictive data science to develop the most genuine reliability metric in the industry. Cars included in the Reliability Rating cover 2010-2017 model year vehicles with controls in place to ensure statistical confidence.
The Reliability Rating allows you to research dependability and ownership costs related to unscheduled repairs and maintenance in addition to comparing reliability factors against other vehicles and industry averages.
RepairPal surveyed automotive buyers to understand how they think about reliability during the purchase process. While parents are most concerned with the safety of their children, other consumers focused on the cost of repairs as the critical component of reliability. While costs of ownership such as car payment, insurance, and gas can be easily predicted, it is much harder to anticipate out-of-pocket costs associated with repair and maintenance. Cost is a major factor in our Reliability Rating, and top brands like Honda, Hyundai, and Kia scored well due to their lower costs of ownership. In addition to cost, other components included within the final Reliability Rating include frequency and severity of repairs.

Cost

The average total annual cost for unscheduled repairs and maintenance across all model years of a vehicle. Higher average cost alone does not necessarily mean a vehicle is less reliable. For example, parts and labor for your vehicle may be expensive, especially if it is a European luxury car, but if severe issues and annual average visits to the shop are low, that's a good indicator of a reliable car.

Frequency

The average number of times the vehicle is brought into the shop for unscheduled repairs and maintenance in a single year. This metric is calculated by tracking millions of unique vehicles over multiple years to determine an average number of visits per year for each make and model. Controls were included to omit small routine visits to shops such as for oil changes.

Severity

The severity component to reliability measures the probability that a repair will be a major issue. An issue is considered severe if a repair requires immediate service, is prohibitively expensive, or presents a situation that is potentially dangerous or damaging. RepairPal combines multiple disparate data sets to identify and flag these issues and then rates the severity component for each vehicle relative to that of other models in our database.

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