The 2010 Toyota Corolla is the most reliable car sold in the United States, according to a report released today.The car requires fewer repairs than any other car — 2002 model year or later — and the repairs it needs are inexpensive.
At $283.12, it is far less than expensive than the average repair costs for some models, which can be in excess of $700.
Check out the most trusted cars >
Vehicle reliability and repair diagnostics company CarMD’s latest annual Vehicle Health Index is a massive study conducted on thousands of different models currently on the road.
Based on CarMD’s index, which measures the frequency and expense of necessary repairs, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 10 most reliable cars.
In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., CarMD director of corporate communications Kristen Brocoff explained the importance of considering both measures. The Toyota Prius rarely goes in for repairs. But when it does, the most common repair involves the hybrid battery, which can cost as much as $3,000.
Many of these brands have long-standing reputations for reliability. “What we’re seeing in our data is that, historically, there have been those sweetheart brands that everybody says are the brand of the year, the cars of the year,” Brocoff explained.
Many of the manufacturers on this list, such as Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and Hyundai, all score highly on CarMD’s reliability rank. This reputation helps sell vehicles.
These models have been among the best-selling in the country for years. Of the 10 cars with the best scores, six sold more than 100,000 units in 2011 and are well on track to do the same this year, including models such as the Accord, Sonata and Corolla, flagships for their respective makers. The Honda Accord, the Hyundai Sonata and the Toyota Corolla were among the top 20 selling cars in the first 10 months of 2012.
Meanwhile, sales for some of the less-popular models that made the top 10 most reliable list, such as Ford Motor Co.’s Taurus, the Honda Pilot and the Subaru Forester and Outback, are growing.
Brocoff added that some of the cars with poorer reputations for reliability may improve. “We’re starting to see with today’s technology, manufacturers are really able to make cars that will last longer than ever before. It has really evened the playing field, and there are lots of models that may not always be the names you are used to.” Brocoff pointed to the Ford Taurus in particular as a model that has flown under the radar, but may increasingly be known as a reliable model over time.
The CarMD November 2012 Vehicle Health Index is based on more than 10 years of data from car diagnostic computers from the vast majority of 2002 to 2012 model year cars sold in the United States. Weighting evenly the average costs of repairs related to “check engine” lights — issues identified by onboard vehicle computer accounting for roughly 80% of all problems — and how often each model was taken in for those repairs, CarMD assigned a reliability score for each model by year. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 10 models with the best scores. Included in our analysis were five years of car sales data for all years for each model provided by Edmunds.com. From the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) we obtained crash and rollover safety data. We also referenced J.D. Power’s vehicle dependability study. All index ranks we list are out of the 100 best-ranked cars.
These are America’s most trusted cars.
Overall index rating: 0.106
Repair incidents, index rating: 0.101 (3rd best)
Avg. repair cost: $377.71 (15th highest)
Year-to-date model sales: 42,105
In 2011, numerous luxury brands underperformed their parent brands in reliability, but not all. The Lexus brand was rated as more dependable than its parent brand and contributed to Toyota being the top-ranked manufacturer. In the luxury category, no model was as well-rated for reliability as the 2007 Lexus ES 350. Only two other cars, Toyota's 2010 Corolla and 2008 Yaris, required fewer trips to the mechanic last year. Older ES 350 model years were particularly successful for Lexus, which reported more than 82,000 unit sales in 2007 and more than 64,000 unit sales in 2008 -- far more than the 40,873 sold in 2011, when sales were even lower than they have been through the first 10 months of 2012.
Overall index rating: 0.099 (tied for 5th best)
Repair incidents, index rating: 0.148 (16th best)
Avg. repair cost: $116.33 (15th lowest)
Year-to-date model sales: 61,880
Few cars are as inexpensive to repair as the 2010 Subaru Forester, which had an average repair cost of $116.33 -- one of the lowest figures for any car on the road today. Additionally, only four other car models received better ratings for repair costs from CarMD's proprietary index. And in the category of wagon/crossover SUV, CarMD rated the 2010 Forester as the most reliable car produced between the model years 2002 and 2012. The second- and third-place models were Subaru's 2010 Outback and 2011 Forester. Aside from being reliable, the 2010 Forester was found to be safe as well; the model received five-star ratings in frontal and side crash tests from the NHTSA.
Overall index rating: 0.099 (tied for 5th best)
Repair incidents, index rating: 0.125 (8th best)
Avg. repair cost: $201.74 (39th lowest)
Year-to-date model sales: 276,196
The 2009 Honda Accord was the only car on this list to actually fall in the rankings -- the car was ranked fourth by CarMD in 2011. The NHTSA has given the vehicle very strong safety ratings. Both the four-door and two-door Honda Accords scored five-star safety ratings in front driver, front passenger and 4×2 rollover tests. Newer models of the Accord have also scored very well. The 2012 Accord and the 2011 Accord sedan received five-star safety ratings in the frontal crash, side crash, and rollover tests. Honda sold 392,231 Accords in 2007, but sales fell every year since. In 2011, Honda sold only 235,625. So far this year, however, the carmaker sold 276,196 cars, meaning it is on pace to sell more Accords this year than any since 2008.
Overall index rating: 0.093
Repair incidents, index rating: 0.132 (10th best)
Avg. repair cost: $141.00 (20th lowest)
Year-to-date model sales: 94,116
The 2009 Pilot is Honda's most-reliable car. It also was rated one of the most dependable cars in the nation for the second year in a row, up from an eighth-place ranking in 2011. Additionally, among all full-sized SUVs, the 2009 Pilot was the top-rated vehicle. The most common engine-related problem Honda vehicles have is related to the car's battery and charging system. Repairing a battery system problem, however, has a low average cost of just $96.22 -- far cheaper than replacing a catalytic converter or an oxygen sensor.
Overall index rating: 0.087
Repair incidents, index rating: 0.100 (2nd best)
Avg. repair cost: $259.33 (41st highest)
Year-to-date model sales: 26,396
The 2008 Toyota Yaris jumped 29 spots between 2011 and 2012 in CarMD's Most Reliable Vehicle Rankings. The car had second-lowest rate of repair incidents, with only the company's Corolla having fewer. In terms of safety, the Yaris received four of five stars from the NHTSA in its front driver, front passenger and 4×2 rollover crash safety test. Meanwhile, J.D. Power gave the 2008 Yaris its highest rating for overall dependability. Toyota sold 102,328 Yaris cars in 2008, but sales have declined precipitously since then, with 2011 sales less than a third of that figure. Toyota has sold 26,396 units in the first 10 months of 2012, meaning sales are roughly on pace with 2011.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.