Oh yeah, show me that automotive reliability study baby, because nothing says “desirable” quite like a car that won’t crap-out on you in a jiffy. In the past we’ve test driven seemingly indestructible vehicles like the hardcore off-road Toyota Tundra TRD-PRO, and for as sturdy as it felt, we couldn’t help but wonder how it will hold up in the long run.
In order to get today’s cheat sheet, info found in the annual Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) was first utilized by J.D. Power in order to determine what cars are well-built and what is complete crap, and we were able to glean a few faves right off the top. So basically all of the customer/driver complaints from the past 12 months pertaining to vehicles from the 2013 model year were rounded up, and then J.D. Power ascertained which vehicles were being bitched about the least for reliability.
Overall scores are based entirely upon problematic areas in eight different vehicle categories, including exterior, seats, interior, features/controls/displays, driving experience, audio/entertainment/navigation, heating, cooling, and drivetrain.
While quite a few cars received abysmal overall scores from drivers, the 19 winners from the entire 2015 fiscal year were all the usual suspects one might expect, but with one notable exception. There was the typical sprinkling of European and Japanese automobiles throughout, but only GM was able to make the cut from America, which caused quite a few raised eyebrows on our end.
So here are ten of our favorites from J.D. Powers’ most recent list, all of which warrant consideration if you are looking for a used vehicle.
1. 2013 Buick Encore – Small SUV
Starting off the GM kick is a little SUV with great reliability ratings, a sharp face, and tons of practicality. The crossover craze still has yet to show signs of subsiding, and with cars like the Encore getting tons of praise from critics and consumers alike, it’s no wonder that Buick is ranked in the top ten for being one of the best brands to buy today.
2. 2013 Lexus GS – Midsize Premium Car
For as well appointed and plush as the older Lexus GS was, it still is a bit of a snoozer when compared to modern versions like the outright inflamed GS-F, or the hyperactive little IS 200t F-Sport we fell in love with last autumn. But there’s a lot that can be said for keeping it simple and going down the path well traveled on occassion, which gives good cause as to why this version was so damn reliable.
3. 2013 Toyota Sienna – Minivan
We recently got to doodle around in a Sienna for a week-long loan, and for as bubbly, boring, and burdensome as it was, we really couldn’t find anything on it that looked like it would be unreliable. Toyota’s are tanks, and when it comes to a vehicle that carries kids around all day, you have to reinforce and over-engineer damn near everything, which is probably why the Sienna made the reliability cut this year.
4. 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK – Compact Premium SUV
Well this was a bit of a surprise. While Consumer Reports typically ranks Mercedes-Benz quite far down the list for quality and value when compared to other European automakers, the GLK remains the odd vehicle out in regard to reliability. This little luxury SUV may have competition from virtually every other automaker out there, but the way in which this vehicle was put together back in 2013 has helped it stand out from the rest of the pack when it comes to endurance levels.
5. 2013 Honda Fit – Small Car
This was the first car we thought of when the topic of recreating this article came to the table, because ever since this clever little pipsqueak of a Honda showed up on our shores, it has been cleaning up the reliability awards. Simple, structurally sound, and oh-so efficient, the Fit is one of those cars that is damn near indestructible, and we feel that the new generation will also stand-up to the test of time quite well.
6. 2013 Chevrolet Silverado HD – Large Heavy Duty Pickup
Remember when Chevy’s slogan was “Like a Rock,” and all of its commercials had these big trucks romping around in a mudpit somewhere outside of Plano, Texas because why the hell not? That’s basically the mentality that Chevrolet was able to successfully instill in the 2013 edition of the Silverado when in HD form, which is awesome to see considering how much abuse these things see every day on the job.
7. 2013 Nissan Murano – Midsize SUV
It may not look as impressive as the newest version (especially when you put snow trax on it), but the previous generation of Nissan Murano was pretty damn bulletproof, and J.D. Power took note, awarding it high points across the board. Sure, it may not have all the styling cues of the new version, or all the fresh tech goodies, but if you see one used for cheap grab it up, because these cars are more stout than a pint of Guinness.
8. 2013 Toyota Prius V – Compact Multi-Purpose Vehicle
Okay, so the latest generation of Prius is going to kick the V’s ass in the handling, performance, tech, and styling departments, thus making it (finally) cool enough to consider as a buying option. But when it comes to overall soundness, the old V version was a real crowd pleaser, and remains quite practical, even by today’s standards.
9. 2013 Chevy Camaro – Midsize Sporty Car
For as polarizing as its styling may be to some, the Chevy Camaro was a pretty solid car back in 2013. Sure, it had its flaws like any other automobile, but in the grand scheme of things it held up extremely well when compared to other sports cars being created by the competition at the time.
10. 2013 Toyota Tundra – Large Light Duty Pickup
Well would you look at that? I guess I wasn’t that far off the mark after all when I was talking about the Tundra in my opener, because these things are freaking tanks! Everything from the headliner to the headlights in these trucks is well thought out and virtually invincible, thus landing this bad boy on the list as our final option for reliable vehicles.