When you're in the market to buy a new car, what must-have characteristics for a prospective vehicle do you give the most weight? Is your prime consideration energy efficiency, or maybe lots of space for your growing family, both for cargo and legroom?
Truth be told, it's usually not one, but numerous boxes that buyers like to have checked off before arriving at a decision. Almost always, you can expect to see "reliability" on that characteristic – consumers want cars that are rarely in need of repair. Based on several recent studies, among your best bets for dependability are automobiles built by Toyota.
Toyotas rarely need repairs
It's estimated that 1 in 10 registered vehicles on the roads today has at least one issue that needs repairing, according to estimates done by CarMD.com. But among the least likely cars or trucks to encounter check engine light problems are those manufactured by Toyota, among the world's largest motor vehicle manufacturers.
The Irvine, Calif.-based car information and analytics firm arrived at this determination after examining data on over 4.5 million vehicles – model years stretching from 1996 to 2016 – that received at least one repair service in an 11-month period. Of the 10 brands that had the lowest repair frequency, Toyota was the runaway leader, followed by Honda, Nissan, Audi, and Volkswagen.
More specifically, of the 10 models that had the lowest rate of check-engine light occurrence, four were made by Japan's largest auto manufacturer.
This study alone would make Toyota a worthy brand to consider buying from, but a similar analysis – done by Consumer Reports – came to a comparable conclusion late last year. In its Annual Reliability Survey for 2017, CR also singled out Toyota as the car brand that had the least number of repair issues, specifically Lexus, its luxury model. The Toyota brand overall finished in the No. 2 spot.
Toyota highly praised
Toyota has received a substantial amount of positive publicity over the past year from numerous polling firms and automotive information authorities. For example, The Harris Poll named Toyota its Full Line Automotive Brand of the Year for 2016. Additionally, vehicle valuation firm Kelley Blue Book declared Lexus its 2016 winner of Best Overall Luxury Brand and Most Trusted Luxury Brand. It's the third time since 2013 that Lexus has received KBB.com's nod for most trusted.
These distinctions are for brand-new cars. However, even for used vehicles, Toyota brands are highly regarded. For example, third-party car shopping website Autotrader cited the Lexus ES as its "Must-Shop" certified pre-owned vehicle for model years 2013 through 2016.
Thanks to improved technology and diagnostic capabilities, cars these days don't break down nearly as often as they used to, even though they do still encounter issues every now and then. And while there's no guarantee that by buying a Toyota you'll always be auto problem-free, the studies do suggest that you're less likely to encounter them than with others.
Here's to much success as you go about searching for the most reliable cars for your needs.