Most Reliable Cars of All Time [10 Top Cars]

Reliability is one of the most important features we all look for in a car as it is, after all, a huge investment. Some people say that today’s cars are not as reliable as cars available 50 years ago. But there are still those that can withstand about a decade’s worth of driving, even with minimal maintenance or repair. So, what are the most reliable cars of all time?

Based on reliability scores from J.D. Power and Consumer Reports, the top 10 most reliable cars of all time:

  1. Mercedes-Benz W124 E-Class
  2. Toyota 4Runner
  3. Mazda MX-5
  4. Toyota Camry
  5. Honda Civic
  6. Volvo 700 and 900 Series
  7. Lexus LS 400
  8. Toyota Corolla
  9. Saab 900
  10. Volkswagen Beetle

According to Consumer Reports, knowing the car’s reliability rating will significantly affect the satisfaction you will have with your chosen vehicle over the years. It will also greatly influence a car’s resale value when you already want to replace the car with another one.

Looking at how these cars hold up against the odds of inconveniences like malfunctions and repairs can really help when it is time to get a car.

Read on to learn more about the most reliable cars of all time and why they are so reliable.

Most Reliable Cars of All Time

most reliable cars of all time

Having a reliable car means being able to pass it down within families and generations. It should last decades with its bare bones and inner working still intact. Another reliability measure is how much of a problem it will not give you as the car’s driver and primary user.

Will it hold up against weather or rough terrain? Can it go up to at least 150,000 miles without needing repairs? Can it last at least 10 years, so you get your money’s worth at least?

Let us look at some of the most loved and cherished vehicles across generations below:

1. Mercedes-Benz W124 E-Class

The Mercedez-Benz remains to be one of the most luxurious cars ever to graze the earth. So luxurious that it is also one of the most expensive both for the cost of ownership and maintenance costs. Newer car enthusiasts would no longer count this brand as very reliable, but that was not the case back in the 1980s through the 90s. 

Mercedez built the Mercedez-Benz W124 E-Class between 1984 and 1995. And it was the epitome of luxury and reliability. It can go way above 500,000 miles with the most minor of mechanical issues. Experts in the industry even call it the best-used car on the planet. 

2. Toyota 4Runner

If you are looking for a vehicle that will endure no matter the distance, then the Toyota 4Runner is a great choice for you. The current design is the same as in 2010, a testament to its reliability and brand. 

It should come as no surprise that the Toyota 4Runner is not the most tech-savvy or the coziest SUV in the market today. After all, longevity must have its downside as well. But if reliability is what you value in a vehicle, then the low-tech feature of the Toyota 4Runner would probably be its best asset. Less tech means fewer things to go wrong in the long run.

3. Mazda MX-5

Next on our list of the most reliable cars ever is the Mazda MX-5. Sports cars are known more for bling than for reliability. But for the Mazda MX-5, you get more of your money’s worth. Everything from its bare bones to its internal workings is top quality. And it is amazingly well made that you would easily think it could cost so much to maintain. 

But there lies the secret of the Mazda MX-5. It will not break the bank in terms of maintenance. And because it is a high-quality, expertly made vehicle, you might not need to do any maintenance before it gets to above 200,000 miles.

The new 2020 MX-5 model is already looking fine per initial reviews. And there is no doubt it will go down in history again as one of the most reliable cars since the 1990s.

4. Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry has been here a while, and it does not seem to be slowing down in popularity. One thing that keeps it so popular both for old and new car owners is its undeniable longevity. Since the early 2000s, the Toyota Camry has been a mainstay at the top of Consumer Reports’ reliability ratings charts. Quite an impressive feat if you ask me.

For perspective, 2004 models are going on 250,000 to 300,000 miles with little maintenance done on them. It is super low maintenance and will not drain your funds for upkeep. This is why the Toyota Camry is still a top choice for people who are after a quality drive from a reliable car.

5. Honda Civic

most reliable cars ever

Another one of the most reliable cars of all time is the Honda Civic. In terms of fuel economy, the Honda Civic is one of the best. Having been around since the 1970s, the Civic has not lost its reputation for reliability when it comes to its cost-effectiveness. It is not only an affordable car from the get-go. The maintenance is also not as complicated as other cars.

Its 5th generation models built from 1991 through 1994 were given the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) score of 44 mpg fuel economy for city drive and 51 mpg on highways. You can drive it up to 150,000 miles with the engine just about getting its break-in. 

The Honda Civic is also regarded as one of the best cars to learn to drive in as it runs smoothly and does not cause any major trouble for first-time learners. 

6. Volvo 700 and 900 Series

“Old but gold” is the perfect phrase to use when describing the Volvo 700 and 900 series. Both experienced and newbie drivers could easily recognize the Volvo 700 since some are still running on the roads. 

These are not the best-looking cars but undeniably some of the most reliable cars of all time as Volvo-built cars should last a long time plus excellent, safe, and secure. It is so dependable that there is a Volvo in the Guinness Book of World Records! The 1966 Volvo P1800, owned by Irv Gordon, clocked an astounding 3.2 million miles on its odometer before he died.

7. Lexus LS 400

The Lexus LS 400 is well renowned in the world for being one of the most reliable luxury cars of all time. It is also regarded as the first Toyota luxury flagship car, having been developed for a long period of time and with a huge budget. 

Lexus’ maker built this V8-powered sedan to match, if not exceed, the likes of Mercedes and BMW. The Lexus LS 400 proved to be one of the most efficient and economical luxury cars ever built. In fact, Matt Farrah, an auto journalist, was able to get his Lexus LS400 to 1 million miles without massive repairs. 

8. Toyota Corolla

No other car can top the Toyota Corolla when it comes to worldwide reach. Practically everyone has seen or at the very least knows about this brand and model. That is why it is regarded as one of the top-selling cars of all time, with its peak reliability rating reached in the 2000s. 

Toyota’s signature 1.8-liter engine became Corolla’s lifeblood for 20 years and is still one of the best engines when it comes to reliability. Generation nine, ten, and 11 of the Toyota Corolla were birthed with this same engine, making it virtually indestructible and still a dependable car.

9. Saab 900

Much like Volvo’s vehicles, the Saab 900’s maker built it not to impress people with its looks but by its dependability. It was clearly built to withstand the test of time, so if you see one on the road, it is likely maintained well and in excellent condition.

Some notable examples of Saab 900 include a donated 1989 Saab 900 SPG with well over a million miles is in the Wisconsin Automotive Museum. There is also a 1983 Saab 900 Turbo reportedly being driven twice a year in Maine. It had 400,000 miles on its odometer when it was last seen and is said to have needed no more than the regular maintenance required. 

10. Volkswagen Beetle

most reliable cars

One of the most iconic cars in the world, if not the most iconic, is the original Volkswagen Beetle. So much so that many countries have their own clubs for collectors, enthusiasts, and fans. The Volkswagen Beetle has endured many years after it went out of mass production in most of the world in 1978, thanks to Mexico and Brazil continuing its production for a time. 

The last manufactured batch in Puebla, Mexico, was back in July 2003, comprised of 30,000 units and the last one being a 2004 model year. Even now, in 2021, you will still see well-maintained original Volkswagen Beetles in many parts of the world. 

A huge factor in the longevity of the original Volkswagen Beetle is that it is straightforward to fix. There is a ready replacement should one part fail, especially in countries where there is a surplus of car parts. It is also effortless to maintain, so much so that an experienced mechanic can pull out the whole air-cooled engine in just 20 minutes. 

There is no arguing when it comes to a very inexpensive, easy to maintain yet elegant and timeless piece of machinery.

Conclusion – Most Reliable Cars Ever

Getting a car is a decision not to be taken lightly. It can be expensive to purchase a new one or taxing to maintain and repair an old beat-up vehicle. Knowing the most reliable cars of all time gives us an idea of how manufacturers create their products and how many years they can last without requiring big repairs.

To recap, here are the 10 most reliable cars of all time:

  1. Mercedes-Benz W124 E-Class
  2. Toyota 4Runner
  3. Mazda MX-5
  4. Toyota Camry
  5. Honda Civic
  6. Volvo 700 and 900 Series
  7. Lexus LS 400
  8. Toyota Corolla
  9. Saab 900
  10. Volkswagen Beetle

Needless to say, Toyota is really the top most reliable car brand in the world and of all time, considering we have three Toyota models on our list plus one Lexus luxury car. It says a lot about how much the brand values the craftsmanship being put in their vehicles, with safety, reliability, and affordability at the top of the list of priorities.

All of these car brands are reliable in one aspect or another and whatever you choose is sure to be a keeper—no need to second-guess if buying a second-hand Honda Civic or a vintage Volkswagen Beetle. As long as the car has a great history, top reliability rankings, and great after-sales servicing, then go ahead and get yourself that car.