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Most reliable cars to buy in 2022

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Whether you’re shopping for a new car or a used one, reliability is a top priority for many. But what is a reliable car? Typically, it’s one that holds up well over time and comes with lower odds of having issues or needing repair. Simply, a reliable car means you will get more bang for your buck.

Finding a vehicle that fits the bill is especially important as monthly financing for new and used vehicles averages at $648 and $503, respectively, according to the Experian Q1 2022 State of Automotive Finance Market. So while cars with the least problems may not be the cheapest, you will spend less throughout ownership.

If you’re looking for good, reliable cars, it’s important to do some research before you buy.

9 of the most reliable cars  

It can take hours to research each make and model to find good, reliable cars. But fortunately, industry experts have done a lot of the work for you.  

J.D. Power breaks down the most reliable models in its 2022 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study based on 177 specific problems that can plague vehicle owners. Here are nine cars for your consideration with the fewest problems. 

1. Toyota Corolla (Top-rated compact car)

For city dwellers or those looking for a smaller option, the Corolla takes the prize for its consistent reputation and durability. In its twelfth model year, this vehicle boasts excellent resale value and has a roomy cabin for its compact size. 

2. Hyundai Sonata (Top-rated midsize car)

The 2022-year model has upgraded its technology package to offer dynamic voice recognition and an intuitively designed infotainment system. The spacious cabin makes it a great choice for families looking to have some extra space in a fuel-efficient car.  

3. Chevrolet Impala (Top-rated large car)

Receiving high ratings, the Impala has a spacious interior and smooth ride. The newest version boasts a V6 engine along with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. While you’re shopping for the best deal, keep in mind that the base model lacks driver assist. 

4. Buick Envision (Top-rated compact SUV)

Despite its size, the Envision is roomy on the inside and has a sleek exterior. The basic trim vehicle is just that — extremely basic. Consider opting for more premium features. An upgrade can mean a more luxurious ride with a large infotainment display screen, power-operated rear liftgate and heated front seats.  

5. Hyundai Sante Fe (Top-rated midsize SUV)

The Sante Fe receives middle-of-the-road scores for its firm ride and engine experience but does boast excellent fuel economy and a low starting cost. But that low cost can climb to nearly double with a premium Calligraphy AWD model.  

6. Chevrolet Suburban (Top-rated large SUV)

Seating up to nine, the Suburban is great for those looking for an expansive interior and comfortable ride. There are many variants available for the vehicle model, all with different features. With various upgrades, the High Country can cost as much as $82,000.  

7. Toyota Sienna (Top-rated minivan)

Technically, the Dodge Grand Caravan took first place as the most dependable minivan but can be hard to find. In second place, the Toyota Sienna comes with excellent fuel economy for its class, thanks to its fully redesigned hybrid engine. It also provides a roomy, upscale interior. 

8. Nissan Frontier (Top-rated midsize pickup)

Taking first place spot two years running, the Frontier excels in reliability and handling and has had a few upgrades since the 2021 season when it struggled to compete with other midsize options.  

9. Toyota Tundra (Top-rated large light-duty pickup)

Completely redesigned for the 2022 model year, the Tundra offers a smooth ride with a capable V6 engine. While its fuel economy lacks, its tech package is user friendly and comfortable for drivers.  

Additional car costs  

Regardless of which model you choose to buy additional vehicle costs are bound to come up. It is important to consider these when determining which vehicle you can afford. 

The average cost of car maintenance 

Keeping up with vehicle maintenance is key to maximizing the reliability of your vehicle and saving money. If you don’t keep up with the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, your car or truck may not last as long as it should. 

The average cost to maintain a vehicle depends on the make and model. But it is important to note that new cars won’t need too much maintenance outside of the basics, such as oil changes and tire rotations. As a vehicle gets older, though, you can expect to pay more to keep it running smoothly. 

Understanding cost to own 

It’s common for car buyers to focus on the sales price when deciding whether they’re getting a good deal. But the cost of owning a car goes far beyond that upfront cost. Along with maintenance, there are several other factors to consider. 

Those elements include: 

  • Finance charges, including interest and fees. 
  • Taxes and fees. 
  • Repairs. 
  • Car insurance. 
  • Fuel. 
  • Registration fees. 

Many industry experts make it possible to compare vehicles by showing how much they cost over five years. The most reliable cars typically have a lower cost because they don’t require as much maintenance and repairs. 

Kelley Blue Book provides data about vehicle values and the five-year cost to own specific models. Use the data or a calculator from another company in the industry to get an idea of how reliable a car is. 

Next steps 

Determining which vehicle is right for you is based on much more than just vehicle reliability. Consider your lifestyle and needs fully before you shop to ensure you drive away happy and with a long-lasting vehicle. And if you plan to finance your new set of wheels, be sure to apply for loan preapproval and compare rates from different lenders. 

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Written by
Rebecca Betterton
Auto Loans Reporter
Rebecca Betterton is the auto loans reporter for Bankrate. She specializes in assisting readers in navigating the ins and outs of securely borrowing money to purchase a car.
Edited by
Auto loans editor