America’s Most Reliable Cars

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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.

Read: America’s Most Reliable 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. (NYSE: TM), Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMC) 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 (NYSE: F) 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 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.