Study: Toyota Corolla Is Most Reliable Car In America, But Fords Are Cheaper To Repair

December 10, 2015

December means many things to many people. Chief among them: holiday meals, shopping for gifts, and socializing with family members and co-workers you'd ordinarily never speak to.

December also means that it's time for year-end wrap-ups. CarMD has just published one that should be of interest to anyone who owns or is looking to buy a car, especially those planning to purchase a used vehicle.

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The annual CarMD Vehicle Health Index Manufacturer & Vehicle Reliability Rankings survey is exactly what it sounds like: a ranking of makes and models, according to the number of repairs they've needed. 

To dole out those scores, CarMD studies thousands of car problems and repair bills related to vehicles' "check engine" lights. The data is provided by CarMD's nationwide network of technicians. This year, the company analyzed over 251,000 incidents on vehicles from model-years 1996 to 2015, and there were plenty of interesting findings:

  • Hyundai produced the most reliable cars of any automaker, just edging out silver medal-winner Toyota for the top spot. Honda, Ford, and Chrysler rounded out the top-five most dependable brands. 
  • That said, among the top-ten ranked automakers, Ford vehicles were the cheapest to repair, with an average cost of $309.55. Nissan vehicles earned the dubious distinction of being the most expensive, at a price of $430.83.
  • In terms of specific makes and models, CarMD judged the 2015 Toyota Corolla to be the most reliable on the market. Other top-five winners included the 2013 Lexus ES, 2014 Toyota Prius, 2013 Toyota Avalon, and 2013 Honda Fit.
  • It wasn't all good news for Toyota, though: of the top 100 cars, the least reliable was found to be the 2013 Toyota Prius C. Other poor performers were the 2014 BMW 428, 2014 Buick Encore, 2011 BMW 528, and 2013 Mazda Mazda5. 
  • In terms of sheer numbers, Toyota took home the trophy for putting 18 models in CarMD's top 100. Ford followed with 14, and Honda with 10.

READ: Chevrolet Volt Vs. Toyota Prius: Compare Cars

And for the curious, here are CarMD's rankings by segment:

  • Compact: 2015 Toyota Corolla
  • Minivan: 2014 Chrysler Town & Country
  • Sedan: 2013 Toyota Avalon
  • Luxury: 2013 Lexus ES
  • Full-Sized SUV: 2008 Volvo XC70
  • Wagon/Crossover SUV: 2014 Ford Edge
  • Truck: 2014 Ford F-150
  • Hybrid: 2014 Toyota Prius
  • Electric: 2013 Ford C-MAX

You'll find complete details about the 2015 CarMD Vehicle Health Index Manufacturer & Vehicle Reliability Rankings at Be sure to click through to the PDF at the bottom of that page to see the most common problems by brand.

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