The 10 Most Popular Cars in America Re-Ranked by Reliability

Top Cars Ranked by Reliability

The top 10 ranking of most popular cars in the USA looks very different when re-ranked by reliability, according to our latest research into repair claims data for America’s most popular cars. Are America’s most bought cars the most reliable ones? We wanted to find out, so we asked our team of auto experts to re-rank the top models after looking at internal automotive repair claims data.

They analyzed over 27,000 automotive repair claims for different makes and models covered by Endurance over the past year (2019) – with a total cost of more than $24 million. The results might surprise you.

Adam Karner, Endurance Auto Expert, says: “The data confirms many long-held assumptions about the impressive reliability of Honda and Toyota cars, but it also reveals a number of surprises: first and foremost, that the Ford F-Series, the #1 most popular car in America, is also the most likely of the top 10 best sellers to suffer a breakdown.”

Top 10 Most Popular Cars in the USA

According to a 2019 report by Edmunds, using data from the period October 2018 to October 2019, these are the top 10 most popular cars in America, based on national sales of new cars:

  1. Ford F-Series
  2. Ram 1500/2500/3500
  3. Chevrolet Silverado
  4. Toyota RAV4
  5. Honda CR-V
  6. Chevrolet Equinox
  7. Toyota Tacoma
  8. Honda Civic
  9. Nissan Altima
  10. Toyota Corolla

At Endurance we handle thousands of claims each month, and we wanted to look at breakdowns for each make in the top 10 to see just how reliable these models really are.

So, how does the top 10 looks when it’s re-ranked for reliability?

Top 10 Cars Re-Ranked by Reliability

*Ranking is based on internal submitted automotive repair claims data from Endurance Warranty Services

**Car key facts for latest models

1. Honda Civic

The most reliable of the top 10 best-selling cars in America is the Honda Civic.

Key facts:

  • Models: Civic Sedan LX, Sport, EX, EX-L
  • Base model fuel type: Gas regular unleaded
  • Base model engine: 158-Horsepower, 2.0-Liter DOHC i-VTEC® 4-Cylinder Engine
  • Base model seating capacity: 5
  • Base model starting MSRP: $20,800

Average repair cost: $535

Adam Karner, Endurance Auto Expert, says: “One of the most reliable car makes. A small percentage of claims come from Honda owners.”

2. Toyota RAV4

Renowned for being practically invincible, the RAV4 isn’t quite at the top of the ranking, but it’s beaten only by the Honda Civic. Drivers with a Toyota extended warranty typically experience a small number of repairs per year.

Key facts:

  • Models: LE, LE Hybrid, XLE, XLE Hybrid, XLE Premium, XLE Premium Hybrid, Adventure, TRD Off-Road, XSE Hybrid, Limited, Limited Hybrid
  • Base model fuel type: Gas regular unleaded
  • Base model engine: 2.5-Liter Dynamic Force 4-Cylinder DOHC D-4S Injection with Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i)
  • Base model seating capacity: 5
  • Base model starting MSRP: $26,050

Average repair cost: $695

Adam Karner, Endurance Auto Expert, says: “One of the most reliable car makes. A small percentage of claims come from Toyota owners.”

3. Toyota Tacoma

The Toyota Tacoma makes the top 3 podium thanks to the car maker’s reliability credentials: only 318 Toyota owners reported a repair in this period out of over 4,000 that have been submitted for the top makes on the list.

Key facts:

  • Models: SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited, TRD Pro
  • Base model fuel type: Gas regular unleaded
  • Base model engine: 2.7-Liter DOHC 16-Valve 4-Cylinder with VVT-i
  • Base model seating capacity: 4
  • Base model starting MSRP: $26,150

Average repair cost: $695

Adam Karner, Endurance Auto Expert, says: “The most-reported problem with the Tacoma is that the lower ball joint has premature wear. This is due to improper finishing in production. 13 model years were impacted by this problem, beginning in 1995, and continuing up until 2007. Toyota put out a recall to fix this, but it only applied to 2001-2004 models.”

4. Toyota Corolla

The third Toyota model to make up the top 5, the Corolla has done its owners proud in terms of reliability – although the Tacoma and RAV4 both scored higher in our rankings.

Key facts:

  • Models: L, LE, Hybrid LE, SE, SE Nightshade Edition, XLE, XSE
  • Base model fuel type: Regular unleaded
  • Base model engine: 1.8-Liter 4-Cylinder DOHC 16-Valve with Valvematic technology
  • Base model seating capacity: 5
  • Base model starting MSRP: $19,825

Average repair cost: $695

Adam Karner, Endurance Auto Expert, says: “Reliable car, the severity of repairs is low while the frequency of those issues is average.”

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5. Honda CR-V

The ever-popular Honda CR-V retains the number 5 spot when re-ranked by reliability.

Key facts:

  • Models: LX, EX, EX-L, Touring
  • Base model fuel type: Gas regular unleaded / Hybrid
  • Base model engine: 190-Horsepower In-Line 4-Cylinder with Turbocharger
  • Base model seating capacity: 5
  • Base model starting MSRP: $25,150

Average repair cost: $535

Adam Karner, Endurance Auto Expert, says: “Two major issues: CR-V specifically experiences problems with the variable valve timing system. When getting started the car started up, an audible clicking noise can be heard that can lead to failure but less likely. To remove the noise, the driver will need to pay around $2,000+ to fix since Honda does not see this as a repair that needs to be done/covered by warranty coverage.

“Second, if the A/C compressor fails, then the overall A/C system will fail/need replacing. When the compressor experiences failure, the whole system gets contaminated with junk and metal shavings, which then require a new system to be added in. Newer vehicles may have this repaired, but older vehicles still have this issue. Drivers considering purchasing used should consider this when shopping for a vehicle.”

6. Ram 1500/2500/3500

Re-ranking the top 10 most popular cars in the US by reliability leads to a drop from 2nd to 6th for these Ram models – it’s among those more likely to have a breakdown.

Key facts:

  • Models: 1500 Classic, 1500, 1500 TRX, 2500, 3500
  • Base model fuel type: Regular unleaded
  • Base model engine: 3.6L V-6 305-hp
  • Base model seating capacity: 3
  • Base model starting MSRP: $28,200

Average repair cost: $684

Adam Karner, Endurance Auto Expert, says: “Issues with transmission and valve trains. Valve trains vary in price, depending on how easily it can be accessed. Drivers who own a Ram of any sort should make sure to perform essential maintenance every season.”

7. Chevrolet Silverado

Our data shows Chevrolet owners submitted the most claims overall compared to any other automaker covered by Endurance. Drivers experienced the most breakdowns with their condenser, alternator, and water pump.

Key facts:

  • Models: Work Truck, Custom, LT, Custom Trail Boss, RST, LTZ, LT Trail Boss, High Country
  • Base model fuel type: Regular gas
  • Base model engine: 285-hp, 4.3-liter V-6
  • Base model seating capacity: 2-3
  • Base model starting MSRP: $28,600

Average repair cost: $641

Adam Karner, Endurance Auto Expert, says: “There’s one engine option with the Silverado that experiences consistent issues. The 8-cylinder engine shuts 4 of the engines off when on the highway. Cylinder deactivation that fails can cause some damage to the lifters, causing them to fail. The cylinder deactivation switch itself will fail. With enough damage, the battery can experience failure as well.”

8. Chevrolet Equinox

Our data shows the Chevrolet Equinox ranked #8 on the list of cars for reliability (or #3 for the cars most prone to breakdowns) after looking at submitted claims in 2019. This is the top Chevrolet make on the list for the likelihood of a breakdown.

Key facts:

  • Models: L, LS, LT 1.5L Turbo, LT 2.0L Turbo, Premier 1.5L Turbo, Premier 2.0L Turbo
  • Base model fuel type: Turbocharged Gas I4
  • Base model engine: 1.5L Turbo 4-cylinder engine
  • Base model seating capacity: 5
  • Base model starting MSRP: $23,800

Average repair cost: $641

Adam Karner, Endurance Auto Expert, says: “Common Chevrolet repairs related to the Equinox engine include the smell of gasoline and smoke, fuel pump failure, and excessive oil consumption.”

9. Nissan Altima

Our data shows the Nissan Altima ranked in at #2 on the list of car makes most prone to breakdowns, after having the top claims submitted in 2019.

Key facts:

  • Models: S, SR, SR VC-TURBO™, SV, SL, Platinum, Platinum VC-TURBO™,
  • Base model fuel type: Gas regular unleaded
  • Base model engine: 188-hp 2.5-liter DIG 4-cylinder FWD
  • Base model seating capacity: 5
  • Base model starting MSRP: $24,300

Average repair cost: $798

Adam Karner, Endurance Auto Expert, says: “Nissan Altima was reported to be one of the less reliable cars in 2019 after submitting the most claims for repairs. Anyone who owns this specific make from Nissan should look into an extended warranty to avoid paying for expensive breakdowns.”

10. Ford F-Series

Our data shows America’s most popular car, the Ford F-Series, is actually the least reliable of the top 10 best-selling models. 416 claims were submitted for Ford F-Series vehicles, accounting for 36% of all Ford claims submitted.

Key facts:

  • Models: F-150 XL, F-150 XLT, F-150 Lariat, F-150 King Ranch®, F-150 Platinum, F-150 Limited, F-150 Raptor
  • Base model fuel type: Gas regular unleaded, E85
  • Base model engine: 3.3L Ti-VCT V6 Engine
  • Base model seating capacity: 3 with regular cab
  • Base model starting MSRP: $28,745

Average repair cost: $649

Adam Karner, Endurance Auto Expert, says: “Based on submitted claims, Ford F-Series trucks consistently experience issues with the transmission. Transmission repairs can cost thousands of dollars to prepare so if you’re considering purchasing one (or already own one), we suggest purchasing auto protection to cover costs.

 

Even the most popular cars can have issues and require repairs – with some being more likely, and costlier, than others. When you buy a new car, you want peace of mind that, if anything does go wrong, you’ll have coverage that protects you and keeps you on the road. That’s why reputable extended warranty coverage is always worth considering – it can help lighten the financial burden of owning a car.

Don’t Pay Directly for Auto Repairs

Here at Endurance, we look at every angle to save you time, money, and hassle so you can enjoy your car without the worry of expensive repairs. With every Endurance Warranty, you get the most comprehensive protection package on the market and additional benefits to help you save on and off the road.

You get 1-year access to the Endurance Elite Membership completely FREE. This means you have a year’s free access to all the benefits, including key fob replacement, tire repair/replacement, $250 in digital shopping dollars, and much more!

You can get access to even more benefits with each protection plan, including 24/7 roadside assistance, trip interruption coverage, substitute transportation – accepted at any certified mechanic.

A Vehicle Service Contract (VSC) is often referred to as an “auto warranty” or an “extended car warranty,” but it is not a warranty. A VSC does, however, provide repair coverage for your vehicle after the manufacturer’s car warranty expires. A VSC is a contract between you and a VSC provider or administrator that states what is a covered repair and what is not. Not all vehicles qualify for coverage; Endurance does not offer VSCs in California.