Most reliable car brands in Canada

16 minute read Published on Apr 14, 2023 by BrokerLink Communications

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Whether you’re buying your first car or in need of an upgrade, choosing a reliable vehicle is of the utmost importance. In fact, of all the things to look for, reliability might even be the most important. That is why the topic we are discussing today is the most reliable car brands in Canada. Keep reading to learn more about the best vehicle brands in the country, along with which factors make a car reliable.

Car reliability

What makes a car reliable? This is a good question. There is no universal definition of reliability when it comes to vehicles. However, there are a few factors that indicate how reliable a car will be. After all, a reliable car is more than just a vehicle that doesn’t break down. When shopping for a car based on reliability, we recommend considering the following:

The rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States offers a wide range of information about the safety and reliability of different vehicles. For instance, they can provide information about the rollover safety or crash protection of a particular vehicle. One star is the lowest rating they offer while five is the highest, and the higher the better.

The rating from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) also rates vehicles, this time according to how well it protects its passengers in a crash. To do this, the IIHS looks at how effective the vehicle’s technology is at minimizing the severe impact of a collision or preventing one altogether. The IIHS’s rating scales range from Poor to Good.


Researching if there have been any recalls of your vehicle is another way of checking its reliability. For instance, when the NHTSA decides that a vehicle or its equipment poses a safety risk to occupants, it will issue a recall.

Average repair costs

Knowing the average repair costs of a specific vehicle can also help drivers determine its reliability. If average repair costs are high, it could indicate that the vehicle breaks down or runs into mechanical issues more frequently than other vehicles, making it less reliable.

Vehicle resale and trade-in value

Similar to the average cost of repairs, looking up the average resale and trade-in values of the vehicle can also be an indication of reliability. If the car’s resale and trade-in values are significantly lower than other vehicles’, even when you account for depreciation, this could be a sign of a less reliable car.

Customer reviews

Reading customer reviews, which can easily be found all over the internet, is another effective method of gauging a car’s reliability. Similarly, you can also ask people you know about their experience with a particular car. If no one you know personally has the car you are thinking about buying, see if there is an online forum or Facebook group that might be able to help.

Reliability reports

There are several consumer reports, published for free online, that monitor reliability and even offer a ranking for reliability. JD Power and Consumer reports are the two main places where a customer can find information on reliability. Both of these websites are intuitive, easy to use, and use comparable ranking systems. Note that JD Power reports on cars specifically, whereas Consumer Reports is more general, reporting on a broader range of products.

Car reliability rankings

Using Consumer Reports data, we have put together a list of the most reliable car brands in Canada as of 2022. We have also included additional rankings for the most reliable cars, used luxury cars, sports cars, small cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks:

The most reliable car brands

  1. Mazda
  2. Toyota
  3. Lexus
  4. Buick
  5. Honda
  6. Subaru
  7. Kia
  8. Infiniti
  9. Audi
  10. BMW
  11. Hyundai

The most reliable vehicles according to Consumer Reports

  1. 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid
  2. 2023 Lexus GX
  3. 2023 Mini Cooper
  4. 2022 Toyota Prius
  5. 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata
  6. 2023 Lincoln Corsair
  7. 2023 Toyota Corolla
  8. 2023 Subaru Crosstrek
  9. 2023 BMW 3 Series
  10. 2022 Toyota Prius Prime

The least reliable vehicles according to Consumer Reports

  1. 2023 Jeep Wrangler
  2. 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLE
  3. 2022 Jeep Gladiator
  4. 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500/GMC Sierra 1500
  5. 2022 Chevrolet Bolt
  6. 2022 Ford Explorer
  7. 2022 Nissan Sentra
  8. 2022 Lincoln Aviator
  9. 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric
  10. 2022 Ford F-150 Hybrid

The most reliable used cars

  1. Honda Civic
  2. Honda Accord
  3. Toyota Corolla
  4. Toyota Camry
  5. Mazda 6
  6. Lexus ES
  7. Acura TSX
  8. Toyota RAV4
  9. Toyota Highlander
  10. Nissan Rogue

The most reliable luxury cars

Dreaming of that luxury car without the yearly maintenance bills of thousands of dollars? If you are searching for a vehicle that combines luxury and reliability, you’ll want to check out this list of the 10 most reliable luxury cars in 2022:

  1. Genesis G70
  2. Lexus IS
  3. Audi A5
  4. Acura TLX
  5. Lexus ES
  6. Chrysler 300
  7. Lexus GS 350
  8. Kia 900
  9. Tesla Model S
  10. Porsche Panamera

The most reliable sports cars

  1. Mazda MX-5
  2. Audi TT Coupe
  3. Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe
  4. BMW 2 Series
  5. BMW M4
  6. BMW 4 Series
  7. Ford Mustang
  8. Mazda Miata
  9. Porsche Cayman
  10. Honda S2000

The most reliable small cars

  1. Ford C-Max
  2. Buick Verano
  3. Kia Forte
  4. Honda Civic
  5. Hyundai Elantra GT
  6. Kia Forte5
  7. Acura ILX
  8. Hyundai Elantra Coupe
  9. Toyota Corolla
  10. Lexus CT200h

The most reliable SUVs

  1. Lexus RX 350
  2. Chevrolet Trax
  3. Toyota Venza
  4. Toyota RAV4
  5. Mazda CX-5
  6. Kia Soul
  7. Mercedes-Benz GLA 250
  8. Infiniti QX50
  9. Fiat 500X
  10. Subaru Crosstrek

The most reliable pickup trucks

  1. Toyota Tundra
  2. Ram 1500
  3. Nissan Titan
  4. Honda Ridgeline
  5. Chevrolet Colorado
  6. Ford Ranger
  7. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LD
  8. Nissan Frontier
  9. GMC Canyon
  10. Toyota Tacoma

Tips for choosing a reliable used car in Canada

Are you ready to buy a used car? If you’re buying a used vehicle in Canada, knowing what to look for when it comes to reliability is especially important. Below, the experts at BrokerLink have put together a list of tips to make shopping for a used car based on reliability a breeze:

1. Choose a brand that’s known for being reliable

The first step is to choose a reliable vehicle brand. You can find out which brands are considered to be the most reliable by conducting a quick Google search. As mentioned above, JD Power and Consumer Reports often have detailed reliability rankings, including lists of the most reliable car brands in Canada for any given year. Currently, some of the most reliable brands in Canada include Mazda, Toyota, Lexus, Buick, and Honda. Thus, if reliability is a top priority, choosing a sensible car made by one of these manufacturers might be a smarter choice than a tiny, fast convertible.

2. Look for reliable used cars for sale by one owner

Our second tip for buying a reliable used car is to purchase it directly from an owner. Generally, private car sales are far less expensive than used car sales through a dealership. You may also get a more accurate picture of the vehicle’s history. Just make sure to ask for various records and receipts, such as accident records and service records. This may also leave you more room for price negotiations and time to understand the vehicle’s history, rather than getting the information secondhand from a car dealership.

3. Choose a used car with lower mileage

Our next tip for finding a reliable used car is to choose one with low mileage. Part of a vehicle’s reliability is its lifespan, which directly relates to mileage. The average modern car has roughly 300,000 kilometers in it, which typically translates to 10 to 12 years of use. Pay close attention to the mileage on the car you are thinking of purchasing. The lower it is, the better the odds of the vehicle lasting a longer time.

4. Ask the dealership about the car’s maintenance history

If you choose to buy a used car through a car dealership, don’t hesitate to ask about the maintenance history. If maintenance on the car was performed by a certified dealership, they should have the documents to prove it. To further assess a car’s reliability, you may even want to compare those maintenance records to the recommended maintenance schedule found in the car’s owner’s manual. You may also wish to check online for possible recalls that may or may not have been resolved in the vehicle, to ensure that it is in tip top shape for your needs.

5. Get as much information about the car as possible

Anytime you buy a car, but especially a used one, procuring as much information as possible is key. This means inspecting the car yourself in person and obtaining key documents like maintenance records and accident records. Other important information to gather may include oil change history and the details of any repairs made (e.g. the date of repair and which parts were replaced, etc).

Reliability and car insurance

There are many reasons why a driver may want to buy a reliable car, from having a vehicle that is safer to drive to having a vehicle that lasts longer. However, another reason that might matter to you is that driving a reliable car can lead to a cheaper auto insurance premium. The make, model, and year of the vehicle you drive are all considered by insurance companies when calculating car insurance premiums. Your insurer will use this information about your vehicle to determine how safe and reliable it is. Vehicles with higher safety and reliability ratings tend to be cheaper to insure, as they are less likely to be involved in accidents, or if they are involved in accidents, the results aren’t likely to be as severe (e.g. less physical damage to the car and milder injuries to the occupants).

Further, although the reliability of your vehicle is a major factor when it comes to car insurance, it isn’t the only vehicle-related factor. The cost of your car will also be considered, as an insurance company will need to factor in the average cost of repairs if your vehicle is damaged, and even the cost of replacing your vehicle if it is stolen or damaged beyond repair. Typically, more expensive cars tend to have higher insurance rates as the payout for the insurance company would be greater than if something happened to a cheaper car. The rate at which your car is stolen may also be assessed, as some vehicle models have high rates of theft. If you want to learn more about vehicle reliability or other vehicle-related factors influencing car insurance premiums, get in touch with BrokerLink today.


Other factors impacting car insurance rates

How reliable the vehicle is that you drive is not the only factor that impacts car insurance rates in Canada. In fact, it is just one factor out of dozens. The methods that insurance companies use to calculate rates ultimately vary, but the following factors are likely to be considered. For a complete list of variables that can influence Canadian car insurance premiums, speak with an insurance advisor at BrokerLink:

Driving history

Driving history is one of the top factors that an insurance company will consider when they are calculating your auto insurance premium. Driving history comprises a driver’s experience on the road with their driving record. Generally speaking, having more experience with driving is better than having less, as it makes you seem like a safer investment. However, this will only be the case if your years of driving experience are compounded by a clean driving record. The goal for any driver should be to maintain a clean driving record. To do this, it is important to drive safely, which means obeying the speed limit and driving defensively. The moment you start to rack up driving infractions, like speeding tickets, accidents, or DUIs, your insurance rates can be impacted. If your driving record becomes extremely poor, you could be deemed a high-risk driver, and high-risk car insurance is more expensive and harder to find than regular car insurance. On the flip side, if you maintain a clean driving record for years on end, you might qualify for a safe driver discount.


How old you are will certainly come into play when an insurance company is calculating your rates. Though it isn’t a hard and fast rule, most of the time, younger drivers pay more for insurance than older experienced drivers. This is due to a perceived lack of experience. Thankfully, there are a few ways that young drivers can lower their rates, such as by attending an approved driving course.

Local laws and regulations

The local laws in the province or municipality you live in can affect how much you pay for auto insurance. Car insurance is regulated provincially, which means the rules vary according to which province you reside in. For instance, some provinces require residents to have certain types of coverage and certain amounts of that coverage. The higher the minimum coverage amount, the more your policy may cost. As an example, in Ontario and Alberta, drivers must have a minimum of $200,000 in liability coverage in their car insurance plans. Meanwhile, in Nova Scotia, drivers must have over double this amount ($500,000) in liability coverage.


An insurance company will almost certainly consider your location when setting your premium. This is because where you live and drive frequently can also influence your risk level. For instance, if you live in a busy city with more cars and people on the road, your odds of getting into an accident are greater. Conversely, if you live in a quieter, rural area with less traffic, your chances of being involved in a collision are less. Other location-specific variables may be assessed as well, such as if the place you live is prone to climate related incidents, like floods, or the crime rate of your neighbourhood.

Your driving habits

How often you drive your vehicle is another factor that an insurance company might consider. As an insurance provider sees it, the more time you spend on the road, the higher your odds of getting into a collision. This is especially true if you frequently drive at night or on highways. This is also true if you commute to and from work during rush hours or peak traffic times, as this can make you more likely to get into an accident. Ultimately, if you spend an above-average or a below-average amount of time on the road, this could influence your rates. An above-average amount of time would likely translate to higher rates whereas a below-average amount of time might translate to lower rates. Remember that if you drive extremely infrequently, you might even qualify for a low mileage discount.

Your policy preferences

One final factor that can influence how much you pay for car insurance is your policy preferences. By preferences, we are referring to the deductibles, coverage, and coverage limits you choose to include with your policy. These decisions are completely up to you and they can have a major impact on your rates. For instance, car insurance plans with low deductibles will cost far more than those with low deductibles. Similarly, if you choose to add extra coverage onto your policy, like collision, comprehensive, or accident forgiveness coverage, you may end up paying more for car insurance. However, if your vehicle is financed or leased you may have no choice but to purchase collision and comprehensive due to your loan agreement. Lastly, if you choose higher coverage limits, your premium is likely to increase too. Speak with a BrokerLink insurance advisor to learn more about how the policy selections you make can impact your premium.

It is important to note that insurance brokers do not set rates in Canada. Rather, it is the insurance companies that do this. Therefore, an insurance broker can help you find a policy, save money on coverage, and finalize your plan. A broker can also provide you with an accurate and competitive auto insurance quote. However, they do not set premiums. Get in touch with BrokerLink to learn more about the important role that insurance brokers play and the benefits of working with one.


Vehicle-related factors to help you save money on car insurance

Since the vehicle you drive is one of the major factors impacting insurance costs, we thought we would put together a list of money-saving tips that might help you decide which car is right for you:

1. Do not buy an ultra-luxury vehicle

The more expensive the vehicle, the more expensive the car insurance. Therefore, if you want to keep insurance costs low, we suggest avoiding models produced by high-end or luxury automakers like BMW, Mercedes Benz, Tesla, or Bentley. Research suggests that drivers of luxury vehicles may pay up to $1,000 more annually in car insurance.

2. Choose a used model over a new model

Second, if you want to save money on auto insurance, consider choosing a reliable used car over a reliable new car. Newer cars are typically more expensive to insure because the cost of repairing or replacing them is higher. So if you don't have your heart set on a new model, choose a used car just take care to follow the tips we offered above to ensure you find a reliable used model.

3. Prioritize reliability over flash

It’s easy to let your emotions get the better of you when car shopping. While you know the Toyota or Honda is the more sensible option, seeing that luxury sports car in the corner is hard to resist. That said, if you want to save money on car insurance, as well as drive a safe, long-lasting car, prioritizing a vehicle’s reliability over the flash factor is the best course of action. Luxury vehicles, especially sports cars with high-performance engines, often come with far higher premiums.

4. Consider a hybrid or electric car

Hybrid and electric cars are not just a trend. They are here to stay. And nowadays, you can find hybrid and electric versions of your favourite reliable cars, like the Toyota Prius. This means that not only can you avoid spending an arm and a leg on a Tesla but you can find an electric car with a high reliability rating. Mazda, Nissan, Hyundai, and Toyota are all known for their affordable and safe EVs. By choosing a reliable hybrid or electric vehicle, you may benefit from a lower premium due to the car’s high safety rating. On top of that, some provinces offer car insurance discounts to drivers of eco-friendly cars. Plus you will save at the fuel pump also, a win-win!

5. Choose a vehicle with a high safety rating and cutting-edge safety features

Safety and reliability go hand-in-hand, so when you’re shopping for a reliable car, it’s wise to check out safety ratings as well. The safety rating is another factor that can influence your insurance. Thus, if you choose a car with a high safety rating, you could save money on auto insurance. Further, even if you don’t choose the car with the highest safety rating, there are ways of making your vehicle safer to drive. One such way is by installing an anti-theft device in your vehicle. If you do this, you could become eligible for a discount on your auto insurance policy.

Call BrokerLink to learn more about the most reliable car brands in Canada and how car reliability can impact your insurance rates

If you have questions about vehicle reliability, especially if you want to know how reliability can impact your car insurance premium, contact a BrokerLink car insurance broker today. BrokerLink is made up of licenced and friendly professionals who know the ins and outs of the auto insurance industry. They can give you tips on purchasing a new car, information on how to know a reliable car from an unreliable one, and invaluable insight into what factors influence car insurance rates. If you’re ready to speak with a broker, call BrokerLink today. We can also be reached by email or in person at any one of our branches across Canada. We look forward to hearing from you!

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FAQs on reliable car brands

Does installing winter tires on my car make it more reliable?

Installing winter tires on your car can certainly make it safer to drive. It can help you avoid unnecessary wear and tear on your tires and can improve traction, which makes for safer braking and accelerating in winter conditions. Overall, installing winter tires on your car can limit the odds of an accident during the winter, and the fewer accidents you are involved in, the longer your car is likely to last. Contact an insurance broker for more information on winter tires safety and how installing winter tires on your car can make you qualify for a car insurance discount.

How can the reliability of my car impact my auto insurance rate?

Insurance companies consider the reliability of your car when calculating premiums. Why? How reliable your car is directly correlates to risk level. In the eyes of an insurance company, a reliable car is seen as less likely to be involved in a collision or to cause severe harm if it is involved in a collision. For instance, if you are purchasing insurance for a car with a poor reliability rating, your insurer might increase your premium. That said, reliability is just one of many factors that an insurer will take into account when determining your rates. Other factors include the driver’s age, gender, driving record, claims history, location, and much more.

What factors make a car reliable?

Determining the reliability of a car can be difficult. To do so, we recommend considering factors like customer reviews, average repair costs, average trade-in and resale values, reliability reports, and ratings from various bodies like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

What is the most reliable car?

The most reliable car varies, often from year to year. That said, according to the reliability rankings issued by Consumer Reports in 2022, the 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid, 2023 Lexus GX, 2023 Mini Cooper, 2022 Toyota Prius, and the 2022 Mazda MX-5 Miata came out on top.

How many years does the average vehicle last in Canada?

Drivers can expect the average car to last roughly ten to twelve years. That said, a vehicle’s lifespan ultimately depends on many factors, including how frequently it is maintained, how often it is driven, and how many collisions it is involved in. The good news is that car lifespans are increasing around the world due to ongoing technological advancements. Nowadays, the average vehicle can withstand 300,000 kilometres worth of driving or more. This is a huge difference from a couple of decades ago when vehicles tended to top out at 150,000 kilometres.

What car brand is the cheapest to insure?

The brand of the car you drive is just one factor that can influence insurance rates. That said, car brands with high safety and reliability ratings may help reduce your premium. Examples of reliable car brands in 2022 include Mazda, Toyota, Honda, Lexus, and Buick.

If you have any questions, contact one of our local branches.