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Reliability vs. Price: Why Both Factors Matter When Car Shopping

Are you in the market for a brand new vehicle? If so, there are a lot of things to consider before signing the dotted line. Between price, safety, exterior styling, reliability and even availability, a vehicle purchase is not an investment that can be made lightly in 2022.

It often takes time and some research to land on the right make or model for your lifestyle. And sometimes, even what you think would be the best fit ends up being a bit more than you bargained for.

The fact is buyers won’t always be able to check off every must-have item on their wishlist. There are often sacrifices that need to be made in order to remain within a buyer’s budget. Recently, that reality is all too real for car buyers who are looking for something “new and shiny”.

According to, the average price of a new car just hit a record high last month. With starting prices creeping towards $50,000, it’s apparent that buying a new vehicle carries a lot more weight than it once did. With such a big investment at stake, consumers really need to know what they are getting into both financially and investment wise.

In addition to pricing, the reliability of a vehicle plays an imperative role in determining whether you’ll make a good purchase. In most cases, the more dependable model will cost you less over its lifespan compared to the vehicle that falls further down on reliability rankings.

To put car shoppers on the right track, we’ll highlight the importance of reliability ratings below and share the top brands with the highest dependability on the market.

What is the most important thing when buying a car?

For most consumers, the answer is automatically price. However, the cost of a vehicle should never be the only factor in mind, no matter how tight your budget is. These days, quality is proving to be a much bigger concern now that the cost of ownership has put a far greater dent in consumer wallets. With mechanic costs on the rise, consumers need to prioritize vehicles that won’t require a handful of trips to the auto shop each year.

Value of reliability ratings

While styling and performance can make or break a deal, a vehicle’s reliability rating is just as important (if not more). The ultimate goal is for consumers to feel happy with their overall purchase, however, it’s vital they also consider the longevity of their investment in current times.

One of the first questions that we encourage buyers to ask is: “Will this vehicle last in the long run?” Generally, if the manufacturer ranks high on the reliability rating list, it’s likely you’re making the right decision. Conversely, a brand that doesn’t hold a reputation for dependableness, may end up being a riskier commitment.

J.D. Power performs a yearly Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) to determine exactly that. And now that the cost of new car ownership has reached an all-time high, it’s important for drivers to walk into a car purchase strategically. Simply put, it’s not the time to splurge on specific features that won’t hold their value over time. Instead, buyers should be looking for a make or model that can stand the test of time.

“Many owners are holding on to their vehicles longer, so long-term dependability is even more critical,” said David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power.

Though one could argue that most vehicles average Good ratings nowadays, the truth is not all automakers carry the same level of dependability. When comparing two sedans from different automakers, one might come with more attractive upgrades but lack in reliability. In that instance, it’s better for the consumer to choose the model with outstanding dependability versus the one that falls short.

This scenario is particularly the case if you plan on keeping a vehicle for 10 years or more.

Which brand of car is most reliable?

With over 60 major automotive manufacturers across the globe, consumers have a great number of options when it comes to car buying. Whether you’re a fan of domestic vehicles or prefer a foreign engine under the hood, it’s true there is a make and model for every type of consumer.

Performance upgrades, interior finishes, and safety technologies tend to be the most sought-after features when shopping for a new car, yet, quality is something that bears precedence in all circumstances. While price certainly holds rank as the top influence over car buying decisions, a reliable car is one you can trust for years on end.

Here are the most reliable car brands on the market in 2022:

  • Lexus
  • Toyota
  • Honda
  • Mazda
  • Kia
  • Hyundai
  • Genesis

Final thoughts on reliability

As the market has gotten rather expensive, buyers have had to contemplate pricing more than ever. At the same time, it has forced a number of consumers to reevaluate their approach to car buying all together. Asking questions such as “How long do I really plan on driving this vehicle?“, have become more normalized as buyers navigate the current market.

With exorbitant MSRP’s, reliability really should be a top concern. Although purchasing a more economical vehicle saves you money at the beginning, a reliable car often guarantees greater savings in the long-run.

Do you consider dependability when searching for a new vehicle? Comment and share your opinion below!

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Linzi Martin
Linzi Martin has worked as a content manager, consultant, and writer for the past six years. She's handled everything from blogs and articles to e-books and social media content. Her work has been featured in various publications including Apartment Guide, The Startup, and Voyage Magazine. Outside of work, Linzi enjoys staying active, frequenting new restaurants around South Florida, and spending time with her family.

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