Most Reliable 10-Year-Old Cars
There are cars you buy for fun, cars you buy to boost your ego, and cars you buy for a particular task — like commuting, for instance. The auto industry knows this, and it has created more than 350 models designed to cater to your every whim. Then there are cars you buy because you want and need transportation. Impressing the people across the street becomes far less important than having an inexpensive vehicle that will get you back and forth to your job every day. And that is where reliable 10-year old cars come in. Compared with a new vehicle and even compared to a late-model used vehicle, 10-year-old cars are cheap. But unless you like standing by the side of the road waiting for the tow truck to arrive, you want something more than just the average 10-year-old car. You want one of the most reliable 10 year-old-cars on the market. Here are our well-researched and well-considered picks.
1. 2011 Lexus ES
Vehicle reliability has been a hallmark of the Lexus brand since it was launched more than three decades ago. One of the big reasons it achieved and kept that reputation is the Lexus ES. If you seek comfort and quiet, you have come to the right place. A supple ride is what Lexus engineers were gunning for, and that effort is aided and abetted by the ES's tried-and-true 3.5-liter V6 engine. For the 2011 model year, the engine power was reduced by a few horsepower so the car could operate well on regular gas. Its 268 horsepower is more than enough to get the sizable sedan down the street in style. All 2011 Lexus ES 350s are equipped with nice-to-have stuff like dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, a power moonroof, and an eight-speaker premium sound system. Electronic stability control, traction control, and antilock braking add to the overall feeling of safety and security.
2. 2011 Toyota Avalon
The Toyota Avalon is closely related to the Lexus ES. It boasts a solid-as-a-rock reputation for dependability and a high level of safety. In fact, the safety equipment the 2011 Avalon carries as standard remains impressive a decade later. Antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, side-curtain airbags, a driver-side knee airbag, and active front headrests are standard fare on all 2011 models. Under the hood the venerable 3.5-liter V6 provides 268 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of peak torque, driving the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. The optional rear reclining leather seats are just one indication that the Avalon is in many ways a limousine. This edition of the Avalon offers a smooth highway ride and a nice assortment of convenience features.
3. 2011 Honda Accord
The 2011 Honda Accord is part of a generation of Accords that was first introduced in the 2008 model year. To differentiate it from the 2010 model, the 2011 got a new grille bumper, and taillights and an SE trim level was introduced, joining the LX, LX-P, EX, and EX-L models. The three engine choices include a "base" version of the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that whirs out 177 horsepower, a more sophisticated but equally reliable version of the 2.4-liter that produces 190 horsepower, and the 271-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. Fuel economy is around 25 mpg combined for the four-cylinder and 22 combined for the V6. For those few who want a manual transmission, it was offered in conjunction with the V6, but examples that have it are rare. All 2011 Honda Accord sedans have power locks and windows, cruise control, and remote entry as standard equipment. The sedan offers a nice compromise between sharp handling and a somnolent ride.
4. 2011 Hyundai Sonata
When it debuted, the 2011 Hyundai Sonata was an all-new version of the mid-size sedan, and it immediately won the hearts of many car reviewers. Its dramatic exterior and interior design was the calling card that led many consumers to try the brand for the first time, and what they got was a very reliable car for the money. The standard engine in the 2011 Sonata is a 198-horsepower direct-injection 2.4-liter four-cylinder team with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. EPA fuel economy ratings are 24 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. While a turbocharged engine is also available, we'd suggest the naturally aspirated engine for reliability and cost-effectiveness. The 2011 Sonata was named a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS. It also has a list of features that make it a very comfortable cruiser.
5. 2011 Toyota Camry
Like the Accord and the Sonata, the 2011 Toyota Camry is a front-wheel-drive mid-size sedan, and it carries an enviable record for reliability. You have choices when you consider a 2011 Camry, and all of them are good ones. The conventional gasoline-powered versions are equipped with various iterations of the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that offer up to 179 horsepower or the 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. Then there is the Camry Hybrid, which has also proved very reliable and offers outstanding (mid-30s mpg) fuel economy. Options include integrated front fog lamps, an eight-speaker sound system with touchscreen navigation, heated outside mirrors, leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats, and push-button start. Standard safety fare includes vehicle stability control, traction control, antilock braking, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, and a variety of driver and passenger airbags.
6. 2011 Scion xD
The 2011 Scion xD is a subcompact hatchback from a brand that used to have a strong following that began to fade during the Great Recession. Toyota then quietly folded the remaining Scions into the Toyota brand. One big benefit is the xD's handy size, which makes it easy to maneuver and park in urban settings. The 2011 xD is powered by a 128-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine paired with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is an EPA estimated 27 mpg city and 33 mpg highway with a combined rating of 29 mpg. Standard features include 60/40 split-folding rear seats, power outside mirrors with LED turn signal indicators, chrome-tipped exhaust, halogen headlamps, a Pioneer audio system, and a USB port with iPod (remember them?) connectivity. One of the Scion brand's key aspects was "personalization," so you might find some interesting examples of the 2011 model.
7. 2011 Toyota Corolla
The Toyota Corolla happens to be one of the most popular nameplates in the world. Available in three trims, all 2011 Corolla sedans use the same 132-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, which is known for extreme longevity. Both manual and automatic transmissions are available, but the automatic is probably the better choice. You're also well off in safety with antilock brakes, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, and active front head restraints all standard across the board. One can't describe a Corolla as being fun-to-drive in any performance sense, but the car will deliver very lengthy service economically.
8. 2011 Buick LaCrosse
The Buick LaCrosse had a burst of fame early in this century, and in 2011 it was still regarded as a good choice among large sedans. Interior quiet and low-key style are among its most prominent features. Front-wheel-drive versions are predominant, but the 2011 LaCrosse was also available with all-wheel-drive. Powertrain choices are a 182 horsepower 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine and a 280-horsepower 3.6 liter V6, which is probably the better pick. Electronic stability control, antilock brakes, and six airbags are standard safety features on all 2011 Buick LaCrosse models. A luxury package that includes leather seating plus an 11-speaker Harman/Kardon 384-watt sound system adds spice to the upper-level LaCrosse CXS. Even the base LaCrosse CX has air conditioning with an air filtration system, a seven-speaker sound system with XM satellite radio, and power locks and windows.
9. 2011 Toyota Prius
The 2011 Toyota Prius is one of a long line of Priuses that were the vanguard of the hybrid vehicle movement. A five-door hatchback, the Prius has always stressed fuel economy above all else, and the 2011 doesn't deviate from that. The distinctively styled car is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 98 horsepower and 105 lb-ft of torque teamed with an electric motor drawing off an on-board battery pack. The electronically controlled continuously variable transmission enables an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 51 mpg city and 48 mpg highway. While the earlier-edition Priuses were barebones, the 2011 model offers LED headlights, LED tail lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, a power moonroof, air conditioning, a voice-activated touchscreen navigation system, remote keyless entry with push-button start, and hands-free phone capability. You even get a four-disc CD changer. While low-emissions driving is its principal talent, it has also proven to be very reliable.
10. 2011 Chevrolet Impala
By 2011, the Chevrolet Impala model had undoubtedly experienced its best days, at least from a sales point of view. But the 2011 Impala is a very reliable and inexpensive-to-operate large sedan with several virtues. The base LS features air conditioning, keyless entry, and a CD/MP3 audio system, perfect for listening to oldies. The Impala LT is next on the ladder, and when combined with the "luxury package," it becomes a very comfortable car with heated leather-covered front power seats, universal garage door remote, and an eight-speaker Bose audio system. The LTZ trim makes most of that standard and adds even more. Power comes from a 211-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 or and a 230-horsepower 3.9-liter V6, both backed by four-speed automatic transmissions. Fuel economy is in the low 20s with either engine. The Impala is a big car and, for the money, offers a lot of interior space and cargo-carrying ability. The latter is aided by the car's folding rear seatback.