iSeeCars publishes lists that rate and rank cars based on their reliability. According to the site, “automotive research firm iSeeCars analyzed over 14.9 million used vehicles to identify the reliable cars with the best long-term endurance based on their ability to achieve 200,000 miles.” The site goes so far as to put car reliability in to be assigned to a specific class. This particular list contains the three most reliable cars in the compact executive segment. Let’s take a look at what the analysis suggests as the three most reliable small luxury cars.
An important note: No car on this list has an MSRP of less than $41,300. When purchasing a car based on “reliability,” consumers should be aware of the significantly higher repair costs that come with a luxury or performance vehicle.
iSeeCars has identified these three vehicles as “reliable,” meaning limited and minor issues for the first 100,000 to 150,000 miles. So yes, the reliability indicates that serious repairs should be limited or unlikely. But a reliable economy car and luxury sedan still have a significant maintenance cost gap. With that in mind, let’s get to the list.
That Lexus IS350 is the most reliable small luxury car
The least surprising inclusion in a reliability list is the presence of a Toyota or Lexus product. The IS 350 earns a rating of 8.9 for reliability, putting it at the top of the list for reliability according to iSeeCars. The 3.5 liter 2GR FKS Toyota V6 engine finds its way into many Toyota/Lexus products and has a proven track record of durability. The dependable V6 puts out a healthy 311 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. Plus, it delivers that performance in a smooth and unobtrusive manner.
Newer IS 350’s are packed with great engineering. That means standard Apple Carplay/Android Auto, heated seats and steering wheel, and even active sound control. The IS 350 is also equipped with some spectacular safety features. For example, you will find lane departure warning, lane departure warning, pre-collision system, automatic high beam and pedestrian detection.
If you want to get into an IS 350, you’ll need to shell out about $43,660. Used car prices are reported to range from $24,931 to $33,997. Lexus products tend to hold their value better than almost any luxury brand. So if you’re worried about depreciation, Lexus might be for you.
Is the BMW 3 Series a good car?
Yes, the 2022 BMW 3 Series is a good little luxury car. Perhaps the most surprising thing on this list is that it’s a member of a notoriously unreliable brand. The current generation 3 Series has two engine options based on the same architecture. The 255 hp “B48” turbocharged four-cylinder and the 382 hp “B58” turbocharged straight-six. Both engines have proven reasonably reliable, falling behind the IS 350 and S60 with a reliability rating of 7.0. If you want to opt for a plug-in hybrid, BMW offers the 330e, which gets a 33hp increase in power from the 330i, as well as an EV range of 21 miles.
The BMW 3 Series ranges in price from $43,295 for the 330i to $55,845 for the 6-cylinder M340i. iSeeCars reports an average price of $42,224 for a 3 year old example.
The G20 3 Series is equipped with all the technical and safety goodies from Lexus and Volvo. In addition, the driver enjoys the additional benefit of typical BMW performance. Whether you get the 330i or the M340i, the BMW is easily the sportiest and most performance-oriented car on the list.
That Volvo S60
Volvo has built a solid reputation for reliability over the years, especially when compared to its German rivals. However, Volvo recently abandoned its famous 2.5-liter turbocharged 5-cylinder. It was replaced by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. iSeeCars has deemed the newer 2.0L a success, giving it a reliability rating of 8.7. This is good news for Volvo fans who want to take advantage of the latest generation’s beautiful styling and exceptional interior.
The latest generation of the S60 is available with 3 different engine configurations. In 2022, the 316 hp twincharged “T6” engine (with turbocharger and supercharger) was removed from the range. Volvo’s new range includes just the 247PS 2.0-litre four-cylinder and the ‘Recharge’ plug-in hybrid option, which produces a staggering 455PS and can be driven 41 miles on just the electric motor.
Like the Lexus, the Volvo is very well equipped with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, in addition to a whole host of safety features including Lane Departure Warning and Traffic Sign Recognition. Pricing starts at $41,300 for the non-hybrid and $51,250 for the Recharge. If you are looking for a used S60, the average price for a 3 year old is around $35,000. Most S60 models have strong reliability scores.
If you want affordable reliability, the Lexus is is your best bet
It’s really difficult to buy a luxury car that is as reliable as a Honda Civic or Toyota Camry and cost so little to repair. The Lexus IS 350 is about as close as you can get. The latest 3 Series is a reliable BMW. As a custom-made product, however, it is clearly at a disadvantage when it comes to repair costs. Nevertheless, the BMW is certainly the choice for a comfortable everyday life that is fun on a winding back road. Continuing Volvo’s obsession with safety, the S60 has the best interior and is the cheapest to buy used. The S60 also benefits from a reliability rating very close to that of the Lexus IS 350.
All three are good picks. But if you want the cheapest repair costs and the best reliability, the Lexus IS 350 is for you.
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