Top 10 Best Cars

Top Ten Best Rated Vehicles Used in the U.S.

Looking to buy a car? Here I discuss the 10 best cars (also known as the "top ten cars") based on gas mileage, safety, longevity, lemon reports and need for repairs.


Buying a new or used automobile can be a very frustrating experience. There are all types of vehicles on the market today... sedans, wagons, hatchbacks and SUVs, not to mention the new hybrids. And soon we'll have electric vehicles hitting the mainstream market.

Then there's size... subcompact, compact, midsize, and larger. So how do you choose the right car?

Much of your car-buying decision will be based on personal preference and family needs. However, you should also consider the criteria listed above before choosing which car you'll be using for the next several years.

When it comes to gas mileage, SUVs have traditionally been the worst kids on the block. Technology has improved somewhat over the last few years, but as a whole, sport utility vehicles are still far behind on gas mileage and reasonable repair costs. For that reason, SUVs are not included in this list.

Ten Best Cars

#1 Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius is a hybrid mid sized car produced in Japan since 1997. It was not until 2001 that the car became available worldwide, but it is still considered the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle. This car has hit the mark as one of the best on the market today based on consumer feedback, gas mileage and safety standards.

The Toyota Prius has stayed at the top of the consumer satisfaction surveys since it became widely available. For the most part, people love this vehicle.

Best Rated Features of the Prius

  • Gas Mileage—2008 Prius—46 mpg combined highway and city

  • Safety—2004 model received a five star crash test rating

  • Longevity—Life expectancy of the Toyota Prius is at least as good as other Toyotas at 150,000- 200,000 miles. In addition, the expected life of the battery is approximately 19 years. (But since the Prius hasn't been on the road that long, no one knows for certain how long the battery will last.)

  • Lemon Reports—Some owners have complained of headlight issues but so far, the Prius is nowhere near the top of the lemon list.

  • Repairs—Though this Toyota fairs well on most fronts, it is important to note that repairs will be higher for the hybrid than other similar vehicles.

#2 Toyota Camry

When you talk to car owners, one name sticks out above all the rest when it comes to reliability—the Toyota Camry. In the United States, the Camry has been the best selling car for nine out of the last ten years. The only exception was 2001.

Best Rated Features of the Camry

  • Gas Mileage—Approximately 22 mpg city and 33 mpg highway

  • Safety—2007 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administered crash tests in which the Camry scored five stars in all areas except rollover, where it scored a four out of five.

  • Longevity—The Camry, like many Toyota products, is rated with a life expectancy of 150,000-200,000 miles. This figure is backed up by the number of customers who have reported their Camry still going strong after many years of use.

  • Lemon Reports—On the whole, the Camry is seldom reported as a lemon. There was a recall on 2007 models with about 133 cars being affected.

  • Repairs—2009 estimated cost of repairs over five years is about $500.

#3 Lexus

The 2006 Lexus LS 430 has scored top marks on the JD Power and Associates vehicle dependability statistics. In fact, this model and year got the best score for problem-free ownership in the history of the survey!

Best Rated Features of the Lexus

  • Gas mileage—The Lexus is a midsize luxury vehicle and therefore the gas mileage is a bit lower than for the previous two models. Around 22 mpg highway and 19 mpg city.

  • Safety—2009 models received four stars for frontal crash and five stars for driver side.

  • Longevity—The mileage for each Lexus is hard to come by, however Lexus commands the highest customer loyalty ratings of any vehicle and their service department motto is to treat each customer as if they were a guest in your home.

  • Repairs—See above

#4 Mercury Gran Marquis

Both JD Power and Associates and Edmunds rate the Mercury Gran Marquis highly.

Best Rated Features of the Gran Marquis

  • Gas Mileage—A little lower than compact cars, but still competitive for the midsize to large range at 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway with the cruise set on 55 mph.

  • Safety—NHTSA crash test rating is 5 stars in every category.

  • Longevity—Most customers have been more than pleased with the life span of these cars, with perhaps the exception of the 2008 model.

  • Repairs—2006 and above models are rated best for few major repairs.

#5 Buick Lucerne

Also on the JD Power top ten list was the 2006 Buick Lucerne. Buick as a whole gets good scores on reliability for vehicles built after 2003. Before that there were some serious issues with transmission and drive lines on certain models.

Best Rated Features of the Lucerne

  • Gas Mileage—20 mpg highway and 17 city, though customers have claimed closer to 30 mpg highway.

  • Safety—The crash test rating is five stars for all but side impact for rear and driver, which received four stars.

  • Longevity—Unable to track down life expectancy on this make and model.

  • Repairs—Though ranking high on the customer satisfaction lists, it is important to note that the 2006 has been reported for having sub par brakes and sluggish acceleration.

Top 10 Best Rated Cars—Part II <---Click here to see the other 5 cars that made it into the top 10 best rated cars list.

NOTE:The information here is not legal advice and is only presented to you so you can know your options if you purchased a lemon. As with any legal issue, you should seek the advice of a qualified attorney.


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