8 Most Reliable Certified Pre-Owned Cars

Christian Wardlaw | Aug 01, 2018

Gas prices are surging. According to AAA, in July 2018 they're up anywhere from 49 cents per gallon in Nebraska to 72 cents per gallon in Hawaii. Inflation is rising, too, along with interest rates. Wages are growing as well, reflective of exceptionally low unemployment rates.

When people make more money, and when interest rates rise, and when inflation rates climb, the things you buy and the services you use cost more money. Everything is getting more expensive, which means that if you’re in the market for a new car, choosing a certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicle might be a smart alternative.

After all, it makes sense for someone else to suffer the initial depreciation of a new car, which typically amounts to thousands of dollars. Furthermore, if you were thinking about getting a less fuel-efficient SUV, the rapid rise of gas prices means that perhaps a more fuel-efficient car would be a better idea.

When choosing a pre-owned car, selecting one that is known to be reliable can also help you to conserve money. Why blow hundreds of dollars or more repairing a car when you can stash that cash away for a rainy day?

Saving money, whether by avoiding depreciation, by spending less on gas, or by choosing a dependable vehicle, is undeniably smart. And getting a certified pre-owned vehicle is even smarter. Fully inspected, reconditioned, and warrantied, CPO cars make sense even if you must spend a little extra on them compared to a regular used car.

Thats where this list of reliable certified pre-owned cars is useful to smart vehicle shoppers like you.

Based on the latest J.D. Power vehicle dependability data, the following 2015 model-year cars are the most likely to prove reliable over time. They’re listed in alphabetical order on the pages that follow, and will be a good bet when you’re shopping for a reliable CPO car.

2015 Buick LaCrosse

Buick’s full-size LaCrosse sedan has plenty going for it, from a choice between a light-electrified hybrid drivetrain and a powerful V-6 engine to a roomy and comfortable cabin wrapped in upscale sheet metal. The one thing it doesn’t have is abundant trunk space. With the hybrid drivetrain, the cargo area measures a measly 10.8 cu. ft., about the same as two Mazda Miatas. With the V-6, you get 13.8 cu. ft., less than a Volkswagen Jetta. So pack light.

2015 Chevrolet Malibu

In its final year before a complete redesign for 2016, the midsized 2015 Chevy Malibu offered real value along with, apparently, excellent reliability. They came in multiple trim levels with a choice between a 4-cylinder and a turbocharged 4-cylinder. Pair the torque-rich turbo with the top LTZ trim level and you’ll have a dependable and upscale rocket. The only downside is a somewhat cramped rear seat.

2015 Dodge Challenger

Ever seen a car flex its muscles? Just look at the 2015 Dodge Challenger, which added a 707-horsepower, supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V-8 to its repertoire that year. Dubbed the Hellcat, this relatively rare version topped a menu of muscle powered by a choice between three V-8 engines and a lone V-6. With room for five adults, instantly recognizable retro looks, and an appetite for fun (and fuel), the 2015 Challenger is the most dependable car in its segment.

2015 Kia Rio

On the opposite end of the spectrum from the Challenger Hellcat, the unassuming Kia Rio reliably serves its owners. Available in unexpectedly stylish 4-door sedan and 5-door hatchback varieties, the Rio offers decent design at a bargain price. It has one of the most powerful engines in its segment, and the warranty is impressive, too. Unfortunately, crash-test ratings suggest that you might want to skip it in favor of a different model.

2015 Lexus CT

Based on the Toyota Prius, the Lexus CT 200h is a gas-electric hybrid with a 5-door hatchback body style. Unlike the wedge-shaped Prius, however, the CT 200h swapped aerodynamics and a roomy interior for a sense of style. It’s not as fuel efficient as a Prius, either. Nevertheless, the CT 200h is exceptionally dependable and offers a measure of design coupled with upscale interior fittings.

2015 Lexus ES

One of the most popular luxury cars in America, the Lexus ES supplies exceptional dependability, a roomy and comfortable interior, and luxurious materials in a sedan that is simple to drive and own. The ES 300h is the hybrid and gets about 40 mpg. The ES 350 has a powerful V-6 and lively acceleration. In fact, if you buy one with the optional 18-in. lace-spoke wheels, switch the powertrain to Sport mode, and head off down a favorite back road, the ES 350 will even make you grin.

2015 Lexus GS

About the same size inside as the Lexus ES, the more expensive Lexus GS swaps front-wheel drive for rear-wheel drive and offers greater performance in the form of F Sport packaging and a GS 450h hybrid variant that zooms to 60 mph in a claimed 5.6 seconds. The standard V-6 engine in the GS 350 is no slouch, and this version of the car could be fitted with all-wheel drive.

2015 Toyota Prius

It might be a snoozer of a cruiser, but the 2015 Toyota Prius is probably the smartest car for you to buy. Bulletproof reliability, a roomy interior for up to five people, lots of luggage space, and excellent gas mileage make this affordable hybrid practical and inexpensive to buy and own. It might look a little funny, but that’s also a part of the Prius’s charm.

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