Are you looking to save money on a new car that you won’t have to worry about for years to come? Consider buying newish instead. If you’re willing to get a 2018 model year vehicle, you’ll find many dependable, practical rides that should drive you well into the next decade. Click through to see the 2018 vehicles that are known for reliability — and many at steep discounts now that they’re a couple of years old.
Last updated: Sept. 9, 2019
The 2018 Toyota Corolla has an excellent reliability rating, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars from RepairPal. The average annual ownership cost — the average yearly expense for unscheduled maintenance and repairs — is only $367, which is low for both its category and all vehicles as a whole. On average, you can expect to pay about $14,925-$17,976 for a 2018 model, which is about $4,000-$5,000 less than the original Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Like the Toyota Corolla, the 2018 Honda Fit earned a 4.5-star reliability rating from RepairPal. Also like the Corolla, it costs less to maintain than most vehicles in its class and most vehicles in general. The average annual ownership cost is actually a little less than the Corolla — just $362 per year. The average price for a 2018 Fit is between $13,657-$17,900, compared to an original MSRP of $16,190-$21,520.
Also earning an excellent 4.5-star reliability rating on RepairPal is the 2018 Kia Sedona. The average annual repair cost is $443, more than $100 less than the $548 you’d pay every year to service the average minivan. Sedonas are in the shop less frequently than most minivans and when they are, it’s less likely to be for serious repairs. The average cost for a 2018 model now is between $21,566-$33,058, a significant drop from the original MSRP of $27,000-$42,000.
If you’re in the market for a midsize SUV that won’t conk out on you, consider the Toyota Highlander. With an excellent 4.5-star reliability rating, it comes with an average annual repair cost of $460, lower than the $539 average cost for similar vehicles in its class. The average purchase price for a 2018 model now is $24,923-$36,749, compared to an original MSRP of $31,230-$46,860 — that’s a savings of close to $10,000 on the highest trim package.
Toyota Prius C
The average 2018 Toyota Prius C is rarely in the shop and when it is, it’s unlikely to be for something serious. It, too, earned an excellent 4.5-star RepairPal reliability rating and boasts a low $370 average annual ownership cost.
It also costs much less now than when it was brand new. The average 2018 Prius C now costs $15,232-$18,307 compared to its original MSRP of $20,630-$24,965, according to U.S. News. That’s a savings of more than $5,000 across all trim levels.
The 2018 Hyundai Tucson earns a perfect five-star reliability rating, ranking No. 1 out of all 26 compact SUVs on RepairPal. It costs an average of just $413 to service and maintain a 2018 Tucson every year, compared to $504 for the average compact SUV.
Even better, it’s exactly half as likely to need unscheduled repairs than the average vehicle in its class and all vehicles as a whole. It’s also less likely to require serious repairs. You can take advantage of a $17,589-$23,374 price tag now, compared to its original MSRP of $22,550-$30,825.
The 2018 Kia Rio boasts a perfect reliability rating of five stars. It ranks in the top three among 21 subcompacts for reliability on RepairPal. It has a very low average annual maintenance cost of $406.
It’s also one-third as likely to need unscheduled repairs than the average subcompact and half as likely to than all vehicles in general. When it does go to the shop, the chance of it needing serious repairs is less than 10%.
The average cost for a 2018 is $11,614-$16,283, which is an entry-level savings of more than $2,000 on a car with an already nearly unbeatable original MSRP of $13,900. The original MSRP on the highest trim package was $18,700.
The average full-size car costs $527 a year for unscheduled service and repairs, but the Toyota Avalon costs an average of $455. It earns an excellent 4.5-star reliability rating and is unlikely to need serious repairs compared to other full-size cars in its class and all vehicles in general. It’s ranked as one of the most affordable large cars, with the average buyer paying $24,306-$29,738, compared to an original MSRP of $33,500-$41,300, according to U.S. News.
The average 2018 Honda Accord is about as likely as the average car in its class to need unexpected repairs, although it’s significantly less likely to need major work than the average vehicle in general. The real draw, however, is the average annual cost of repairs and maintenance.
It costs just $375 to maintain yearly compared to $514 for the average midsize car and $631 for all vehicle models. One of 2018’s three most affordable cars in its class, the average price is $19,459-$28,821 compared to its original MSRP of $23,570-$35,800, according to U.S. News.
Ranked as one of the 10 best compact cars of 2018 by U.S. News, that year’s Mazda3 also boasts a 4.5-star reliability rating on RepairPal. That’s because it’s in the shop less frequently than average vehicles overall and is much less likely to need major repairs.
With an average price of $14,518-$19,285, there are savings to be had. The original MSRP was $18,095-$24,945.
The 2018 Toyota RAV4, which earned a 4.5-star reliability rating, costs much less to repair and maintain on average than other compact SUVs and vehicles and general. Although it might spend a little more time in the shop for unscheduled repairs, the repairs are less likely to be major.
All in all, the average Rav4 costs $428 per year for maintenance and repairs compared to $504 for the average compact SUV. Today, you can buy it for $19,818-$27,658, compared to its original MSRP of $24,660-$36,400. That’s a savings of nearly $5,000 on the lowest trim package and nearly $9,000 on the highest.
With a RepairPal reliability rating of 4 stars, the Honda Odyssey is a dependable vehicle. It costs an average of $520 a year to maintain and repair, compared to $548 for the average minivan.
The average Odyssey is in the shop a bit more than other vehicles in its class, but it’s less likely to need major repairs. The original MSRP ran between $29,990-$46,770, but you can get a 2018 Odyssey now for $24,048-$38,638, depending on the trim package.
Hyundai Santa Fe XL
The 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe XL has an excellent 4.5-star reliability rating that gives it an impressive ranking of third place out of 26 midsize SUVs. It boasts a low average annual ownership cost of $464 and it goes in for repairs less frequently than other cars in its class and other vehicles in general. It’s also much less likely to need serious repairs.
In 2018, it was the No. 1 most affordable midsize SUV, according to U.S. News. The original MSRP starts around $25,000 and goes up to $41,300, depending on the trim package. But you can get one now for $19,086-$34,476.
The MINI is built for endurance. And in 2018, MINI outfitted three Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 hybrid models for an official road trip on the Panamericana, the world’s longest driveable road, from the U.S. to Argentina. You can expect to spend $24,149-$31,673 on the 2018 Countryman, which U.S. News gave 4 out of 5 stars for reliability, based on J.D. Power and Associates U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study.
Earning a reliability rating of 4.5 stars on RepairPal, the Lexus ES350 is incredibly cheap in terms of average annual repair costs. It’s just $462 a year — $300 less than the $762 you’d pay for the average luxury midsize car.
It’s in the shop only a little less frequently than the average car in its class, but it’s far less likely to need serious repairs. That happens just 5% of the time, compared to 9% for the average luxury midsize and 11% for all vehicles. The average price for a 2018 today is $34,090, a nice break from the original MSRP of $38,950.
The 2018 Subaru Crosstrek has a so-so average annual ownership cost of $538, and it’s significantly more likely to need unexpected repairs. It excels, however, in just how rarely it requires major repairs. The probability of a 2018 Subaru Crosstrek needing significant work is just 6%, compared to 10% for compact SUVs and 11% for all vehicle models.
On the downside, the savings for buying two model-years back isn’t much. The average buyer pays $20,054-$24,555, down from its original MSRP of $21,795-$26,295.
The Chevy Sonic has an average annual cost of $486, which is much cheaper than most vehicles, although not compared to fellow subcompacts. The average Sonic is in the shop roughly as often as the average car, but there’s a lower chance of major repairs.
The 2018 models are affordable, too. You can get one for an average of $12,584-$17,823, depending on trim, compared to its original MSRP of $15,295-$21,320.
You can get into a 2018 Toyota Yaris for less than $12,000 now. They cost an average of $11,688-$14,112, compared to the original MSRP of $15,635-$19,060. The car also earned a perfect 5-star reliability rating on RepairPal.
It’s also cheap to own. With a low average annual maintenance cost of $310, the Yaris is more than $100 cheaper than the average subcompact for yearly unexpected repairs. It’s also hundreds cheaper than the average car in general.
It’s rarely in the shop, but when it is, repairs are serious only 6% of the time. That’s compared to 10% for the average subcompact and 11% for all vehicles.
The 2018 Kia Soul has a perfect 5-star reliability rating and was ranked as the most reliable vehicle out of all seven subcompact SUVs on RepairPal. At $443 a year for repairs, it’s on par with other vehicles in its class.
The Soul needs to be brought in for repairs a minuscule 0.2 times per year, and those repairs are serious about 9% of the time. The average price is $13,239-$26,179, compared to the original MSRP of $16,200-$35,950.
The 2018 model year of the trusty Honda Civic is everything you’d expect from the perennially popular car. Edmunds gives it an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, and Cars.com gives it 4.9 out of 5 stars, including for long-term reliability, after nearly 500 reviews. With an average price of $15,093-$27,969, there are steep savings to be had, considering the original MSRP was $18,940-$34,700.
The Hyundai Accent is another 2018 model you can get into for under $12,000. It has an average price of $11,761-$14,705, compared to its original MSRP of $14,995-$18,895, according to U.S. News.
The 2018 Accent also boasts a perfect 5-star reliability rating on RepairPal. That’s because it goes into the shop a barely noticeable .17 times a year on average, and those repairs are serious 8% of the time. Its $436 average annual repair cost is similar to other subcompacts, but the cost is much better compared to all vehicles in general.
Another reliable Hyundai is the Elantra, which is marked down to $13,610-$17,835, from an original MSRP of $16,950-$24,350. It’s also cheap to own, thanks to an average annual repair cost of $442, which is lower than the $516 you’d pay every year to maintain the average compact car—and even that is low compared to all cars in general. Elantras are rarely in the shop, but when they are, it’s unlikely to be for something serious.
The 2018 Kia Optima has an average annual repair cost of just $411 — over $100 less than the $514 for you’d spend every year on the average midsize car and over $200 less than all cars in general. They’re in the shop about as often as similar cars in its class, but that’s only about .35 times per year. You can get an Optima for $18,092-$23,249, compared to its original MSRP of $22,600-$30,600.
U.S. News rates the Hyundai Ioniq 3.5 out of 5 stars for overall reliability, based on the J.D. Power and Associates U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study. One of the reasons the hybrid Ioniq is such a good bet for long-term dependability is that its lithium-ion battery pack comes with a complete lifetime warranty. That’s on top of its five-year/60,000-mile new-car warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
The 2018 Buick LaCrosse earns a solid reliability rating of 4 stars from RepairPal. It has an annual average repair cost of just $528, compared to $631 for all vehicles. It’s also an incredible deal to buy. You can get a 2018 Lacrosse for $22,585-$32,630, compared to the original MSRP of $29,565-$47,070 — that’s a savings of more than $14,000 on the highest trim package.
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Photos are for illustrative purposes only. As a result, some of the images may not reflect the specific year or trim listed in this article.
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About the Author
Andrew Lisa has been writing professionally since 2001. An award-winning writer, Andrew was formerly one of the youngest nationally distributed columnists for the largest newspaper syndicate in the country, the Gannett News Service. He worked as the business section editor for amNewYork, the most widely distributed newspaper in Manhattan, and worked as a copy editor for TheStreet.com, a financial publication in the heart of Wall Street’s investment community in New York City.