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 2021 model year vehicle, you’ll find many dependable, practical rides that should drive you well into the next decade.
See the 2021 vehicles that are known for reliability — and many now sold with significant discounts now that they’re a couple of years old.
1. Toyota Prius
The average 2021 Toyota Prius is rarely in the shop and when it is, it’s unlikely to be for something serious. It earned a solid 4-out-of-5-stars RepairPal reliability rating and boasts a low $408 average annual ownership cost. Plus, it made the top of the list for Consumer Reports reliability ranking. It also costs much less now than when it was brand new. The average 2021 Prius starting price is $22,998 compared to its original MSRP of $24,525, according to Edmunds.
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2. Lexus NX
Lexus is known for luxury, but the 2021 NX model has long lasting endurance that will look good and get you where you need to go in 2033. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the 2021 model an overall rating of 5-out-of-5-stars, as well as J.D. Power awarding the 2021 model 80 out of 100 for reliability and quality. The 2021 Lexus NX is now starting at an average price of $38,685, with MSRP ranging anywhere $37,610-$45,460, as listed on Edmunds.
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3. Mazda CX-5
Ranked as one of the 10 best compact cars of 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2028 by Car and Driver, the Mazda CX-5 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 starting price now around $26,595-compared to the base price of $38,680- you’ll see the savings for yourself for years to come.
4. Toyota Highlander
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-out-of-5-star reliability rating, it comes with an average annual repair cost of $489, lower than the $573 average cost for similar vehicles in its class. The average purchase price for a 2021 model now starts at $30,688, compared to an original MSRP of $35,085.
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5. Honda HR-V
The HR-V might be one of the last of its kind-the smallest class in Honda’s North American car roster-after the discontinuation of the Fit hatchback in 2020. But make no mistake: it has all the bells and whistles you’ll need for years to come, backed up by J.D. Power’s ranking of 76 out of 100 for reliability and quality. The starting price for this 2021 Honda averages out in its class at $21,220. Even at the highest trim, the HR-V retails for around $26,020, a significant discount from the base price of $29,585.
6. Hyundai Kona
If taking home Car and Driver’s Editors’ Choice award wasn’t enough of an accolade, the 2021 Hyundai Kona scored 5/5 for reliability from Consumer Reports. J.D. Power also ranked the Kona-along with other Hyundai Motor Group vehicles-as the Highest in Initial Quality for the least amount of repairs required in the first 90 days of vehicle ownership. With an average starting price for a 2021 Kona currently listed around $21,685, you’ll find significant savings miles down the road from the base price of $28,545.
7. Toyota Yaris
With a low average annual maintenance cost of $333, 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. Plus, the 2021 model was named Car Of The Year by Top Gear when it debuted. You can get into a 2021 Toyota Yaris for just under $25,000 these days. The car also earned a nearly perfect 4.5-out-of-5-star reliability rating on RepairPal.
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8. Audi A5
Buying a convertible might not seem like it would be the smartest choice when it comes to longevity, but the 2021 Audi A5 has proven its track record for roadworthy endurance. RepairPal has calculated the average annual repair cost to be a little under $800, with the most common problem being an air filter replacement that is $91 max. While the starting price for the 2021 A5 is $45,045, Edmunds reports that used models are being sold for under $40K. But if you’re not into paying that much money…
9. Audi A4
…then Audi’s A4 sedan model from 2021 might be more your speed, without sacrificing any of the luxury feeling in the process. The base price for the A4 is $41,945, but Car and Driver suggests a fair starting price point to be $40,145. Engine Patrol reports that the A4, if properly taken care of, can keep running for up to an average of 200,000 miles-or sometimes, 250,000 miles, if extra attention is paid. That balances out to roughly 13 years of reliable service before requiring any fixes that might be deemed costly.
10. Buick Encore
When it debuted in 2021, it was the only car from an American manufacturer to secure a spot on Consumer Reports’ top-10 list. The Encore is one of seven Buick subcompact SUVs with an average of $466 in annual repair and maintenance costs, beating out other similar models by only needing one repair every decade, according to MotorBiscuit. With a price tag starting at $24,395, you’ll find plenty of reasons to hit the road, not your wallet, for years to come in an Encore.
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Jake Arky contributed to the reporting of this article.
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.