Used Japanese Cars Officially Offer the Best Bang for Your Buck

Posted by Stephen On Friday, March 21st, 2014

Used Japanese Cars

Every year, Consumer Reports puts together a very helpful report of the best and worst used cars at a variety of price ranges. Last year, we saw a fair number of Japanese cars make their way into the top list, but this year the showing is even more impressive. Out of 28 total cars listed, 22 of them are Japanese-made. Of the six remaining, three of them are Korean-made and three of them are American-made.

Conversely, 15 of the 21 vehicles on Consumer Reports’ worst used cars list for 2014 are American-made, with the remaining being European-made. Not a single Japanese car made it onto the ‘Worst’ list.

Remember, these are their words, not ours. There’s no bias here whatsoever; we’re just reporting what they said. So, if there were any doubt in anyone’s mind that Japan makes the best cars – the cars with the most longevity and value – this should effectively change your mind. At least for this year.

Of course, it’s probably no surprise that among the Best Used Cars list, most of them were Toyota’s. 11 of the 21 were Toyota/Lexus, six were Honda/Acura, and the rest were split between Mitsubishi, Mazda, Infiniti and Subaru.

Although you will have to check out the full report for yourself if you’d like to see a detailed breakdown in each category, we’ve provided a bird’s eye view of the best cars below:

Best Used Cars & SUVs <$10k

Small Cars: ‘04-07 Toyota Prius
Sedans: ‘07-08 Hyundai Sonata
SUVs: ‘04 Toyota Highlander V6

Best Used Cars & SUVs $10k – $15k

Small Cars: ‘11-13 Honda Fit
Sedans: ‘09-12 Mazda3
SUVs: ’04-06 Acura MDX

Best Used Cars & SUVs $15k – $20k

Small Cars: ‘12-13 Hyundai Elantra
Sedans: ‘11-12 Toyota Camry
SUVs: ’06-07 Lexus RX

Best Used Cars & SUVs $20k – $25k

Sedans: ‘11 Toyota Avalon
SUVs: ’08-09 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

As you can see, quite a few Toyotas top the charts there. From the older, now-cheap Toyota Prius to the 2011 Toyota Avalon, Toyota has consistently maintained itself as a top contender for both new and used car reliability.

Just to give you a bit more background, Consumer Reports compiled this list based on tests that they’ve done on each of these vehicles over the years. They stated that every car had “above-average reliability for the model years shown,” even when the car was several years old. The other key metric that Consumer Reports required for a car to be listed on their best list was electronic stability control, a feature that they feel is required in order to safely recommend a car to family or friends.

As for the worst list, every car on it demonstrated exactly the opposite – worse than average reliability – except that instead of being unreliable for just one or two model years, that lack of reliability was consistently present every year from 2004 through 2013.

All in all, the dominance of Japanese cars isn’t all that surprising to us. It’s why you really can’t go wrong when you buy Japanese, and now it’s not just us saying that, it’s the most respected consumer reviewers in the industry.

(Of course, a great place to source Japanese used cars is the used car auctions in Japan. Integrity Exports can help you do this.)

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