In a world where V6 and V8 engines dominate with their raw power, the appeal of the four-cylinder engine has grown exponentially in 2023. These engines, known for their potency and efficiency, have become a staple across various car segments. They offer a blend of affordability, impressive EPA ratings, and, in many cases, the added bonus of mild hybrid assistance.
This translates into extra zip at the start and even more savings on fuel. Additionally, when matched with the right chassis, these cars deliver a driving experience that rivals their larger-engined counterparts. But what really sets a vehicle apart is its reliability, and fortunately, the market is teeming with dependable four-cylinder options this year.
The Standouts of Reliability
Drawing on data from iSeeCars, a research platform that scrutinizes millions of used car listings, we’ve identified ten models that not only excel in their segments but are also some of the most reliable vehicles you can find in dealerships today.
1. Honda Accord
The 2023 Honda Accord, with its new generation launch, continues to uphold its strong reputation for dependability. Available in both hybrid and standard four-cylinder variants, the hybrid emerges as the more vivacious option, especially in terms of acceleration and cabin quietness. Style-wise, the latest Accord hits the sweet spot between subtle and bold, ensuring it won't look dated anytime soon. With a strong value proposition and a 9.2/10 reliability score from iSeeCars, it's a top pick for those seeking an affordable, yet enjoyable drive.
2. Toyota Camry
Defying the shrinking sedan market, the Toyota Camry stands strong, offering comfort, reliability, and practicality without a hefty price tag. Although the four-cylinder variant isn’t as smooth under heavy acceleration, its urban performance and fuel efficiency are commendable. With competitors exiting the scene, the Camry remains a stalwart in the segment, backed by a solid 9.0/10 reliability rating from iSeeCars.
3. Mazda 3
The Mazda Mazda3 is a refreshing exception in the budget car segment, offering a fun driving experience and a coveted manual transmission option. The standard 191 horsepower 2.5L engine, and its turbocharged 250 horsepower sibling, ensure a zippy performance. Ideal for city driving, its firm ride is comfortable enough to navigate urban landscapes. The Mazda3's reliability score of 8.9/10 from iSeeCars underscores its dependability, making it a worry-free choice.
4. Lexus IS 300
The Lexus IS 300, updated in 2021, might show its age in certain aspects like interior tech, but it remains a strong contender with a high reliability score of 9.0/10 from iSeeCars. Its base four-cylinder model offers a cost advantage over rivals and delivers a smooth ride, although it may not be the top choice for driving enthusiasts. Its reliability and understated style make it an attractive option.
5. Honda CR-V
The midsize Honda CR-V, available in 1.5L turbo and 2.0L hybrid variants, combines practicality, space, and a strong reputation for reliability. Its sales figures reflect its popularity, further supported by a 9.0/10 reliability rating from iSeeCars. The CR-V stands out for its safety ratings and generous cargo space, making it an ideal family vehicle.
6. Subaru Outback
The Subaru Outback, priced below $30,000, offers a unique proposition with its lifted wagon-style design. While the base 2.5L engine is adequate, the optional 2.4L turbocharged engine provides a more dynamic drive. With a reliability score of 8.8/10 from iSeeCars, it's a dependable choice for both on- and off-road adventures.
7. Lexus ES 250
The Lexus ES 250, heading into 2024 unchanged, leads its class in reliability with a score of 9.1/10 from iSeeCars. Its 2.5L engine offers a balanced blend of power and all-wheel drive efficiency. While it may not compete on performance with its German rivals, its focus on comfort and refinement makes it a top choice for those prioritizing reliability and comfort.
8. Mazda CX-9
The Mazda CX-9, in its final model year before being replaced by the CX-90, remains a top contender in aesthetics and driving enjoyment. Its 2.5L turbo-four engine delivers an engaging drive. With an 8.7/10 reliability score from iSeeCars, it’s a dependable and stylish choice for families.
9. Lexus RX 350
The Lexus RX 350, available in various four-cylinder engines for 2024, boasts a 9.0/10 reliability score from iSeeCars. While it may not compete in speed with BMWs or Audis, it excels in luxury and consistent performance, making it a favorite among compact luxury SUV enthusiasts.
10. Toyota Prius
The 2023 Toyota Prius marks a departure from its predecessors with an improved design and drive experience. Its 2.0L four-cylinder engine, assisted by electric power, promises efficiency and reliability. While its cabin layout may have its quirks, the Prius remains a top choice for fuel-conscious drivers, backed by its legacy of dependability.