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Buying a Used Car: Why Does Everyone Recommend Honda and Toyota?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro September 2015

If you're interested in buying a used car and you've solicited advice from your friends, you've probably received many recommendations for Honda and Toyota models. Why are Honda and Toyota vehicles held in such high esteem by used-car shoppers? Should you really consider them over rivals? We have the answers.

Why Honda and Toyota?

People recommend Honda and Toyota models for their perceived reliability advantages over rivals. Honda and Toyota vehicles often score well in studies carried out by J.D. Power and Consumer Reports, suggesting they are highly reliable. This makes a Honda or Toyota model a good choice for a used car, since these models usually have a lot of life left in them, even if they've already covered 100,000 miles or more.

Drivers also recommend Honda and Toyota models for their familiarity. Many car owners are highly familiar with them. As Honda and Toyota reliability gained popularity throughout the 1970s and 1980s, some shoppers defected from domestic brands and chose Hondas or Toyotas instead. Many of those shoppers are still satisfied Honda and Toyota customers years later, which makes them prone to recommend Honda and Toyota models to friends or family.

Are They Really Better?

Unfortunately, the excellent reliability benefits of Honda and Toyota models have made their cars more expensive than most rivals on the used market. Are they really worth the extra cost?

To us, the answer is yes and no. Yes, it's true almost all Honda and Toyota models are highly reliable. In order to have a reliable car, your only option used to be buying a Honda or a Toyota, but that's no longer the case. Today, many shoppers can find similar reliability from other Japanese brands (such as Nissan, Mazda and Subaru), Korean brands (such as Hyundai and Kia) and domestic brands (including Ford, Chrysler and Chevrolet).

Honda and Toyota models are still great choices for shoppers interested in a used car, but they shouldn't be the only choice.

Our Take

Although we often recommend Honda and Toyota models to people interested in buying a used car, we don't stop there. Armed with the knowledge that many of today's most reliable used cars come from a wide variety of brands, we also recommend everything from Ford and Mazda to Chevrolet and Hyundai. While we're impressed with Honda and Toyota reliability, we don't think shoppers interested in a dependable used car need to limit themselves to those two brands.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Buying a Used Car: Why Does Everyone Recommend Honda and Toyota? - Autotrader