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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Thursday, March 20, 2014

Best 2011 models for used car buyers

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By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


J.D. Power's new 2014 Long-Term Dependability Study takes a look at how many popular car models hold up after 3 years of ownership.

Going back to 2011 vehicles, a strange trend emerges: It's the first time in a long time they're less reliable than the year before.

Much of the unreliability is because of the new transmissions. Quality is too often being sacrificed in the name of fuel economy.

For example, newer style continuously variable (CVTs)transmissions give a more efficient turn of the engine versus traditional transmissions. And then with engines being turbo charged, that's led to more reliability issues too.

So in reality, these hiccups in reliability are temporary. But if reliability is your #1 thing, know that you should never buy a new model in its first year. If you wait, I think you'll be rewarded.

Who is doing the best job of all? For the third year in a row, Lexus is at the top.

Rounding out the Top 5 in reliability are Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Acura, and Buick.

With the worst reliability among 2011 models, you have Hyundai, Jeep, Land Rover, Dodge, and MINI.

You can see the complete list here.

So my advice is still to buy 3 year old used car, but be sure to stick to the cars that are most reliable.

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