June 17, 2024
7 Reliable Car Brands the Middle Class Should Consider To Save Money in the Long Run

The average transaction price for a new car is around $47,000 and will probably hold steady for a while yet, according to Kelley Blue Book (KBB). However, the amount of cars that middle-class Americans can afford is dwindling every year.  

Consumers among America’s largest income group in the country are being priced out of buying new cars.

Of the approximately 275 new models available in the U.S. market today, “only eight had average transaction prices below $25,000 and only two transacted for less than $20,000,” according to KBB.

The median household income in the U.S. in 2022 was $74,580, per the Census Bureau. So, using Pew Research’s definition of “middle class” as those earning between two-thirds and twice the median American household income, the middle class makes between $49,720 and $149,160.

Depending on how much of your income you want to dedicate to buying a car, you might have a difficult time finding one that fits your budget; however, there are options that you should consider on the market. Many affordable brands are also among the most reliable automakers, which means you have the potential to save money in the long run.

Here are seven affordable and reliable car brands that the middle class should consider buying.

Also see these four affordable car brands you won’t regret buying in 2024.

1. Toyota

Lexus tops Consumers Report’s (CR’s) predicted reliability rankings for this year, but Toyota is close in second place. In its separate “10 Most Reliable Cars” list, CR included no less than seven Toyota models: the 4Runner, Camry and Camry Hybrid, RAV4 and RAV4 Prime, Corolla and Highlander Hybrid.

2. Mini

CR ranks Mini at third for predicted reliability. Most Mini models are affordable too, with Hardtop priced around $27,000 and Clubman, Countryman and Convertible models starting prices for 2023/2024 models ranging from $28,413 to $33,461, per KBB.

3. Honda

New car transactions can reach prices of $50,000 and $60,000 now, but Honda has a lot of models that slide into the comfortable $25,000 and $35,000 price range, according to KBB. This includes the popular Accord and Accord Hybrid, Civic and Civic Si, HR-V, CR-V and CR-V Hybrid.

Used Hondas are plentiful and fair-priced.

4. Subaru

With an average MSRP of $27,095-$37,395 depending on trim level, the Forester is always a good choice for a middle class buyer to consider. The 2024 Crosstrek is among the most reliable vehicles on the market and has a base price of $26,540 on KBB.

5. Mazda

Mazdas have above average ownership expenses, according to RepairPal. With an average annual repair cost of $462, compared to $652 across all models, that’s an average annual savings of almost $200. The brand’s reputation for building durable, cost-efficient cars has increased over the years, prompting Car Edge to question if Mazda is the new Honda due to increasing reliability and popularity.

6. Kia

Fresh off wins for World Car of the Year and World Electric Vehicle at the 2024 World Car Finals in March, the Kia EV9 might be a bit too pricey for the average middle class American household to afford (starting MSRP $56,395 on KBB); however, the Soul, Seltos, Niro and Sportage all have sticker prices starting under $30,000.

7. Hyundai

Hyundai is another brand that continues to improve quality across its model line. Owning a Hyundai can also save you around $200 in repair costs per year, according to RepairPal’s ranking it fourth out of 32 car brands in reliability. For 2024, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) listed six Hyundai models as a Top Safety Pick and three models a Top Safety Pick+.

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