When buying a vehicle, one key factor to consider is reliability. No gearhead wants to spend their hard-earned money on a vehicle that constantly breaks down and keeps forcing them to dig deeper into their pockets. While buying the best new 2023 cars is a safer bet when looking for reliable cars, older models can be just as dependable. In fact, there are many American used cars built before 2010 that have earned a reputation for reliability.
You can buy these cars on the used market for a lot less than their modern equivalents and still get great service. These cars may not be the flashiest or have the latest technologies, but they’re reliable workhorses that will withstand the test of time with proper care. So if you’re in the market for an American car built before 2010, and you value reliability over everything else, here are a few great options that are definitely worth considering. From powerful muscle cars to classic SUVs, these pre-2010 cars for sale will give you excellent service with minimal headaches.
10 1998 Jeep Cherokee (XJ)
Let’s start with one of the most iconic American SUVs ever – the first-generation Jeep Cherokee. The Cherokee has been around since the ’70s, but to many, its first generation was the XJ of the ’80s. The XJ was the first Cherokee to use its own platform and not the Grand Wagoneer platform, and it was a game-changer.
The XJ was the first SUV to use the unibody design instead of a body-on-frame chassis, making it the pioneer of a technology that most modern SUVs use. The XJ has several engine options that were not only powerful but also super reliable. It’s no surprise that the XJ was a popular choice for US police and government fleets.
9 1992 Ford Taurus SHO
The ’80s decade was horrible for American automakers. Ford was also in trouble and needed to find a way to make some quick cash. As such, Ford decided to build a new four-door sedan that would be practical, affordable, reliable, and efficient, resulting in the Taurus.
The Taurus was a huge success that sold millions of units in the first five years, but since it wasn’t fast enough, Ford decided to build a high-performance version known as the Taurus SHO. The first two generations of the Taurus SHO were awesome. It looked cool, had solid build quality, and with a 220-hp Yamaha V6 engine under the hood, the Taurus was quick and had that Japanese reliability.
8 2009 Dodge Challenger
The Challenger is undoubtedly among the greatest muscle car nameplates ever. The Challenger is so popular that, when Dodge discontinued it in the ’80s, gearheads kept asking for a successor for over two decades until Dodge agreed to build one.
The modern Challenger debuted in 2008 and has been a great success. Gearheads adore its retro-inspired styling, excellent driving dynamics, and raw power, especially those who own special versions like the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. Another thing to love about the Challenger is its reliability. The 2009 Challenger is a great example of this, as it had a J.D. Power Quality and Reliability rating of 83 out of 100.
7 2009 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
The whole idea behind muscle cars is to provide gearheads with affordable performance, and the Mustang Shelby GT500 is the perfect embodiment of that. The Shelby GT500 made a comeback to Ford’s lineup in the late 2000s, and it was pretty awesome.
The 2007-2009 Shelby GT500 had a supercharged and intercooled 5.4-liter V8 dishing out 500 hp, giving it incredible performance. The 2009 Shelby GT500 is also reliable, with a KBB reliability rating of 4.8 out of 5.
6 Ford Crown Victoria
Ford discontinued the Crown Victoria over a decade ago, but it’s one of those cars that’s still fresh in every gearhead’s memory. The Crown Victoria used to be everywhere, as it was the vehicle of choice for police and taxi fleets all over the country.
There are many reasons why police fleets in particular loved the Ford Crown Victoria. For starters, it was the only rear-wheel-drive sedan with the power to perform police duties. It was also reliable and could cover hundreds of thousands of miles with minimal issues. The powerful V8 under its hood is the icing on the cake. When checking out American cars for sale, never underestimate the Crown Victoria.
5 2009 Chevrolet Corvette
When asked to name an American sports car, every gearhead immediately thinks of the Corvette. The Corvette debuted in 1953 and has been a key part of the auto industry since. Now in its eighth generation, the Corvette is as popular as ever and continues to outshine European sports cars with much higher price tags.
The Corvette has always been among the most reliable sports cars, and since it’s been in continuous production for seven decades, finding spare parts for every generation is fairly easy. The 2009 Corvette had a Quality and Reliability score of 86 out of 100 on J.D. Power, which is excellent for a sports car.
4 2009 Ford F-150
The Ford F-150 has topped the list of the best-selling vehicles in the US for many years, and there are several reasons why. The F-150 is simply the best pickup truck you can buy as it offers versatility, practicality, affordability, and dependability that few vehicles can match.
The F-150 is also super reliable and can take a lot of punishment with minimal issues. We picked the 2009 F-150 for this article, as it has a J.D. Power Quality and Reliability score of 81. The 2009 F-150 is an excellent purchase, as it was the first model year of the twelfth-generation F-Series.
3 2009 Cadillac CTS-V
Cadillac has a long list of cars to be proud of, but few are as awesome as the CTS-V was. The CTS-V was the high-performance version of the CTS, and it was insanely fast, as it could reach 200 mph in its final form.
We’ve picked the second-generation CTS-V for this piece, as it debuted in 2009. The 2009 CTS-V had a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 under the hood, which was essentially the same engine as the one in the Corvette C6 ZR1 with several modifications to produce 556 hp.
2 2009 Ford Fusion
The Ford Fusion was only in production for 14 years, but it enjoyed great success during that time, with over 3 million examples sold. Intended to be a replacement for the Contour, the Fusion impressed with its handsome looks, solid build quality, and the fact that it offered up to 221 hp in first-generation models and 325 hp in second-generation models.
The second-generation Fusion is the most desirable since it has the Aston-Martin-inspired design, but the first-generation version was pretty cool too, especially for gearheads who value reliability. The 2009 Fusion, for example, has a J.D. Power Quality and Reliability score of 84 out of 100.
1 2004–2009 Chevrolet Equinox
The Equinox has been among the most important Chevrolet models of the 21st century. There’s nothing really special about the Equinox, but its reputation of offering practicality, affordability, and reliability has helped it become one of the best-selling mid-size SUVs in the country.
The first generation of the Equinox arrived in 2005, and even though it left a lot to be desired in the design department, it made up for it by excelling in other key areas. One of those is reliability, which is why J.D. Power gave it a Reliability score of 87.