Most Reliable Cars in History
The Geo Prizm is one of a number of vehicles that have at their core one of the most reliable cars.
1. Most Reliable Cars in History
Pinpointing exactly how many kilometers, on average, any given model has racked up is virtually impossible, but weve identified 15 cars with exceptionalsometimes surprisingendurance and value.
Model years:Dawn of Man1996 ,Volvos secret? It basically built one car for decades under a variety of model names. In its staid Swedish way, the carmaker eschewed fashion and focused instead on quality (and safety). About the only thing that will kill off a Volvo is rust, says Mark Bredesen, the owner of Herndon, Va., importrepairshop Autoscandia, whos been working on Volvos since 1978and the later models largely conquered that problem with galvanized steel. After a first round as the family truckster, these cars often devolve to being the kids college vehiclesand sleeping quarters at jamband shows.
Volvo has earned much press for longevity thanks to Irv Gordon, of Patchogue, N.Y., whose 1966 P1800 (a sporty model seen on the introductory page of this slide show) has more than three million miles, putting it in the Guinness Book of World Records as the car with the most mileage.
3. Buick LeSabre
Model years: 19892005 ,Despite the best efforts of GM marketing departments to persuade car buyers otherwise, most people realized by the 1990s and 2000s that Buicks, Chevrolets, Pontiacs and Oldsmobiles were all very similar under the skin.
And yet, its the Buicks that got the love in this era, as reflected in the many, many awards the brand won from qualityrankers J.D. Power and Associates. The LeSabre won most troublefree domestic in 1990, and the brand as a whole was the top among domestics for initial quality. Fifteen years later, the LeSabre won most dependable fullsize car. There were more honors in between those years, and Buick continues to do well in these surveys.
Another reason these cars endure? Experts point to who was buying them: seniors. Its a great littleoldman car, says Feral Cars Merlis. Theyre not pushing them hard, and theyre maintaining them well. This makes the LeSabre a prime car to pick up used, says Ivan Drury, an automotive analyst for Edmunds. If you need something cheap for [getting from] point A to point B, you cant go wrong with these.
Other Buicks (Centurys, Regals and Park Avenues) also do quite well. As with many GM cars from that era that have V6 engines, watch out for leaky or degraded intake manifold gaskets, a potentially pricey fix.
4. Jaguar XJ6
Model years: 19951997 ,This pick caused a lot of browfurrowing among experts we spoke to. If you want to make friends, you dont want to recommend that, cautioned Bob Merlis of Feral Cars.
Heres our thinking: During the 1970s, Jaguar reliability was horrid. A common solution to the cars troubles was to rip out the Jaguar motor and replace it with a good old Chevrolet V8. But in the 1980s, under the leadership of an industrial turnaround specialist, Sir John Egan, the marque started to improve. Then Ford bought the company, infusing money and development knowhow. By the late 1990s, the company was scoring well on J.D. Power vehicle dependability and initial quality rankings. So thats why the last iteration of the classic Jaguar inline6 sedan is still motoring on, often in the hands of a second owner whos always hankered for a Jag but couldnt afford one new.
With these cars almost 20 years old now, its death by a thousand cuts rather than catastrophic failure, says Mark Stephenson, a site administrator for JagLovers.com. But mechanically, the 199597 Jaguar XJ6s are the most reliable cars Jaguar has ever produced. When it comes to the basic function of getting you down the road, they refuse to die.
For aspiring owners, the usual cautions still apply: Find a Jaguar specialist, and check out JagLovers buyers resource to be a better problem spotter.
5. Ford Crown Victoria or Mercury Marquis
Model years: 19922011,These road tanks have been doing a great job taking Granny and Grandpa to church every Sunday for decades. Even though the civilian versions lack the endurancebuilding parts of police cruisers and taxis, such as oil coolers and stronger suspensions, the core components of the American sedan are all there: V8 engine, solid rear axle, bodyonframe construction. Many police officers got downright mistyeyed when they went out of production.
The Chevy Caprice held this niche as well until the mid1990s, when GM decided to turn its production facility over to big SUVs.
A footnote: The Crown Victoria was only available for fleet sales beginning in 2008. The Marquis went to the guillotine along with the entire Mercury brand with the 2011 model year. But the vehicles are plentiful in the usedcar marketplace, and as one fan put it on Jalopnik, replacement parts number in the billions and are bought for beans. If youre deadset on buying a former police car, there are even outfits that recondition them for sale to civilians.
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