Back in the good old days, when everything was so much better and greater, a 15 year-old car with 100k miles on it still on the road was…rolling junk, unless the owner was absolutely OCD about maintenance and spent more on it than it was actually worth. Now we’re stuck with cheap tin cans and rolling shit boxes that just won’t die, no matter how abusive we are to them. Like my 2005 Scion xB (Toyota bB); it turned over 100k miles yesterday on the way to a trailhead. That’s actually low mileage for a 15 year old car, but then I just don’t drive much since at least someone around here loves the planet. 🙂
My xBox has been the most reliable car I’ve owned; well, how could a car be more reliable than with zero repairs? Maybe if it could grow new parts that one could then remove and sell? My cars have been getting steadily more reliable; the xB has more than earned its “toaster” moniker. So what’s been your most reliable car?
I did a very thorough write-up of my xB here, almost four years ago. So if you want the full details of the xB’s origins, like how a Tokyo urban rolling “lounge car” came to be an Oregon back-woods bomber, click the link.
Let’s just say it suits me to a T, in terms of my body size (and age) as well as my driving patterns, which consist almost solely of very short urban runs to my rentals eight blocks away, the hardware store 12 blocks away, or if they don’t have want I need, Home Depot a mile and a half away, where it tangles up with the big boy trucks. If I need to haul something long, I throw the roof cross bars on it.
And the other main use is recreational, as in 5-40 mile long trips to the trailhead of the day.
That involves winding, scenic two lane highways and rough, pot-holed gravel forest roads. Some of those potholes are almost big enough to swallow the xB, and hitting them at 35-40 mph makes for an endless torture test of its suspension (and our bodies). I keep waiting for something to break down under there, but not so far. I’m more likely to drift off the road and go tumbling down a steep hillside from taking a gravel curve too fast. Hopefully not.
A caveat: the xB does actually have a minor mechanical issue and has had so since day one. Presumably a slight defect in the transmission input shaft that causes the clutch release bearing to not ride on it properly. That caused a noise from the release bearing early on and Toyota replaced the release bearing twice, under warranty. But it eventually came back, because almost certainly the real issue is the input shaft the release bearing rides on is slightly out of tolerance. It’s mostly a non-issue, but on cool, wet mornings the clutch can be a bit jerky, and once in a while the release bearing howls on start up, but that ends within a few seconds. At this stage of the game, these are just personality defects which I’ve long gotten used to. My tolerance for that sort of thing probably explains why I’m still married dafter 42 years and why I keep my cars so long.
The xB’s most endearing quality (other than reliability and fun to drive) is its vast interior space. Except for a bit of width, it interior dimensions are essentially the same as the big double cab pickups of the day. That’s sort of what it is: a pickup Mega-cab on (little) wheels. So I get all of the benefits of such a large vehicle with none of the downsides. And of course I still have my ’66 F100 to fall back on if I really do need a bed. Or my Promaster if I need two beds. A vehicle for every need, including Stephanie’s TSX wagon for high-speed road trips.
One of the craziest things about the gen1 xB is that they have what must be the highest resale value of just about any car. Do a Google search for a gen1 xB, and you’ll find them priced between about $4k and $8k (!). And that’s for a car that cost $13,500 new! Is there a 15 year old car with a lower depreciation?
That means my xB hasn’t depreciated a bit (or actually appreciated) since I did a tally of its costs so far in that 2016 post. So the additional costs since then of three oil changes, a set of rear brake shoes (installed by me), insurance and registration has amounted to barely 15 cents per mile since then. Cheap wheels.
And since there’s nothing better out there to replace it with, I’m planning to keep it indefinitely. As is apparently the case with some neighbors two blocks away who have two of them. See you back here for the 20 year update.
My 2004 Focus just hit 170,000 miles today with no repairs outside of one passenger side engine mount I did. My 1991 Mazda 626 is at 200,000 miles. My previous 1986 Mazda 626 went 375,000 miles and had one clutch (expected) and I replaced the cylinder head at 250,000 miles due to corrosion allowing coolant into one cylinder.
That first gen xB is very desirable even today. It still looks modern and fresh. The redesign absolutely sucked. I was looking for a used one a few years ago thinking I could pick up a cheap car and they were anything but cheap and trying to find a stock one was nearly impossible. But you get what you pay for with these.
Good to see you back, Mr. N! And I can attest to part of the reason why you still have it, it’s just fun to drive. When I visited this summer I had a chance to drive it for 30 or so miles back from our hike and the overwhelming impression it gave was that it drive very much like a Mk1 VW GTI – responsive, quick if not fast, easy to see out of, and very direct steering – loads of fun, in other words. And on top of that it covered the forest tracks much faster than I’d dare in any GTI. Here’s hoping it’ll see you through the next 100k as well as it did the first. Cheers!
The most reliable is my current ride, a 2002 Toyota Land Cruiser 90 3.0 D-4D, posted on CC a few years ago. Almost 18 years old now, currently 371,000 km (231,875 m) on the clock.
Repairs so far: a flat tire, a new windshield, a battery and a starter. The rest is regular service at the local Toyota dealership (every 15,000 km). T-belt every 150,000 km.
Still has its original clutch (5-speed manual), injectors (common rail diesel injection), glow plugs, turbocharger, shocks, exhaust and brake discs.
D4Ds have a regularly scheduled injector replacement over here its part of the service program from Toyota, yours shouldnt have gone that long, oh and our new Toyota Hiace vans are the rebadged Peugeot variety as you predicted Ive just started noticing them.
Wasn’t there a problem with the D-4Ds of the later 120-series? Mine is a 90-series, the first one with common rail injection. Anyway, I certainly would have noticed if there ever were four new injectors on the invoice…
More in general: the quality and correct specs of the diesel fuel are highly important for common rail diesels. Bad diesel equals bad luck with the whole injection system.
The FWD-midsize-PSA van is very successful here. Mostly with a Peugeot or Toyota badge on the grille. There’s a smaller Toyota ProAce City van now too, fully based on the Peugeot Partner and Citroën Berlingo. Plus Opel Combo of course, as PSA runs the place.
I know this will never happen, but I’m a motivated buyer, Paul!
My ’09 Forester went to 190,000 kms before the dreaded head gasket issue. Only thing that failed before that was the head unit around 160,000 kms. This all dispite hard use in my forestry consulting business and weather that ranged from -40 to +40 c. Was so pleased with it I got a ’16 Forester XT that now has 94,000 kms with no issues (and better fuel economy to boot, enough to offset the extra cost of premium fuel. Well almost).
My xB did have a major issue with the EVAP system, to the tune of $800. It’s not uncommon but not prevalent enough to cause a TSB.
I probably would have kept it, but it was lousy, lousy, lousy on the highway, and I like to take road trips.
My 2001 Lexus ES (purchased new) has had an O2 sensor and a brake light replaced in 130k.
I don’t put huge miles on any one of the cars we own at any given time, so I can’t contribute much. We sold our Prius to our son with 108K miles from new, zero repairs except a new 12V battery … does that count? It needed a water pump for our son about 30K mikes later, that’s it along with one rear light bulb, as it’s pushing 150K for him now. No warranty work either except a software update, and floormat clips. Regenerative braking doesn’t hurt, as both the front pads and rear shoes are fine, though tire life is nothing special.
1993 Ford Escort. When I sold her at 130,000. I had just replaced the timing belt and breaks.
I have been lucky in that I have never owned a really unreliable car. Even growing up, most of our cars were really good, other than the awful ’79 Ford Fairmont that always gave problems. Living in an extremely harsh environment with a temperature fluctuation of 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees F) and seeing extreme salt and sand use, I don’t think anyone could own a car here without having some repairs in 15 years. The winters literally eat cars and even rustproofing only slows the inevitable.
My current Tundra is 12 years old and has almost 150K miles. It has been pretty good, but i have replaced brake calipers due to corrosion and the rear wheel bearings (sealed). Probably the fewest repairs was our 2010 Prius, which only had one repair in 170,000 kms but it was only 6 years old. A front wheel bearing got noisy due to a failed seal caused by environmental damage. Even our old Malaise era cars were pretty good. I’d have to say the best though overall, considering it it has given 42 years of service, has been my ’76 Malibu. We didn’t buy it new, but as a very low mile used car and have owned it the majority of it’s life. The only repairs it has required has been an alternator and exhaust. The rad was also replaced due to the winter salt eating the core (it didn’t fail, it was recored as preventative maintenance before the salt got the best of it). Mechanically it is just a rock solid car. Other than that, it is still all original components, other than maintenance items. Hard to beat a 350 SBC with a HEI ignition and TH350 transmission.
I have a 2005 XB with 176000 miles. I have owned it since 2006. Other than brakes and tires nothing has been replaced.
My ’86Mazda 323.It needed a transmission seal and was due for a clutch when I sold it with 105Kmiles.
My ’05 Vibe tries its best to rank up there. I replaced the struts, intake manifold gasket and the starter. I bought at with 89K and its now at 140K.
Nice to read you again, Paul!
Our 2010 Prius will be ten years old in May, currently just short of 100K miles, zero repairs. (Other than getting the underside fixed when I drove over an invisible lane-dividing curb. A Prius is a bit of a low rider.)
My 07 Honda Fit is about a year and a half younger but is almost to 133k. The only major problem was a broken axle shaft caused by a corrosion problem that would not have happened in Oregon.
Minor problems have been a teeny battery that only lasts for 3 years and plugs/coil packs at 100k. I am hoping for 200k before the rust gets out of hand.
’95 Celica GT coupe. Owned until 219k, only “problems” being a failed CV boot around 170ish miles, and a loud strut mount bracket I think around 150k. I’d call that wear and tear considering Minnesota. Gave it to my friend’s brother when he hit a hard spot. He had it to 279k before something went wrong enough to scrap. Interior stayed pristine, paint stayed pristine thanks to claybar twice over the life of the car and regular waxing every fall. Original clutch the entire time.
I bought a 2007 Ford Fusion in early 2008 with about 7000 miles from my local Ford dealer. In early 2013 it was up to 98000 miles when I hit a deer and totaled it. In that time it never went back to the dealer. I did the normal maintenance and a local shop took care of inspections and tires. Nothing ever went wrong with it and it still had the original battery and clutch.
My 2009 Mustang has been a very good car with 160,000 miles on it now. At 90K the clutch was replaced and I had to replace the thermostat housing last year. I’ve had some issues with the material on the door panels coming loose, but I understand that is common. The driver seat lumbar support quit working about a year ago. The car is currently in the body shop to address a rust issue on the passenger side rear wheel arch. I have never seen this on another Mustang of this generation. I always keep the salt cleaned off and it is garaged every night. As I said it has been a good car and my spirited driving style seems to agree with it.
Probably the best car I have ever had, though, was the 2003 Mustang that this car replaced. My job at that time included a great deal of driving . In the 5 years I owned it I replaced the clutch throw out bearing and had a cracked exhaust manifold welded up. The CD player was replaced under warranty and I had a place on the hood that the paint wanted to chip off. That’s it except for normal wear items like brake pads, tires, and the battery. When I replaced it at 228,000 miles it still looked and drove good. I sold it to a family for their son who was a senior in high school. He drove it through his last year of high school and four years of college and then a little more after that before buying a new car and turning the Mustang over to his brother. He loved that car as much as I did. He told me just yesterday that the only thing they had to do to it was replace an exhaust manifold and put in a new clutch. The engine finally gave up the ghost just last year.
Probably the most reliable car I drove was one that started life as a parts car.
The motor in my 85 Ciera blew and I bought a one owner 86 Ciera for$300 for parts.
Although the body looked horrid ( tremclad paint job and mashed in quarter)
when my mechanic looked at it he said mechanically it was better than the one I was driving and would require no work to be certified and made roadworthy. So I reversed roles, scavenged mine for parts and put the$300 wonder on the road.
A wonder it was! Four years, over a hundred thousand KMS and the only repair was a wiper motor which I had kept from the other one. It was still running strong when it went to the wreckers but the body was starting return to the earth it came from.
$ 50 certification
$. 0 maintenance (wiper motor and set of tires I had)
$100 cost for four years of driving.
Never had it so good before or since.
2001 Suzuki XL7 4×4.
The vehicle seemed indestructible through several Calgary winters. I entrusted this vehicle with my wife and it never let me down.
Back in 2009, I checked a local wholesale lot saw this Suzuki advertised for $9800.
It seemed a little steep, especially for a base model (lacking even cruise control). However, it had low kilometers and looked in tip-top shape. I checked again a week later or so, and saw that it was now $3900. I phoned immediately and asked if it was available.
After checking, the salesguy who answered informed me that the listing was a mistake (presumably, they had meant to list for $9300), but that they would honor the listed price. I asked if I could pay over the phone with a credit card. He refused, but added that there was “hail damage”. After confirming that he would hold the vehicle, I drove over to the lot anyhow, saw that there was no hail damage, and bought the vehicle on the spot.
My wife drove it for several happy years. She loved how it handled and drove, and the third row was handy. It seemed indestructable.
After five years, I replaced it with a Ford Taurus X, which turned out to be a steaming pile of crap. Pretty much everything went wrong with it, including the dreaded water pump. I sold it and set out to replace it.
I eventually found a low-km Suzuki XL7. It was a 2002, and was owned by an elderly gentleman who had just passed away. He had maintained it lovingly, and every fluid had just been changed before his death.
I bought it.
We like it but we have to admit that it’s not quite what the old Suzuki was to us, as vehicle standards have changed. Though virtually the same as our old Suzuki (minus a third row, plus cruise control, and plus some lower-quality fabrics), we now notice that it’s somewhat underpowered, poor on fuel economy, and a bit of a chore to drive. Sometimes fond memories can elevate a vehicle in one’s memory.
Paul, it’s good to see you back again.
Like you and some others, I don’t put a lot of miles on a vehicle, the most being around 75,000 on my ’96 Thunderbird. Other than a erratic O2 sensor gremlin that was squashed, it was flawless.
In the extended family, the best I’ve known for mileage and reliability was an ’85 Escort my wife’s parents purchased new. In 259,000 miles all it ever required (other than the timing belt which Ford considered a wear item) was a voltage regulator. Not too shabby and still going strong when a Jeep Grand Cherokee hit it head-on in 1998.
About 6 months ago we sold my wifes 2013 Chrysler 200 Touring. With retirement in the near future, it was the thing to do to squeeze one more nice vehicle in before we have to start pinching pennies. We bought it in 2014 with 30,000 miles on it for $12,000. In May of 2019 we sold it for $3500 with 135,000 miles on it. In that time it needed a rear lateral link replaced and a blend door actuator motor in the heater replaced. Parts were about $100. Labor was mine. I replaced the spark plugs, all 4 brakes, and the battery, since I already had the nose off to replace a burnt bulb. The automotive press did nothing but shit on this car. They said that the 2.4 was a buzzy engine. It buzzed flawlessly for us the whole time that we owned it. It was a great car.
I have one too. These cars are underrated.
It has a lot to do with how you drive and maintain them. My 2006 Jetta TDI has 135,000 miles on it and other than a new battery at 10 years and a new exhaust gas re-circulation unit ($650 by an independent mechanic) there have been no issues. The Michelin tires now have 95,000 miles on them. But, the car has spent about 90% of its life resting in a garage, has seen salt only perhaps five times and has been used almost exclusively for long trips at 60-65 mph where it can get 50 mpg. Had it been subjected to more typical patterns of usage, I do not believe it would have been as inexpensive to own.
Most of my cars have been very reliable.
Mostly normal maintenance items. Hardly any problems before 100,000 miles.
The Taurus had a bad trans at 44,000 miles but it was under warranty. The Avalon just recently needed an alternator at 260,000 miles. The van needed nothing but sway bar links at 150,000 miles.
Two of the worst were ironically a Honda Accord and a Toyota Tercel, both bought used and probably abused.
Congrats to the XB on the 100,000 miles — and to you, Paul, on post #4700!
My ‘06 xB may have been the most reliable car we have ever owned. I kept it for 4 years/70k miles In Florida, replaced the clutch because they had a bad reputation and mine was a little rough, and gave it to my eldest son. He took it to college in Utah and ran up another 65k miles on it, replacing the front wheel bearings when one failed. He sold it to my brother in law, who bought out for his son and brought it back to Florida. He has had to replace the alternator and the rear wheel bearings. I believe the odometer now stands at around 170k. The clear coat is failing badly (rarely garaged), but aside from the above I think it has only had oil, filters, brakes and tires. And it has kept its fun personality.
My third son now has a Kia Soul. I think he would have an xB instead if they hadn’t changed it so drastically for the 2nd generation. For myself, I switched to VWs. They have not been as reliable, but I do like to drive them.
I forgot to mention that I added quite a bit of soundproofing to the body of the xB. It was never going to be a quiet car, but this was enough to keep it from messing with my nerves at 80 mph.
My 2010 Infiniti G37 sedan is by far the best car I’ve owned in over 50 years of driving. To be fair, it has only 48,600 miles on the ODO but these are mostly city miles in heavy traffic. And in over nine years of ownership, the G has required one repair (a circuit board). The original battery lasted eight years and I recently replaced the original tires with a new set of Pirellis. I recall the days when cars required major work at 50,000 miles and were ready for the junkyard well before they hit 100,000. And that’s to say nothing about how much more maintenance was required.
Nearly all my cars have been reliable – although the less said about my awful 1986 Honda Accord and horrible 1994 Nissan Laurel the better…
Most reliable was a 1994 Toyota Hiace 2.8 diesel van – it was owned by the company I worked for as a delivery driver, I traveled 2,000km each week, mostly open-road hot-engine running, and it was religiously serviced every 10,000km. At 574,000km in 1999ish the cambelt broke (long story) and being an interference design, it went from no repairs to many repairs required…
One of our current cars, a 2006 Peugeot 307SW (bought by my partner in 2009 with 29,000km on it) made it to 220,000 this year needing only routine stuff and an air-conditioning condensor. Of course at 221,000 the gearbox blew up, and a number of other things went wrong, but it’d been so reliable to that point, that we put another gearbox in it and had everything else fixed. It has lasted so well, and continues to behave so well that it’s changed my mind about French cars, and when we were in the market for a new car last year, we bought another Peugeot – which is also performing faultlessly.
Even my magnificent elderly Ford Sierra is relatively reliable but I don’t think Ford Europe intended them to last 30 years, so I forgive it the odd foible.
4 speed auto trans Scott? mate of mine just replced his manual C4 with a 6 speed auto C4 diesels both the later 6 speed is alledgedly bullet proof the 4 speed auto not so much
Hey Bryce, yes 4-speed auto, the “sealed-for-life” version that allegedly never needed maintenance and didn’t have a dipstick or any way to easily check the trans fluid. Turned out it had a weeping seal and had lost too much oil over the years, so second gear ended up in bits in the sump… Mind you, we’d done a lot of heavy towing with it, which wouldn’t have helped. Replacement one came out of a NZ-new 60,000km 307 and is functioning fine at the moment – fingers crossed!
I’ll be interested to see how the 508’s trans lasts – it’s a 6-speed manual but acts like an auto as has a computer-controlled clutch, 2 pedals and an auto gearstick. It’s running great at 54,000km, but let’s see what happens over the next decade or so!
Interesting in the Pug gearbox. That’s usually the first and only bit that gives up on a Citroen. C5 at 190k miles, CX at 115k. 2cv at an indeterminate mileage somewhere between 40k and infinity.
Yes, that Peugeot gearbox isn’t highly thought of among the trans specialists here. They’re fairly notorious apparently. Mind you my late grandparents’ 2001 Renault Scenic was on its third transmission by 100,000km, so perhaps it’s a French thing. Doesn’t put me off French cars though! (As long as they’re as reliable as the 307 has been!)
Same godawful box in that Scenic, called AL4 in Pug and Cits, DPO4 in Renaults. It’s made in some sort of JV between PSA and Renault.
It fails at some point in ALL applications: 220,000 is an excellent run, which I think is pathetic, especially when I was quoted $4500+ for a rebuild. It’s something of a scandal. Just as bad, it doesn’t function very well when functioning very well, with idiotic French programming that holds onto gears weirdly, shifts down downhill, and much else unwanted.
Just ’cause the French don’t drive automatics doesn’t mean the many elsewhere who do should have to suffer such indignities from their lack of effort, either that or just don’t sell an automatic!
Oh, I didn’t realise Peugeot and Renault shared that box, but that explains a lot, thanks justy baum! We were quoted NZ$5,800 for a rebuild, so settled on a secondhand one for $795 with guaranteed mileage and warranty. Was only $1,000 or so to have them swapped, which we thought reasonable. And as the garage (our local Ford dealer) said, now they’ve done it once it’ll be quicker and easier to do next time…!
First of all, great to hear your “voice,” Paul. Thanks for letting us drop in!
My 2009 Ford Escape is approaching 140K and just got its third set of tires (tire longevity = another wonder of our age). “Wear items” have pretty much been everything needed. The struts & shocks weren’t awful at 110K, but I figured I’d likely be replacing ’em once in the vehicle’s life anyway, and so had them done then while feeling a little flush.
Resale/depreciation metric not as wonderful as Paul’s car, but not bad at all.
2004 Prius for us. Owned since new and 210,000kms. Replaced the water pump a few years back and that’s it other than usual wear items like fluids, tyres, wiper blades and spark plugs. I don’t think we’ve even done the brake pads – but if we have it was so long ago I’ve forgotten.
2001 Honda Insight’s done pretty well too. Purchased 2005 at 5,000km although now at only 95,000km. EGR valve and rubber o-ring around oil seal plug at the end of the block. Also rear hatch struts re-gassed plus usual wear items. Still on its original hybrid battery now almost 20 years old (helped by grid charging).
Cars certainly have come a long way since the good old days, having a 16 year old Falcon ute thats not a rusted out wreck would have been unthinkable back in the day.
I won’t make any claims about Toyota like reliability but its never let me down or failed to start. Its been a good old girl, and a great highway cruiser.223000 Kms / 138000 miles
Except for an ABS sensor, which was a quick, cheap and easy fix, my 2013 200 Limited has been trouble-free for 140,000 miles and counting. Purchased it from an older lady when it was 2 years old and 30k miles. I do all service intervals by the book (and exceeding some intervals, like the transmission — I’ve done a drain/fill twice and am due for another here shortly, even though the manual states that it is lifetime filled under normal conditions). I am confident that this car will make it to 300,000 miles or more with little to no drama. The 2.4L GEMA engine and 62TE trans are a solid, no-frills combination. The only weak point in these cars (and some other FCA cars of its vintage) is the TIPM (Totally Integrated Power Module), but to date I haven’t experienced any issues with it. If I do later on down the road, no big deal, I have paid nothing outside of routine maintenance into this car to date and it’s not all that expensive, considering that a similar kind of issue with many other cars from other manufacturers may cost three to five times as much to resolve).
I’ve owned two LH cars — a 1997 Concorde LXi 3.5 (my first car) and then a 2004 Intrepid ES 3.5 — and currently own a third one (a 1993 Concorde). I have put over 100k across them both, and the three of them were purchased with approx. 60k on the odo. All have been very reliable considering that there were many people who owned these cars that didn’t have the same luck as I did (aside from owners of 2.7-equipped vehicles, this was probably due to the fact that they weren’t as diligent about maintenance). I had zero problems with my ’97 (major or minor) and only a window regulator went out on the ’04. I’ve only owned the ’93 for a little over a year and it’s only occasionally driven, but I’ve had nothing go wrong with it so far.
Funny you mention that you have taken your xB out on some logging roads and rough terrain. I have taken my 200 out on some really remote logging roads or long, endless stretches of gravel/dirt roads out in some farm country. It’s amazing how far you can go on those roads in a FWD car, low to the ground compared to a truck or SUV. Far enough to get lost, lol. Ever since the year before last, when I bought my 2006 Ram 2500 HD 4×4, I don’t take my 200 into no-man’s land as often (plus my wife has a 2015 Outback AWD that is purpose-built for that kind of duty), but I could if I wanted to. I get my alignment checked with my brakes/tires and even after going out in the rough and tumble, my alignment was pretty good, all things considered.
My ‘17 Chev SS is knocking on the door of 70K miles (in a bit over 2-½ years). The only hiccup is the head unit crashes 2-3 times a year. It reboots itself and is fine for months. Zero other defects or complaints. Holden built a good car!
A local cynic might reply “Yes, they did build a good car – and you got it, you lucky bastard!”
The VE-VF is indeed pretty bullet-proof, save the considerable caveat that the vast majority of them here are V6’s, which too commonly need the timing chain replaced at great cost.
If you dont replace the timing chain they behave like a couple of our alloy V6 Holden runabout cars rough idle and only run well at full throttle, I still prefer the old 3.8 Buick engine cars more torque low down and the go when you step on the gas not later after theyve hunted out a gear to redline at,
Not being a high-miler, my sister’s Mitsubishi 380 is the best I’ve known of. Bought nearly-new in 2008, it’s now somewhere over 320000 k’s (200K miles) and has once needed new rear door mechanisms under warranty. Nothing else broken whatsoever. They are known to be like this in the trade.
As a wistful sidenote, these cars (based on the 9nth-gen US Galant) were Mitsubishi Aus last throw of the dice. They spent $600 million modifying the dullard Galant, and the result is a truly sweet Euro-style car to drive and ride in. But it looked boring to many, failed, and the local factory closed for good in 2008. What an irony that the last thing they made was not only their nicest-driving local by some margin, but was absolutely the most reliable.
I have a similar problem as Scott, two very reliable French cars but Citroen badged and diesel powered my Xsara I gave my daughter is still going strong 7 years in my ownership coming up two years with her I drove it yesterday it still runs well, Its replacement has been with me nearly two years its got 310,000 kms on the odometer everything including the computer controlled ride height still works as intended and it rides and drives beautifully, ok the MAF is playing up a new one is on its way from the UK thank Ebay and Ive figured a way around the problem untill it arrives but thats it pretty good for brand nobody trusts and light years better than some Japanese cars Ive owned, people complain about the condition of NZ roads and I cant say I actually noticed untill I began driving the Waikato and Northland roads in a empty DAF and Holdens Rangers and a Mondeo recently, give me hyda-active Citroen thankyou I’ll buy another C5 when this one expires If I’m still alive.
When I went back to study I needed cheap transport; through a friend I heard about this 1992 Ford Escort CLX diesel with a bent rear axle. I got it for €300, obtained a replacement axle and a driveshaft (the one on it had a knackered CV), then proceeded to weld lots of Ford rust for a week and a half. This was in 2004 and I kept it for 10 years, in which the only thing needing fixing was a cut-off solenoid for the diesel pump. I sold it with 140K miles on the clock to some Transylvanian (yes). I assume it gives some vampire good service to this day. 45-50 MPG come rain or shine. It though did teach one about patience, what with 59 hp and no more than 70 mph cruising speed, at which it felt as if it could drive to outer Siberia and back.
Your transmission issue sounds suspiciously identical to the one my base 2003 Toyota Matrix had, down to the howling noise. That transmission eventually failed and had to be replaced. Were it not for that shockingly expensive repair, that Matrix would have been the most reliable car I ever owned. Nothing else went wrong with it in the entire 0-90,000 miles my family owned it. Unfortunately, that one repair was a doozy.
It’s not the transmission. It’s the clutch throwout bearing. For sure. But it’s because of a slight manufacturing defect in the input shaft that this bearing rides on. Never heard of one of these xB/Yaris transmissions going, but yes, your Matrix had a rep for them.
Actually Paul thats 162,000kms in 15 years so quite light useage there are lots of those Toyota BBs over here used imports and finding one with such low mileage could be difficult so yours will likely last a long time yet.Edit checked on trademe there are three that age all approaching your mileage going quite cheap and lots of newer versions, nobody seems to be selling the older model that could be a good sign theres certainly no shortage of them on the roads
My 1988 Ford Festiva LX, which looks like a smaller version of the Scion XB, went from 1988 to 2004, and is still rolling around the central US, as far as I can tell. I sold it with 248000 miles on it and damn, it still looked new. I sold it because it was too small and my wife kept telling me it was too small and dangerous for the kids to be in it.
That silly little box ran forever. It was driven from Maine to California, from Washington to Florida. The LX version had split rear seats, permitting me to fold them backwards, as well as forwards and using an air mattress, turned that little car into a little comfy bed. I camped the US in it.
There was once a rattle I was catching going downhill on my way to Vegas, and I thought, “transmission” – nope – it was just a loose heat shield that I spent $50 to tighten up at the Ford dealer.
I sold it to a young mom that didn’t have any money, but did have $500. I saw it around town for a couple of years after that, but then it was on a used car lot in Decatur Illinois being sold for $999. I knew it was my car because it had a dent I put into the rear blister fender, skirting around a RR crossing gate that blocked my route. (There was no train in sight, btw)
1996 Maxima GXE got 300k, when rust got the radiator support. And probably more, so it got sold for a couple hundred. Never let me down in all those years.
I think I put a starter in it, handbrake cables and maybe a few sensors. That’s about it.
Our 2010 Fit has has needed, other than Takata recall, which I dont count, was a Tire Pressure Monitor wheel sensor, internal battery didnt quite make the ten year estimated life.
Longer term, dad’s 1999 Camry needed only a couple of idle air control valves as actual repairs in 300,000 miles.
The 2000 K2500 Chevy pickup went 150,000 miles before needing anything, and nothing major after that, rear brake cylinders, AC compressor, fuel pump, one anti-lock brake wheel sensor and one O2 sensor.
An ’84 Civic purchased with 100k miles already on the odometer got me through college and then some and was sold with 210k miles and no repairs beyond consumables like brake pads. My ’88 Prelude Si AWS purchased at 100k miles took me to a similar 212k trouble free miles, never needing a clutch or other repairs. This was a magic time for Hondas!
Late to Paul’s reunion here, but here goes!
The one stand out for me was my ’88 T-Bird LX. A bulletproof 5.0 V8 under the hood, and just a strong car all around, I put 236K on it, and other than routine maintenance like oil changes and tires, just a few minor issues.
Unfortunately, I had to replace the brakes, WAY too often. With only 14 inch rims, the brakes could only be so big, and it burned through them rather quickly. Our rush hours are brutal here in the DC/Baltimore corridor.
I think the only thing not routine, was the transmission started slipping on my way home from work one day, and I immediately thought the worst. It turned out to be some sort of plastic part linking the throttle with something on the transmission. I actually found an honest transmission shop that asked, “You got $10 in your wallet?” I said, “Sure. Why?” He went into the shop, came back like 2 minutes later and put this little plastic piece on my car. This was at around 170K. I never had a problem again.
Finally, the leather was worn out, and I’d just broken up with my wife, and when an electronic module of some sort failed under the hood, I decided I couldn’t be left stranded and traded the car in on a nearly new 1997 T-Bird. That car only made it to 118K (exactly half of the 5.0 ‘Bird) before its transmission started to slip. I got out from under it just in time.
Other than this, my current 2007 Mustang has been a really good car, except when its transmission started slipping at 170K, the “little $10 part” wasn’t gonna cut it this time, and the old girl needed a complete rebuild. She’s been just fine since. The 4.0L V6 is still running strong at 178.5K.
@ Mustang Rick – Yeah, those door panels are a pain it the butt, aren’t they? We’d better let Doug D know about that! ;o) And like you, I had that same thermostat housing failure at around 95K… no problem since.
Paul – Great to hear from you again! While I was never a fan of the xB, reading the stories of yours over the years on these pages has made me a convert!
My ‘old bird looked just like this one:
My 3 Scion Xbs have been the most reliable vehicles i have ever owned. 75K no-cost miles on my first before it was rear-ended and totaled, 276K on my second with nothing but brakes and oil changes until a fatal transmission failure, and now 30K and counting on my third. By comparison my very reliable 1998 Civic EX required a new coil, new engine mount, new wheel bearings, and died at 225K from a blown head gasket. But all my miles are highway miles so Paul your 100K care-free city miles are impressive. And yes XBs do hold their value. I paid $5000 for my current 2004 Xb with 96K miles on it, but its going to go well over 200K so its practically risk-free. I likely wont be able to find another one when the current one dies.
Toyota Yaris sedan can go 400k without problem, church pastor has a 2007 model still in use as his daily vehicle. Only repairs are regular maintenance, brakes, 4 timing belts and minor accident damage. As a casual observation, the simple Japanese made vehicles tend to last longer that the expensive model if owners take care the vehicle.
As my personal experience, the longest ownership and highest mileage vehicle is 2003 ML350, an infamous Mercedes, I got it from my sister with 23k miles in yr2006, have been used daily since then, the mileage is now 155k. I cannot say it has no problem, major repairs are two alternators, a rack and pinion assembly, a power steering pump, rear suspension springs, instrument back lighting, center shaft bearing, feul line filter, and leak AC compressor (Japanese manufacture unit). It still feels solid, not smoke and oil consumption. My previous vehicles had never been this highest, except probably my 2003 Honda Accord V6. But that vehicle also had its problems too, they were HAVC control module, radio backlight (replacing the whole unit), power steering pump and its hoses, three sets of rear brake caliber (all three cases brakes were siezed), and two sets of rear bearings. When we got our 2015 Odyssey, we tried to sell the Accord or ML350, the neighbor bought the Accord with just over 100k miles for $4,500. I still saw the car sometime, assuming he has no major problems, but I did notice it had some body damages
I haven’t kept my vehicles that long, partly due to lack of self control, boredom, not buying the right tool for the job from the get-go, and lack of mechanical skills to fix it cheaply, etc.
The longest we’ve had one is a 93 Civic, run to 180K miles. My wife picked it up in college when we were dating, at 101K miles. Between its prior owners and our busy lives, this car was a case of deferred maintenance gone amok. Heavens knows if it ever had a coolant flush or transmission (auto) fluid change before us, but those did get swapped out along with brake fluid sometime around 130K. Nothing ever failed for that 80K miles until its lax service history finally caught up to it. Engine gaskets seeping oil, radiator was likely plugged (would overheat on highway runs unless you turned the cabin heater on high to bleed off the heat–this was AWESOME in July), and some other stuff I can’t remember now. Rust starting to show up on the body, black paint fully oxidizing on roof. The necessary mechanicals were going to run ~$2000 to address, which was more than the car was worth, so we sold it to a family looking for cheap local wheels for their teenage daughter. Their son liked to tinker and thought he could fix the issues for a reasonable amount, so everyone was happy.
180K under neglect is a pretty good run, that was a stout and well-engineered car. Handled well, economical, felt very well built, but the engine was a slow NVH nightmare and the road noise was atrocious for road trips.
I plan to keep my 4Runner for 15 years, perhaps longer depending on what’s available on the market at that point, so we shan’t be deferring the maintenance again.
My 2004 Xb was very reliable but not robust. I purchased it new and kept it for 5 years and 86,000 mi. I loved the car, but I just couldn’t take the highway ride any more.
Apart from tires, brakes and oil changes the only repair item was a bad front wheel bearing. Oh, and $8,000 in bodywork after being rear ended at a stop light.
Without a doubt my trusty old Citroën 2CV. It was my very first car and in the 25 years that I own it now, it has never let me down. Just needs regular maintenance, which is very simple as everything is easily accessible.
For the first 12 years I used it as a daily driver, but nowadays it only leaves the garage for summer holidays or cruises in the countryside. Great car.
I also forgot to congratulate Paul on driving the Xb for 15 years without breaking off the tailgate lift handle, the Achilles Heel of the Xb1 (see photos 2 and 3). Very impressive, you must have a very light touch.
That suddenly triggered a memory of replacing it, but for free, as the dealer was happy to give me the stronger replacement gratis.
And here I had thought the Achilles heel was the windshield. A rock magnet that cracks quickly when chipped, I think ours is on #4.
My dad’s 1986 JettaTurbodiesel had over 600,000 km on it before mom traded it after dad died. It only had regular oil changes in that time.
I do become amused when I hear, “Back in the old days, cars were more reliable.”
That’s total nonsense. For one, engineering doesn’t go backwards and in a developed market, customers know that car is reliable or not.
I can recall going up the Coquihalla Highway in the 1980’s. There were always blown up cars on the steep grades. When I did that road last summer, I didn’t see a single one.
In the heat of last summer, the infamous “Grapevine” (Interstate 5 North of Los Angeles) seemed to claim an unusual number of late model Nissan products. Must have been some kind of coincidence or fluke, but that was what I saw that day. Yes, fewer breakdowns than decades ago.
That’s interesting. I would guess that a significant number of those breakdowns were due to the now well known CVT issues that Nissan has inflicted on itself. When I was on the highway using cruise control, any sort of incline, even ones like the slightly raised overpass bridges on interstate highways, would result in the CVT suddenly jumping 1000 rpm and then slowly settling back down. Apparently Nissan prefers engines and transmissions revving much higher rather than going deeper into the throttle while keeping about the same RPM. I found this trait irritating and tiresome. Instant mileage readout would dip into the low 20s or teens.
The 11 mile stretch of the Grapevine must be long enough (6% grade!) to inflict significant damage to a worn transmission that works well enough in the minor hills of LA
Truth be told, Nissan products are pretty rare in my parts. Honda, Toyota and VW’s are everywhere.
I’ve had 3 VW’s since 1981, haven’t owned another make since then. I wouldn’t really consider any of them particularly reliable, but having owned them for many years in between (going on 19 years for my current ’00 Golf) they are pretty durable.
Lots of little things go wrong, but seldom anything major. My current car has been the worst, having 3 “strandable” problems (though I reduced that down to 2 when I nursed it home after the shift cables went bad): bad ignition switch, bad gear selector cables (manual trans), and bad power steering rack. The last 2 problems were in the last 2 years, which is consistent with the age of the car. I will also say that I live in the sunbelt (and have since ’83) where rubber and plastic seem to degrade quickly, so rather than rust issues, I seem to have problems with degraded “soft” parts like seals. I also avoided some of the typical problems with some of them, like the “self machining” transaxle problem on my ’86 GTi.
So…if you need a car that won’t give you any problems, I’d have a hard time recommending one…but if you are willing to deal with some problems, while keeping the car awhile, and you like how they drive, it *might* be worth it to you to put up with one. (though if I have something else major go bad with my current car in the next year, I might have to rethink that last sentance).
My 2005 Ford Escape with 220K miles. Never a tune-up, just plenty of oil and fluid changes.
Front rotors would warp each 75K miles which appeared to be a common trait for this model. Also had the rear axle (four wheel drive) replaced. Rear shocks replaced as a pair when one developed a leak.
So pleased with car, I bought a 2012 Escape. Its not as good as the ’05 model.
I was in the market for a used xB several years ago but wanted a 5 speed and they were geared too low. The final drive ratio on the manuals was much lower than the automatics. Having previously endured several 2000 mile round trips in my 89 Corolla 4WD with similar low gearing buzzing along at 4500 RPM at 75mph, I took a pass on the manual xB. Too bad: I really liked the xB otherwise.
The Corolla was great around town getting about 28mpg but that dropped to 24 on the interstates.
Love the toasters! I have a 2004 xB, among the first ones when they started selling them in California. Automatic. Drive the crap out of it, commute, family car, hauling, it does it all, though long distance it is a bit loud and rough. Just hit 350k miles the other week with it, other than routine maintenance and a wheel bearing, I haven’t had to do any work to it. It does like to wear out tires at a fast rate, but it’s a small common size, so no biggie. One of the best cars I’ve had!
I don’t normally keep cars that long/for that many miles.
The one I’ve had for 16 years our 2003 Mountaineer now has over 155k. I did have the trans rebuilt at ~135k and while they were out put new U-joints in the drive shafts. I’ve done two wheel bearings, but the same one twice as went with the cheapie and it didn’t take long for something to mess up with the reluctor for the ABS sensor, so I replaced the same one twice. Other than that tires, brakes, fluids, light bulbs and cleaning the sunroof drains a couple of times is all I’ve ever done to it. However the shocks are due and the upper ball joint boots are shot so they are living on borrowed time.
The one that is the winner is the 2010 Fusion Hybrid that we bought with a little under 45k on it and put just a bit over 100k in 3.5 years before it was totaled. I replaced a bulb, changed the oil and replaced/rotated tires. Probably would have kept until at least 200k if it hadn’t been totaled as my wife really liked it.
I don’t keep a car as long as some of you do, of the cars on my list, the most notable ones that didn’t have issues were my ’92 Subaru Justy 5 speed 2WD which went 50,000 miles with nothing but oil changes and one preventative valve adjustment and my ’98 Chevy Tracker 2WD 5 speed, which achieved 60,000 with no issues other than the plastic pieces and fasteners from the soft top breaking.
I hear you guys about not wanting to do highway miles in a small buzzy car. I’m getting too old to do that now, that was a significant factor in trading my Versa Note. That thing was running 2,000 rpm at 40 and 3,500 rpm at 70 and the sturm und drang made road trips unpleasant unless I kept it under 65mph and that is too slow these days.
Our VZ Commodore wagon. 220,000 Km. One starter, 2 fuel pumps and a couple of coil packs, one radiator. I did the hoses as well with the radiator. And the CD died, so it was replaced by a Bluetooth unit. Engine has never been opened up, ditto the trans & diff. Exhaust & discs are OEM. I plan on keeping it for a while yet.
2011 Chevrolet Malibu, 4-cyl. Bought new, sold 6 years later with 102k miles.
Here is a list of ALL REPAIRS done (non-scheduled service, excluding wear items and maintenance):
I paid for ONE repair–broken driver seat springs (2 of 4) at 95k miles. I thought foam in cushion disintegrated, but must’ve been a common problem, dealer service guy showed me in 5 seconds. (I weigh less than 180). I replaced the foam cushion too.
And I had a Camshaft Position Sensor replaced after the Check Engine Light went on at 88k–but, happy day! It was covered by the Emissions warranty (5yrs or 90k miles I think), so cost me $0.
2-3 recalls..a seat belt screw needed replacing, and some other minor thing. I did them while getting oil changed.
I did maintain it well, changed the oil when computer said 45% left. It was a Michigan car too–cold, salt, and HORRIBLE roads. Tires lasted 65k, brakes went over 90k.
This is easily the best-built, most reliable car I have ever owned, and probably the most reliable car I will ever own. I’ve generally had good luck with cars, but this one I hit the jackpot!
A 2006 Ford Focus 1.6LX, petrol, 5 speed manual, pretty straightforward situation.
I bought it in 2007 with 11,000 (i think) on the clock and sold it in 2012 (4.5 years) with 132,000 on the clock. The oil was done about 3 times and I think one set of brake pads and linings, and tyres. I changed the wiper blades, at 110,000, miles. And that was it. Not even a bulb.
Terrific car all round. Recommend one to any one.
Found a picture from about 1994 of my ’86 Jetta GL I bought in ’91. It had 100k miles when purchased, needed rear brakes, tires and front wheel bearing, along with an A/C receiver drier and recharge. It looks the same now, the 13 inch rims were later upgraded to 14 inch MK3 takeoffs, though I still have original rims.
301,262 is current milage. Original 5 speed manual trans and 1.8 gas engine. From ’91 to 2008 was my drive to work car, retired now and only gets a few hundred miles of around town use these days. Still runs well and uses almost no oil. Steering rack and pump also original. AC faded away about 3 years ago, haven’t bothered to look into it, not really important for just driving around locally in cool Washington State, have a truck with good AC when needed.
I’ll just list what’s been replaced over the years quickly. Fuel pump and relay, alternator, starter, clutch and rear main seal, CV joints, pads, rotors, wheel cylinders, wheel bearings, turn signal switch, wiper switch, headlamp switch, cooling fan switch, rear brake shoes, shocks, center and rear muffler, outside door handles, drivers window regulator (manual), radiator, waterpump, timing and drive belts, balljoints, outer tie rod ends, drivers seat backrest frame. The clutch has about 175k miles, still works well.
Needs lower control arm bushings, I have new arms with bushings I need to install soon. Only repair I haven’t done myself was the clutch and rear main seal replacement, that was done at a VW dealership I worked for at the time.
Only was towed twice, once shortly after I bought it with a broken timing belt (had 120k on it), and a second time in 2006 when a accident punctured the radiator, along with taking out the grill, AC condenser, headlamp, hood, radiator support and right fender. Fixed for $500, $250 for used and new parts, another $250 to paint hood and fender.
I plan to keep it on the road as long as can be kept on the road. Its been a great car, easy to work on, parts are inexpensive and easy to get, good MPG. 28 years and counting, original paint and interior have held up well.
Forgot to include picture from 1994.
Can’t get a decent odometer photo, here’s one from about a year ago.
2019 photo of the Jetta.
1993 Subaru Impreza. Bought it at 19,000 miles in 2000 and sold it in 2016 with 178,000. During those years it went from Pa to Oklahoma, Wisconsin and then Missouri.
Over those years it got tires and oil changes. A couple of brake pads and timing belt change. Towards the end it was still a great highway cruiser but it would have needed a lot of work and it wasn’t all that safe these days given the increasing size of the US fleet. Sold it to a farmer for $1000. Best car I’ve ever owned. It didn’t owe me a single thing.
2005 Scion Xb 307,000 miles shes a beast!