Different car brands are known for different things. Japanese are known for reliability, Germans are known for luxury, British are known for class, and American brands are robust and powerful.
But among all, there are chosen few that build cars to exist, Forever.
Today, I have compiled such a list of 10 car brands that last almost forever. Do remember that the list is not in any particular order.
Table of Contents
Toyota is a brand that has made the most successful daily cars. The Toyota Corolla, for example, is the world’s most sold car since 1966 with over 46 million units sold over 12 generations.
In the US alone, Toyota sells an average of 1-1.3 million units each year. And durability is one of its major factors. Any Toyota Model today is given to last for 200,000-250,000 miles with basic maintenance.
Toyota’s Land Cruiser, Avalon, Prius, Tundra, 4Runner, and Sequoia are some of the most long-lasting cars from Toyota. They have proven to go as long as 300,000 miles and more.
Hondas are known for making the most durable engines. Their V-techs are loved all across the world. The Honda Civic and Accord are two of the most loved Honda cars in the US. In the year 2019, Over 1.6% of Honda sold had over 200,000 miles in their odometer.
People love buying Honda for many reasons, and their ability to last 10-15 years is one major factor. It is funny because quality and durability are Honda’s major things, but this brand never advertises what it is known for it.
According to Consumers Report, Mazda is the most reliable brand in 2021 with an average score of 83/100. This means that most of the Mazda cars are not just cheap and fuel-efficient, they are also extremely durable.
As per the report, the Mazda CX-5 is one of the 10 most reliable cars of 2021. But the whole CX lineup is built to last. By not using any fancy tech, Mazda has managed to keep it simple and durable. Even their sports models like the Miata, or Mazda 6 sedan is good for 200,000 miles.
Lexus is a premium automaker. Any car they make is branded as a luxury vehicle. But unlike other premium automakers, Lexus has ensured that their premium cars today are as durable as any Lexus 10 years or 20 years ago.
The Classic Lexus LS, GS, ES, RX are all Lexus models that have the same avg. life expectancy of 200,000 miles today as 20 years ago. That is also the reason why Lexus is the third most reliable brand in the world today.
Also read: Top 3 Best Lexus Under 30k (with Photos)
Buick is a small brand with just 3 models and a total of 8 cars on offer. Being a division of GM motors you might expect it to be the same as GMC and Chevrolet. However, Buick is considered America’s most reliable domestic brand.
By only making SUVs, Buick managed to focus only on one particular type of vehicle. This allowed them to put all resources into one thing and perfect it. Today Buick’s Encore is one of the most reliable subcompact SUVs among domestic automakers.
Just like Toyota and Honda, Hyundai is known for being one of the best automakers in Asian and European countries. This is also true in the US.
Hyundai in America is famous for manufacturing affordable and reliable cars. Almost 80% of Hyundai models have 5-star safety ratings and above 80 reliability scores. Even their cheapest, the Hyundai Accent or Venue has an average life expectancy of 150,000 – 200,000 miles.
Subaru is another Japanese brand on our list. Famous for making sports sedans like the Subaru WR, WRX STI, or the BRZ, it is one of the few brands that still offers a manual transmission. And as we know manuals are more reliable and durable than any automatic.
However, today most of the Subaru lineup is focused on making SUVs and Crossovers. Subarus today are known for making perfect machines that can do both daily driving and cross country.
The Subaru Crosstrek, Forester, Outback are the most durable Subaru you can buy today.
Not all GMC is particularly known for being extremely durable. But some GMC models, the GMC Yukon, Yukon XL, GMC Terrain have proven otherwise. It was found that about 3.6% of GMC’s Yukon recorded over 200,000 miles while 0.2% closing to 300,000.
The top GMC models like the Sierra, Yukon, and Terrain boast a lifespan of 200,000-300,000 miles or 10-15 years.
It’s quite obvious that GMC’s vehicle quality is carried on to Chevrolet as well. After all, both brands have the same car manufacturer, GM motors. Just like the GMC, the Chevy Silverado lineup, the Impala, and the Chevy Bolt are known to be Chevrolet’s most reliable and durable cars.
Is Chevrolet worth it? Here’s the 17 things you should know.
In the list of durable American vehicles, Ford leads the class. The Ford Raptor for example is an icon of robustness. The Ford Mustang is one of the reliable sports coupes in the world market. The low-tier trucks like Maverik and Rangers are good for 150,000- 200,000 miles.
Even their non-car vehicles like the Ford Transit are rated at 160,000-300,000 miles of life.
What Makes Those Car Brands Last Long?
Apart from the obvious reasons of having better build quality, use of good material and better research and development to make their car better, all these brands have a few things in common.
A. Most of the durable cars from these brands are daily drivers. Daily driving cars are low-powered vehicles that are designed to go from one place to another efficiently.
This means no complex engineering, unwanted engine stress, revving on stoplights, inconsistent acceleration, or random burnouts. So basically, these cars have very low wear and tear.
B. Due to less wearing and tearing, these cars need less maintenance. And since they are daily drivers their maintenance is also cheaper, which subconsciously motivates owners to get regular maintenance, as they want their daily drivers to be in good condition.
Imagine owning a BMW, getting maintenance every 4 months, and paying $200 for an oil change. Would you want to do that? But with these cars, you will cause most of them don’t even cost $200 a year.
C. These cars use fewer parts with simple designs. The number of parts used in daily driving cars is lower than sports cars or performance vehicles. The lesser they are, the lower chances of them failing.
These parts are also less complex, which makes them less sensitive to situations. That means they need more to break than some random pull you did on the highway.
How Long Can You Expect Those Car Brands to Last?
As mentioned above, the average life expectancy of these brands is between 150,000-200,000 miles with some going to 300,000.
An average American drives around 13,500 miles a year. So by simple maths, any of these brands would last at least 10 years. In the automotive world, any vehicle scoring close to 200,000 miles is considered incredibly durable. So if you have one of those cars rated at 200,000 to 250,000 miles, you can drive them for 15-20 years.
You do have to remember that the durability and reliability of any car are governed by the maintenance it receives. Get regular maintenance to drive your car regularly. As long as you respect that you will be fine.
What Can You Do to Make Your Car Last as Long as Possible?
As I said, getting regular maintenance is the number one thing you should do to prolong your vehicle’s life. Getting those oil changes, spark plugs exchanged, taking care of gasket leaks, would keep your engine healthy. The healthier it is, the longer you can drive.
Practicing healthy driving habits is another important aspect of prolonging your car’s durability. Random acceleration, failing to rev match, irregular driving, bad braking habits, using too much clutch, bad tire pressure, all put stress on the engine and transmission.
This increases wearing the tearing of the components, reducing the engine’s life span. Which ultimately costs your vehicle’s durability.
Can a car last 500k+ miles? Here’s the answer with examples.
Which Car Brands are the Least Reliable?
There is no certain gauge to accurately rate a brand’s reliability. However, certain brands have failed regularly on fixing stuff.
Tesla for example hasn’t fixed their quality issues yet. In a survey of 100 Teslas, 205 problems were found by the 2020 JD Power Initial Quality Survey. Despite high customer satisfaction ratings, Tesla is considered one of the least reliable brands in the market.
Similarly, BMW and Mercedes are known for using high-quality complex parts. Which after the first 3-4 years brings cars reliability to nothing. And they start to show errors for something as simple as over-revving. Now you know why used ones are so cheap.
There are other brands like the Cadillac, Lincoln, Volvo, and even Jeep that are considered not so reliable in 2021.