A Life Of Their Own: Top 5 Cars That Were Built To Last

My oldest sun turned 16 recently and you know what that means; he’ll be on the road soon.

He’s a good kid, I trust him to be a safe driver but that sill leaves the task of finding him a good first car. For the first time in a decade or two, I’m in the market for a vehicle. A lot has changed, but not everything. There’s still the same list of things to consider when thinking about which car to buy.

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Some folks want something that goes super fast and will get them from place to place as fast as physically possible and look flashy while they’re doing it.

Some want something as a sort of status item to let people know that they are successful.

If you’re like me, something that gets good gas mileage is nice, but you’re really looking for something with some longevity. A car that you can depend on to never let you down. For this reason, I consolidated my research into a list of my personal favorite top 5 cars built to last.

Top 5 Dependable Cars Built To Last

    1. Porsche Boxster

I know what you’re thinking, “Really? You’re going to get your 16-year-old a porsche?” No way. This obviously isn’t going to be my son’s first car, but I repeatedly ran into this car when researching about dependability in vehicles. On most occasions, the Porsche Boxster stood head and shoulders above others in its class as far as reliability. The Boxster was introduced in the mid ‘90s as a light weight, turn hugging speed machine, featuring a 2.5 litre flat 6 engine. In 2000, they released a variant with a 3.2 litre and upped the base class to 2.7. From release to today, the Porsche Boxster remains one of the most dependable “vroom” cars out there.

    1. The good old VW Bug

In 1933, Ferdinand Porsche was comissioned to create a car for use by the greater German populous. Thus, a people’s car (or Volkswagen in German) was born with integrety through simplicity and economy being the basic ideas behind it’s conception. The factory survived ally controlled Germany in the mid to late 40s by serving to produce cars for the British army. The factory was almost moved to Britain but the British government decided it would be a massive waste of money and an un-marketable flop. Finally in the 60s, 70s and 80s the factory was pushed back to full production, distributing internationally and playing a major roll in the German economic recovery. To this day, the Volkswagen Beetle in America and Britain alike remains reminiscent of the 60s and 70s and one of the most simply built, dependable and economic vehicles of its time.

    1. Jeep

To this day, enthusiasts can’t come to an agreement about the origin of its name: a sluration of the army name “General Purpose” or GP or of GPW (G for government, P to designate it’s 80″ wheel base and W for it’s Willys-Overland designed engine). Originally developed for militaristic use as a light transport vehicle during WWII, Chrysler’s Jeep set a trend for four-wheel-drive SUV’s that is still an important image in today’s culture. They kept true to the idea that simple means dependable and created a rock solid vehicle that rarely if ever breaks down. When and if a Jeep does break down, the engine and frame were designed to allow complete strip down and rebuild in a matter of hours. Although not number one on my list, this is my personal favorite.

    1. Honda Accord

Between 1982 and 1997, the Honda Accord was consistently the best selling Japanese car in America. Honda developed that title built around a name that became synonymous with dependability. The name “Accord” was meant to be symbolic of “Honda’s desire for accord and harmony between people, society and the automobile.” In 1982, the Accord became the first Japanese car to be manufactured on U.S. soil in Marysville Ohio, concreting its position in one of the largest automobile markets in the world.

    1. Toyota Corolla

Staying true to Toyota’s tradition in using the variations on the word “Crown” in their main models, Corolla is Latin for “small crown.” Introduced in 1966, the Corolla is widely accepted as one of the most dependable, most economical cars ever, breaking the molded cliche of shoddy Asian car production. In 1997, the Corolla earned the title of the best selling nameplate in the history of cars and has maintained that through the new millennium. Over 35 million Corollas were sold as of 2007. Over the last 40 years, has been sold on average every 40 seconds. Where economy and dependability are concerned, it seems Corolla can’t be beat.

What are your thoughts on this list? Do you have your own car that you’d put up as the most reliable car? Tell us in the comments!

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Last Edited: 19th August 2011

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  1. says

    I totally agree with you on the Toyota. Over the past 20 years I’ve owned three Toyotas; a Tercel and two Corollas. My current 1996 Corolla has almost 200,000 miles on it and runs like new. They are very reliable vehicles and have gone through three teenage boys. Thanks for adding them to your list.

  2. says

    Yay, Jeep made the list! I have a 2002 Jeep Wrangler that I love, mostly because it’s paid for, and because it never gives me any problems. I’ve heard and read that these Jeeps with the “straight 6” engine last forever, and I’m hoping that’s the case. I want to keep it as absolutely long as possible….until the wheels fall off. Did I mention it was PAID FOR? Given the fact that it’s great in bad weather, as well as very durable, it’s got to be one of the best vehicles on the road. Oh yeah, it’s paid for too :-) Thanks for a good post (and a great blog!) Best wishes…

  3. Maggie says

    I am going through somethign similar. My son will turn 16 next month, 2 parents working outside the home + no bus service to school + band = car for the boy to drive. In Jan I took advantage of Toyota’s clearance on the Prius (which i love) and keeping my 2002 Ford Escape for the boy to drive. however, it is in the shop again. If it keeps up, Hubby has decided he’s willing to dirve an econo box and the boy may drive the mini van to school.(He ahs the shortest drive).

    Great post and good luck!

  4. says

    Given this list, I’d say the Honda Accord stands up to the challenge for most dependable. We had an 85 accord with 250k miles and just heard someone was still driving it with over 300k! It all depends how you take care of them.

  5. HECTOR VEGA says

    Toyota Corolla is the best and most durable car I’ve ever had. I drive it 140 miles for 6 days out of the week and it always gets me back and forth with no problems. It has, currently 285,000 miles on it and still going strong. I do take care of it and use synthetic oil.

  6. Steve W says

    In 1984, I purchased a new Honda Accord. Drove it until the “wheels fell off”. In 1995, I purchased a new Honda Civic. While the ’95 Civic still runs, its wheels are getting ready to “fall off”. So, after 28 years of only ever owning two cars, I’m getting ready to purchase a 2013 Honda Civic…

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