Here Are The American Cars You Think Are The Most Reliable

Here Are The American Cars You Think Are The Most Reliable

All these cars needed was an oil change and a fresh set of tires to keep running

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Image for article titled Here Are The American Cars You Think Are The Most Reliable
Photo: Ford

For many drivers, a reliable ride is the most important factor when picking a new car. And thankfully, America has produced some sturdy machines over the years so you won’t need to spend your weekends repairing, welding or re-wiring every inch of your car.

We asked readers what cars they thought were the most reliable to come out of America. These were their answers.

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Ford Panther

Ford Panther

Image for article titled Here Are The American Cars You Think Are The Most Reliable
Photo: Ford

I honestly cannot believe that Panthers haven’t been brought up. Doesn’t really matter the model either. I have had like five different ones in different flavors and years. Was my 1988 Town Car as reliable as my 2007? No, it was 30 years old when I bought it. Was it still reliable enough to take a cross country trip in? Yep. Would I need a poker face to think I could drive one to 400,000 miles? Nope.

High praise for the Ford Panther platform, which was produced by the company from 1979.

The platform formed the basis of several Ford-owned cars, including the Crown Victoria (pictured) and the Lincoln Continental Mark VI from 1980. Its use as a taxi cab across America subjected these cars to thousands of miles, and cemented their place in the American psyche.

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Chevrolet Nova

Chevrolet Nova

Image for article titled Here Are The American Cars You Think Are The Most Reliable
Photo: Chevrolet

Chevy Nova and its clones (Pontiac Ventura, Olds Omega, Buick Skylark). Especially when powered by a straight-six or a SBC, almost totally bullet-proof.

They usually rusted apart before they stopped running.

While often overshadowed by its big brother, the Chevelle SS, the Nova was originally launched in 1962 and came with a 120-horsepower straight six. The car’s muscle car lines remained in production for a few decades and, if well maintained, can still be seen roaming the streets.

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Ford Econoline

Ford Econoline

Image for article titled Here Are The American Cars You Think Are The Most Reliable
Photo: Ford

In terms of just how long they last: Ford Econoline. They survive van life, they survive ambulance life, they survive UHaul life, they survive until they are clapped out half-running church transport.

The first van to earn a nod of appreciation was the Ford Econoline. The versatile machine can take a beating in a multitude of uses, from holiday camper to removal van. The van was also rated four stars out of five by Consumer Reports in terms of its reliability.

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Ford Focus ZX3

Ford Focus ZX3

A red Ford Focus hatchback
Photo: Ford

2000-2007 Ford Focus with the Zetec 2.0L. My family has had two, a 2001 ZX3 and a 2006 ZX4. They ran with mediocrity, but never left us stranded. I r over a speed bump at 30mph in the ZX4 once, the ZX3 went down an embankment and drove home. Tough as nails.

The compact Focus ZX3 is the latest Ford to be recognized for its dependable nature. Despite being surprisingly spacious for its smaller size, the hatchback was rated for being reliable as a manual, with other commenters saying they only ever needed to replace a battery.

Suggested by: Chayse Griffin (Facebook)

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GMC Sierra

GMC Sierra

A burgundy GMC pickup truck
Photo: GMC

I live in the heart of the rust belt. Not many cars even make it to 15 years old, let alone 20. Yet the newest of these trucks was built over 20 years ago and I see minimum 2-3 of them driving around every day... and usually at least one of them is pushing 30-years-old. And many of them even still look good!

The Sierra and its Chevy C/K counterparts both gained shout outs for their reliability. The pickups were said to be second only to the US Postal Service trucks.

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Toyota Corolla

Toyota Corolla

A silver Toyota Corolla sedan
Photo: Toyota

My wife bought a brand new Corolla (built in the States) back in 2000. It was her first new car and she loved it. She loved it so much she drove it for the next 16 years. During that time I replaced tires, brakes, batteries, windshield wipers, the serpentine belt, and sooo many hubcaps. The only item I replaced under the hood due to failure over the entire 16 year span was the windshield washer fluid reservoir. It dry rotted and was starting to leak a little.

For anyone that doubts the Corolla’s position on this list, it’s manufactured in Toyota’s Mississippi plant and has been constructed on US soil in varying quantities since 1986. Several commenters suggested the Corolla as they said it never left them stranded.

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Saturn Ion

Saturn Ion

A grey Saturn Ion Sedan
Photo: Saturn

My 2.4L Ecotec in my ‘06 Saturn Ion ran over 206k in 10 years with no issues even after stalling out in a flooded road. Just heated & changed the oil a few times and she purred like a kitten again. The plastic body made it a great car too.

Despite garnering few fans during its time in production, the Saturn Ion sounds like it could outlive many more successful vehicles. Its admirers seem to find it at home in the snow, great at hauling, and say that its engine can run for mile on end.

Suggested by: Ryan Spreen (Facebook)

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Ford F-150

Ford F-150

A Ford F-150 pickup in a field
Photo: Ford

Very little mechanically to go wrong. Early EFI so not that complicated. Robust. Body-on-frame. Lights, radio, and the dual fuel tanks are the most complex electronics on it. Has all the necessary gauges. Under-stressed engine and transmission. Moving parts are all serviceable.

Several people suggested the F-150 due to its simple build and easy to fix components. The 90s models seemed particularly popular among readers.

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Checker Marathon

Checker Marathon

An orange Checker Marathon
Photo: Checker

No contest. The Checker Marathon designed and built specifically to run forever.

I mean, come on, it’s called the goddamn Marathon.

Both the Marathon (pictured) and the classic American taxicab, the Checker Taxi, were given nods by readers. The Taxi was produced between 1959 and 1980, when it was put to work covering thousands of miles with travelers across the US.

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Buick Roadmaster

Buick Roadmaster

A black Buick Roadmaster
Photo: Buick

These cars are nearly unkillable, even in harsh police and taxi service. I routinely would see cabs and ex cop car 9C1s with 250,000 - 300,000 miles on the original engines. Parts are cheap and widely available, they’re simple, durable and used proven technology.

Another car that proved its worth in the workplace was the Buick Roadmaster, which was a familiar site as a taxi and police car. After a life of service, the cars could then be sold and given new homes, where with simple maintenance they could be kept running for years.

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