Here Are The Cars You Think Are More Reliable Than People Say

Here Are The Cars You Think Are More Reliable Than People Say

Illustration for article titled Here Are The Cars You Think Are More Reliable Than People Say
Image: IFCAR

The third-generation Ford Taurus was controversial. Everything was ovals. The headlights, the rear window, even the center stack. Its reputation for reliablity was is mixed, but my family had one in the late 90s and it was probably one of the best family sedans I had ever encountered. It gave us almost 130,000 problem free miles before a fuel line leak and the transmission went out at 127,000. The only thing that was garbage on the car were the brakes, which seemed like they needed to be changed every few months.

We asked readers what cars they believe are more reliable than people say. These were their answers.

Staff Writer at Jalopnik. Dad. Lover of all things with 4 wheels. Weird interest in buses.

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VW Phaeton

VW Phaeton

2003 Volkswagen Phaeton
2003 Volkswagen Phaeton
Image: Volkswagen

With 14 years of ownership of 2 VW Phaetons (both V8s), I can totally say the VW Phaeton’s reliability infamy is more myth than true:

1)Mainly the many, many expensive sensors sometimes fail, but the actual powertrain is incredibly sturdy. The sensor may fail, but the actual part being monitored is fine!

2)Failures are always pre-announced. I only used a tow truck one time to tow the Phaeton in 14 years. (Kessy unit died) All the other times, it never left me stranded. Ever.

3)I now see Phaetons all the time at the 200K miles range nowadays. So they can go the distance in terms of mileage

The W12's are just as well, but obviously, that one is even more complex and expensive.

Yes, I do know it takes usually 2 weeks if the dealer doesnt have the part (usually gotta get from Germany) and that the parts are expensive, but an unreliable car it is NOT. I will die in this hill.

Suggested by: ciscokidinsf

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Mini Cooper

Mini Cooper

2011 Mini Cooper
2011 Mini Cooper
Image: IFCAR

2011 Mini Cooper. I guess we got one of the solid ones. Bought it as a 4 year old car with 50k miles on it. Ran it for 4 years and another 50k - only needed wear and tear stuff - tires, brake pads, oil changes, wiper blades, and spark plugs/coils in that time. No complaints. Even the X5 that replaced it wasn’t bad - biggest issue on that was a water pump failure. We have VW’s now and they’ve been solid too.

Suggested by: Ian Campbell (Facebook)

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Alfa Romeo Spider

Alfa Romeo Spider

1990 Alfa Romeo Spider
1990 Alfa Romeo Spider
Image: Stellantis Media Archives

The poor reliability reputation of Alfa is in many respects undeserved. There are two basic reasons that it exists 1) U.S. mechanics have historically been unfamiliar with the cars (especially SPICA injected) and parts availability was limited in the pre-internet era, 2) newer (post FIAT takeover) cars that really aren’t Alfas.

An Alfa Spider with electronic fuel injection is as reliable as anything out there from the period. It has the same issues as any car from that era- still has a distributor to worry about and there’s no OBDII standard diagnostics, but in general all the systems are solid. The later models have a modern fusebox and don’t suffer from many electric gremlins. There are plenty out there that have been enjoyed for many many miles and without excessive wrenching.

Suggested by: golfball

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Jaguar XJ

Jaguar XJ

2013 Jaguar XJ
2013 Jaguar XJ
Image: Jaguar

Jaguar XJ

I had the 3.0 V6 model with 189,000 miles on the clock and mechanically it never put a foot wrong.

It did have a bit of an electrical fit caused by a corroded earthing point behind a headlight, but this was an easy and cheap fix.

Suggested by: @stephengribbin (Twitter)

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Lotus Esprit

Lotus Esprit

2002 Lotus Esprit V8
2002 Lotus Esprit V8
Image: Lotus

The Lotus Esprit. When maintained and driven regularly, they are generally quite reliable. The problem is, they got really cheap, so people who wanted supercar looks bought them but expected Toyota Corolla maintenance. Mine has 125k miles and is fairly heavily modified. Most of the issues I’ve had are directly related to mods I’ve done.

Suggested by: Cammmy

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Late Model Hyundai/Kias

Late Model Hyundai/Kias

2011 Kia Forte
2011 Kia Forte
Image: Kia

10-12 year old or less Kias and Hyundais are far better than people think they are. My 2011 Forte has 150K+ miles on it and I’ve replaced, aside from normal wear items, one sticky brake caliper. That’s it. 90s Hyundais were basically garbage, but they have come a long way since then.

Suggested by: Stephen Plumbley (Facebook)

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Alfa Romeo Giulia

Alfa Romeo Giulia

2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti Sport
2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti Sport
Image: Stellantis

The Alfa Giulia (and the Stelvio by default) have been far more reliable than many critics have assumed. Anyone I know that has purchased or leased them have been happy as hell with them and report no more issues than any other new car.

Suggested by: Autojunkie

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Mercedes X164 (GL-Class)

Mercedes X164 (GL-Class)

Illustration for article titled Here Are The Cars You Think Are More Reliable Than People Say
Image: IFCAR

X164 Mercedes, especially the diesel. The two critical failures on them are the oil cooler seal and the Airmatic. Oil cooler seal is like $160 in parts, and the Airmatic can be swapped for coils for $400 or you can replace the entire system with lifetime warranty parts for about $1200 if you want to keep it. Do those two repairs and you have a 26mpg three row luxury tank.

Suggested by: Aaron Lien (Facebook)

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Toyota/Lexus Are More Reliable Than People Say

Toyota/Lexus Are More Reliable Than People Say

Illustration for article titled Here Are The Cars You Think Are More Reliable Than People Say
Image: Lexus

Here’s a twist. Toyota/Lexus.

Not that they are unreliable or considered unreliable, they are the opposite. But even then, they are more reliable than the Myths and Legends say.

I have a 98 Sc400 I bought at an auction for $500. It had 176k on what seemed to be the original timing belt, some fading paint, and some oil leaks, and messed up suspension. My wife nearly killed me when I told her I bought it.

I fixed it up, replaced the timing belt/ fixed the oil leaks, replaced the paint faded parts, and its almost as good as new. It never stops running or fails to start up. It runs beautifully and other than a speedometer that works when it wants (relatively easy fix with some capacitors and soldering) its in great shape.

Suggested by: AceVL

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2007-2009 Jaguar/Land Rovers

2007-2009 Jaguar/Land Rovers

2009 Land Rover LR3
2009 Land Rover LR3
Image: Land Rover

LAND ROVER / JAGS built between 2007 and 2009 with the AJ 4.4 or 4.2SC V8 motors. Best engines ever fitted to any LR/Jag vehicle. Plenty of fellow LR owner firends with LR3s and L322 Range Rovers from that period with over 300,000 miles on them, kept running with regular maintenance. The reason? The models produced between these years were engineered by FORD as they owned JLR at the time. That meant some much needed QC ensured that the vehicles were designed and produced well. Alot of people think Range Rover, and think of the L322 Range Rovers procuded between 2002 and 2006 - (LOOKING AT YOU DOUG DEMURO with your 2006 BMW era Range Rover L322) when they were under BMW ownership. Knowing that fact alone will explain SO much of that confusion.

Suggested by: Mike Wiencek (Facebook)

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Staff Writer at Jalopnik. Dad. Lover of all things with 4 wheels. Weird interest in buses.

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