Just because you want something that won’t leave you in an oily stupor on the side of the road doesn’t mean that you’ll have to empty your bank account to do it. Last week I asked you to find the most dependable cheap cars on eBay, and you delivered on time, and most importantly, under budget. You can’t afford not to have one of these things in your garage.
10. 1994 Acura Legend
This Acura Legend is built on an almost perfect platform. It’s a car that was made by Honda in the early-to-mid 1990s, has a V6 engine that sounds better at full throttle than most anything made by a major manufacturer today, it’s fairly well-appointed, even by today’s standards, and it’s a rolling time capsule.
It also has the reliability of a tank if its reasonable maintenance items are taken care of, even if it’s performed in a slightly less than reasonable time frame. It is front wheel drive, but that’s why I said almost perfect. (Suggested by Snowball)
9. 1985 Honda CRX Si
This Honda CRX Si marked the start of the hot hatch wars in America. Sure, the Golf GTI was available earlier, but it only got its first formidable mass market competitor with Honda’s little hatchback that could.
The car’s four cylinder with primitive fuel injection system made enough horsepower to get out of its own way, but it also allowed the car to run so well that more than 30 years later, it’s still being traded as a running example of a car that Honda probably should start making again. The CR-Z does NOT count. (Suggested by Shift24)
8. 2000 Buick Century
This Buick Century is the car your grandma drove when you were in elementary school, and it’s the one she still had when you went to high school. It’s also the one that she tried to give to you as a graduation gift while you desperately tried to convince your parents to get something that didn’t cement your virginity for the next decade.
Just like grandma, the Buick Century wasn’t the most stylish thing on the block but it could outlast anything in the neighborhood. That was mainly due to its 3.1-liter V6 that, save for some badly-designed coolant hoses, was more bulletproof than 50 Cent. It’s aptly named, because a century is the average length of ownership. Hi-yo! (Suggested by Phil)
7. 1986 Toyota Tercel
This Toyota Tercel is an awesome car, and I write that without a hint of irony. Although I may have poked fun at the impossibly cheap econobox in my youth, it has taken age and maturity to realize that any car made 30 years ago with the same reliability it had when it left the factory is something to be admired.
The looks aren’t exactly setting the world ablaze, but as a shining example of a car from the best era for Japanese compact cars, it’s damn good and for the slightly-above-budget price, no one should pass one by if they’re in a pinch and they need a car to tide them over until the next presidential election. (Suggested by Kidneys... or F-Type. F-Type.)
6. 2003 Toyota Corolla
This Toyota Corolla needs no introduction because if you took a gander outside, you’d see at least five parked down your block. It’s the tastes-like-chicken car that at least one person in your family has owned and likely passed down to an arguably less-deserving member of your family. It will never die because it was never programmed to fail.
It could have three flat tires and a fuel tank full of sugar and it would still deliver 30 mpg and get your ass to work in a snowstorm. (Suggested by Unbearable Pain)
5. 1997 Lexus LX450
This Lexus LX450 was the SUV to have before the term “SUV” meant anything. It was just as rugged as any Land Rover, more luxurious and better built than any Jeep, and had iconic looks that still fare well against any boxy ‘90s gem you can name. It’s probably not the most miserly car in the world, but if you can keep its sizable tank filled, it will get you to wherever you need to go until the sun explodes. (Suggested by GuPu)
4. 1996 Lexus LS400
This Lexus LS400 is similar enough to the 900,000 mile example that I drove across the country that it could be listed in the dictionary as a synonym to the term “dependability.” Drive it ‘til the wheels fall off, reattach wheels, and then keep driving. (Suggested by Delusion77)
3. 1983 Volvo 240
This Volvo 240, like a Nokia brick phone and perhaps several cockroaches, will be the only things that withstand an extinction-level event. Its thick metal body and build quality derived from the happy side of Europe coupled with its unkillable engine made it the go-to choice for parents that needed Junior to drive something that he could walk away from in the very likely event in which a tree comes out of nowhere. (Suggested by relaxingrain1)
2. 2003 Pontiac Vibe
This Pontiac Vibe isn’t exactly as American as its apple pie name would have you believe. In fact, it’s a Toyota Matrix underneath, so that means parts are just as cheap as any Corolla you’d find on Craigslist.
It won’t get stolen as it’s not actually desirable to anyone that has elected to make crime their occupation, and it will deliver fuel mileage and longevity that you can literally pass down to your offspring. Not that you’d necessarily want to, but still. If you can get over the Pontiac stigma, it’s one of the smartest buys you can have with a meager amount of dollars in your account. (Suggested by j250ex)
1. 2004 Ford Crown Victoria
This Ford Crown Victoria is the car that was used by police officers for years, passed on to taxi drivers for years, then passed on to taxi drivers abroad for years, after which it’ll be placed in a demolition derby and win because it’ll be the last car running.
There can be only one Crown Vic. And you should own one. (Suggested by Grim99CV)