Car models come and go. Some are excellent and some are unappealing, to say the least. Being mechanical in nature, automobiles have the tendency to bring about problems in their thousands of moving parts. A few manufacturers have built extraordinarily durable cars in the past and nothing is prompting these manufacturers to build them differently with several examples lasting almost a lifetime.
With that said, there are a few ugly ducklings in the market today that just don’t know what the word “reliability” means. Some brands are renowned for producing exceedingly reliable machines while others are not so fortunate. While cars have continually evolved ever since they came into existence, one aspect remains constant though, and that is the need to survive the test of time.
Modern cars are more digital and electronically assisted with computers making thousands of calculations every second the car is running. However, this is a double-edged blade; cars of yesteryear remained running for many years due to their simple designs that even the owners could fix themselves if something was to go kaput. Nowadays, one would need special tools and complex gadgets to fix even the simplest of issues and some even need to be taken to the factory in order to be fixed. As long as you follow the maintenance guides on the owner’s manual religiously, the car will always remain in good shape, right? Unfortunately, such is not the case with some of the poorly built examples on the second part of this list. In order to keep running for 5 years, these horrid examples need to be constantly taken to the shop.
25 Lasts Long: Chevrolet Camaro
The Camaro is a domestic muscle car that started out in the late 1960s and took the home car market by storm. It garnered a sizeable following due to its amazing performance that could challenge more expensive cars.
It still has a V8 today that can withstand a beating of heavy use for a prolonged amount of time. At the top of the list of new Camaros is the ZL1 that costs about $62,000 but can give any supercar today a run for its money. The Camaro also looks the part with its long hood and very aggressive styling.
24 Lasts Long: Porsche Macan
It’s hard to argue with Porsche’s incredible history and nobody can deny how great their automobiles are and this extends to their compact crossover, the Macan.
The base engine is a 4 cylinder 2-liter turbo that pushes 252 horsepower, the S model has a 340 horsepower twin-turbo V6, and the GTS pushes 360 horsepower completely stock.
Pair this with an incredible all-wheel-drive system capable of any task and suitable for any condition, what’s not to love? Now, no car is completely perfect and the Macan certainly is no different but we can say without a doubt that the pros outweigh the cons.
23 Lasts Long: Toyota Camry
Japanese automobiles are known far and wide for their excellent reliability, especially Toyota with its extensive line-up of long lasting cars. The Camry is its flagship sedan that has an ample amount of storage and cabin room. Onboard electronics and features will definitely last for more than 10 years if taken care of.
This model also has a very clean history when it comes to having mechanical issues under the hood, it has been tried and tested for many years and it never did disappoint.
Even if something did go wrong, Toyota has some of the lowest prices for repairs and preventive maintenance work is considerably cheaper and more generic.
22 Lasts Long: Honda Civic
The Honda civic has probably one of, if not the biggest following of cars today. This is because of the brand perfecting variable valve technology in the form of V-TEC. Some tuners have even reached upwards of a thousand horsepower without breaking which is quite a difficult feat even for large V's and that makes the Civic's little four banger a lot more special than it already is. Although the modern Civic has undergone a number of changes, its old-school reliability still holds true to this day. Couple that with cheap and simple repairs that any decent mechanic can do and you have one heck of a car.
21 Lasts Long: Lexus ES
Being Toyota's admittedly more expensive cousin, the reliability apparently runs in the family. The Lexus ES is one of the more sporty models. It has been adored by car enthusiasts since the early 2000s because of how nimble and stable the car was with its relatively stiff chassis.
That performance heritage can still be felt in the new models today.
Granted, the 2018 Lexus ES has a far more desirable design, more so with that ridiculously large front grille and striking sharp edges. As you would expect from a well-built Japanese automobile, it would take more than a few years before any major problem arises.
20 Lasts Long: Mazda 3
Mazda has been off the radar in the performance aspect of their cars, that's simply fact. However, the Mazda 3 has always been a tough car to break even if you wanted to. The brand's in-house SkyActiv system is great for everyday use and as long as you don't abuse your Mazda 3 terribly then you're certainly in it for the long run.
Big front grilles are apparently a trend now in car design as seen on several current automobiles that sport them. With quite a comprehensive infotainment system, good looks, and reliability, it’s pretty hard not to include the Mazda 3 in this list.
19 Lasts Long: Toyota Prius
Electric cars are the future; let's just say that before we even start on the Prius. The first generation of the Prius was riddled with problems as per all new electric models. Manufacturers simply failed to see the issues that electric cars would encounter after further use.
However, Toyota has since cleaned up its act and has mass-produced a reliable hybrid car made available for even the common man.
The Prius has proven that the word “electric” when it comes to cars is no longer synonymous with “unreliability.” You could save a lot of gas money if you drove the Prius on a daily basis and you’d also be helping the environment, that’s what people usually call hitting two birds with one stone.
18 Lasts Long: Mercedes-Benz E-Class
German automobiles are notorious for their exceptional engineering. Although Mercedes-Benz has had some flopped models, the E-Class certainly isn’t one of them. When someone is paying quite a premium for an executive car, it is only fitting that the build quality is of the highest level and the manufacturer must not cut corners in producing them. The transmission on these things is practically bulletproof and can run indefinitely unless someone is deliberately trying to destroy it. The E-Class is Mercedes-Benz’s best-selling model and being an extremely reliable car is surely a contributor to such a feat.
17 Lasts Long: Audi Q5
The Q5 is the second compact crossover in this list and it is for good reason; it’s the corporate cousin of the Porsche Macan and like the Toyota-Lexus connection, the reliability of the German giants runs in the family as well.
The interior definitely is more luxurious than your average compact crossover and Audi charges a tad more than it should for the Q5. This is one of the shortcomings of the Q5 but this absolutely does not change the fact that the Q5 is one reliable car that can definitely last a lot longer than 5 years.
16 Lasts Long: Acura RDX
Acura is known for its legendary NSX and NSX-R in the 1990s and the stunning reiteration hybrid NSX unveiled a few odd years ago; however, the RDX is no pushover by any means. The RDX can even rival German competitors in the same market.
One can even buy an Acura RDX full with features and even an all-wheel-drive system for just couple thousand dollars more than a base model X3 or a base model Q5.
Unbeknownst to some consumers, Acura is actually a sister company of Honda which is why the RDX is pretty reliable by today’s standards.
15 Lasts Long: Mazda MX-5
If one was looking for cheap thrills then the MX-5 is the way to go. Ever since the new generation MX-5 went for sale, people have been buying them like crazy. This is largely due to the fact they are nimble little machines that you can throw around corners because of its front engine, rear-wheel drive set up.
However, Mazda’s MX-5 is not without faults; it suffers a huge inadequacy in power when it comes to straightaways. Still, fewer than 10% of owners have reported an issue and most of them are merely electrical problems and that is considered to be a reliable car in our books.
14 Lasts Long: Volkswagen Golf GTI
The Volkswagen Golf GTI boasts of being both historic and iconic as one of the most sought-after hot hatches in recent times. Turbocharged engines have more moving parts than naturally aspirated ones which makes us wonder whether naturally aspirated engines tend to be more reliable than the former.
Such is not the case with the GTI since only 15.6% of owners reported experiencing an issue with their car according to Carbuyer UK.
Some GTI’s have even withstood the long and strenuous rally stages in different parts of the world with the occasional podium finish.
13 Lasts Long: Ford Mustang
There probably isn’t a more recognizable car than a Mustang perhaps due to the innumerable bedroom walls with images of the Mustang on them. The transmission can practically tolerate ridiculous amounts of horsepower coming from the 5.0L V8 engine especially when you bolt on a supercharger with supporting modifications done right.
It has been the world’s best-selling 2-door sports coupe for the last 3 years and it surely has something to do with being durable. Although Ford has released a turbocharged 4 cylinder called the Ecoboost, the reliability still holds true.
12 Lasts Long: Subaru BRZ
The Boxer engine in the BRZ is a relatively new design from Subaru since they have predominantly produced turbocharged engines in the past. If you are one of those people who think that you need a great deal of power in order to have fun in a 4 wheeled machine then you are gravely mistaken.
The exhaust note is still reminiscent of the recognizable Subaru rumble and it is such a pleasure witnessing it in a naturally aspirated platform. Even though the BRZ is somewhat lacking in terms of storage and space, that doesn’t discredit that fact that it is a well-built car designed to be driven hard which doesn’t need to be pampered all that much.
11 Lasts Long: BMW 2 Series
Coupes are a pleasure to drive especially along winding country roads. It would be hard to find another coupe that could rival the BMW 2 Series, moreso the 3-liter 6 cylinder M2. The 2 Series is equipped with the traditional German engineering known for designing unbelievable durable automobiles fit for the Autobahn.
Needless to say, this 2 door coupe can handle pretty much anything thrown at it.
You can take your BMW 2 Series to the track and commute to the office the very next day without so much as a hiccup when you try to start it up again.
10 Needs Help: Jaguar F-Pace
Jaguar has a long history of performance automobiles and has entered in numerous competitions in the past. Their mass-produced models available on the market today though do have some issues with one owner having the check engine light turn on with only 250 miles on the clock.
The V6 variant can get a little pricey and if you were to encounter any major issues, it could cost you a ridiculous amount of money as all British cars would.
Overall, the only logical purchase would be the 2-liter base model trim since the all-wheel drive versions just don’t make sense with their current price tags.
9 Needs Help: Ford Focus
A few years ago, people considered the Ford Focus to be a bargain for it cost less than $20,000 and you could have loads of fun and solid reliability packed into a small, lightweight body. However, gone are the days when you would be sure your Focus starts up every morning.
Ford has since added a dual clutch transmission and it was just downhill from there. Focus drivers have had many parts replaced over the first couple of years of ownership; it has gone from being one of the most beloved cars on the market to one of the worst in the industry when it comes to reliability.
8 Needs Help: Cadillac Escalade
Our land of the free has built some of the most reliable cars in the past with some 1970s models still going strong to this day but the Cadillac Escalade is a far cry from these old classics. According to J.D. Power, the Escalade scored a reliability rating of only two out of five, that’s the lowest a vehicle can earn.
Given that Cadillac charges quite a premium for this luxury large SUV, buyers are much better off with some of its competitors such as the Lincoln Navigator or the Mercedes-Benz GLS.
The V8 under the hood powers the Escalade well and compliments the imposing size of the vehicle but the passenger and cargo space doesn’t follow suit at all.
7 Needs Help: Ford Fiesta
Along with the Ford Focus, the Fiesta has also suffered from constant mechanical issues as well. The reliability of the new automatic transmission variants is below average to be frank. Don’t be fooled, the Fiesta is still a treat to drive, especially the Fiesta ST with a 5-speed manual, but this car just simply needs some help in order to last at least 5 years.
The climate control has also had some problems in the Ford Fiesta and if it is your daily driver and if you’re living in an area with rather harsh weather, we can only imagine how dreadful it would be if your climate control was to stop functioning all of a sudden.
6 Needs Help: Fiat 500
It’s impossible to talk about Fiat without mentioning the ugliest car ever made, the Fiat Multipla. Its distant cousin, the Fiat 500, doesn’t share as much hate as the Multipla but it definitely garnered some mixed opinions about the styling.
Italian cars are not known for their amazing reliability and the 500 is no different.
The 2018 Fiat 500 will enjoy a livelier turbocharged engine in most trim levels but as expected, space is largely dismal especially at the back. Considering that the new 500 is turbocharged, they now suffer an unattractive fuel economy compared to its numerous rivals in the same segment.
5 Needs Help: Dodge Charger
The Dodge Charger has been recalled 3 times, that’s 3 too many for the veteran manufacturer. This is an early indication that it might be a car worth avoiding; J.D. Power has rated it two out of five for mechanical powertrain quality, mechanical features & accessories quality, and mechanical body & interior quality.
Reaching 5 years without constantly putting the Charger in the shop would be a long shot even if you’ve maintained the car well, quite frankly, it is poorly designed from the get-go. There are a number of better options if you are looking for a sedan in the same class as the Charger.
4 Needs Help: Range Rover Sport Diesel
Two-thirds of all diesel Range Rover Sports have had problems and some of them are even as serious as the gearbox, drivetrain, engine, and suspension malfunctions. Such is unheard of given Land Rover’s reputation for weathering some of the most difficult conditions in the past.
Some owners have reported that their cars were not even repaired under warranty and were off the road for weeks on end. So much for that incredible PR stunt that Range Rover stirred up when they tried to climb a mountain of steep steps.
3 Needs Help: Mercedes-Benz CLA
The CLA is by no means cheap but it is the entry-level luxury sedan in Mercedes-Benz’s line up. The words “luxury” and “entry-level” don’t blend well as the German manufacturer tried to cut corners in the pursuit of making a more affordable sedan and as a result, the transmission can get a little quirky. All-wheel drive is also an option but one would have to shell out thousands more for that addition. The CLA is far from the worst in its class but it definitely isn’t the best. One thing terrific about the CLA class is it certainly looks the part of being a luxury sedan.
2 Needs Help: Cadillac ATS
Depreciation hits this automobile like a truck hell-bent on running you over the moment it exits the dealership parking lot. The best thing about the Cadillac ATS is that it’s still offered as a 6-speed manual, pair that with solid choices for engines and it would be hard not to like this Cadillac.
It’s not all rainbows and butterflies for the ATS; maintenance costs can get disheartening and experiencing problems with the ATS is not all that uncommon.
Although it could compete with even more established cars in its class such as the BMW 3 Series, one would have to be wary when considering the reliability of both cars.
1 Needs Help: Jeep Renegade
Being a Jeep, it is expected to be capable in off-road conditions and the Renegade certainly doesn’t disappoint. It’s ruggedly handsome in a good way and it can be recognized immediately as a Jeep. Rivals in the same class have entrenched themselves firmly in the form of the Honda HR-V, and the Nissan Rogue Sport to name a few and this is because of their unwavering reliability. Although the renegade has surprisingly good handling, its weight tells a rather different story and this results in the 2.4-liter engine being too small for its weight, the engine is usually found struggling high up in the rev ranges which could lead to some problems.
Sources: whatcar.com, cars.usnews.com, consumerreports.org, thecarconnection.com, jdpower.com