We all have that one friend who's been driving the same car since high school. We may chuckle and make fun of their "dinosaur" or complain about having to hand crank a window but, deep down, we know we're jealous. A car is a major purchase. Who doesn't want to get the most for their penny?
Once you've become attached to a car, it can be sad to move on to the next. Cars that stand the test of time deserve to be celebrated. So set aside your jokes about single-digit VINs and take a moment to appreciate solid engineering that outlasts the competition. These 10 cars have what it takes to go the distance.
10 Honda Civic
The Honda Civic stands out as a vehicle that just won't die. It's not uncommon to see models from the early 90s in surprising numbers. These cars are proudly handed down from one generation to the next.
If you frequent auto auctions, you know that there's no shortage of 92-95 civics that come across the block. They also fetch a nice price because of the confidence buyers have in their condition and durability. Among the devoted following of the Civic are some loyal drivers whose cars stick by them for years and years.
9 BMW 3 Series
Considered by many to be a legendary BMW, the E30 models of the 3 series are known for reliability. BMWs are famous for their precision engineering. These are high-quality vehicles that are built to last.
The 3 series, produced between 1981 and 1984, are the cream of the crop of cars that just won't stop. For a BMW, the E30 is an affordable option with a stylish design and an engine you can count on for the long haul. Parts may be pricey, but they are a little easier to find than most other vintage imports.
8 Subaru Legacy
If any carmaker has a reputation for building reliable cars, it's Subaru. They're so well-known for reliability that they base entire marketing campaigns around handing your Subaru down to your children. These wagons are built to last, but you'll rarely see them for sale.
Owners tend to hang on to them until they turn over for the last time. This is a fantastic car for anyone who travels with kids. It's safe, comfortable, economical, and has plenty of cargo room.
7 Honda Accord
Honda makes this list again with the unstoppable Accord. These cars seem to be everywhere because they just never die. The Accord is a fine example of Honda's impeccable engineering.
Known for requiring little upkeep, the Accord is a lazy car owner's dream. Models from the 90s are particularly resilient and are not uncommon to pass on the street. If you're looking for an affordable used car that will start right up every time, look no further.
6 Jeep Cherokee XJ
It's hard to go wrong with a Jeep when you're looking for a reliable vehicle. They're built to last with rugged bodies and heavy-duty suspensions. The Cherokee is an exceptionally reliable model.
The turbo-diesel versions tend to give owners more headaches, but gas-powered Cherokees are immortal powerhouses. Models manufactured between 1983 and 2001 are particularly sturdy. It's not uncommon to see these rough and tumble vehicles on the highway or off-road.
5 Nissan Maxima
Nissan hit it out of the park with the mid-nineties Maxima. The carmaker needed a model to compete with the wildly popular Toyota Camry. These cars regularly last well past 250,000 miles. They are fun to drive and require little if any maintenance. This is an award-winning vehicle that took home Motor Trend's Import Car Of The Year and made Ward's top 10 Engines. A Nissan Maxima won't let you down. This is a car that can live past 400,000 miles.
4 Subaru Outback
Subarus are so dependable that they've made this list twice. The Subaru Outback has long been a favorite vehicle for active families and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Check your local REI parking lot, and you're sure to find at least one on any given day.
The popular wagon is great for hauling camping gear, kayaks, bikes or groceries. This car rolls from weeknight errands to weekend adventure flawlessly. It's efficient on gas, too, making it perfect for road trips. Don't be surprised by how many of these from the 1990s you see still going strong today.
3 Volvo 850
The 850 was the first Volvo to be made with front-wheel drive. The designers wanted to move in a different direction from the boxy 240. Powered by a 5 cylinder transversely mounted engine, the Volvo 850 is a fine example of engineering. This car had a reputation as one of the most reliable of its time. There are still some 1993 850s on the road, and their owners will tell you they're still going strong.
These cars hold up pretty well aesthetically, which is not true of most things from the 90s. There's a running joke that you don't see many used Volvos for sale because their original owners keep them for life. If you luck out and see one for a reasonable price, it's a sound investment.
2 Volkswagen Jetta
Volkswagen is another maker with a reputation for producing highly reliable cars. They're also easy on the pocketbook. The car itself is highly affordable and second and third-generation models provide incredible gas mileage.
The Jetta offers a spacious and comfortable interior, making this a great family vehicle. These critically acclaimed cars are still popular. The third generation sports a 1.9 L turbocharged engine and a refined suspension.
1 Crown Victoria
The Crown Vic takes the cake for reliability. For over a decade between 1998 and 2011, this car proved to be an unstoppable force. The rugged body on frame construction keeps these cars looking brand new while they tirelessly perform. The powerful v8 engine means this unassuming car has plenty of power.
There were so many Crown Victorias produced that parts are easy to come by and are often in great shape, even used. There are laws about owning a decommissioned police Crown Vic. Be sure to look into what's allowed in your area before you snatch one up. The urge to scare the seatbelt off of your fellow motorists is strong, but the law is stronger.