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Long lasting car for the money


I was in the market for a new used car, and was wondering what would be a good choice as far as cost vs life of the car.

Thank you.

This Should Be Easy.

Why not give a budget range. How much do you want to spend on a car ?

What are your priorities besides value? (safety, size, body style, etcetera)
Are there any features that are “must haves”, like 6-passenger or MPG above a certain figure?

There are so many choices. Please help narrow the range a bit, first.

How often are you going to use it and how far do you typically drive per day/week/month/or year ?


The most recent issue of Consumer Reports lists the most reliable cars sorted by price range. I suggest you check out the magazine as you shop for a used car. There is lots of valuable information in the issue.

There are lots of good used cars. It all depends on how much you want to spend.

What is your budget? That is a wide open question

Personally I think buying a domestic branded car is your best bet for low purchase price and relatively low repair/maintenance costs.

An excellent choice is is also the Ford Crown Victoria if you can get over it and are willing to invest in winter tires if winter driving is a factor.

I was looking to spend between $4000-5000 (give or take 500), and was looking for something fuel efficient. I sometimes can drive quite a bit, I often like to drive just to relax. I wanted to get something with 4-doors, sedan/hatchback/wagon style (I do audio recording/mixing and sometimes will be carrying around some equipment). I live in the foothill in Colorado, so it would also need to do alright in the snow (Although I have considered some rear wheel drive cars, like the Crown Victoria).

EDIT: And for MPG, I was looking for something upwards of 25 city/30 highway preferably. If it was above 20 I think I’d still consider it, but I’d prefer above 25. Any advice you guys could offer I’d greatly apreciate.

Also, it needed to have a bit of power. The highway that leads to my town goes over a mountain that without enough power can leave me driving fairly slowly. I used to drive a 98 nissan sentra automatic and if I wasn’t up to 65 at the bottom of the hill I wouldn’t be able to get over 50 (speed limit is 65).

Above all, I was looking for a car that could live for a while under normal wear and tear.

With that kind of budget, you may have to look at the Buicks or Chevies to get something newer than 2000. I’ve got 500K on my Buick so don’t discount domestic.

Taurus wagon, they stopped making them in 2005. Budget about $1000~1500 for winter tires on their own rims so you don’t have to fiddle with mounting and dismounting tires all the time.

“If you can get over it”…That’s good Andrew…Automobiles apparently must fill other needs than just providing transportation…

But on a cost per mile to own and operate, Crown Vics are hard to beat. That’s why the cops and taxis use them…

You are in luck! You can drive out I-70 to the States “surplus vehicle disposal yard” and pick out a nice former highway patrol car, The legendary P71 Crown Vic. You will find them listed on E-bay, the seller is colorado_auto_sales, wait until they have 4 or 5 of them listed, they come in waves, go out there and kick the tires and find a nice one. If you find a real nice one, just pay the buy it now price and drive it home…They all have Traction Lok and Traction Control, so winter driving is not as bad as some think…

The two listed here are beaters, don’t waste your time. Most have less than 100K miles…Check once a week for new listings

Thanks everyone, I appreciate your comments. I’ve definitely become very interested in the Crown Vics as they do seem so durable so I may check that out. Also, I’ll keep an eye out for Taurus’ as well as Buicks and Chevies.

Any others that might be worth checking out?


I/O Madness, If You Go The GM Route (Chevy, Buick) Get One With The 3800 (3.8L) Engine. They’re Fairly Low Tech, But A Really Long-Lived, Reliable Engine. Don’t Settle.
They’ve got a timing chain so you won’t have to worry about replacing that dreaded timing belt.