As for semi-modern cars that are easy to work on, you cannot beat the Geo Metro/Suzuki Swift. I have changed out engines in my driveway, no hoist required. Just place a block of wood and jack under the oil pan, support the transmission, unbolt the motor mounts and transmission bell housing, jack up the engine as high as it will go, and lift it out! The same holds true for the transmission but you have to remove the axles which involves a few extra steps as well as draining the fluid. These are really about the most simple little cars to work on.
Break a timing belt? I have changed one of those on the side of the road in about an hour. The Geo Metro has tons of room under its tiny hood. It was the VW Bug of its time and they will run forever if treated right. As with any economy car, people treat them poorly and neglect maintenance so often end up as a throwaway. Their biggest inherent weakness was lousy rust proofing. The things will literally fall apart from rust.
The Geo Metro is the most simple and easy to work on no frills car in the past 20 years if you ask me.
As for EMP attack and such, I agree that EVERYTHING would be a mess. There would be no more clean drinking water for many, no more sewage treatment, no more food distribution, no more fuel distribution, and no police/fire services. Food would rot in refrigerated warehouses with no refrigeration, trucks couldn’t transport food or fuel, pipelines wouldn’t work, water and sanitation systems would have no power, and the police would be protecting their own families, etc. It would be a real mess.
In the event of a solar flare similar to the 1859 Carrington Event, there would possibly be time to disconnect electric power systems and protect components from being fried. There would be blackouts extending for a considerable time but it wouldn’t be an all out catastrophe if utilities acted in time. Yes, it would be a huge
and costly inconvenience but not the collapse of modern civilization. We had a close call with a large solar flare just a few years ago. https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/23jul_superstorm A solar flare would likely leave our sensitive microelectronics intact. Cars wouldn’t be disabled directly but wouldn’t run if you couldn’t get gas and such.
A surprise EMP attack by an enemy would come without warning and fry the power grid. This is the stuff that will fry the sensitive microelectronics in pretty much every device we own these days unless in a Faraday cage. EVerything within a several hundred to thousand mile radius will be impacted. Research the Starfish Prime nuclear test if you want to understand how this all works. Telstar 1, the first major US communications satellite, was fried by radiation from atmospheric nuclear tests. An atmospheric nuclear test by anyone these days might as well be an act of war as it is going to fry at least some satellites, creating global impacts.
Remember, I work in IT for a living. Lax security is the reason for over 50% of my work. Yes, it keeps me busy and pays my bills but is also frightening. I see how so much information is compromised and how people just basically leave their doors wide open for the bad guys to steal information and trash their networks with ransomware, etc. All of the big hacks that made the news were 100% preventable. Notpetya is one such attack that could have really impacted the world economy had Maersk not escaped the complete loss of all their shipping information by a simple stroke of luck. https://www.wired.com/story/notpetya-cyberattack-ukraine-russia-code-crashed-the-world/ Yeah, a cyber attack is probably likely to be the thing that crashes the world when you get right down to it. I deal with it on a daily basis. I tell my customers that hacking likely impacted the US Presidential election and can make or break your business as well.
As for cars, take a look at this article. Yeah, this was fixed years ago now and it took a certain combination of factors to make it work but is a proof of concept of how vulnerable modern cars are to hacking. https://www.wired.com/2015/07/hackers-remotely-kill-jeep-highway/ I almost think I would want any means of my modern vehicle communicating with the outside world disabled. IF not in software, I would remove the radio transmitters or disable them by cutting the wires at a hardware level. Of course this might set off some sort of limp mode and basically ruin the car for all practical purposes.
Then we have all these smart devices which are capable of getting hacked in odd ways. You may get hacked via that $6 smart LED lightbulb these days or that remote thermostat. Here is how a smart fishtank allowed hackers to get into a casino network. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2017/07/21/how-a-fish-tank-helped-hack-a-casino/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.1b251c135ce0
I don’t use Alexa at my house!