Rank your own vehicles

There’s been some debate here regarding Tom and Ray’s “Top 10 Cars We Hate Most” (because they’re so reliable). Some readers are turned off by Tom & Ray’s “propaganda” for Honda, Toyota, etc. Tom and Ray have worked on thousands of cars, as have the pros on this forum. Others of us regular people have owned and worked on just a handful. But at the end of the day, we’re all limited by our own experiences of owning and working on different makes and models of cars.

So, in the interest of unscientific research, list all the vehicles you have PERSONALLY owned, and rank them from first to last, in order of RELIABILITY. That wasy, there’s no argument. If you say your old MGB was the most reliable vehicle you ever owned, hey, no one can argue!

OK, I’ll start my modest list, in order of reliability, from first to last:

  1. 1988 Honda CRX Si
  2. 1999 Honda CR-V AWD
  3. 2002 Toyota Tacoma
  4. 1966 VW Camper bus
  5. 197? Plymouth Volare
  6. 198? Ford F250 XLT

I’m going to twist this and rank order vehicles I have personally owned or maintained for family members:

  1. 1983 Ford F-150
  2. 1996 Toyota Camry
  3. 1998 Toyota Camry (tie)
  4. 1997 Ford Taurus (tie)
  5. 2002 Toyota Camry
  6. 1984 Mazda GLC
  7. 1998 Toyota Corolla
  8. 1996 Oldsmobile Aurora
  9. 1998 Toyota Corolla
  10. 2001 Toyota Prius

Not ranked: 2010 Mazda6 (FAR too new to give a fair rating, but so far spotless)

Edit: Also forgot to add in the 1987 Camry. I can’t decide where to put it. Until 80,000 on the odometer, it was horrid. But once it was on its third engine, well, then it was very good.

I’ve had lots of cars so I’ll mention a couple that were the worst and a couple that were the best. Most of those in-between were pretty reliable.


  1. 2003 Honda Civic EX, manual trans.
  2. lots of ties for 2nd, 2001 Toyota Sequoia, '78 Olds Cutlass 350 V8 4bbl, '68 Ford Galaxy Wagon 302 V8


  1. '67 Ford Mustang, 289 2bbl, 3 spd stick great car but louvers in the hood let water into the battery (several dead batteries in the era before batteries were sealed no maintenance type), several starting motors (about 1 every 3 years), tiny fuel filter that clogged often (easy to replace as it screwed into the base of the carb.), creaky front suspension, had to replace the trans (bad bearings and worn gears), body rust. Still perhaps my favorite car of them all.

  2. '71 VW Camper bus; so underpowered, but it kept going. Just awful to work on due to cramped space, frequent valve adjustments, frequent oil changes needed, always tinkering with the old points and plugs to keep it running at Full Power. Touchy carbs that always needed adjusting, couldn’t reach the battery to add water so a couple of batteries died prematurely.

  3. '76 or '77 Plymouth Volare Wagon slant 6 auto trans. Just an awful car. Everything was bad and needed work and the car was “new”. Ignition problems, cooling problems, knobs and handles fell off, poor shifting, poor running (bucking and sputtering for miles when warming up). A new car that I was happy see go in 2 years, took a big loss on that one.

  4. A '70 Jeepster 4WD, 4 spd, V6 This car left me stranded many times, and I kept it just over a year. The transfer case would bind up despite my best efforts to use it properly, the V6 was very susceptible to damp weather (multiple dist. caps, wires, etc. could not keep the sparks from flying around the motor whenever it rained it died.

Too many cars over 50 years to rate them all. The most reliable is my current 2002 Sienna. The least reliable was a late 70’s Datsun. Every time I put in a dollar of gas, I knew I’d be spending a dollar on repairs. And, it wasn’t wear items. Things like a switch inside the a/c failed and had to be torn down. It never stopped.

But, really it’s hard to say. The 50’s and 60’s cars needed so much repairs, we took it for granted. It might be if I owned some of those old vehicles, they would actually be worse than the Datsun. I am not sure.

Over the years I have owned:

Sunbeam IMP 1965
VW Beetle 1970
VW Rabbit Diesel ~ 1978
Mazda 626 ~ 1980
Mazda RX70 ~ 1987
Mazda Miata ~ 1990
VW NB TDI (diesel) 2002

Some times I had more than one at a time.

I loved them all. I had very few problems with any of them, I would consider them all very reliable. The only times I have had to call for help was when I managed to leave my lights on. and the time a “Made In the USA” fuel line broke and resulted in a engine fire in my Sumbeam Imp.

This isn’t a completely fair list- - I’ve owned the 91 CRX and the 93 MR2 much longer than the 07 TL, so even though the TL has been reliable, I can’t fairly say that it’s MORE reliable than the very reliable 20 year old cars. . . Anyway, here goes, listed in order of ownership - the numbers indicate the reliability level:

  1. 1988 Honda CRX DX - killed by rust
  2. 1991 Honda CRX DX/Si (DX, but I swapped the Si motor into it) - still have it. It has yet to break.
  3. 1989 Dodge Caravan SE - killed by a cracked block. Had a lot of problems throughout its life.
  4. 1993 Toyota MR2 - still have it. Worst problem has been a dead master cylinder.
  5. 1990 Honda CRX Si - Sold it to a friend. It’s still running. Had a sticking caliper when I sold it, but it had a lot of problems that weren’t Honda’s fault - the idiot that owned it before me didn’t know how to install anything, and broke a lot of the stuff surrounding what he was installing, so a lot of stuff didn’t work.
  6. 2007 Acura TL - Ranked it 3 because like I said above, I haven’t owned it nearly as long and it wouldn’t be fair to rank it 1.

Best to worst reliability

  1. 2004 Subaru WRX
  2. 2005 Subaru Legacy (turbo) GT wagon
  3. 95 Honda Civic
  4. 89 Toyota pickup 4x4
  5. VW Jetta GLI 16v

Of the vehicles I’ve OWNED, in best to worst in reliablity:

  1. 2007 Corolla (Only a flat tire so far; this car is almost boring to own)
  2. 1994 Nisan Sentra
  3. 1988 Chevrolet Caprice 305V8
  4. 1984 Chevrolet Impala 305V8
  5. 1966 Chevelle Malibu 283V8
  6. 1965 Dodge Dart 273V8
  7. 1977 Dodge Colt (Mitsubishi Lancer)
  8. 1976 Ford Granada 351V8
  9. 1971 Mercury Comet 6
  10. 1948 Chevrolet Stylemaster Deluxe
  11. 1957 Plymouth 6; worst car ever; truly bio-degradable! Front seat dropped through the floor at only 75000 miles. Forgot to add that one first time around.

Of the company cars I’ve had:

  1. 1980 Oldsmobile Delta 88 350V8
  2. 1977 Pontiac LeMans V8
  3. 1961 Ford 6
  4. 1958 Dodge Royal V8

Docnick, looks like you’ve been around the block a few times since 1948! So far you win for “oldest car” and “most cars.”

What makes you think that T and R have worked on thousands of cars?

What makes you think they haven’t???

They do own a garage…and it wasn’t always the case where they could hire mechanics. In fact the first 20 years or so of the garage they did all the work themselves. Not sure what the case is now.

My best cars

1996 Honda Accord
1998 Nissan Pathfinder
1987 Honda Accord
1990 Nissan Pathfinder
1967 Malibu SS
1969 Chevy Camaro
1968 Pontiac TransAm
1972 Chevy Monte Carlo


1984 GMC S-15
1977 Dodge Aspen

Gee How could I forget about this one…

1973 Chevy Vega…(mechanically the worse car ever)…but loved it…

They’ve had a shop in Cambridge for something like 30 years…

1995 Toyota Avalon 182,000 miles. Repairs outside of scheduled maint: Power Antenna

1979 Toyota Celica 200,000 miles. Repairs outside of scheduled maint: Clutch, Exh manifold

1970 Chevrolet Mailbu L6: 120,000 miles. Sold due to tranny failure. Other repairs included THREE Distributor replacements. Car had chronic “hesitation” problems.

1970 Chevrolet Chevelle V8 307: Car needed valve job at 42,000 miles, along with THREE Rochester carb replacements over 135,000 miles

1982 Toyota Cressida: 124,000 miles. Worst car I ever owned. Chronic overheating, brake problems, Overcharging of alternator with voltage spike which wiped out ALL electronics.

1- 1996 Honda Civic EX- 200K+ on the original clutch!
2- 1986 Toyota P/U- 300K and still strong
3- 1995 Subaru Legacy Station Wagon Broken crank pully was the worst of it so far. 160K.
4- 1984 Dodge prospector van with a slant 6. refused to die. Took it to alaska and back 6 years ago and now it lives on farm where it sill refuses to die. 150K.
5- 1988 Chevy Celebrity station wagon. OK- it always ran like crap but it did always run. Damndest thing.

Worst was a VW van.

Me too in the ‘‘all good cars’’ category.

Even the 75 Gremlin.

The 92 Ford Explorer was the go-getter however. Every one called me when theirs was dead. I kept a basic tool set, jumpers, break-in tools, great tires, tow rope, etc and and that truck ALWAYS performed.
Even when I was called by my wife, who had her 91 Explorer at her work, to drive UP the icy hills to bring her home DOWN the icy hills ! ( other cars were sliding in all directions down Nizhoni boulevard like bowling balls down a loading ramp and people who got out of their cars were falling on their butts )
From the time I special ordered it new, till I sold it in 09, in never let me down. Even though I assumed my number would soon be up, cuz it had been too good for too long I’d be calling someone else for a tow. But no, it was the energizer bunny.

Wow, even the Gremlin had no gremlins…you’ve been living right!

Proper maintainence…
Proper operation…
And relatively few miles ( the 92 Explorer had merely 140k miles when I sold it in 09 )

…Goes a long long long way. :slight_smile:

In order of ownership ; again, all good vehicles…
75 Gremlin ( bought new )
78 Chrysler Cordoba ( bought new )
79 Chevy pick up…still have in my driveway. ( new dealer demo )
–Cordoba and chevy pickup were the first we were a two car family–
80 Bronco ( bought used )
92 Explorer ( bought new )
91 Explorer ( bought used )
06 Escape hybrid…still have ( bought new )
08 Expedition…still have ( bought used )

All of my cars, except for the Karmann-Ghia, were purchased as new cars.
All were maintained better than the manufacturer specified.

In order, from best to worst:

  1. 2002 Subaru Outback–6-cylinder
  2. 1997 Subaru Outback–4-cylinder
  3. 1971 Dodge Charger–318 engine
  4. 1992 Honda Accord wagon–4-cylinder
  5. 1972 VW Karmann-Ghia
  6. 1986 Ford Taurus–V-6
  7. 1981 Chevy Citation–4-cylinder

And, the bottom-of-the-barrel, worst piece of crap:
8) 1974 Volvo 240 GL

Note: My 2011 Outback 6-cylinder, while promising, is too new to rate since it is only a little over 3 months old.
I will have a better idea of where it ranks after a year or so.