The Truth About Cars » 400k The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 19 Jul 2014 05:27:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » 400k Monday Mileage Champion: Volkswagen Wins! Mon, 01 Apr 2013 19:35:10 +0000

Take a look at this piece of…

272,522 miles. No fooling. This 1996 Volkswagen Passat 5-speed sedan has traveled a distance nearly equal to 11 times the circumference of planet Earth.

It also visited the dealership well over 50 times during that time period as well. Which is just barely good enough for…

38th place.

Now granted that is number 38 out of 6,894 cars that were traded into a large dealer body for this week alone. 38th place also happens to be the highest finish for any non-TDI Volkswagen for all of 2013 thus far.

So obviously this car belongs in a museum. A Ripleys museum. Right next to the one and only Daewoo that made it to 100,000 miles.

On a more serious note, VW is soundly beating GM at this point. So long as you look at one and only one GM model, the Pontiac Grand Prix.

For this week VW managed to garner 8 trade-ins with over 180k miles while the notoriously plastic fantastic Pontiac Grand Prix managed a mere six vehicles. Of course there were 39 Grand Prixs and 178 Volkswagens in the trade-in mix this time around. But the German people’s car needed to find a victory somewhere in our quality index, and there it is.

Today’s number one and two offers the same powertrain as last week’s number one.

Two Chevy Silverados chalked up 354,646 miles and 346,192 miles respectively. That wasn’t as good as the 1999 Suburban that went 412,372 miles the prior week. But it’s good enough to be at the top of the heap.

As for the bottom, here’s how a few other brands fared for this week when it comes to reaching the over 180k mark at trade-in time.

Suzuki : 2 out of 27 (best showing so far!)

SAAB   : 0 out of 41 (the usual…)

Kia       : 0 out of 85 (ditto…)

Jaguar : 1 out of 37 (may require a recount.)

Audi     : 2 out of 71

261 vehicles from these brands, collectively, could not beat a mere 39 Pontiac Grand Prixs for this week. Or the entire quarter for that matter. In fact the only true shocker for this April Fools Day is that if you added Volkswagen’s 8 strong and solid vehicles out of 178, those brands come in second to another notoriously poor brand…. Mitsubishi.

Which scored a surprisingly sound 14 out of 97 cars with over 180k. Including this Mirage with 281,146 miles and no announcements related to mechanical defects. If you want a hidden gem among the unpopular brands and models, try to find the one or two Mirages that weren’t sent to an early subprime grave.

In the meantime, there were 104 Toyotas with over 180k, 124 Hondas, 106 Chevys (mostly trucks), and exactly 100 Fords (same story… with a few Panther vehicles in the mix).

Cadillac continues to be another luxury charity case with only 3 vehicles with over 180k miles out of 132 for the week. While less prestigious, but far more mechanically sound Buick continues to blow away the big brother with a score of 13 out of 110.

All of you who continue to clamor me about good deals at the auctions may want to look at one place.

The Buick Century. A jaw dropping 10 of them from the 1998-2001 period were sold as True Miles Unknown due to their odometers no longer functioning. The fix for it is only $2 in parts and a half hour of labor. But I’m not telling the dealership about it.

It’s my job to know about these types of things, and their job to keep on pushing those types of cars in my direction.  Unpopular. Unappealing. Uncertain histories if you don’t do your research before the day of the auction. Yet, these Centurys are usually conservatively driven and offer a great bang for the buck for the non-enthusiast.

Those looking for ‘nice’ basic transportation happen to be my primary clientele.

Well, there you have it for this week folks. The quarterly numbers are being crunched by the TTAC volunteer corps as we speak. I’ll have the results to all of you later in the week.

All the best!

]]> 73
Monday Mileage Champion: Sweet Ol’ Beater Hondas! Mon, 11 Mar 2013 19:36:34 +0000

Some things in life are just plain goofy when you start thinking about them a good bit.

Consider the lyrics to the Lynyrd Skynyrd anthem”Sweet Home Alabama”, coupled with Forrest Gump dancing with his childhood love.

Or Born In The USA as a song frequently used to further political candidates. When the lyrics point straight at the constant screwing of the common man by the powers that be.

Finally we have the Honda Accord. A car renowned for quality, and yet, enthusiasts bitch about it more and more with every succeeding generation.

This 1993 Accord is a testament to the ‘Best of the Best’ from days of yore. The last year for a generation of Accords that were arguably the most competitive ever built.

This paritcular one has 422, 421 miles. Other than leather seats, this EX wagon came with every possible option you could have for an Accord at that time.

Sliding moonroof, ABS, Power everything. The paint isn’t exactly showroom new but given 20 years and over 400k miles, we can overlook that non-fatal issue.

The only weakness these models had were a few of the sensors within the tranmsision. Every once in a blue moon they would go south. The enthusiast would visit a forum and find a cheap solution. The oblivious would go to the Honda dealer and get their financial brains blown out. Other than that, these vehicles helped make Honda dealerships as infrequently visited as the Maytag repair man before he got outsourced to the third world.

Some folks belive that this reality of wholesome all-encompassing goodness did not last. I agree to an extent Everything from broken odometers, mediocre ABS systems, to abysmal V6 automatic transmissions helped bring the Accord down a notch or two below the decontented Camrys of the common era.

But then again, those 3rd gneeration Camrys were not exactly as perfect as people make them out to be. I should know. I owned one for 12 years and between the groaning rear suspension, loose motor mounts, crappy oxygen sensors and Volvo 240-esque acceleration, I didn’t see a lot of love beyond the bulletproof powertrain .

Nevertheless, we do see this generation Accord and the 1992 – 1996 routinely put on the highest echelons of the quality pedestal. This raises another tough question.

What direct competitor out there has managed to match either of those two vehicles in terms of quality?

GM models with the 3.8 Liter engine from 2003 onwards have earned a rightful good reputation. But that’s perhaps a slither of good in a sea of average to worse.

Ford Tauruses with the Vulcan V6 can be durable. But quality? With that Wal-Mart interior? Not a chance!

The only Chrysler midsize sedan worth a shout towards quality would be the ones equipped with the 3.5 Liter engine. Then you would have to worry about the rest of the vehicle.

Mazda Automatics? Altima Engines and Automatics? Sonata? Optima? Galant? Legacy? Passat?

I do see glimmers of hope here and there. But other than the Taurus, I almost never see these cars frequent the top 25 mileage champions on a weekly basis. In my mind there is a reason for that.

An enduring repuation for quality is not an easy thing to achieve. From my viewpoint, you need to be two clicks above nearly every competitor when it comes to interior quality, ease of maintenance, and the longevity of the powertrain.

Has anyone else done it? You be the judge. The rest of us will be the jury.





]]> 64
Monday Mileage Champion: 2001 Ford F250 Mon, 17 Sep 2012 13:00:02 +0000


755,507 miles.

This Ford F250 has truly lived up to all the rigors of what a long lasting truck represents. Mileage beyond the moon. Scuffs aplenty. Vinyl seats.  Not to mention an engine and powertrain that truly stood the test of time.

Speaking of which, can you guess what engine it has?

We’ll give you a hint. It’s in plain sight. Ford offered some unconventional engines in their heavy-duty trucks back in the day. This particular engine  has seen duty in more than one Ford with a truck chassis. But it’s not a common one. Not in the slightest, and I doubt that Ford will ever bring it back given the CAFE regulations of the day.

You may need to squint a bit to find this one.  But it’s there in plain sight.



]]> 53