By on March 28, 2015

Volvo240calypse_Part_2-01

I recently wrote a column about how there are those occasional times where you just have to recommend a boring car to someone. Whether it’s for financial reasons, or equipment reasons, or their own brand preconceptions, sometimes it’s just easier to recommend a boring car than to try and convince them that your point of view is correct.

But then, sometimes, there’s an entirely different reason why you can’t recommend certain vehicles: because there are people out there who are convinced that they will never buy from certain automakers ever again.

I’ll give you an example. I have a friend whose mother bought a Volvo 240 in approximately 1989. It may have been 1988, it may have been 1990; who the hell knows, at this point? She probably doesn’t even know anymore, despite the fact that she’s still harboring an intense grudge against Volvo because of this car.

And what’s the reason for the grudge? Apparently, a few years into the car’s life cycle, the engine blew. I’ve never heard any more details than that: the engine blew. Volvo refused to pay for it. The engine blew. What an awful company. The engine blew. These cars are so poorly built!

Now, I’m going to put aside the obvious issue with this — primarily the fact that the Volvo 240 is known for being one of the most robust, sturdy automobiles in human history, and the engine was so pathetically unstressed that it made something like 46 horsepower — and tell you what her reaction was: I AM NEVER GOING TO BUY ANOTHER VOLVO AGAIN.

And guess what? She hasn’t.

It’s been 25 years, and she still hasn’t touched another Volvo. She’s owned cars from various other luxury automakers, some of which are probably even worse than the Volvos of today. But she doesn’t even give Volvo a second glance. It is completely lost on her that Volvo of 2015 – which makes hybrid turbo-supercharged engines and a center stack with a huge opening behind it and blue dials and an automated parking system – could possibly be different than the Volvo of 1989, when the big new feature was those three-bar head rests. She swore off Volvo during the Reagan years, and by God, she ain’t goin’ back.

Of course, she isn’t the only one. Talk to just about any car person and you’ll see a wide range of automotive opinions, most of which place Honda and Toyota as the answer to every single question, regardless of the answer; Kia and Hyundai as “second class” automakers that haven’t really “earned their place” in the car industry; and Ford and Chevy as the kind of thing they rent when they’re on vacation. And then there’s always that one brand that they simply will never purchase again.

So today, I ask: what’s your brand? What automaker have you decided to swear off in its entirety? What car company could come out tomorrow with the cure for cancer, and leave you saying: No, thanks. I’ll wait until Subaru has it.

For me, no such brand exists. I mean, oh, sure, I’ve written a lot of negative things about Volkswagen over the years, but I’m not inherently biased against its cars. In fact, I happen to like every single good Volkswagen model, from the GTI 2-door to the GTI 4-door. And despite a series of bad experiences with Mercedes-Benz, I haven’t yet sworn off the luxurious Germans — at least, as long as they keep making the sublime CLA45 AMG.

I haven’t even given up on Land Rover, manufacturer of automobiles that last as long as Boston-area pothole repairs, because by God I just love driving mine. And plus, I love the wild and crazy selection of rental cars that I’m given whenever mine goes into the shop for an overly severe warning light.

But I’m sure that most car enthusiasts have at least one brand they’d never touch — either for reliability reasons, or safety concerns, or because you just don’t like their cars. So today I’m curious: which one is it? And why?

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325 Comments on “Question Of The Day: What Automaker Will You Never Buy From Again?...”


  • avatar

    I’d never buy a Ford again- not unless they suddenly started making competitive performance sedans which the SHO/MKS EGOboost are not.

    I had a brand new 2002 Expedition and although it was a good, powerful, spacious SUV, it had a lot of ridiculous reliability issues and later models had even more.

    I’m happy with Chrysler.
    I’m on my 3rd SRT and I would gladly buy a HELLCAT Charger as my next car (unless there’s a HELLCAT JEEP).

    I see the material shortcomings.
    I’ve had no issues with reliability.

    I know a lot of replies are going to revolve around GM or Chrysler, but I don’t identify with them.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      Wait: YOU like Chrysler?!?

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        Me too. I’ve had A Ram, Charger, and now a Challenger, and pretty much no complaints. The Charger was 100% perfect for the 3 years I had it, nothing but a tail light and wiper blades after the warranty ran out. The Ram had one issue, the rear end (Not made my Chrysler) had a pin missing and ate itself at 7K. Fixed the same day, it was perfect for almost 5 years. The Challenger has had a weak driver’s window motor, and the timing chain recalled. Every other problem was due to my supidity, or the horrible crater filled roads around here. With the new Camaro looking to be as hideous as the present one is, and the Mustang not grabbing me (Front end is bad, rear is HORRIBLE), and it being a Ford, I will almost surely be buying another Challenger in about 18 months.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        We have a 2000 Durango with almost 200k miles. Still the original drive train and we just traded a 2004 Stratus with 170k miles on a new Mopar. We have had good luck with them.

        There aren’t many brands I wouldn’t look at. Ford, GM, Toyota don’t make anything that I would currently look at except maybe a last gen Mustang.

    • 0 avatar
      statikboy

      BTSR, I appreciate the minimal shouting in your post today.

      Statikboy

    • 0 avatar
      Polishdon

      I’m 100% in agreement with bigtruckseriesreview @ Youtube.

      I would not drive another Ford product if they gave it to me. If I won one, I would sell it and buy a Chrysler product.

      Every Chrysler I have owned since the 1970’s has be just about bulletproof. Yes, they had A/C issues and other things, but only ONE vehicle left me stranded (a ’06 T & C minivan when the engine computer shorted out).

      I drive cars a lot (30K a year is not uncommon). My current daily driver (2007 Dodge Magnum SXT) is currently having a issue (something is bad in the rear axles, possible half shafts) BUT, it made me to the mechanic without a failure. And this is a car with 132K, driven hard and has towed WAY more then it’s designed to (how about a loaded Ford F-150 on a tow dolly or a fully packed and Furniture loaded 6×14 enclosed trailer for 500+ miles in one day)

      Just about every Ford I’ve owned was junk. I’ve had rear axles go bad, lug nuts shear off, intake manifolds fail, electrical failures, etc.

      Heck, my stepson’s new 2014 Ford fusion Hybrid had to go back for a problem with it’s hybrid battery! That’s the third or fourth time in a little over a year that it’s been in for service.

      I would buy a Chrysler or GM product any day of the week. I might even consider a foreign make. But Fords…. You can buy them and enjoy them, but I would not set foot in one.

      • 0 avatar
        HerrKaLeun

        “Every Chrysler I have owned since the 1970’s has be just about bulletproof. ”

        “had A/C issues and other things, but only ONE vehicle left me stranded” ” is currently having a issue (something is bad in the rear axles, possible half shafts)”

        you should google the meaning of bulletproof. For the car having all the issues you mention and making it to the shop isn’t bulletproof. Especially if in one case it didn’t even make it that far.

        You know, having a cellphone to call a tow truck isn’t regarded the same as having a car not needing to the shop at all.

        • 0 avatar

          Tell that to the Nissans and Toyotas with TRANSMISSION ISSUES.

          I have a friend right now with a Rav 4 in Gibraltor Transmissions…

          I will swear by SRT until they prove otherwise untrustworthy.

          At the end of the day – the only thing that matters is who’s writing the checks.

          • 0 avatar
            tuffjuff

            Surely there’s enough drug money available to buy an extra SRT, AMIRITE?!

          • 0 avatar

            No Drug industry for me. I’ve got a clean criminal record. Never, ever been in trouble!

            I thank REPUBLICANISM and my Social Darwinist views for keeping me on the right track.

          • 0 avatar
            HerrKaLeun

            BTSR: if darwinism was allowed to prevail, GM and Chrysler would have been chapter 7 (Chrysler already a second time).

            enjoy your made-possible-by socialism Chrylers.
            (and yes Republican Presidents started the processes of bailing out, twice for Chrysler)

          • 0 avatar

            There is no FEAR of DEATH.

            There is nothing pushing Chrysler, GM or FORD to do things they must to get attention and sales.

            This is CRONY CAPITALISM all around.

        • 0 avatar
          Polishdon

          HerrKaLeun:

          “you should Google the meaning of bulletproof. For the car having all the issues you mention and making it to the shop isn’t bulletproof. Especially if in one case it didn’t even make it that far.”

          I love how your took two sentences out of context and used them for your argument.

          So your definition of “bulletproof” is that the car NEVER breaks down, never needs service or repair? What world do you live in?

          My definition is simple. The car reliably takes me wherever I need to go and back without fail. I do not count minor or routine service (or repairs caused by driver’s abuse) against it. For example, if I had a pickup truck that I overloaded by 3-4 times it’s capacity and it broke, is it for fault of the truck or the operator?

          I don’t consider an A/C issue as effecting a car’s reliability, especially when they have been used for years. Leaks happen in ANY CAR! And the cars that had A/C issues were not my current car, but older Chryslers.

          I have WAY overloaded my Magnum (easily 2x it’s capacity multiple times) If something were to break because of this, it’s not the fault of the car, is it?

          Yes, one Chrysler did leave me (actually my wife) stranded (out of about 8 I’ve owned and heaven only known the total mileage driven on those 8 – 750K I would guess safely). The failure was due to corrosion due to Michigan road salt getting into the connections. But I honestly admit it, since this shouldn’t happen.

          As for the current issue (axle shafts) it’s a guess. I haven’t gotten the report back on it, it could be u-joints, which are normal repair, And if it’s major, was it due to my overloading it or regular wear and tear?

          I had a Grand Marquis that went though an engine, transmission, driveshaft, rear axle, two exhaust systems, several motor and transmission mounts, countless electrical problems, (including failure of all exterior lights at night) over 4 years and only 10K put on it during that time.

          I had a Town Car that had the Intake manifold failure, multiple sensors failing, air suspension failures (multiple times, final one required replacing the entire wiring harness from front to back suspension to fix it). This was before the coil spring conversion was well known.

          Would you call these “Bulletproof”? No way! I can survive without creature comforts if I know that the car will make me where I need to go reliably.

  • avatar
    MPAVictoria

    I haven’t given up on any particular car manufacturer yet either. If the car and the price was right I would buy from almost any of them. Maybe I just haven’t had a bad enough experience yet though.

    • 0 avatar
      El duce

      You must not have owned a Cadillac. As soon as the bumper to bumper warranty ended I dropped that turd. I’ve never owned such a problematic car. It was a 2007 Srx. I actually think it soured my entire view of GM. I don’t think I would ever buy a GM car again.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    The answer for me is obvious: GM. Once they got rid of Saab, they no longer offered any product that was better than the competition. It’s all second rank stuff that one would only buy if it’s nearly free.
    I know someone will object by saying “Corvette!”, but I live in the real world with bumpy roads and speed limits.

    • 0 avatar
      vent-L-8

      I could not agree more. Additionally the whole non-traditional bankruptcy still rubs me the wrong way.

    • 0 avatar

      You forget Opel. These cars look lovely and offer a lot for the money.
      Me, I am deeply suspicious of Renault. Nobody keeps these cars more than a decade. There’s a reason for this.
      Richard

      • 0 avatar
        King of Eldorado

        Ah, yes… Opel. Maker of the unloved late ’90s Cadillac Catera “Caddy that Zigs.” Also seller of the second-worst loaner/rental car I’ve ever had: a late ’70s Buick “Opel by Isuzu,” which was closely related to the contemporary Chevy Chevette, the first-worst rental I’ve ever had.

        But you may well be correct on your looks and value comment. The Opel convertible that’s apparently soon to be sold as a Buick is certainly appealing.

    • 0 avatar
      Michael500

      Right you are, GM quality has sucked for 30 years, now more than ever. Ask Corvette owners about quality, they all rattle and leak oil. Cadillac’s started sucking in 1981 with the V-8-6-4, then the 4.1, 4.5 & 4.9 head gasket disasters, then the Northstar head gasket imploders.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Well, many auto pubs say that the CTS is the best handling sedan in its class (if that sort of thing is impt. to you).

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    GM. I gave up in 1989, after replacing Olds Omega door lock switch 3 times in 3 years and dealer telling me they never see bad ones. And replacing a plastic cam gear which lost its teeth on the highway. Have felt no need to look back since.

    I still drive VAG after VW dealer insisted my 2001 Jetta’s center arm rest was the only one that had ever failed to their knowledge. It was obviously defective by design and my replacement broke the same way. Dealer experience is as important as the machine itself. I am OK with Audi for now but not VW.

    • 0 avatar
      King of Eldorado

      My “never again” distrust of GM is also based on an Olds Omega. My elderly father bought one new in 1983 or 84 (??) that experienced two separate problems just after the warranty expired due to time, not mileage, which was very low. The more serious problem, never correctly diagnosed, was similar in effect to GM’s recent ignition recall: the car would simply stop running while driving. Fortunately my father never drove on expressways where that problem could be deadly. It would restart after a 10 – 20 minute wait. The other problem, unrepaired after several attempts, was the unpredictable failure of the transmission’s torque converter lockup to disengage when the car slowed to a stop. We nearly missed his brother’s funeral because of this.

      Over the ~25 years since, GM has introduced some interesting cars of potential appeal to me, such as the Chevy Volt, whose electric-only range was a nearly perfect match for my commute. My thought at the time was that if this new technology was a Honda (Toyota, etc.) product, I’d be there in a second. But GM? Nope; I bought a Honda Fit.

      To be fair, the Volt has apparently been fairly reliable, and the upcoming second generation looks promising, but there was that utterly dreadful Olds Omega 25 years ago….

  • avatar
    pdl2dmtl

    Funny you mentioned Volvo. I would never buy another one again. It was a love at first sight for the wife for a 850 special edition station wagon.
    After many years of repairs, I finally managed to get rid of it.
    After that, she wanted an Audi Q7 and convinced her that would be an even bigger mistake.
    Had a S60 rental a year ago for a 500km round trip and it was not bad, but that is it: only as a rental.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      +1 on Volvo. Did you have to offer oral services to get rid of it? I practically did to get rid of my 850 R. Fixed it up, which was the biggest waste of money ever. Parts are expensive, company is Chinese owned and dying on the vine, and their enthusiast circle is in general a smug, weird and cheap group.

    • 0 avatar
      ijbrekke

      My father won’t even consider a Volvo because of when he grew up: Apparently in his early driving years (70s and 80s) the majority of the bad drivers he witnessed were in Volvo station wagons, having a few personal close calls due to some of them. Even though he has driven Subaru wagons for several years now, he can’t get on board with the Volvo equivalent.

      It makes sense in a way: because Volvos were touted as the “safest vehicles on the road” the worst drivers bought them.

    • 0 avatar
      olydoug

      My uncle had a series of Volvo Cross Country wagons up until the one he traded in on a new Lexus hybrid, the Volvo would have needed more repairs particularly to the transmission than he wanted to deal with. A friend tried a Volvo XC90 for a few years and went back to buying Fords after the upkeep costs proved to be too much.

      It would be difficult if not impossible to talk my dad into another Chrysler product after the 1988 Grand Voyager, would only look at Ford and Chevy when we were shopping for a used full size truck.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Nissan. Traded my last one, last week. Interior quality is, in my opinion, just that bad. Not from a fit and finish stand point but the quality of materials. Their seats are the most amazingly uncomfortable place to find yourself for more than 20 minutes. I have had four of their product and each has been worse then the next.

    Sadly, in second place. Morgan. After 20 years with one, that is enough. I love them and appreciate anyone who has one. They are fun to look at, fun to drive, zero fun to keep on the road. Sourcing parts can be a nightmare. I am not ashamed to say it, I can’t afford an Aero 8. Their, I admit I can’t drop 90k or better on a car that must be used sparingly as pretty much everything is seemingly made of glass on the thing.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Which Nissans? We’ve got one and the front seats are a weak point.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        94 2×4 reg cab pick up was good.
        96 I30 was good
        00′ Maxima GLE was a mechanical nightmare
        11 frontier CC, is the one that had the most uncomfortable seats ever in a car I have owned.

        Every rental Altima I get stuck with leaves a poor taste as well.

        • 0 avatar
          tuffjuff

          @87 Morgan

          With all due respect, your most modern Nissan is a low-rent pick-up truck. I think if you say in a modern Nissan you’d be pleasantly surprised by the interior.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          That sucks to hear, I was just casually browsing listings for used crewcab Frontiers. I’ve gained a new respect for Nissan after seeing so many down in Mexico getting shaken to death and still running fine in the rural backwaters that I’ve been working in for the past week. I agree though, the interior of the 2012 Xterra I looked at a while back (the same interior shared with the frontier as far as I can tell) was just poor quality hard plastic anywhere you looked or touched. But hey it’s a rough and tumble SUV for reasonable money.

          Amongst the management at the site down here there were no fewer than 3 Fronter Pro-4Xs, but the vast majority of the workhorses are the old Harbody style trucks like your ’92, or NP300s, which are just an updated Hardbody.

          • 0 avatar
            Firestorm 500

            The XTerra may LOOK tough, but it is actually cheap and weak. You want something tough, get a Jeep.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            If you want something tough, get a Tacoma. Jeeps are for people who like to accessorize.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Well as we’ve heard from another poster here not too long ago regarding JK Wranglers, it seems they have quite an appetite for ball joints at very low mileages if driven a lot on rough roads.

            I’d argue the Xterra is a rather robust vehicle, if somewhat crude. The frame is oversized, taken from the Titan, the leaf sprung rear end is basically indestructible. The only common complaint is weak front diffs by guys who wheel them hard. No I definitely respect the Xterra for what it is, it’s just not the car for me, not at the moment.

        • 0 avatar
          statikboy

          Gotta say, YMMV about the seats… I have a friend who bought a 2010 or 11 Frontier exactly because of the seats. Got rid of it because with traction control, winter tires and weight in the back, he couldn’t get it to move in a Calgary winter.

  • avatar
    Syke

    No car brand has ever treated me so badly that I will automatically write it off from consideration, even if they’re offering me a La Ferrari equivalent for $12,000.

    I don’t get the permanent hatred bit. Yeah, if I’ve had two or three turkeys from one manufacturer in a row, I’d definitely be gunshy of ever considering them again. I came close. My ’79 Monza was so bad, that it took me twenty years to consider a Chevrolet again. At which point, the one’s I’ve owned have more than made up for that one POS.

    When I go looking for a car, I look for what interests me. And the brand name on the hood is just shy of meaningless in my considerations.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      “My ’79 Monza was so bad, that it took me twenty years to consider a Chevrolet again”

      Not gonna lie, I have a fetish for those things, they are fun little cars to hot rod.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        What’s fun about hot rodding a car that you can’t even change the spark plugs on in two hours?

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          I’m not defending the Monza, but the spark plug access was only a problem on the small percentage equipped with the V8.

        • 0 avatar
          Syke

          They’re a lot of fun to drive for their day, and if you bought the four or six, you didn’t have that problem.

          I love how people can take one specific bad point and pound and pound and pound on it for decades.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        Depends on which one your talking about. The previous car was a ’76 Monza 2+2, 4 cylinder/5-speed. I loved it. If they could have kept the weight down to match my previous ’73 Vega GT (also a good car for me) I’d have been incredibly happy.

        Unfortunately, that last Monza was the Kammback (aka, Vega Kammback with a different grille). V-6, 5-speed, handling package, upgraded interior. Only GM decides (after its ordered) to drop the full instrumentation package on the V-6’s, but not the 4’s or V-8’s. That started it off on the wrong foot with me. Then carburetor trouble in the first sixty days, plus a paint job that didn’t last the first winter.

        And then it got worse . . . . . By ’82 I was happy to dump it for a Dodge Omni.

        • 0 avatar
          omer333

          That is the only time in recorded history a car was thought to be so bad, a Dodge Omni was viewed as a better alternative.

          • 0 avatar
            clivesl

            You clearly weren’t around for the 70’s. There were quite a few cars that would have lost out to an Onmi. Volare anyone…

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            My Toyota Tercel made me miss my Omni, and I dumped a VW Fastback for that ugly little Omni.

            It was a stupid cheap Omni, but stupidly reliable. Just ugly and rusty.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    I’ve never sworn off any brand completely and forever. It’s more like completely and until I see a major change. For me, that was GM from the 1970s onward until only recently, since the bankruptcy. The current ignition-key scandal appears to me to be a haunting from the old GM.

    I also won’t recommend Volkswagen. Not because I am naturally biased agast its cars (they’re actually quite nice to behold and drive) but because literally everyone I personally know who has owned one over the past 30 years has had major mechanical and/or electronic problems with them and and the company hasn’t backed their warranted vehicles the way they should. I am not exaggerating here. But if I see a marked change, I would be more than happy to change my stance.

    Consumer Reports reliability surveys won’t make a difference to me. I want to personally speak with a number of people who have put, say, 80K miles on thier VW from new and have them tell me they’ve experienced no substantial issues. I haven’t found such a person yet.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I bought a 98′ Jetta TDI in May of 1998. Sold it in June of 2003 with approximately 90k on the odo. Was a great car, not one trip to the dealer for repair. I had them do brakes, once. I did all of the other services in my garage.

      So, if you would like to count me as a friend, then you have one example who did not have a poor experience. In fact had a rather great ownership experience, far better than my one trip down Subaru Lane which was a disaster.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Add VW to my list.

      I’ve heard of people having reliable, long-term VW ownership experiences, but that wasn’t my ex
      expriecce with two, nor have I met any of these people in real life*.

      *I did know a 26 year old woman who had two consecutive leased Jettas (1st was a 2003, and 2nd was a 2006, I believe), who claimed only a few minor issues, all covered under warranty.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        There really shouldn’t be a “minor issue” within a lease term. I think even the least reliable car should at least make it 3 years and 36,000 miles with only scheduled maintenance.

        Both of the two Hondas I bought new had no problem making it that far. The Subaru is on its way. The GM almost got there, but (urgh) had the CHMSL LED array go south. (Replaced under warranty.)

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          I think for anything beyond the most uncomplicated econobox you have unrealistic expectations. Probably even then.

          My BMW has had two very minor issues in the four years since new (one power seat relay, one leaky headlight washer fitting) both fixed painlessly under warranty. I find this a very small inconvenience to not have to drive a dull beige box on wheels.

          Of course most beige boxes have neither headlight washers nor power seats.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            My Acura TSX had no issues like that, and wasn’t an uncomplicated econobox. I was disappointed when the CHMSL failed on my G8. I think people cut the German makers way too much slack.

            There’s no reason a component as simple as a power seat relay should fail within the first four years of ownership. I don’t have the time or the wish to make unnecessary dealer trips, dealing with 80% of dealer personnel is a hassle, and I shouldn’t have to go through that for what modern cars cost.

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        We had a family friend who had 4 VWs as her last 4 cars, a Golf, 2 Jettas, and a Passat. She was killed in the Passat, hit by a drunk driver at 11am on the way to her sister’s house. She loved them and had no problems. But a friend of mine had a totally different experience. His first car, a Rabbit back in like 1975 was pretty bad, but his Wife’s Jetta about 30 years later was much worse, and just a warmup for the horror show that their Audi A4 was. A 50 mile trip in it had a equal chance of winding up behind a tow truck as making a 2000 mile trip in a 25 year old car you bought on a street corner lot without having it even looked at. I almost feel sorry for the poor bastard who bought it after my friend turned it back in.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      My 2006 Jetta TDI was very good. Bought new, sold at just short of 430,000 km. Of course, by that time, it had a list of things wrong with it, but for your criteria (about 130,000 km), the only thing that went wrong in that time was a $18 fuel temperature sensor, which was replaced under warranty.

      I will grant that the engine that my car had, was fussy about what engine oil you used, and a lot of them had camshaft and lifter problems. I used the correct oil, and it still had the original cam and lifters in it when I sold it, and the guy I sold it to (fellow VW TDI enthusiast) said they were still fine.

      I’m done with diesels until they figure out the fuel injection and emission controls on the newer ones, though. But that’s not just VW, it’s all of them.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      My 4 year old GTI has been in only 2x for quick and easy warranty repairs. Great car. I’d buy another VW in a second.

      • 0 avatar
        Demetri

        See, I expect to never have to take a car to the dealer/mechanic until it starts getting near 100,000 miles. My 2008 Mazda hasn’t let me down in that regard. Despite the VW stories (and someone in my family had a 2006 Passat with bad fuel injectors that left them stranded), I am considering taking a chance on them with a new Golf for my next car. A base Golf 2-door does seem to offer a lot of power and interior quality/style for the price, but failing that, I’ll probably just stick w/ Mazda.

    • 0 avatar
      ijbrekke

      VW is the closest I have towards a “won’t buy” bias, but mostly because my first driving years were in the early 2000s and I watched several friends live out the reliability horror stories of those cars. I loved riding in and driving those cars, but none of my friends recommended I ever buy one.

      I actually saw my bias play out two weeks ago when I bought a new Mazda: I went and drove a TDI and GTI, and while I liked both I was worried about long-term reliability (new models with little data) and assumed that repair costs would be higher overall. I liked the Mazda equally as well and had a positive experience with my previous ownership experience, so I bought that one.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Congrats on the new Mazda.

        CR’s 2014 AND 2015 Annual Automotive Buying Guide lists Mazda as the 2nd most reliable automaker (slightly behind Lexus), and one of only three automakers that has each & every one of its vehicles now sold rated as above or well above average reliability.

        Jaguar is dead last, and by a wide margin. The XF & XE actually broke their lineal bar, at -127% and
        -135% below average. Land/Range Rover’s offerings also fared horribly (the Evoque is a reliability basket case).

        VW actually improved to mid-pack, near Hyundai.

        Porsche crashed and burned, falling 18 spots, with CR attributing this to the fact that they now have 3x as much data on Porsche as they did just a year prior (and the Cayenne really had a very poor showing).

    • 0 avatar
      TOTitan

      I bought a new Rabbit (Golf) for my daughter in 08. She lives on a farm and drives on rough dirt roads every day. Currently has 112,000 miles and to date Ive replaced two light bulbs, one set of tires and the rear brakes. No reliability issues of any kind except for ABS not working because of a hungry rat that made a nest under the hood and chewed through the wires, but rats can do that to any car. If that is not reliable I dont know what is.

    • 0 avatar
      ...m...

      …volkswagen cars have proven an expensive, unreliable, disposable falling-to-pieces experience for myself and every person i’ve known who kept their cars longer than a frequent-upgrade lease term, and that includes all brands under the same corporate umbrella…

      …some folks blame german recycled-plastic regulations for contaminating VW’s supply chain with short-life-cycle parts, which may explain the twenty-first-century narrative of other german marques, but the support and service with which volkswagen failed to address their chronic material failures have sworn myself and a lot of other buyers off the brand forever…occasional missteps i can forgive, but a chronic willfully belligerent culture gets no such quarter…

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        VW for me, too. I have my VW war stories, and to be upfront about it, they were 20+ years ago. But as others here have said, part of my indelible impression is the indifferent reaction of VW management to my problems.

        From what I read, VW’s (and most new German iron, for that matter) still are engineered to delight, but not to be owned for a long time. VW’s 2.0T is still carboning up so badly that some owners are installing a Model T-grade coffee can underneath it to catch the gunk. VW knows how to fix it, because they do in the Audi version, but for VW owners they don’t bother.

        Nissan is another one that’s gone to hell horribly, IMO. Plastic hatchbacks? “Le Cost Cutter’s” influence can be seen everywhere in their products.

        And I try really hard to trust the U.S. Three, but I still don’t, for reasons specific to each. GM obviously has not fixed its managerial mess. Ford is having problems with its DSG, and all those turbos are not conducive to long-term reliability in the hands of ham-fisted American owners. And Chrysler, whom I’d love to love, is still scoring absolutely horribly in the CU reliability surveys.

        Toyota is on the opposite end of the spectrum. I’m delighted to recommend them to people who don’t care a damn about cars, but I’d die a little every day I owned one myself.

    • 0 avatar
      mncarguy

      I’ve never posted before, but have been a long time follower. I agree on VW. I got a Rabbit (the original) based on all the good reviews. It’s been so long ago, I can’t remember everything that went wrong, but what does stick in my memory is the time I was driving with my wife and infant son, and the brakes went out. Fortunately, the parking brake worked. I later bought a ’99 Passat. One issue was the suspension started making noises over bumps. I read online that was a problem with the Passat and the Audi A4. VW wasn’t covering the costs that were being reported online as anywhere from $500-$800. I called VW and told them I knew there was a problem with the suspension, and asked if they would do anything about it. Of course they said they were unaware of any problems, but they would look into it. When I picked up the car from the dealer, there was no charge for the service. Later the water pump went out (I’m only mentioning the major issues) and they made a point of telling me that when they replaced the water pump they also replaced the timing belt. Well, one day I was driving home from work. Less than a mile from home I heard this loud noise and the check engine light came on and was blinking. I knew this wasn’t good, and drove very slowly home. I checked the owner’s manual when I got home and it said not to drive the car when the light is blinking. I called the dealer, and they said they couldn’t service it for a week, but I could drive over and they would plug in the computer to see what was going on. That was a sign to me about the quality of the dealer’s service department if they didn’t know the car shouldn’t be driven. Well, it sat for a week and I had it towed in. I told myself that if anything else broke, I was getting rid of it. After about a week they had the car ready and said it was a broken timing belt. They covered it. As I drove out of the dealer’s service center, the check engine light came back on! They reset it, and said that should “solve” the problem. Of course the light came on again as soon as I drove it. They kept it another week and they basically rebuilt the whole engine. I traded it in on an Infiniti the next week.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    GM – For obvious reasons. NEVER again.

    Ford (new vehicles) – Sorry, but Ford has some way-too-proud pricing on new vehicles & their dealerships can be really shady (as in Hyundai/Kia level shady).

    Nissan – Screw Nissan’s products, CVT transmissions & dealerships.

    Mitsubishi – You all know why.

    Kia

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      Deadweight – your aunt bought a crossover a few years ago, and it was either that she got an Edge and you wanted her to get an SRX, or she got an SRX and you wanted her to get an Edge. All I remember is trying to point out how similar in size and content both vehicles were and you went all angtsy teenager on me.

      Fanboyism (i.e. “You own a Chevy and I like a Ford, you’re wrong, herp derp”), which I also like to call “car racism,” is silly and makes little sense.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        44k MSRP “Luxury” SRX for 34k. That was in December of 2012.

        Not going to lie – she never had a single problem with it. Nada.

        Only criticisms are it doesn’t do well in snow (but this I attribute to stupid “ultra high performance all season” tires GM equipped it with) and low speed ride is stiff (just like the Germans).

        Even the gauges and fit & finish are as good as equivalent Audi (Q5) IMO.

        • 0 avatar
          tuffjuff

          Thanks for clarifying. I couldn’t recall the details, only that the thread in question and your subsequent rant about the Ford Edge is when I first learned you to be a troll.

          Have a good evening, dear sir.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Waah! I don’t agree with what you say! Waaah! You’re a troll!”

            I’m sorry that you don’t see the truth, factually presented, devoid of ad hominem attacks, in my opinion about and reviews of vehicles.

            I’m not sorry in the sense you probably assume I mean that term at your first glance.

            I’m sorry for you. You are obviously so insecure about your own impressions & opinions about the vehicles I criticize that you reflexively lash out at me personally for stating that which I do, rather than merely stating why/how my impressions/opinions do not mesh with yours.

            Differences of opinion & strongly worded discourse (aka passionate debate) are marvelous things.

            Don’t be intimidated, and try to keep the ad hominems to a bare minimum.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “Differences of opinion & strongly worded discourse (aka passionate debate) are marvelous things.”

            Absolutely!

            Every time I read someone’s comment I learn something about them, how they think, how they interpret facts, how their decision-logic works, and in many cases, how it was they arrived at the conclusion they formed before opining.

            People who cannot understand how or why it is that others have different opinions based on their different life experiences are doomed to forever rotate in their own little mental boxes.

            I would much rather have someone call me tiresome, boring, or whatever, but at least I have expressed my point of view.

            After all, MY point of view is what I live MY life by.

            And, looking back, I can’t complain about what I have accomplished. It works for me!

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    This has the potential of just becoming click-bait screed, but the Volvo story brings up a very good point about reliability and consumer perception. Cars are expensive, infrequent purchases and if you’ve been burned once you are unlikely to return even if the statistical evidence shows your experience was unusual. With most consumers, automakers have one chance to get it right.

    As for me, I’m younger, with kids, and I fund my retirement account so I don’t go through vehicles very often and don’t have a long list of ownership experiences. I haven’t had a bad experience with any I’ve owned, so I’m open to any brand.

  • avatar
    haroldingpatrick

    I grew up in a GM family and that was enough to never even consider one. I know they are better now, but people tend to naturally fall into social / demographic classes and sensible shoes engineers like me don’t even consider GM anymore for the most part. The social middle class is the snobbiest demographic and they wouldn’t be caught dead driving a GM like those “other” people. That is GM’s biggest problem. Those “other” people are finding it increasingly hard to earn middle class money and buy new cars. The social middle class can still afford buy new cars, but GM has no socially acceptable brands for them.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      “has no socially acceptable brands for them”

      I really have a problem with people who purchase vehicles based on what other people think. I have an even bigger problem with the smug disingenuous twits who pass judgment on people based on their personal preference.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        Unfortunately, its a real problem. And not essentially a blatant, showoff, “look at what I’m leasing” kind of problem either.

        Prime examples are my sister and brother-in-law. Very upscale (MD and PennDOT Engineer) DINK yuppies, living in Bucks County, PA (see Marin County, CA). Definitely no brand loyalty to either of them, she’s been through Infiniti, Volvo, BMW, Mercedes and Mercedes. On his end its been Saab, Subaru, Toyota . . . . and he just shocked the hell out of me by buying a Jeep Cherokee.

        Other than the Jeep, you can see what’s missing in this list – American nameplates. Every time they ask me for car advice (they actually listen, too) I give them a list of possibilities. The American brands never stay on the list long enough to make it to the test drives, until I got little sister to try a Volt (of course she’s eco-correct). She really liked it, but was happy with her first Mercedes and had a good relationship with the dealer. Thus the second. But that did open the door to American marques.

        Bottom line: To that political/socio-/economic crowd, American brands are something driven by “poor people” or the “not as classy” crowd. And are poison, no matter how good the car.

        • 0 avatar
          VenomV12

          Jeep is winning over a lot of people that I never thought would buy them in the past. One neighbor is an orthopaedic surgeon and he has a Jeep Grand Cherokee mid-spec and his wife a new Jeep Cherokee, another neurologist down the road got rid of his Range Rover sport for a Grand Cherokee Summit, my buddy who is a surgeon and a developer who is worth at least $50 million drives a Grand Cherokee Limited. Another surgeon I know drives one of those tricked out Jeep Wranglers you see in the DuPont Registry. Jeep has done an incredible job of making it inroads to customers that would have never considered them or American brands period.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          How is Jeep American?

        • 0 avatar
          haroldingpatrick

          Syke’s got it – it’s not the fly first class crowd, it’s the school teacher married to the engineer crowd.

          I’ll give two examples, both engineers that I work with who both bought GMC Acadias 5 to 6 years ago for their wives to drive the kids around in. Both of them are looking to unload the Acadias because they are falling apart very expensively and are not worth much on trade when they go test drive Toyota Highlanders and Honda Pilots. Many of their friends at work and church have these and they haven’t been going to the repair shop quarterly nor did they have any trouble selling or trading them in when they wanted a new one. These guys wives don’t want anything to do with another GM product. These are Baptists in South Carolina, not California cool folks out west.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            To be fair, between the failing flex plates, water leaks, and coked up intake valves on the 3.6 DI motors, the GM lambdas are shaping up to be another classic sh*tshow. Pilots have a few issues that seem to occur at very low miles as well (sometimes 20k miles or less), rear control arm bushings fail, it’s a well documented issue. Haven’t heard anything bad about Highlanders, the first gen ones are rock solid as far as I’m concerned, the 2nd generation used the same guts and the ubiquitous toyota 3.5/6A combination. Latest ones use the same drivetrain so I wouldn’t expect too many surprises.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Haroldingpatrick, it depends where you live. GM is a huge company and I would argue that you can show up to any upscale business or event in a clean black GMC Yukon Denali here in North Texas. The problem is GM doesn’t offer anything smaller with similar broad social acceptance and drivetrain excellence. GM needs a Yukon Denali equivalent smaller CUV with conservative, but upscale looking styling. The Acadia Denali looks too much like a minivan and the Terrain is too weird. GM needs a Cadillac SRX minus the polarizing Cadillac styling.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        GM is a huge company. Some models are bulletproof, some are crap. Same with Nissan, Toyota, Ford, etc. You can’t really shrug off a nonhomogenous automaker like that. Subaru, Honda, Mazda, something where all the models are very similar maybe.

        There are almost no parts shared between an Escalade ESV and a Malibu.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          That’s true but there is a platform and who knows how many parts shared between a Ep II Malibu and XTS.

          Oh and I think there is a dash gauge shared between ATS and Grand Am…

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            28, the Grand Am had a way better gauge cluster than the ATS.

            Also, Monday is the day that the Cadillac CT6 is unveiled, inside & out, revealing it to be little more than a stretched CTS, with a similarly cheap interior (with a 32 speaker Bose audio system option, lol) as all current Cadillac sedans/coupes, thus further cementing Johan’s reputation as all-hat-no-cattle B.S. & con-man extraordinaire.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      We had runs of several makes in my family, but a lot of Olds cars always in the mix. My two best vehicles were GM. My ’82 K5 Blazer had two single issues in the almost 4 years I had it. A headlight died soon after I got it, and a piece of trim came off inside. That’s it, almost 40K miles without any issues. My ’88 S-10 Blazer was almost as good. I had a hunk of interior trim fall off, and a minor oil leak. A starter was replaced under warranty. I had it for almost 5 years and a friend had it for over 16 years after that. At the end, it still had the original 4.3 chopped 350 in it, and was only scrapped due to the severe rust that made it undriveable when it rained. But right now, GM isn’t making anything I’m interested in buying, mostly due to looks. If I was buying a truck, it would be a Ram or F150, I think the current GM trucks are pretty hideous, like the Camaro present and future.

      • 0 avatar
        SpeedyMcGoo

        I’m surprised at what some people find acceptable as to how many miles a car can go and be trouble free. 40K in 4 years? That’s nothing. I would hope to have nothing go wrong before 100K at the least. I’ve only owned two cars. My first car was a 1990 Civic given to me by my parents with 275k miles on it. I put 100k on the car and sold it with 375k and it still had the original clutch! That’s the kind of expectations I have. Sure, in 375k miles it had the alternator replaced once. The CV joints were done. Timing belts were replaced. Really all to be expected and none of those things happened until after around 250k.

        My current 07 Mazda 3 has been 100% trouble free for 160k miles. Other than regular maintenance I have done the brakes (at 150k) and the struts (just recently). So happy not to have a timing belt to worry about either.

        So with my benchmark for reliability I would say that VW would be a brand I would not even consider. Like so many others here I know multiple people that have had nightmarish experiences with VW “reliability”.

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    The endless rotting wires in Volvos prevents me from considering them ever again. Once loved the cars and have put a lot of miles on the four I owned, but never again.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    There aren’t any I wouldn’t buy because of past experience, but there are some I wouldn’t buy because I don’t like their current offerings.

    I don’t see myself buying any of the prestige brands for myself, I just don’t see the value proposition as being good enough. I did buy a Lexus for my wife, that was both kind of exhilarating and painful at the same time.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    My last car was an ’04 Hyundai Accent – hateful little car. Uncomfortable, unenjoyable, depressingly cheap inside, mine didn’t have AC, making it a sauna inside. It was pretty much everything you’d expect of a 2004 Hyundai.

    I rationally accept that the new cars are much better, and I would never tell someone not to buy one (although I might encourage checking out a few alternatives), but it’ll likely be decades before I’ll consider one again. Petty as it is, I swear they use the same grade of plastics on the door handles, so inevitably, every now and then, I’d get a ‘Nam-grade flashback to that sad little crapwagon.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “I’d get a ‘Nam-grade flashback to that sad little crapwagon.”

      Hah! But how did the little Hyundai treat you reliability wise? They were pretty darn basic A-B commuter cars, and I respect them for that. I believe that’s from the era of stick shift Hyundais always seeming to have prematurely wearing clutches.

      • 0 avatar
        JK43123

        I have ‘Nam grade flashbacks every time I see a Buick ad–to my wife’s 1998 Lesabre. Total pile. Kind of sums up my opinion of GM in general.

        John

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        It was adequate? We got it with about 65k kms and drove it up to 175kms, only had a legitimate breakdown once (which, was largely my fault, reversing the polarity jump-starting it while severely sleep-deprived). That said, in that time, I replaced an ignition coil, washer fluid pump, and the starter was on its last legs when we got rid of it. I can’t call it out as unreliable (especially since I was a little abusive, and indifferent toward maintenance outside of oil changes and brakes) it was just clearly built about as cheaply as possible. It was great for my wife to drive 20 minutes to and from the train station, but hateful once I was spending 3-4 hours a day in it.

    • 0 avatar
      strafer

      Wasn’t that the cheapest car you could buy at the time?

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        We got it at 5 years old for $5k, but it was definitely one of the cheapest new options at the time. Which, being kind of cheap is fine for a $10k car new, a $20+k car just shouldn’t feel remotely like it.

  • avatar
    Marcados

    I’m heavily influenced by r/justrolledintotheshop, and they really take VW and Audi to the back of the woodshed. I’d stay away from Chrysler products too. Mostly because my dad drove a K-car with vinyl seats and no A/C, that built character. Course, I swore I’d never buy a Toyota, and I now have two 4Runners. Go figure.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      The consensus among the indie mechanics that I converse with is that newer European cars are ‘ready for the junkyard’ once the CPO warranty runs out. After that 70-80k, the countless number of sensors, modules, and other overthought and overengineered details start to crap the bed, along with the over-complicated suspensions with all too many bushings and balljoints to replace. The European cars also seem to have issues with under-hood rubber and plastic getting brittle prematurely, not sure if the more moderate continental climate never brings about these problems that are so well noted in the US. It doesn’t help that the demographic of people the brings the mechanics these worn out Euro-rides are typically young guys who barely scraped enough money together to buy that snazzy Audi A6 Biturbo in the first place, let alone maintain them with quality synthetics and timely repairs. Once the turbos start to go or the torque converter craps out, it’s game over for these guys.

      On the flip side, you can eat off the bottom of one of these older European cars (an abused ’96 A4 at my brother’s shop comes to mind), even small metal clips and fasteners shine like new long after that same fastener has turned into a clump of barely recognizable rust on a japanese/korean/american car. It is pleasing to see that not all of the money you spent went towards over-thought nonsense, the metal alloys and surface treatments (anodization, galvanization) were chosen carefully and money was spent when it needed to be. Then again sometimes not, just ask the owner of a W210 mercedes E class about his spring perches and door bottoms.

      • 0 avatar
        Marcados

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a sucker for all the euro-wagons (estates). I’d rather have them as project cars than daily drivers.

        Based off mechanic feedback from friends, I’m really leery about buying anything with direct injection these days as well. Too bad that’s getting to be the norm.

  • avatar
    Acd

    Humber. My 1964 Super Snipe gave me nothing but fits.

  • avatar
    ceipower

    Well , there’s a story behind each one , but safe to say , GM products are out. VW , Mitsubishi also. I’ve never owned a Mazda , but they just don’t have any appeal.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      Luckily for you, Mitsubishi seems hellbent on putting themselves out of business.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I used to like Mazdas before I saw their rust issues, and before every Mazda looney started saying nonsense like “My Mazda6 is a muscle car!”.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        My family really loves our two MkI MPVs, those are from an era before their “zoom-zoom” campaigns, but they both drove much nicer than a van has any right to. “Proper” rwd layout with a good weight distribution and lovely, well weighted steering. It sounds strange to say but they were both very fun to drive vehicles, despite totally lethargic drivetrains. Age and salt are finally taking their toll, but both still run and drive great (’89 has 235k miles, ’98 has 170k miles). The fwd MPV that came out in 2000 was a big regression IMO. It just became a ‘me too’ entry in the fwd, sliding door rat race. They were even more rust prone than our MKIs, now with all sorts of mechanical and engine sensor issues.

  • avatar
    SavageATL

    I won’t ever buy another German car after a predictable experience with an 01 Catera. I thought all the bugs had been worked out. They were NOT. From what I since learnt, all German cars are expensive to maintain/repair and require frequent repairs, and the car wasn’t all that exciting to boot.

    I understand that German Cars are supposed to be better now, according to Consumer Reports, but I wouldn’t buy one myself.

  • avatar
    vent-L-8

    I swear that I will never buy another new Pontiac, Oldsmobile, SAAB, Hummer, Mercury, Plymouth, Packard or AMC product again. God’s honest truth.

  • avatar
    carguy

    I know its irrational, but after the fiasco with my ’95 Golf I have never been able to seriously consider buying another VW. I’m sure the the MBQ cars are much better but that bad memory still lingers.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      That sounds about right for a lot of people who owned a VW for the US market in the past. Supposedly, they are much better today, but my 1982 VW Quantum spoiled any chance for a VW in my life again.

      We see a lot of Audi Quattro sedans in the mountains where I live, but my guess is that they are all leased.

      • 0 avatar

        1982? Boy, what a long memory, :). Even I would chance a VW now. Some of their cars are now very appealing. Like they weren’t back in 1982 (ha!).

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Yeah, but over the decades my wants and needs have changed, and my financial position is improved over that when I could only afford to buy a VW Quantum on payments.

          • 0 avatar

            I know highdesertcat. I read your posts when I’m following the site. Now, basically trucks. And the 96 Camry. More power to you! But the cars I like are up! and Golf, plus the Audi A1 and A3 (sedan). I know they are much too small for you.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I bought a 1989 Camry LE V6 from my best friend that I scoot around in now that my oldest son is using my Tundra (for a little while anyway until he can find a 1-ton dually he wants to buy to tow the 16-horse trailer).

            He leaves me his 2012 Grand Cherokee SRT8 but I don’t care to drive that beast. It scares me. My reflexes aren’t what they used to be and just touching the GO-pedal with my big toe snaps me back in the seat.

            The only other new-purchase I will make will be a 2016 Tundra 5.7 4-door 4×4 and that will probably be my DD for the rest of my life.

            My wife already got her last DD, the 2015 Sequoia 5.7 4×4, and I really don’t think we’ll need anything more beyond that.

            So many changes now that we’re getting out of the business and retiring.

            We’re planning on going to Brazil for six months in 2016. I have a nephew there.

  • avatar
    Rday

    GM is the low life of all companies. They routinely turn out products that will kill their customers even when they know there is a problem and so they need to take a dirt nap.
    Just bought a new promaster van….first chrysler product i have owned in many years. the FWD helped make the difference. Will have to see if this product stands up to the test of time or proves to be just another chrysler problem.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    None. Whoever will sell me what I want gets my business. Be that BMW or Yugo.

    By far the most unreliable car I ever owned was a Volvo 245T. But that was because it was old and used up, not because Volvo made bad cars.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I think that is a common trend with what I’ve seen some commenters bring up occasionally in other topics. They buy some 20 year old beater that’s been running on shoestrings and bailing wire, then they say “oh that generation XXXX is junk, I know, I had one”

      By that measure, I should consider my 4Runner to be a pretty lousy vehicle. Right off the bat when I bought it, it needed rear axle seals, a fan clutch, a muffler, shocks all around and new rear springs, brakes all around, and a fuel injector within 6 months of owning it. So much for Toyota quality right? Well, considering that it is now 19 years old, and those are all the issues it accrued over that 19 years and it still drove just fine, just not how I wanted it to, I’d say that’s not bad at all. The previous owner was meticulous about caring for the exterior of the vehicle, but it seems he was pretty lax with addressing wear and tear stuff and attending to issues if they didn’t interfere with how the vehicle drove.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    This was actually typed up pretty well, nice work Doug!

    A few late 80’s Volvos got a low friction redblock variant, a setup intended to improve mpg but in reality made them not so invincible.

    As for what car I refuse to own again…that’d be the Volvo 850 and its off-spring. Too many reasons to list, the short story is bad engine design, bad brakes, GM-grade interior, and bad suspension.

    I doubt I’ll ever own another compact car either, a Mk 3 Golf is the right size with a 2.0 4 banger, anything smaller only really works in the city.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Funny how people will not let issues from 20 plus years go. The vast majority of those who refuse to buy an American car base their decision on something from when Ronald Regan was president. Totally illogical. I get being pissed off. I had to eat two intake gaskets from GM and was told tough, too bad. Yet a new GM sits in the garage. If the product is good enough, well that is all that matters to me.

  • avatar
    Fred

    My first car was a POS 1959 Ford Fairlane. I bought a 63 Chevy and swore off of Fords until 1985 when I bought my first new car a 1985.5 SVO. Now after two less than stellar Chevy pickups I swear never to buy another Chevy. Just shows you should never say never.

    • 0 avatar
      mechaman

      Nailed it. Right now, I’d not seriously consider a Chrysler or Mitsu product, the cut hasn’t healed just yet … I like the looks of the 200 and the Dart, but that’s not enough. Nothing Mitsu makes appeals to my eye now. I wouldn’t rule out anything unless it used premium and got less than 15 MPG. Exception being the ’15 Camry. That thang ugly, and I ain’t with ugly.

  • avatar

    Well I’ve olny ever bought three brands so I am definitely a repeat buyer. Early on mostly Fiat with some Fords thrown in lately Renaults witth some Fords thrown in. Would buy any of them again. In fact, lately i have been feeling the Fiat pull again.

    However nowadays I see some other cars in others make that appeal to me, even some like GM and VW. Some Nissans could be a possibilty and Toyota, though not there yet, is slowly coming around to what i value. PSA also make sone very interesting cars but i’m not ready for them yet.

    Would never buy HyunKia, Honda, Subaru or Suzuki. Nothing they make and or sell hete attracts me for various reasons.

    As to the German lux trio I’d rather have a Volvo. Or hold out as long as it takes for Alfa

    • 0 avatar

      hi Marcelo,

      I would never buy a Peugeot again. besides, I never had a Chevrolet but you can count me out of them too – their current Brazilian lineup is crap.

      talking about Volvo, I just bought a 1967 Amazon/122S coupe. in poor condition, with a 4-cylinder Opala engine and gearbox. it has just arrived in Brasília to be restomodded – since I would never find an original engine for the Amazon in Brazil, I’m planning to install a T5 from the 1990s Volvo offers. next time you come to Brasília, I would love to show you the car!

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah PSA products are still an iffy proposition here, but some are so pretty and offer so much! Guess one day I’ll have to see for myself :).

        GM…i know what you mean and their engines are junk but i do like the interiors in the Cobalt/Spin.

        An Amazon? That is seriously cool. Would love to own a Volvo sedan or hatch one day.

      • 0 avatar

        Every Peugeot I have driven has been excellent. My father in law’s base model 406 saloon rides superbly, is spacious and quiet and rattle free after 14 years on lumpy Danish roads. It just looks so ordinary inside, like a W123 Mercedes without the Zebrano wood. It shows no wear.
        My base model 205 rattled but was unkillable. The current cars are no fun though.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Friend’s mom drove a Peugeot 505(?) back in the day. It did require a lot of repairs, but that car had one great thing going for it. The ride. Even with four people (two of them rather beefy) the car rode amazingly well. Lots of compliance even over poor pavement. Nothing I have been in seems as good on broken pavement.

        • 0 avatar

          my bad Peugeot experience was about an Argentinian-built 307, whose expensive parts, frequent gearbox / oil sensor faults, and crappy dealership experience got me pissed off with them.

          when nothing was wrong, it was a good car. I like some of the current PSA offers, especially the DS series. too bad I’m too annoyed to give them a second chance.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Good luck on the restoration! just be mindful that the T5 is an interference design with a timing belt.

        I’d personally just swap a B23 in it out of a 240, but sometimes you gotta go with whats available.

        • 0 avatar

          Ryoku,

          as the Brazilian market was closed for imports between 1976 and 1990, only a few redblock-powered Volvos managed to get around here – the 240 and 740, for example, were never officially sold, and the 900-series sedan came only in 960 versions. so I’m left to Volvo whiteblocks or maybe something from abroad – like a mid-1990s Mercedes or a non-Nikasil BMW V8 engine, for example.

          one of the inspirations for my project is a SR20DET-powered Amazon which, in spite of too much stance, looks gorgeous:

          http://oppositelock.jalopnik.com/this-volvo-amazon-is-a-300-hp-sr20det-smorgasbord-of-aw-1464468991

          thanks for your words!

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            palandi,

            I get ya, that Amazon you linked looks great, I wish you nothing but the best with your project.

            I need to get some of those rims for my 240 though, those look pretty darn nice.

  • avatar
    kmoney

    Probably a tie between Infiniti and GM. Infiniti because of all the little problems with our G35 coupe (power windows falling down randomly; seat rails failing and rocking; the stupid manual drive belt tensioners that needed adjusting every 10,000K). GM because of having a bad piston slap issue on our 2000 Suburban and the horrible dealer experience around this and other things. All of these are relatively BS issues, but it definitely drove me back to Toyota/Lexus only — in 30+ years of owning TMC products, never anything but normal maintenance.

  • avatar
    Eggshen2013

    I will never buy a Packard.
    My grandfathers 1954 Clipper blew the tranny at about 50K miles and he had to pull the head at 60K because in his words, “The damn thing is all carboned up.”

  • avatar
    boxermojo

    I don’t have so many “wouldn’t” as “can’t.” Drove nothing but Citroëns for a decade, would happily drive nothing but Citroëns for the rest of my life, but the rest of the US gearhead market finally figured out what those of us in the French car camp already knew and now I’m pretty much priced out of the used market and there is no new market.

    Plus, once you’ve driven nothing but Citroëns (after driving mostly Sixten Sason-era Saabs), everything just seems beige and sad, so I’ve given up on cars and can only lavish my desire and attention on motorcycles.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    “Volvo refused to pay for it.”

    This goes to show how important it is to take care of customers after the sale. It would have been far cheaper for Volvo to replace the engine than to lose a customer (and customers who this person interacts with) for life.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      So true. Our first BMW lunched its engine in less than a year. Elastic head bolts. They fixed it and we bought more. Our first automatic BMW ate transmissions at 30,000 mile intervals. They paid for the first one and half of the second one. Later cars had more and more problems and the dealer(s) went from treating each problem as a situation to be rectified to being a source of revenue. The cars also got softer and softer as BMW chased badge buyers and sold gadgets instead of sporting credentials. These days they don’t drive better than anything else, they just have more issues than quality cars. It is hard for me to imagine buying another BMW, as they don’t have any positive attributes.

      • 0 avatar
        TOTitan

        I think it depends on which model you buy. I have a 09 335d and it is built like a tank. Amazing handling, mpg, and power. BTW it has 74K on it….no problems to report.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Beyond model, BMWs vary from car to car. The 2009 335d is on ‘avoid like the plague’ lists of BMW Master Technicians, but you got the good one. As for your subjective assessments, I suppose it comes down to esthetics, what else you’ve driven in anger, and what you took away from it. As long as you like it and it serves you well, then good for BMW. You’re likely to buy another one. I’m not.

          • 0 avatar
            TOTitan

            Considering that my 335d makes 425 lb ft @ 1700 and 260 hp in a smallish car that weighs 3800 lbs, it is amazing to drive. I dont know of another car at any price that will go 0-60 in 5 seconds, get 38 mpg on the road, will top out at 175 (with gov disconnected) and handle like its on rails . Best of all I paid just 28K for it with only 34,000 miles on the clock. Almost all of the problems have been carbon build up on cars owned by people who mostly make short trips and never let it get completely warmed up and dont open it up. Mine gets 72 miles per day of freeway driving and has to pull a 5 mile long 7% grade daily. Diesels need to work and dont like puttering about.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    It’s interesting how events color your long term view. I bought a new Honda Accord in 82, thinking I was a hero for negotiating down to list and scrubbing off the “additional dealer markup”. And it was nice that Honda was ramping up a production plant in Ohio where I lived at the time.

    Really good car, but it had THE most annoying gear whine in 5th, which was where I did (by far) the most driving. Dealer refused to even consider that might be an issue, no help from Honda US, etc.

    So I’ve never been back.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      I was wondering if anyone would say they had sworn off Honda. Still waiting for someone to shroud Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        palincss

        Down on Toyotas: count me as one. They simply don’t make a car that interests me, and based on the one rental car we had for a week some years ago, their driving dynamics aren’t at all to my taste. Hair-trigger power brakes like a 1973 Chrysler? Forget it! No Toyotas for me, thanks.

        And a rental Nissan I had for a couple of weeks back in the mid-90s took that brand off the table for me as well, again also for driving dynamics. Floor the gas, it downshifts, the engine starts roaring and the car slows down? Please.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      Honda’s are probably pretty good cars. I always thought they sounded tinny but they’re low-end vehicles. I bought one new in ’98. I’ll never, ever purchase another after my experience with not only the shady dealer but American Honda Motor Company. The arrogant attitude expressed by an American Honda Zone Manager was something to behold; the smirking dealer sales manager behind him was dealer-typical. Honda vehicles, I was told, are so excellent in manufacture that “they really do not need a warranty”. American Honda Motor Company makes Volkswagen of America (who I’ve also had dealings with) seem like a herd of happy and caring My Little Ponies.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Hondas are reliable statistically (though they did have a glaring transmission problem as utilized in both Honda/Acura vehicles for a period), but to be honest, the 1998 to 2002 AND 2003 to 2007 AND 2008 to 2012 (that’s three full generations) were cheaply finished & dull.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Speaking of Accord above, sorry.

          • 0 avatar
            TOTitan

            DW is right on Honda transmissions. I was talking to a lady who owned a Odessy the other day. She said she had almost 300K on it. I asked her how many times the transmission had been replaced. She reluctantly said “four”. Enough said.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I’d argue the 03-07 was a very nicely finished car, especially relative to the 08-12 that replaced it. It was also one of the first Hondas to receive the excellent K24 engine, that lives on to this day in EarthDreams DI format. Also, you could get the ultimate ‘Q-Ship’ V6, 6spd manual in the sedan 06-07 I believe. I hear a lot of negativity about the 98-02 cars, they followed up the revered 94-97s, and were the first Accords that started to use domestic suppliers for stuff like interior pieces and gauges, and it was noticeable to the Hondaphiles. That and the 98-02 were the beginning of transmission woes, even 4 cylinder automatics of that generation are not immune. But I’ll take a my chances with an automatic 98-02 Accord over a contemporary Taurus or Lumina any day of the week. The difference there is that the Accord might need the transmission replaced at 100-120k, then give another 100k of service, and will drive and handle very well, with a wonderfully assembled, ergonomic interior. The Lumina will just start to fall apart all around you, but still technically be driveable. The Taurus will lose the transmission alteast as soon as the accord, and will be a slow, fuel sucking conveyance otherwise, with the usual trickle of issues, and a propensity to rust (more than the Honda I might add). Most people just get nickle and dimed to death by domestics of that era.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Are you complaining about the reliability of a Honda with 300K miles on it? Really?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Vogo

            The lady is referring to the glass transmission. In 300K I would expect the auto to go out once, but 4 times is a little excessive (although we have no context on the replaces parts or who did the work). But I generally agree, a 300K minivan is impressive and is a testament to HMC, I suppose.

            @gtemnykh

            In your scenario I’d take the bean counted 60V6 Lumina over the fat Taurus or Accord for a long haul or beater. If we could go back in time and fix the Accord’s use of a timing belt and give it a GM 4T65-E transmission, I’d go Accord all the way.

          • 0 avatar
            TOTitan

            The Honda glass trans was/is entirely self inflicted. Bizarrely, instead of providing a trans fluid cooler, Honda uses a trans fluid heater. I have bypassed the heater and installed a cooler on two of my friends Hondas. Neither has had a trans failure.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I had a 2004 TSX (close relative of the 2003-2007 Accord) and it wasn’t dull in the least. Snick-snick transmission, nice linear K24, some of the best FWD handling I’ve ever experienced. I might still have that car if I hadn’t changed careers and needed to sell my car to finance the change.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        I had a Delphi alternator fail at 45k miles on a 99 Accord. It was out of warranty, but I was able to argue that the part was clearly defective and got American Honda to cut the replacement price in half. I also had the automatic transmission fail at 115k miles and had to pay $1850 to have it rebuilt once. My Accord was built in Ohio around Memorial Day and definitely needed the warranty to fix several not assembled correctly rattle type issues, but was reliable and the dealer fixed the assembly problems. Still running with the original engine and suspension parts. The paint chips and oxidizes too easily.

        • 0 avatar
          johnds

          The Delphi Alternator was on the V6 models, while the 4 got the Japanese denso. My 99 V6 had the alternator go out at 125,000 miles. I’ve owned many Hondas and have never had to replace the transmission. I believe this is prevented mostly with regular fluid changes.
          1999 Accord V6 (253,000miles) Original transmission
          1994 Accord manual 258,000 miles
          1997 Accord 4 auto 117,000 miles (totaled)
          1998 Accord 4 auto (180,000) miles…sisters car. original transmission
          2003 Accord V6 (212,000) miles original transmission…new a/c Dads car
          2007 Accord 4 manual (159,000) miles. Not one issue
          2008 CRV auto (129,000) miles. Only replaced oil pressure switch

          The only catastrophic failure was my dad’s ac compressor, causing him to lose air conditioning. I would never subject my family to a Lumina. Almost as repulsive as driving a Chevy Corsica.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I cant say I’m done with Hondas for sure, I do know I’d rather not meddle with the fanbase of modders and junk.

  • avatar
    zedoktar

    I don’t think the owner of vehicle with a single bad experience has the ability to correctly judge a car make. As a master tech for the last 15 years and the go-to-guy when friends and family were purchasing a car I usually gave an insightful opinion based on facts I had gathered directly from my trade. Most every car has some type of Achilles heel along with some type of saving grace. The ones to avoid were those without the saving grace.

    Subarus with above average general repairs but excellent snow-worthiness. Dodge and Jeep with insane amounts of general repairs but dirt cheap parts and easy service. 2000’s GM’s with soulless character but generally good reliability.

    Each make had it’s own model without a saving grace. Anything Dodge with a 2.7 in it. Any V6 Honda or Acura from the early ’00s. Any Audi or Volkswagen product without a warranty. Any Cadillac with a Northstar engine.

    Then there were the vehicles that had other problems deemed unacceptable because of (usually deliberate) difficulty of service. Ford Exploders that required the body be removed from the frame for any major engine service. Volkswagen and Audi cars that require the entire toolbox and $200 (each) special tools for basic repairs.

    Obviously this is just a short list but you get the point.

  • avatar
    Gregg

    Seems like all the truly bad brands have disappeared. Vehicles in general are light years better than they used to be. No particular brand makes cars that should cause a discerning shopper to avoid that brand completely. As a kid, I was a Ford guy, but that’s kind of like aligning yourself with a sports team through thick and thin. Now I buy what appeals to me. I also acknowledge goodness in vehicles that don’t appeal. For example, BMW makes some fine vehicles, but I just can’t get past their current styling. Yes, they are immediately recognizable as a BMW, but giving them better lines would not be a difficult task. Still, if a dealer made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, I’d happily drive one.

  • avatar
    Signal11

    MINI. Without a doubt, the most awful lease/ownership experience I’ve ever had.

  • avatar
    dabossinne

    We had a string of full size GM SUVs: starting with a ’96 Chevy Tahoe, then a ’99 GMC Suburban, which were fine trucks, then a ’01 Chevy ‘burb, and finally a ’03 GMC Yukon Denali, both of which were not fine. That ’01 burb and ’03 Yukon soured us on GM. Both ate fuel pumps, the black finish on various interior knobs flaked off and the dashpad top delaminated at around 50K miles, and the ‘burb’s A/C seemed to have a continuous leak. The last straw was when the transmission in the Yukon gave out at about 60K miles (she puts about 30K miles per year on her vehicles due to her job) and left my wife stranded one chilly February night on I-80 several hundred miles from home (at least she had OnStar and could summon a tow). She traded the Denali on a ’05 Acura MDX, which was flawless through 100K miles of ownership, followed by her current ’11 MDX. Haven’t considered a GM vehicle since.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      The same generation of GM trucks is also know for devouring alternators, and virtually all 5.3L Vortecs of that generation seem to leak oil. Despite the nastiness of the noughties, I still can’t turn my back on GM trucks.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        All in all, if GM designed their cars back when like their trucks they would never have gone bankrupt. Look at the interior of a Lumina and compare it to a Tahoe of the same vintage and you would swear they were made by two different companies.

  • avatar
    RS

    GM and Tesla.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Volkswagen and Honda

    We had one of each (serially) in our family fleet, providing over 5 years of misery. The Honda ended with a lemon lawsuit.

  • avatar
    optflv

    For me, it’s Chrysler. I owned a WK body Jeep Grand Cherokee with the CRD option. On that car, Chrysler saw fit to install the ECU directly underneath the battery, where over the course of a few years enough acid dripped down and heavily corroded the casing of the ECU as well as the connectors to the two wiring harnesses that plug into it. (Engine and body)

    Repairing this would be bad enough, as it would cost several thousand dollars and requires the engine to be removed from the car. But get this… the harnesses do not exist. Chrysler had not a single one in inventory anywhere on earth, and quoted 6 months to have one built. (Of course at great expense) Their customer service people were nice, but of zero assistance, and the projected date for having the part kept getting pushed out every week.

    So, before my wife’s $39k 6 year old Jeep became a paperweight at an inopportune/dangerous moment, we moved on. It would’ve never crossed my mind to check and make sure the manufacturer didn’t put the main computer in a comprehensively stupid place, but now I do for each new car I buy… but I won’t be checking under any Chrysler hoods.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Volkswagen. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to buy a VW again, well, not until I’m ready for needless electrical drama and fickle mechanical reliability to spice up my meaningless existence. The trauma of owning a B3 Passat GLX and MKIV GTI GLS has been adequate for one lifetime.

    Honda will be offering turbocharged vehicles in a few years, which means the market will get turbo performance and reliability. No one will need to trouble themselves with Volkswagen anymore, unless Honda can’t purge the cult of hideous that infects their styling department. Dat Pilot.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      I hope to almighty God that Honda still offers a V6 in the Accord — after my third, I can’t see buying anything else. Even Honda isn’t going to be able to overcome the inherent disadvantages of those engines, IMHO.

      GM’s out, as well as Ford. Fiatsler, maybe — I’m not sure I wouldn’t tire of a 300 Hemi before the payment book ran out. HyundKia, hell no — anecdotal evidence from this site suggests that they won’t hold together well long-term, and their seemingly-generous warranties are just toilet tissue if the company won’t honor them. Toyota — Zzzzzzzzz. Mazda, Subie — not interested, or too many issues (rust, head gaskets).

      VW and other German “quality?” Hell-to-the-NO!!! Saw how bad the MkIV Jettas were (including the worst dealer service of all time)! Can’t afford the rest!

      I don’t like to lease, and I’m very hesitant about pulling the trigger on a five-year note on a question mark or something that could become a risky proposition out-of-warranty (with two years of payments left).

      If there’s a major change in an automaker’s offerings, e.g. Fiatsler’s offerings after Sergio told FCA to clean up its act, I’ll give it five years before I would consider, of course monitoring various reliability data sources throughout that time.

  • avatar
    canddmeyer

    Ford. I was born & raised on Ford’s, owned three in all, but they all saw the dealer too often. The only new Ford of the bunch saw the dealer 4 months of every year. I unloaded it after 24 months and never owned another.

    Since then I’ve owned Chevy’s, Toyota’s, a Dodge, and a Honda. Of the bunch the Honda was the most dependable, but I stayed with Toyota’s because of a better off-road vehicle selection. Interestingly I have eight siblings and none of us own a Ford.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Bottom line today…I will look at any car maker. A reason I could not sell for only one manufacturer is they ALL have cars that suck and those that are good.
    I would be like the Santa in the movie Miracle on 34th Street…If my company didn’t have what fit the buyer…I would send them over to Gimbals!

    Almost gave up on all things Japanese…

    After my experience with what initially was an awesome little pick up, the 1979 Dodge D50, all hell began to break lose after bringing it from warm, dry southern California to salt heavy Chicago.
    First…everything chrome began to curl off. It wasn’t chrome at all but chrome colored tape.
    Then, within a few years, the entire body disi8ntigrated from the frame.
    In fact the frame itself began to go away.
    I developed this anti Japanese attitude.
    All I had was a wonderful engine that was babied with synthetic Mobil ONE from day one…and a partial frame.
    That is until I purchased my 2005 Mazda3.
    However, after listening to all the rust stories here on TTAC…I am glad we got it out of Chicago and to sunny southern Florida where it still runs like new.
    Well…other than those creeping, moaning front shocks.

  • avatar
    poohbah

    Chrysler. My first new car was a 1995 Plymouth Neon. It practically self destructed and I took a big hit on trade in. Now I only buy Hondas.

  • avatar
    MEngineer

    Owned many cars by many manufacturers over 40 years, and while I hate to say never, there are two I don’t ever plan to buy again:

    1. Mazda. Just too many issues to mention with the one I’ve owned, but rust starting after only 18 months of ownership, transmission issues starting about the same time, and very poor dealer service top the list.

    2. GM. Owned many. Results always the same. Attractive new, and mostly OK under warranty, but no one at GM paid attention to the details needed for satisfactory long term ownership. Also, they got rid of the wrong divisions. Should have kept Olds and Pontiac. Just no interest in Cadillac and Buick.

  • avatar
    duncanator

    My mother had a bad experience with a Subaru she owned I think in the late 1970’s and she vowed to never own one again. She has never owned one since and still thinks they’re garbage.

  • avatar
    Jack Denver

    The answer to the question is easy – ANY automaker whose vehicle has fallen apart on you or required an expensive repair shortly after the warranty expired. Since all vehicles fail on a statistical bell curve there will always be a certain % of disgruntled customers of every brand.

    However, the mean and standard deviation of the failure curves will vary among brands. A malaise era Chevy Vega will fail much sooner and the failure curve rise much more steeply than a 2003 Corolla.

    So the question should be, of what automaker are you LEAST likely to say “I would never buy one of those again.” I would put Toyota and Honda at the top of that list. Who else makes the “never say never” list?

  • avatar
    Thorshammer_gp

    I don’t have any particular feelings on this, but my stepmom has sworn off Dodge/Chrysler after her experience with an ’04 Stratus with a 2.4 in it. It probably didn’t help that the Dodge dealers in the area were especially seedy compared to everyone else, and I remember she actually went to a dealer in her hometown 2.5 hours away for her replacement Fusion.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    This is an unfair question, since the last GM I bought was an X-Car and the last Chrysler was a Cricket, both terrible cars, but lately I have seen people I know buy both brands and have had no regrets with them. But I would avoid any Fiat-derived Chrysler product.

  • avatar
    TW5

    I think the follow up query should be: At what age is it okay for your car to require extensive repairs and maintenance?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Depends on what “extensive” is, but I think the car should get to 100,000 miles or about eight years, whichever comes first, with scheduled maintenance only. I’d consider any unscheduled maintenance or repair before that time to be premature.

      I trust all of the big Japanese brands to get that far, and I trust GM and Ford to get there if the platform and powertrain are a few years old. I’m sorry to say I don’t have that faith in any of the European manufacturers at this point. I just know too many people who have had bad experiences with all of them.

  • avatar
    StaysCrunchy

    Any FCA automobile. Dodge ruined it for me, sorry Sergio.

    Not because my grandpa had a Volarie that left him stranded on the side of the road in 197X (he didn’t) not because my dad told me only to buy Fords (he didn’t) and not because I had a Honda that lasted 300,000 miles with only oil changes (I didn’t). I was a Dodge guy once. I bought my first new Dodge, a Ram 1500, in 2004 and I loved it. I later bought a brand new Charger right in the middle of the bankruptcy against the advice of… well, pretty much everybody, and I loooooved it! Then came my 2013 Dart. A bigger hunk of CRAP on four wheels I’ve never driven. Its unfathomable to me how any automaker could produce such a garbage vehicle in even 1993 or 2003, much less 2013!

    Anyway, any time anybody asks me for car advice I say the same thing: Buy a Ford, buy a Honda, buy a Hyundai, hell buy a Tata! But steer clear of any and all Chrysler products. Don’t even accept one as a rental car.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      JGC is fantastic.

      300 is among best in class large car and reliable (this according to CR, no less, and for 4 years running).

      2014+ Durango is CR top pick for large SUV, reliable according to CR, and I think it’s the best vehicle for the money, period. Solid as a bank vault (come to Michigan and test drive vehicles over our sorry a$$ roads), and as refined as vehicles literally costing 2x as much.

      FCA is all over the board. They have excellent, average and poor (now, mostly Fiat based platforms) vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        The Dodge Durango is one of the great unsung heroes of today’s automotive market. It’s a shame it will be killed in a year or two. It’s the closest thing we now have to a modern day Magnum. (not that the Magnum was necessarily good, but it was cool)

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    It would have to be General Motors…in the seventies and eighties I owned several GM cars and the quality of each one was worse than the previous vehicle. The 1980 Skylark was absolutely the worst automobile I ever owned. It had so many quality issues, breakdowns and mechanical issues after that I vowed never to buy another GM car again.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Perhaps unfairly, since I’ve actually never owned a vehicle made by either make, but anything VAG, and Subarus are in a no-go zone for me.

    I was really excited by the 2015 MBQ Golf Sortwagen coming to the US, and I like European cars for their superior seat comfort and higher quality paint and corrosion protection, so I started to do some research on the forums to see what the scoop was on the new 1.8 TSI engine that’s been in Jettas and Passats for a little over a year. Already it seems that some pretty serious engine issues are emerging, namely rear main seal leaks on cars with as little as 5k miles! My hypothesis is that crankcase pressure is not venting properly, they have a bit of a history with PCV troubles on their direct injected motors. On the 2.0T there were serious oil blow-by issues that resulted in TSBs being issued for the PCV valve (which is a fancy electronically controlled dohickey on these, “german engineering” dontcha know). All of the oil vapors being blown out of the crankcase end up coked up on the back of intake valves, where they will need to be blasted off with walnut shells at the dealer, or else serious running issues start to pop up. A coworker ended up getting the PCV TSB done on his wife’s 2009 A4 with 60k miles, which didn’t fully solve the 1 qt per 500 mile appetite for oil that the car had, the dealer good-willed a full ring and piston job that seems to have finally cured the problem.

    Subarus tug at my heartstrings with their awesome ground clearance and availability of AWD+stick shifts, good visibility, and fair pricing. Oh and the widespread availability of heated seats, even on cloth seats. But I just can’t get comfortable in those small seats that have terrible thigh support. I’ve heard that this is finally remedied on the 2015 redesign. But the elephant in the room with Subarus is reliability. It’s too early to say if they finally cured the FB series motors of the usual headgasket issues, or if they found a better supplier of wheel bearings, or whether they finally engineering a solution to the exhaust manifolds cooking the front CV boots to a crisp. They’re also somewhat corrosion susceptible. Not necessarily the body panels, but subframes and even weird stuff like valve cover bolts that then need to have nuts welded on them to get them off (on a 2007!).

  • avatar
    Keith_93

    Tesla. Over a $100k and the service plan doesn’t even include a free oil change. Cheap bastards.

  • avatar
    skor

    The days of one auto maker producing consistently good cars, while another produces consistently bad cars is long past. With so many collaborations in the auto industry, auto makers manufacturing cars all over the world for sale to multiple markets, etc, it’s the specific models that you need to look at. A manufacturer can now lay claim to some of the best models and some of the worst models. If reliability is your main concern, get a copy of Consumer Reports, and check out the stats for the particular model you’re interested in.

  • avatar
    roger628

    1)Any VW-Audi product (based on mine own & family experiences over several models)
    2)Chrysler-Products, much of my hate stems from a POS ’78 LeBaron that
    my parents had, but also from retrospect concerning later models,
    based on their track record and experiences of acquaintances.
    3)Any GM product: Full disclosure-I grew up in a Ford family but I
    bought GMs with my own money. One was a ’76 Olds Omega with a
    260 V8& Borg-Warner T50 5-speed,that box was nothing but trouble.. The other was an ’81
    Skylark FWD X-body,nuff said!

    Addendum: I returned to GM sort of, I now drive
    an Asian market Cruze, not to mention a number
    of Daewoos before that.

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    I have a friend who tells me from time to time a story about an old boyfriend who drove a 1950-sih Beetle and how the brakes failed. Yes – that Beetle had cable brakes. A *little* removed from even the 60’s Beetles. ;)

    When I went to visit my grandparents with a new to me (used) watercooled VW about 12 years ago my grandfather was surprised to find out that VW was still in business (only one of the largest five auto manufacturers in the world) and was the engine still in the back?

    For some folks, time seems to stop on some topics…

    On the topic of late 80s Volvos. My best friend’s mother bought them all through the 80s. She was a person who just twisted the key and went. No engine warm up, just go… I’d hear that cold turbo whinning as the car climbed the hill outside on our street. She pretty much got mostly trouble free 150K miles from them and then bought the next one.

    I wonder how much longevity/reliability stats are skewed by folks who trash/ruin their vehicles without even realizing they did so. Its the manufacturer’s fault they insist – and not their fault. Like pictures of a 90K mile engine I saw last week which had never had it’s oil changed. Really? How may owners think this is okay?

  • avatar
    TOTitan

    Ford. I had a 96 Contour SE with the 2.5 V6 that was fun to drive until the insulation started falling off the under hood wiring. After that everything started to malfunction so bad that I ended up giving it away.

  • avatar
    Aaron Whiteman

    Like many, there’s no brand that I say “never again”. Part of that is my history. I have purchased exactly three cars in my life. I still have the title for two of them.

    In 2000, I bought an MGB from 1975. Sure, I won’t buy another car from British Leyland again, but that’s pretty silly to write. I also wouldn’t buy a car with an MG badge on the front from SAIC, but that’s also not related to my current car experience. A Chinese car with a English badge is still a Chinese car; if you take the English out of the car, then I might as well buy something better—I believe Mazda makes something that would work.

    In 2004, I bought a Suzuki Grand Vitara. I hated that car. There was nothing about it that would make me avoid buying a Suzuki again, it just didn’t fit me. To this day, I don’t know why I bought it.

    In 2006, I replaced the Suzuki with a Subaru Outback Sport (my first new car). Still have it, still drive it, still love it. It’s got a mild head gasket leak that will be fixed “soon” and the mileage is down a little from when it was new, but it’s trustworthy and I enjoy sitting behind the wheel.

    I do constantly muse about replacing both my MG and my Subaru at various times. In both cases, I lean towards Mazda as a replacement, not because the MG or the Subaru have been bad, but because that “affordable, driver’s oriented” persona that Mazda is advertising appeals to me. Maybe in another 10 years, I’ll actually do something more than think about it.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      I’ve never owned a Subaru, though several relatives have owned them with mixed reviews. I have the same impression as what you describe. Maybe not the most reliable vehicles, but hard wearing and capable. I may take the plunge. I need something less hardcore than my Wrangler to get me to the outdoors for 50% less fuel cost.

      I consider my Wrangler to be very reliable, though it does have substantial lifter-knocking after only 110k miles. If Subaru gives me something similar, and the interior doesn’t fall apart, I’ll probably be satisfied.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        That’s pretty much exactly how we use our Forester. It gets around outdoors as advertised. Surprisingly capable on two-track for something that doesn’t even pretend to be an off-road vehicle.

        They have had reliability issues, but (except for the notorious head gaskets, now fixed) they tend to be fairly minor.

  • avatar
    RyanB

    VW/Audi. I bought a gently used Jetta in 2000 (less than a year old). Stupid thing was in the shop once a month with one small problem after another, most of them electrical/sensor related. Then the windows started dropping into the doors. Happened once on the passenger side, then twice on the driver’s side.

    Understand, none of the problems were mechanical. The engine and transmission seemed downright bulletproof. But it seemed like the Germans just couldn’t figure out mechanical issues.

    Right at this moment, I’m wrapping up my MBA in a working professionals program that involves some travel (campus is around three hours away, and we’re in class every other weekend). During a trip back from campus some months ago, I rode with a classmate in his Jetta. Had around 90k miles. Full-on rattlebucket. My Civic, which has 195k miles, doesn’t produce nearly the road noise or general shimmy problems that thing had.

    Another classmate has an Audi A4. A pretty quick car, and seems solidly built, but again, lots of little problems crop up on a regular basis.

    I have an executive-level position waiting for me in June. With my car pretty much worn out and my wife’s 2000 4Runner showing its age, we’ll be in the market for at least one new vehicle, and probably two, towards the end of the year. And as much as I would like to be able to consider a VW Golf R or an Audi, we’ll almost certainly be heading to a Lexus dealership.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Subaru – our 93 was horrific and the dealer service was even worse.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    Off the top of my head, nothing Ford and no GM cars, not trucks or SUVs. Even though Chryslers are not great quality, they make interesting cars. Really though there is no company that I would totally write-off.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    I haven’t been able to walk into a Detroit Three showroom for almost 30 years. They took every last dime out of the cars for profit and pushed junk out the door for decades. Extreme cost and corner cutting made hapless owners unwilling victims. Mechanical Mean Time to Failure, engineered to coincide with warranty expiry, often fell short. An entire generation of consumers ran away. They aren’t coming back any time soon.

    I would love to own a German car but I’m just not brave enough. By all reports they’re exceptionally expensive to maintain, costing two to three times as much to replace parts and fluids as their Japanese and American made counterparts. Audi, BMW and Mercedes’ reliability and repair cost horror stories abound. Electronics and circuity are notoriously unreliable. Some say Volkswagen customer care demonstrates a callousness not seen since the fall of the Third Reich.

    I’ve had consistently good luck with Honda and Toyota products. Though Japanese quality of design and manufacture are declining they’re still better built and more reliable than European and American cars. Alas corporate and dealer integrity is no better. Dealer produced maintenance schedules recommend superfluous inspections and adjustments at wallet busting prices. Service writers and mechanics are incentivized to up-sell dubious products and services. When you invent a better mousetrap the mice tend to get smarter. I let the dealer service the car for the first six months or so then service is performed by an independent repair garage.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      The decline is simple cost-cutting, IMHO! I would still buy the car if they charged a few hundred more dollars to produce the same car with all the details sweated like in the past!

  • avatar
    discoholic

    Volkswagen. I’d probably forgive the one I drove for its countless reliability issues (DSG packed in, A/C compressor was repaired/replaced 5 times, the audio system had some bizarre ideas about what stereo is, and the dashboard rattled like a bag full of empty beer cans) because it was great to drive, but to top it all off my local dealership was basically the most staggeringly incompetent shower of idiots I’ve ever met.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    I won’t say never, but it would take a lot to get me back into anything from GM. I’ve had five, made from the 70’s through the 00’s. Four were absolute fiscal black holes. No matter what I fixed, or how much it cost, they always needed more. I’ve fallen for the “We’re not like the (insert decade) GM” line too many times.
    I’d also avoid VW. Two friends have gone through the joys/horrors of owning them once things start going wrong. They decided to dump them rather that get a second job to pay for the ongoing repairs.

  • avatar
    dwight

    General Motors. I don’t mind their cars, it is that a dealer screwed up my lease 10 years ago and I won’t forgive them for the mistake. VW is next, because despite the fact that I love their cars, they are expensive to maintain and quite frankly, not as well built as they appear. At one point, their cars leave you stranded. Again and again.

  • avatar
    stevejac

    Volvo for me as well as the Author.

    My wife and I bought a 740 turbo wagon in 1990 or so. We quickly learned the basis for Volvo’s claim to safety… it’s hard to be killed in a car that won’t start. It came from the factory with defective brakes. We’d bought an extended warranty and got about 8k in repairs from it in 2 years beyond the warranty.

    We also owned a Fiat 128, 1974. That’s another story.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    I may stay away from GM NEW vehicles – the local dealership experience in my UAW-ish town is substandard given their percentage of captive customers. But a used Silverado can be a fine value.
    Of course, the bankruptcy of GM and Fiatsler was a cronyism legal atrocity. Yet buying GM/Fiatsler will not, at the margin, effect these firms’ future corrupt behavior. The true patriot (in the liberty loving pro-market sense) plays the long game. Contribute to causes / organizations that will make the case against future bailouts, so the next time GM gets properly capped in the head and dismembered.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      Lololol crawl underneath that latr midel gm truck and notice the complete lack of rust protection and the massive rust holes in the frame and under carriage. Gm should be sued out of billions for that bs. Burned my father really bad a few years back with that fiasco.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    I’m never, ever ever gonna buy a Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Rambler, AMC, Plymouth, Triumph, Saturn, Packard, Hudson, or Hillman again. Especially the Hillman.

  • avatar
    SonWon

    Never buy another GM again after getting burned twice, once by GM and the 2nd time by their dealer.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      The dealer isn’t necessarily a problem, because you’ve got options, but even if a vehicle has problems… there’s no excuse for the manufacturer to drop the ball.

      Quite a while back I had a first gen Kia Forte, and while I recognize Hyundai/Kia has grown leaps and bounds in the six years since, when Kia refused to step in and help get my always-broken ABS/traction and stability control fixed and instead told me to try the next dealer (after exhausting the two in our area, the next was 90+ minutes away) otherwise they “didn’t know what to do.” Pretty sure if your dealer is that shitty that they can’t fix your cheap garbage-y automobile, you need to step in.

      No matter how pretty the new Sorento is, I can never see myself buying another Kia solely from the crap manufacturer response. Maybe in a few decades I might change my mind.

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    I think I posted something like this a while back, but while I wouldn’t say ‘never’, here’s my brands that I have avoided, right or wrong: American cars.

    I’m a Gen Xer who grew up during and after the Malaise Era, and even back when I didn’t know about terms like “fit and finish” or “build quality”, I could tell American cars were mostly terrible. They just seemed to exude terrible-car rays. They were unreliable, ugly and shoddy-looking. They seemed like they were designed by people who just didn’t care, and built by surly workers who hated their jobs, hated the company, and hated you.

    I remember in the late 80’s when a friend’s family bought a new or recently used GM car that looked like the car the bad guys fought over in the movie Fargo. My friend’s Dad was one of those guys who only bought American, and wouldn’t be caught dead driving anything Japanese, never mind that their cars were vastly superior. I drove that car a couple of times. Appalling. The construction felt shoddy, everything looked extremely cheap, and worst of all, you could count “one-mississippi” between when you stepped on the accelerator and when anything actually happened.

    That’s how it was in the 80’s and much of the 90’s. If you wanted bullet-proof, you bought Japanese. If you wanted fast, sexy and luxurious, you bought German. If you wanted to be sorry, you bought American. As an American citizen, it made me disappointed and cynical, but there wasn’t much I could do except vote with my checkbook.

    This notion was so deeply imprinted into my brain that to this day, I still have a subconscious bias against American cars. Intellectually, I know they’re vastly improved from the bad old days, and have probably caught up to their competitors on a lot of fronts. Still, it’s hard to shake such a strong impression from my younger years. I was speaking recently with a fellow Gen X friend of mine, and he felt the same way. Any other children of the Malaise Era feel the same?

    I’ve had 6 cars over the years, 4 Japanese and 2 German. The German cars are my favorites. (Yes, including a Mark IV Jetta with the top trim and a stick shift. Didn’t have many problems.)

    I’m thinking if/when I do buy American, it’ll be a Tesla.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      Thank you for bringing me on a journey into a mind like yours. I get being burnt by manufacturers for one reason or another, but I will never agree with (and likely never fully understand) the rationale behind letting a decades-old product experience sour you from a brand.

      • 0 avatar
        healthy skeptic

        It’s called being human, tuffjuff. I wrote the post in a self-deprecating manner, and showed I was fully aware of my own hangup. The main reason I wouldn’t buy from the Big 3 today is that there isn’t much to interest me.

        In any case, it’s good to know you’re totally immune from such feelings, and have never, ever in your life done the same, for anything, even subconsciously.

        • 0 avatar
          EMedPA

          It’s not a generational thing. I was born at the tail end of the Baby Boom years, and I avoided domestics religiously from 1982 until the mid 90’s, when I bought a used Ford Taurus. That car was reliable and serviceable enough to make me give Motown another chance, and I’ve owned and driven domestics from 1999 on, with one exception. That was a B5 Passat wagon that was a beautiful, comfortable and ultimately an infuriating money pit . It was replaced by a Focus wagon that gave me a 155,000 of trouble free service and is still being driven by the family member I sold it to.

          The family fleet these days consists of a Ford Escape that has been very reliable so far, and a Chrysler Town and Country that at 50000 miles has needed new brakes and just ate a wheel bearing. Those faults aside, the T&C is still a great family hauler, although I’m not as optimistic about its long term prospects as I am about the Escape’s.

          Interestingly, the most unreliable vehicle I ever owned was Japanese: an Isuzu Trooper that in 126000 miles ate a cylinder head and two water pumps, and rusted out in a spectacular fashion that puts even the typical Mazda to shame.

          Your mileage, of course, may vary.

  • avatar
    Synchromesh

    This is a tough call. In my own experience, I swore off Subaru after I sold my ’89 RX coupe which was a rusty unreliable piece of junk back in 1999. But then when WRX came out in 2001 I loved it and wanted one for a decade before buying my current ’12 WRX. Because that car has very little to do with the ’89 clunker.

    There are cars I like to avoid although I wouldn’t say I’d certainly never ever buy one because things do change like I mentioned above. Generally I stay away from modern Euro cars, especially German. They seem to be built for snobby yuppies (I’m looking at you Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Porsche) and have no soul. I do like vintage German cars though and own 2 aircooled ones (Beetle + 914). They were built in a different way.

    So while it’s possible I’ll own something else German, chances are it’ll be of the vintage variety. I just don’t trust them enough to buy a daily driver. Same goes for everything else European.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Uh…I’ve only owned 3 cars…I guess I can say I’d never buy another small 80s Japanese car or 90s GM economy product?

  • avatar
    omer333

    I don’t know, it seems like its all subjective anymore. Cars are infinitely better than they were 20-30 years ago. Any time there is a bad car, a “lemon” if you will, it seems isolated.

    Maybe, because of how manufacturers and the media treat recalls, things aren’t slipping through the cracks like they once were.

    Nowadays instead of exploding Pintos, there’s faulty airbags.

  • avatar
    Mattias

    Definitely would NEVER buy a Honda again. I had multiple issues with both my 02 Accords and my 01 Odyssey, I have never owned a Saab without multiple issues either.

    Perceptions change, though. Didn’t think I’d ever own a domestic 5 years ago because of my parents’ 1976 Cutlass (replaced by 1982 Accord that lasted for 15 years, followed by two more Accords). I now drive a Ford Fusion and my wife drives an Audi A1 (son convinced me) and a BMW E90 without trouble

  • avatar
    fatalexception04

    Nissan. I had an 05 Altima and it was ok but ate brakes at 13,000 miles and overall didn’t really leave much of an impression in terms of driving characteristics. Add in the fact that every Nissan dealer in my area (Long Island) seem more interested in playing sales games with customers instead of doing honest business leaves me with little reason to return. Well those reasons plus the new lineup is just bland to me.

    I want to check out a Charger but I always see the poor souls waiting on a long line at 6 in the morning each day waiting for dealer service. So that scares me off a little.

    I went with Mazda cause the way it drives but also cause of the dealer experience. Very straightforward. No rust too after 8 years parked in and outside. So I either have a magic car or maintained it to prevent rust, so that’s not a concern for me.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    This column and all these comments all add up to one conclusion: people aren’t good at statistics.

  • avatar
    Eyeflyistheeye

    I will never buy another Subaru again.

    Two months after I got it, the car had a faulty sensor and it was out of commission for an entire month because the crappy service department at Santa Monica Subaru said they couldn’t get the part or find one anywhere. Nobody at Subaru of America cared enough until I called Patti Mickel who was their liaison at Edmunds. Ironically enough, I bought my Focus from that same dealer and had a good experience with their service department after my car got delivered with a scratched window, although their ownership was changed by that time.

    My 2005 Legacy GT felt like it was designed and built by people who never built a car before. Cut corners everywhere when I had to take the door panels off to fix loose wiring. Not to mention problems began to cavalcade around 100k miles and I got rid of it.

    If wheel bearings, removing an intake cat so your turbo doesn’t blow up and ringlands sound like regular maintenance items and no big deal to you, then a Subaru might be up your alley.

    I’ve had two Toyotas with transmission problems, Toyota and the dealer took care of us, so I’d buy from them again.

    I had a Chevy Sonic and while it was a decent enough car, little things with the key, the buttons and side molding required me to take it to the dealer. Fortunately, my local dealer (Rotolo in Fontana, CA) where I was living at the time was awesome. I’d consider GM again, but mostly in trucks or larger cars since I think Ford has got them beat in compact/midsize vehicles.

    I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the Focus. No unscheduled dealer visits and Ford Credit has been easy to work with.

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      You make an excellent point – if you know a good dealer who has your back, buy new from them.
      All the OEM’s are so close Quality-wise that lemons are a essentially noise. The important part is getting annoying glitches fixed without wanting to strangle someone.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      My 2012 Ford Focus hatchback, God bless it’s soul, is the single best car I’ve ever owned. Small glitches/problems seem to be quite normal with newer cars. The Focus had a rear wiper assembly that apparently was “unplugged’ from the factory under the back door panel and had to be fixed the week of ownership.

      My 2013 Equinox that replaced it has been a good car, but I’ve had several small technical glitches. There’s a TSB out for a phantom issue with a “water in the gas tank” CEL and a different CEL (P0460 IIRC, something about emissions) both have popped up in the first 2 years/48k miles. The interior is also extraordinarily rattly, but that’s what hard plastic gets you. I will say I find it somewhat sad and hilarious that two different CELs have popped up on what has been a brand new car.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    There are quite a few manufacturers that I will never buy anything from, because they don’t make anything that interests me. As I only buy used, and love classic cars, there are also quite a few manufacturers that I wouldn’t buy anything new from , but that has a lot of classic cars that I would love to own.(Chevrolet, Buick, Toyota and Volkswagen are all on that list, as are all the ‘orphan’ brands) The only german ‘premium’ brand I could see myself owning again, would be Audi, although I love driving BMW’s, I hate owning them, and I never understood what is so great about Mercedes, unless it’s a 300 SL Gullwing offcourse.
    Other than that, I could potentially try any American or European brand, some of the Japanese, but just about none of the Koreans (they just don’t offer anything interesting over here)

  • avatar
    Carilloskis

    I couldn’t say that i would never buy from on brand again there are hits and misses, I did have two GM SUVs that had some mechanical issues that needed fixing but if i needed an 8 passenger SUV again I would Consider the suburban gain, but my needs are fewer people and more off road so its Ford Raptors for me for the foreseeable future. Looking at my parents and siblings we own, 5 Fords, 3 VWs, 1 Chevy (Parents shopping for a replacement GMT 400 suburban as well), 1 Jeep. Our family has yet to sell any ford we have owned , but went through multiple suburbans 2 GMT 400s and one 800, on the second Jetta and second Passat TDIs. Looking at it we buy Fords that have that emotional or fun factor, Mustang, SHO, Raptor, then with the Suburbans and VWs they are the appliance cars that get driven the most.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    The only car I would never buy again is a Renault Alliance. I WOULD buy another 1992 Dodge Monaco, which was a Renault/Eagle Premier. It was French-funky, but I liked it, so I don’t hate Renault, just the Alliance.

    There are a number of car makes I CAN’T buy again, like AMC (’63 Classic, ’64 American), Oldsmobile (’63 F85), Pontiac (’66 Tempest), Plymouth (’68 Valiant), Mercury (’68 Montego MX – my all-time favorite), and Triumph (’61 TR3). If I could find one in near new condition at a reasonable price, I’d buy and drive any of them.

  • avatar
    AprilFools

    My wife owned a K-car, and it was fine the 4 years she had it. But based on my brother and two friends experiences, never buy a dodge. I know it is now a very known issue, but my brothers neon head gasket at 65K. My friends PT Cruiser head gasket at 12K, and they of course blamed him. Another friends PT cruiser at 100K.

    Maybe I can get over it sometime in my life, but it would need to be a much better car then they make now. Or a maybe a jeep.

  • avatar

    I’m never buying another LaForza! Seriously, the electrical system is evidently made of dental floss and spaghetti.

    When it comes to vehicles from companies that haven’t gone out of business 25 years ago, I’d be reluctant to buy a Chrysler product. I owned a 2001 PT Cruiser that suffered a host of electrical maladies – the entire speedometer cluster blew out, the transmission controller died, and the air bag light used to come on every time it rained. I don’t know that I would never buy another Chrysler product – I love some of the Jeeps and Rams – but I’d probably look at something else first.

  • avatar
    SonWon

    I had four Nissan’s and never had a problem with any of them, unlike my GM experience.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    Chrysler hands down. I have owned two. The first one wasn’t too bad (1997 Cirrus) but the second one (1999 Caravan that the Cirrus was traded in on) was the worst POS I have ever owned. By the time I got rid of it (written off) it was costing me over $100 per month in repairs and it was only 4 years old. I swore at that moment that I would never buy another one and haven’t yet. It’s been over 10 years.

    The only reason I bought the Caravan in the first place was because the dealership’s owner was a family friend. When it came time for a replacement, I couldn’t have given less of a damn who was selling it, I wasn’t buying a Chrysler.

    Since then, I haven’t had a vehicle that has had as many problems (Mazda, 2 GMs, 3 Fords.) Repairs are few and far between as opposed to constant.

    The two Fords I have now have only had regular maintenance done on them and they both are well over 100,000 kms at this point.

  • avatar
    Carl Kolchak

    I would ahve a problem pulling the trigger again on a Ford. My ’13 Focus PowerCrap transmission has been a Cavalcade of Bad (hard shifts, shifts w/ an audible ” Bang” and heck on earth in stop and go traffic).Oh and the electronic (climate, radio, Keyless entry) sometimes feel it’s time for a day off and just do not work. Love the looks, MPG and power but seriously considering trading it in , as I just do not trust it.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      Have you any experience with a DCT prior to this vehicle? I’m not sure how Ford’s compares to the other Europeans, but that’s… how it works. I understand that if you call/take her in to a dealer, they can reset the calibration on the DCT which will allow it to “re-learn” how you drive, which can help.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        There you go again, defending the indefensible.

        The PowerShi*t transmission is maligned by so many for good reason.

        It’s both tragically bizarre in its manner of “normal behavior” and its breathtaking lack of reliability/durability.

        Serious question: Do you work directly or indirectly for Ford?

        Thanks.

      • 0 avatar
        bk_moto

        If that’s how it works, then the technology is not production-ready and needs to be immediately shitcanned until it is. Because right now, it’s awful.

  • avatar
    vwgolf420

    I’ve driven three VWs, two Mazdas, a Hyundai, and a Toyota. All gave/have given good service, but the only one of these brands I’d avoid is Toyota because it just didn’t do it for me and the same goes for other people’s Toyotas and rentals I’ve had. I always recommend Hyundais to non-car geeks. When it all boils down to it, I’ll probably only ever look at VWs and Mazdas.

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    GM and VW.

  • avatar
    rickkop

    After that pos PT Cruiser fell apart and had to have the whole front suspension rebuilt at 37 only months old and 31,000. My mechanic told me he doesn’t see problems like this till cars have 90 to 100k miles on them. Then he said if it was a Hyundai it would have been fixed under warranty, but then if it was a Hyundai it wouldn’t happen till it had a 100k on it. When Chrysler told me sorry, it was over 3 years old and out of warranty it was there and then that I decided they would never get another penny from me as long as I live. No way, now how, never, zilch, nada, bye bye

  • avatar
    George B

    There is no brand of car that I wouldn’t buy at the right price. I’m not all that impressed with my Chevrolet ownership experience and probably wouldn’t find a new one at a low enough price, but there are lots of used classic Chevrolets I could buy. If I inherited my Dad’s Silverado I wouldn’t be in a big hurry to sell it.

  • avatar
    Demetri

    Never say never, but if I had to pick two, it would be GM and Chrysler, though not necessarily because I’ve had terrible experiences with them (I did have a shoddy GM W-body for a time). It’s a combination of things that all amount to one big nasty feeling I get whenever I think about GM/Chrysler. Whether it’s the nationalistic buy-American crowd that I want zero association with, the arguments that came out during the bailout era (like Jason Vines saying that we need to bail them out because of World War II), insulting marketing, obnoxious corporate figures (like Bob Lutz), or the history of unappealing products that characterize them, it all makes me feel rather negative when I think of those companies and it would take a lot to get me to consider purchasing from them, especially when there are so many other choices.

    Ford fits into some of that stuff, but their lineup is (and had been traditionally) more appealing to me. They make stuff like the Fiesta ST, and even though I’m not a muscle car guy, the Mustang would be far and away my pick compared to the Camaro and Challenger, which seem to exemplify my (probably unfair) image of “American-car” attributes, like fat, sloppy, and achieving performance increases through nothing but engine and tire size increases.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    One word: FORD. Four words: Found On Road, Dead. I’ve never received any reliability out of any FORD I’ve owned.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      Ditto. I’ve owned two- an F150 and an E350. They took me for all that I had.

      I’ve owned three GM products (2 Chevy Trucks and a Buick), 2 Dodge trucks, and an Audi. They’ve all been great vehicles.

      Ford, though? Not again!

    • 0 avatar
      VenomV12

      I always liked F*cked Over Rebuilt Dodge, heard that in high school and it never left me.

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    I have been driving VW’s since about 1971. I have great luck with them and service them myself. Right now we have 2 x 2011 VW’s GTI and neither of them have been back to the dealer since the free service ended. On the other hand my wife brought a Subaru new and it was the worst piece of junk on the road. The fuel pump went out at 36,250 miles and the dealer told me to pound sand. Replaced it myself and before selling the car replaced it 2 more times. Had electrical problems and leaks from the engine (shades of my MGB) that i finally pulled the engine and resealed everything. While under the car putting back the engine i noticed the car was rotting away. Dumped it the next day. My wife also brought 2 new Mazda’s both Protage’s over a 4 year period and both were a problem. Now we only buy European or American. Just a footnote Anyone who had the window clips go bad on a 1999 thru 2004 VW Their was an extended warranty by the factory for something like 100,000 miles or 10 years for the TRW window clips and installation. Also forgot my wife’s Toyota that caught fire and almost burned down our garage.

  • avatar

    Doug: I loved this phrase “overly severe warning light”. Priceless. I’ll be using that.
    Good thread, all who wrote. Thanks.

  • avatar

    Acura trucks….

    Now, I know that Honda is made from billet iron, forged by gods, and blessed with the breath of S. Honda himself. It is the ultimate expression of Japanese engineering. NSX. S2000. 90’s Accords…

    None of that pixie dust this made it to my built in Canada Acura MDX. There is no aftermarket for parts-I can’t use bilstein shocks or have much choice for replacement parts. Suspension bits are under engineered. My local dealer is every horrid stereotype that gets lobbed at VW or GM shops. The truck is designed for a lift, so if you don’t have one, simple repair tasks are stupid. Cats last 110k, and the extended warranty does not apply to my model run-even though my cats lasted 110k.

    The transmission is a work in progress, has been out of the car twice, after a prolonged warranty battle and a forgotten seal by the “repair” shop at the dealer. The radiators are weak, and blow the trans cooler lines from a weak weld = Tow Job and new Radiator.

    The rubber seals by the front doors wear out, causing wind noise-this was an easy fix but tough to find the cause of the noise.

    I will never buy another Acura…..makes me regret not paying the additional $6k and going BMW, every time I take a wrench to it. The same cost cutters who are blamed for GM clearly found jobs at Acura USA.

    Clickbait. guilty as charged.

  • avatar
    theonewhogotaway

    Saab (and, thankfully, I cannot)
    Had an ’85 900 SE non-turbo 5sp that was the most unreliable POS that there was (and I drove GM and Ford malaise era products)

  • avatar
    v8corvairpickup

    15 years ago I would have said Ford. I had purchased a “never titled” 1987 Ford Taurus with around 19000 miles from a Ford dealer. At the time, Ford owned Hertz car rental so some cars were sent to Hertz as rentals and afterwards sold off as former rentals. At first, it wasn’t too bad but after a few years it started becoming a money pit. I am glad I bought the extended warranty, most of the major components (engine, transmission, steering rack, front brakes and much more) were replaced under warranty with a $50 deductible. My answer today might be VW. My 2001 Jetta has been expensive to own.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Peasy

    Winnipeg Flyer cause the driver was no Honeymooner more Winnebago Man. Also peg has mosquitoes the size of sci-fi bugs.

    My leased Sentra makes we want to walk, ride my Brompton.
    The stress is off running with the herd.

  • avatar
    GST

    Toyota. Purchased new 1990 loaded Camry wagon with automatic. Easily driven by wife hauling kids. Outside of warranty it blew the engine twice between 50,000 miles and 100,000 milses. Had the V6. We had it serviced to the book by Toyota.

    Also, at that time, the Toyota sales staff was very arrogant, the service writers were the same. No thanks again.

    We replaced it with a 1995 Ford Explorer and it was troublefree. Wife now has a 2015 Audi Q5 that she loves.

  • avatar
    PeteRR

    Since Yugo went out of business, none that I would never buy again.

    A car company that I’ve turned 180 degrees on? Hyundai. Buddy of mine bought an Excel in ’86 and it was awful in every way and the engine blew at 26k miles. Today, I really like the Genesis. If the salesman hadn’t treated me like a fool, I would have bought a coupe a few years ago.

  • avatar
    geo

    I haven’t sworn off any particular brands, because that wouldn’t make any sense given shared parts, updates, etc. But there are brands I don’t bother shopping for used such as Honda, given that they are often double the resale price of a comparable domestic. Even unmaintained, miled-out junk goes for a premium, with the seller often repeating the idiotic mantra “hey, it’s a Honda!”

  • avatar
    MarionCobretti

    While it’s been enjoyable and entirely trouble-free, I’m pretty sure this will be my last Mitsubishi (’06 Eclipse GT), since they’ll probably be gone from the U.S. by the time I’m ready for a new car. In fact, they might be already. Has anyone checked in on them lately?

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I’ve sworn off Hondas, used early 90’s Hondas.

    Earlier today I had to sit in traffic with a group of 4 or 5 Civic-Integras, all lowered, all revving at the stop light, all driven by pale souless drones, all driven very slowly.

    Cheap garbage cars I say! Rubbish!

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Seems odd, I thought the ricers had finally grown up or Darwin’d themselves into lamp posts. Or maybe this crew had wisened up since the were ‘all driven slowly.’

      Not sure if you’re just trolling or what, but consider me trolled. I have a soft spot for older Hondas, I’ve seen many many accords of the 90-93 generation crest 200k, 300k, and up, on original engines and transmissions, and even with functioning accessories along with them. I’ve worked on a few, and found them to be very straight forward and well packaged, aside from the stupid ‘hub over rotor’ front brakes, those suck. Parts are cheap and everywhere, the fact that you still see LOADS of these now 25 year old cars on the roads should tell you something.

      Aside from their enviable durability and repairability, they’re pretty peppy and fun to drive. Okay by modern standards they are noisy and a bit rough riding, but again adjusting for their age, they can still easily keep up with modern traffic, and are totally competent commuters. Awesome ergonomics and fantastic visibility, the super low dash is amazing.

      My friend moved to Indiana with his 92 5spd Accord Coupe, he bought it for $2000 with 120k miles from a little old lady when he graduated highschool in California. Up until that point I think it had gotten a timing belt/water pump job done per maintenance spec. He drove it until November of this year, at which point it had about 220k miles on it. In that interval, he did nothing aside from oil changes and a pair of tires (just 2, not even 4 lol). Before he sold it I replaced the original CV axles, one had finally torn. Amazingly, there was only one loose balljoint on the entire car when I looked it over, in the rear. Front end was good as new, air conditioning worked, power windows worked, etc. he sold it to his roommate who gladly paid $1200 for it and continues to drive it. That’s $800 in depreciation, and maybe $300 in parts, for 8 years of driving. THAT is why people buy Hondas.

      I helped another friend buy a 1992 DX sedan, an automatic this time with the black plastic bumpers. 2 owner car with 130k miles, a bit of rear quarter panel cancer. $950. He had new rotors put on, a pair of new tires (I’m obviously friends with a lot of cheapskates), a high pressure steering hose, and I swapped in a new thermostat for him to cure a wandering temp gauge and poor heat. Drove it for a few years after that, including trips to NYC from Ithaca, never any issues and got about 30 mpg on the open road. We cleaned it up a bit, put up a well written CL ad, and it sold for $1950 within a week. Needless to say, my buddy is quite a Honda fan now.

      • 0 avatar

        Not that I’m ever again going to be in the market for a car that’s as old as *I* am, but early nineties Hondas turn me off because of Honda’s utter lack of theft protection in those cars. And I have been burned by it before, as I had a ’90 Accord. I *would* however, buy a newer Honda. That Accord coupe in Tiger Eye Pearl looks really good…

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        These weren’t even “real” ricers, no baseball caps, stickers, spoilers, nuttin.

        When I had my ’92 Accord I was well aware of their cheap re-used key designs, learned a bit about their cheap metal too.

  • avatar
    kwbuggy

    1974 Plymouth Duster, the front fender tops rusted out within twelve months and the zone service rep said it was caused by stone chips while a few months later they announced a replacement policy.

  • avatar

    For me it would be Toyota I would never buy again. I cannot say it was unreliable. It was just utterly boring. Couple of months after buying Toyota Carina II (which I bought solely on reliability ratings since it was a the most reliable car in Germany for a decade) I was already having regrets that I did not buy Audi 80 or Honda Accord instead. I actually liked Audi 80 the most but it was impractical as a family car and had minuscule trunk.

    Last time when someone asked me what car I recommend to buy was my coworker who just totaled his (original) Acura TSX. I told him that current Acuras and TSX in particular suck, they do not make anything like original TSX anymore and recommended Buick Regal, Ford Fusion or Mazda 6 (I driven all of them and all are for different tastes). After considering Acura ILX for some time he suddenly decided to buy Ford Fusion (MSRP $38000).

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    No categorical write-offs, although I’ve driven plenty of bad cars. They just change too much in the space of 7 or 8 years to make those kinds of generalizations. Right now I’m extra leery of GM: Having their warranty expenses jump up by 30% in one year and having them cut their warranty in response is worrying. Let’s see how that shakes out. If VW has finally gotten its act together, I’ll believe it when I see it.

    As to the others, there are plenty of cars I don’t like. But that’s a different issue.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    There’s no automaker I won’t ever do business with again, but there are ones far down my list.

    Mitsubishi: I had an 04 Lancer Sportback. I used it as a business car for a courier service I ran for. The car was fine reliability wise. 77k in 3 years time and only two unscheduled trips to the dealer. One was for the battery and they replaced it. The car and about 13 of its friends were lot queens. They sat for over a year because it was so similar to the also introduced Outlander and no one wants small wagons, so I don’t hold the battery against it. Bought it for 6k under sticker and it served its purpose. Was totaled in a rear end crash that bent the backend downward.

    So why no Mitsubishi? The car was cheap everywhere else. Low grade carpets, terrible seats, thin paint that swirled the first time I washed it ( it was black). The 2.4 was a good fit at 160hp, but the 4 spd auto wasn’t. Mileage was so-so. Lots of road and suspension noise. All the switchgear felt good, but lots of hard plastic, worse than my Mazda. I haven’t looked at a Mitsubishi since without seeing all that same cheapness. And now with the same powertrains backed by CVT, no thanks. I like the look of the Outlander Sport, but nothing else. Possibly an Evo would be fine, but since they aren’t made anymore and used ones get hooned to death, probably not.

    Subaru: Just don’t need the AWD. Snow tires with dedicated wheels serve me better than AWD ever did, without the mileage penalty. Subaru has changed dramatically from the 03 Legacy we had, but now with CVT’s, no thanks. Our Legacy was a pig on fuel, at around 16-17 city. The hills and roads of Pittsburgh are no friend to fuel mileage, but the gearing in the automatic was just wrong. I maintain something was wrong with the car, but the revised EPA estimates put the fuel mileage near the range we got with the car. Possibly a WRX could bring me back, but I’ll go with GTI before that.

    Nissan: Sorry, no more CVT’s. I had a love hate relationship with that powertrain in my 2010 Altima and if I can buy anything with a normal gearbox over a CVT, I will. GTR only in my dreams

    GM: I can’t totally rule out GM, but I’m not inclined to buy their stuff. And it’s not because I had to Malaise era GM cars that were old by the time I got them. It’s the decades of just good enough, not enough to be great, badge-engineered garbage they put out.

    Domestically, I’d rather give my money to Chrysler or Ford, as I’ve had pretty good luck with most Fords that myself or family members have owned. Exceptions would be Corvette, because it’s the only car they do really,really well.

    Hyundai/Kia: I’ve not driven anything really new, but the last one I drove was the current Elantra when it first came out in 2010 as an ’11. Lots of equipment, pretty refined in NVH ( worlds better than the 01 Elantra I had and that one was better than the 2000 that drew me on the lot) But the ride/handling was a jumbled mess, like no one from steering talked to the suspension guys.

    I drove a brand new Kia Soul as a rental recently and while the interior looked and felt like a VW/Audi product from 10 years ago, it drove just like the Elantra. I had a Sonic the next day and while the interior was crap, the drive was much better and the car was just more refined in feel, if not in touch.

    Right now, I’m not totally in love with the transmission in our ’14 Odyssey. The 6 spd auto just doesn’t do anything well or smoothly. Our Mazda 5 with 100 less hp and only 5 gears is the exact opposite. It shifts intuitively and smoothly.

    I’m just not feeling the “Honda has it’s V6/auto transmissions all sorted out”. My parents had a 2012 MDX that wasn’t great. I had an 89 Legend and I remember that transmission being harsh. My brother had two different 2007 Accords with a V6 that developed shifting problems.

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    After the Caliber SRT4 ownership experience and dealing with Dodge and Chrysler vehicle mechanical recon as a used car manager, yeeeeah. Nope. I don’t particularly want another Dodge / Chrysler / Jeep. And the buyout from Fiat doesn’t instill confidence in me, either.

    Otherwise just from the used lot I’d also recommend never purchasing a high mileage GM vehicle with AWD.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    Ford and GM I will never buy from again. I owned both of them in the past, now I want better than what I experienced with them.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    That brand should be Audi. My first car, my first love, what a terrible thing it was. It was and Audi 100LS (1975 ish) It was old, beaten and and abused when I got my rough, insensitive hands and lead feet on the thing. What did not work, wore out or just randomly broke, I broke.
    I should have hated Audi but I don’t, and still wish to own one, one of these days.
    My Brothers Hyundai Excel, 2 door hatch, on the other hand has caused me to be forever weary of Hyundai…

  • avatar
    tuffjuff

    ITT: people talking about vehicles that are 20-30 years old, and how they’ll “never” buy their predecessors.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Predecessors, or successors?

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      In my personal case with Ford, I’ll grant both vehicles are 20 years old or older. Now. One was less than 10 years old when I owned it and I personally knew the original owner. The other was just 20 years old when purchased. However, that doesn’t change the fact that every single owner of a Ford that I personally know has some notable issues before their car is even one year old. I don’t mean complaints about the infotainment system; I’m talking about engine, drivetrain, suspension and computer issues that require the vehicle to be shopped for days to get fixed only to have the same or a new issue appear within months. I will give Ford credit that their trucks don’t seem quite as bad, but for being the most popular truck on the market, why do they not have a long average lifespan the way Chevy/GMC does? Again, the people I know who own Ford trucks tend to trade them off before the warranty runs out–with the most visible exception being corporate fleet trucks by utility services like pest control, plumbing, electric, etc. who typically run them to death in 10 years or less.

      No. My complaint isn’t just about 20-30-year-old cars from a given brand; it’s the fact that the brand’s products just don’t seem to last and nobody seems to want to keep them beyond the warranty (but love them to death until that warranty expires).

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Most cars built today are better than what they were in the past. But after the factory warranty expires, who knows?

        So, many people choose to lease or trade before the warranty expires, and do this over and over again.

  • avatar
    nitroxide

    I will never buy a Chrysler or a GM product because I own both of those companies – and so do you if you paid taxes in the last ten years. Problem is, I never got a say in what happened to my companies, seeing as they were purchased with my money. Both were basically given away to the UAW, and, in Chrysler’s case, to the Italian government for a song and a dance.

    Call me petty, but when my tax dollars are used to buy tans, bullets, bombs and airplanes, at least I know that they will probably be used to protect me and the Ray of the United States. When my tax dollars are used to buy two automakers, I don’t care much for politicians using my money to buy re-election.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “When my tax dollars are used to buy two automakers, I don’t care much for politicians using my money to buy re-election.”

      Yup, a lot of upstanding, tax-paying Americans forced to prop up the UAW and resuscitate the employers (they collectively bargained to death), with bailouts, handouts and nationalization, share your sentiment.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Now that statement, HDC, I will agree with. When you have Union people in essentially common-labor jobs making more money than middle-level management at most other companies, something is seriously wrong.

        The thing is, unions were a necessity 100 years ago and before and even now there do have a purpose; but they’ve now done the same thing to many companies in which they operate that those companies used to do to them. Roughly 40 years ago I was a member of the Boilermakers Union (I won’t say where) making almost one-of-a-kind product. My job was taken away by a foreign company that was simply able to produce the same product only a few years later at a fraction of the labor cost and the company I worked for no longer makes that product–and had to shut down almost half of its plant space. Yes, I made good money while I was there; allowed me to buy a brand-new car at an age when most were buying ten- to fifteen-year-old cars. It made me appreciate what the unions have done to manufacturing.

        • 0 avatar
          tonycd

          Vulpine, I’ll take the bait, because you’re taking the bait. It wasn’t the fault of American unions that people in Third World countries are willing to work for less than the American middle class. It’s the fault of the richest Americans that they dismantled a system of protective tariffs in the 1980s and ’90s that had worked to protect a growing American economy and its workers for 200 years, solely so they could get even richer by exporting your job.

          The victimizers of all their fellow Americans have done a spectacularly successful job of using their captive mainstream media to turn us all upon each other to distract attention from their own thievery of us.

          Exhibit A: the GM bailout. How many people object so vehemently that the Wall Street banks that cause the whole economic near-catastrophe were rewarded with over 20 times as much money as an outright gift to save them from their own criminal behavior?

          For the umpteenth time, the GM bailout was not primarily intended to reward or save GM. That was only the secondary consequence of having to step in at the moment we teetered on the brink of a new Great Depression to prevent the immediate, direct loss of over 1,000,000 middle-class jobs directly and indirectly funded by the existence of a viable domestic auto industry.

          Anyone who says, like the poster below, that “I won’t buy a Government Motors car ON PRINCIPLE” presumably prefers the “principle” of letting the entire American economy careen into the mass-unemployment, near-starvation cesspool of the 1930s? Because the banks weren’t in any position to provide a dime of bridge financing to tide over the auto industry. It was the government or nobody.

          Personally, I think a much better “principle” on which to reject GM cars is that the reliability of their vehicles sucks. Mind you, this whole thread is a very personal thing; any reason that’s good enough for you is, by definition, good enough for you. But if you don’t know anything about history, politics or economics beyond what Rupert Murdoch and Comcast told you to think, don’t make yourself look bad by proving how easily you can be sold a version of same that’s expertly crafted to hustle you into the voluntary surrender of your (and my) money and your (and my) rights.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Yup. You took the bait hook, line and sinker. I didn’t say WHEN I lost that job and I will tell you now that it was NOT in the 1980s or ’90s, it was the 1970s and the company was one building nuclear reactors and boilers for power plants across the US.

            Yes, orders for reactors and boilers essentially stopped in the mid-’70s except for very specific types and even those are no longer built at that plant.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Vulpine, I agree that unions were a necessity a long time ago when workers had no protection and were routinely abused and mistreated.

          But these days, with government mandates, regulations and employee protections, I believe that unions should work in concert with the managers, shareholders and owners of a company for the betterment and profitability of all. That is not happening in America although it is happening everywhere else outside of America.

          Seems to me, though, that unions in America generally are more interested in driving their employers into the red and financial ruin with their incessant demands for higher wages and even more lush benefits.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      No you don’t, nitro; you own a piece of ONE of those companies, the other paid off its debt when it was bought by Fiat. But you’ll never get that money back and your name was not attached to that money, so you don’t really own even a piece of the other company, either. And Fiat, by the way, is NOT “the Italian government”.

      So yes, you are petty. You don’t even seem to understand what happened and automatically put the blame in the wrong places. I understand your intent never to buy a car from those two brands any more and that’s perfectly all right. But at least try to understand the real reasons and not rely on overblown political mumbo jumbo.

  • avatar
    Pat D

    I used to lease manual Honda Accords. Every three years, I’d swap the old for the new. The only problems I had were batteries failing inside the 3-year lease period. Then I got a 2010 manual. It failed in game-time traffic with a clutch cylinder problem at 900 miles. It took three days to get fixed and Honda could care less about the car rental, the day off work, and the aggravation. So, I swore off Honda, after leasing 10 of them.

    Next up, a 2013 Beetle Turbo with the DSG transmission. No problems so far except for the asshole who backed into me and the piece of concrete that took out a wheel. The lease period matches the warranty period so I don’t much worry about reliability, so long as it doesn’t spend any time off the road. I’d probably get another one, or the new VW GTI with the MBQ platform under-pinning.

    My Beetle is much more fun to drive than any Accord I owned. The low-end torque and the runs-on-rails cornering have me sold. Fuel economy is around 30 mpg although I got 40 mpg on one 30 mile trip. My highway-phobic wife even likes driving it.

    I almost got a Ford Fusion despite my father’s problem with a crack in the cylinder head of his 1953 Ford Consul. Memories last a long time.

    I would never consider a Government Motors car, just on principle.

    Haven’t really considered much else since I spent so much time oblivious in Honda-land. I did own the original Audi 100 back in 1988. It had the three speed auto with moon-shot gearing in 3rd. I got that sucker up to 200 kph on a back-road in Australia. So, I drool over cars like the Audi S7, but they aren’t going to pass the family accountant’s red pen. That was the second best car I ever drove.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      You know, if you like the Beetle turbo, you might just like the Fiat 500. Yes, it’s smaller and lighter, but gets good mileage and has a similar go-kart like handling. Easy and fun to drive at almost half the price.

  • avatar
    Forty2

    The 1991 240 in my parking deck is LOLing. LOLvo. She cannot be killed. Her new bro the 335i is about 150x more complicated and with no user-serviceable parts, so far.

    You can’t base now on 25-30 years ago. I bought a nearly-new 1987 Audi 5000/100 that was the worst car I ever owned, but that didn’t stop me from leasing a 2007 A4 2.0 Quattro. That was a fine drive, but after the lease ended I decided to never lease again. Before that I leased a 2003 Passat 1.8T 5-speed that was entirely trouble-free, and I almost bought it off lease because I enjoyed driving it so much, but I didn’t want to own a VW out of warranty despite the four years’ perfect service it’d given me. Something expensive was bound to break, and those 1.8T engines weren’t exactly bulletproof. We will not discuss the Minneapolis-to-Winnipeg drive in that car at 120mph once well into the N Dakota dead-straight/flat stretch of I-29 north of Fargo.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    A.) Vehicle categories I would be reluctant to buy or to buy again:

    1) Sedans
    2) Minivans
    3) Sports cars
    4) Hatchbacks

    B.) Vehicle categories I would be likely to buy or to buy again:

    1) Pickup Trucks
    2) SUV’s

    C.) Vehicle makes I would be likely to buy or to buy again:

    1) Dodge
    2) Jeep
    3) Lexus
    4) Nissan

    ===============================

  • avatar
    EAF

    Cars:

    Acura/Honda
    Lexus/Toyota

    Trucks:

    GM
    Chrysler
    Ford

    Would never buy and do my best to persuade others away from buying:

    Audi/Volkswagen. By far the biggest pieces of shit on the planet.

  • avatar
    fishiftstick

    I know GM is a vastly different company today, and their products are not nearly as unreliable as they were. Yet the Malibu I bought 16 years ago was an unreliable POS, and the company did not stand behind their product. I’ll consider another GM car when they repay the cost of those repairs, with interest.
    Screw me once, I shop elsewhere forever.

  • avatar
    mechaman

    It occured to me the other day that I still see a lot more old American cars than Japanese cars in service as I’m driving around the ChiMetro area … some obviously look like rustbombs exhaling blue smoke, but a surprising majority look pretty good. No telling how reliable they’ve been, or if they are recently to the used market, but most of the places I go, people get rid of a car that gives them grief. Or fix it themselves, ’cause they have to.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Denver

      That’s probably because there are more American cars to begin with. Also, there is the old line that GM cars will run badly longer than other cars will run at all. Generally speaking, modern engines are very reliable and rustproofing is better, so cars stay on the road – they just drive you nuts with little things. The A/C stops working, the seat springs sag, the power mirrors no longer work, the check engine light comes on, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        mechaman

        Yeah, that’s probably so. You can ignore a lot of small stuff when you have to. Reminds me of an old church I used to attend: the roof would leak, even after being fixed – maybe a year or two in, it would start up again. After awhile, you just didn’t ‘see’ it.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I would not buy any German vehicle because of the higher price of parts and labor and because many view them as a status symbol. I would probably not buy another Chrysler product because of issues I had in the past with failing electrics and poor body hardware but I do believe the newer Chrysler products are better. I am more inclined to buy a vehicle from a Japanese or South Korean manufacturer except Mitsubishi which I had one and overall it was reliable but the parts were hard to get and expensive. Overall today’s vehicles are more reliable and all the manufacturers make much better vehicles. I don’t really hate any brand but I have preferences.

  • avatar
    Paddan

    My mother would totally agree with this article as it relates to Volvo. My parents owned the first year 144 (1967) and traded it on a first year 164 (1969). The 164 was a dog. Every time it went into the shop, which was frequently, it was a $100 bill. That was in early 1970s dollars. And every problem she had, the dealer claimed never to have seen it before. It always rattled in the trunk area and smelled of exhaust fumes from the day we got it. My mother used to say in response to Volvo’s ads that the average lifespan of their cars was 11 years, “by that time, everything was replaced.” I always liked bricks but my parents never let me get one because of their experiences. So I became a Saab guy instead, although I did own a 122S at one point.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      The Golden rule for Volvos would have to be this:

      4 Cyl and RWD, anything else and the Volvo Gods will punish you dearly.

      As much as I like older Volvos I’d rather have a newer Saab than a newer Volvo, GM-era Saab wasn’t perfect but easily a step ahead of Volvos Ford era.

  • avatar
    NewsLynne

    I won’t say I’ll NEVER buy a Ford again, but my latest experience with one has put me off the brand a bit. I’m also coming from a GM product, so it’s a study of opposites. I had nothing but engine leaks with my 3.1 engine, but the Ford 3.0 I have is solid like a rock. But I never had the suspension worked on the entire time I owned the Buick, never replaced a starter or alternator and I owned the car for 100,000 miles. The Sable has already been in the shop for suspension, coolant leaks, kooky power steering and a IAC problem.

    I think it’s a gamble no matter what you buy.

  • avatar
    bk_moto

    “In fact, I happen to like every single good Volkswagen model, from the GTI 2-door to the GTI 4-door.”

    You just made me spit out my coffee. True, there’s no other current Volkswagen model that I’m the least bit interested in except the Golf line.

  • avatar
    fr88

    Will never buy another Honda – and by extension any other Made in Japan vehicle. Why? First, they smell. Am I the only one who gets a migraine from the outgassing of the particular plastics and adhesives used by Japanese car manufacturers? Blindfold me and sit me in a car and I can tell you if it was Japanese by its odor.

    Then there is the obvious. Japanese cars run forever with no problems except one: Who would want to drive something so dull, boring, and ordinary. The AltiCamCords of the world are cars for people who don’t like cars. Appliances that you put the key in and get perfect toast every time. Yawn. No flair, no style, no excitement, often hideous (talking to you, Lexus) most often just tedious and boring. And on a hot day the smell makes them undrivable.

    German cars are a treat to drive, a horror show to maintain once the warranty gives out – and most have progressively lost their looks with each successive model update.

    Germany does a better job, desirabliity-wise, when it builds English cars and Jaguar rocks. Ford has it going on with everything smaller than a Taurus. GM and Chrysler have a number of world-class models,too. I have a Charger – pewter with red leather – that has all the style, mechanical finesse, reliability, and RWD driving enjoyment of the best the world has to offer. Best of all, it makes me smile every time I get in it – the final index of a truly great car.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      How about a stick shift accord, either in v6 coupe form or Sport sedan? Surely those are bought by enthusiasts, at a higher rate than chargers I’ll wager. Or any number of Mazda models, as much as I don’t care for them personally.

  • avatar
    A09

    Nissan. I had a 2002 Nissan Altima 3.5SE 5-speed manual that shut down while I was traveling around 65mph down a two-lane road. I had to use the hand brake to slow and stop the vehicle on the side of the road as a tractor-trailer was closing in on me from behind. I waited over two plus hours for a tow truck to take the vehicle to the nearest Nissan dealer. All of this occurred on my drive from MI to IL, the day before my first day of a new job. The crank position sensor was recalled for the very incident I experienced. The irony is that six months prior to my incident, I had the crank position sensor replaced under the recall…the new part was also inferior.

    Before and after crank position sensor fiasco, the Altima was in the shop once a quarter for random electronic and chassis issues. In the four years I owned the car, the Nissan-backed extended warranty that I purchased for $500 ended up replacing over $2,000 worth of components: BCM, ECM, two MAF sensors, and two LF wheel bearings. Once out of warranty,I had to replace all four leaking struts, an inner CV boot, and another LF wheel bearing, and a lower control arm. In 2012 I sold the car to my friend who is a former Nissan technician.

    That Altima was worse than the three prior Ford products I owned: an ’84 Escort, ’89 Taurus LX, ’96 Sable GS. Since the Altima I have owned a ’06 Honda Accord and ’08 Toyota Highlander, both far superior than anything I have owned previously.

  • avatar
    craiger

    I’ve owned a lot of cars, but I’ll never buy another new Saab or Saturn again!

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Nice one. Of course, it’s unlikely that you could if you wanted to; but that’s your point, isn’t it? The Saturn Vue I bought back in ’02 is still on the roads with over 150,000 miles on it and a very strong I-4 engine with a new multi-stage clutch pack. Thing will surprise you with how quick they were for its size.

      Yes, I’d buy Saturn again, if GM still made them as they did for the first 20 years. Once they started re-badging Opels as Saturns, they lost a lot of what made them so good.

  • avatar

    The will no doubt bring ridicule, but: Ford

    And it is for a rather silly reason: the lack of a gas door release. Yes, I know i can buy a locking gas cap, but why should I have to? Even econoboxes have inside releases on every model, and it simply boggles my mind that the thumb notch hasn’t disappeared by now.
    /rant

  • avatar
    CaseyLE82

    A few years ago I would have said Kia. When I was just a kid I sold my first car, a 1996 Plymouth Neon (which is still on the road btw. My brothers mother in law is still driving it). I then purchased a very nice looking 1999 Kia Sephia. I was a kid. I knew not what I did!

    That car had 34k miles on it when I bought it and cost me well over $2k in repairs to make it to 68k miles when a blessed hail storm totaled it.

    But now Kia seems to be making some pretty nice cars. I’m a Ford guy, tho, and plan to drive my “Fusion of Malcontent” as Sajeev called it until forever if possible. Now that the issues are fixed it’s beautiful!

  • avatar
    hawox

    fiat.

    don’t care if they improve in next years, we had some of them as company cars. and i think i payed enough for my previous life’s sins!

  • avatar

    1) BMW – ugh. How many service manager’s kids I have put through private colleges? I am afraid to tally it up – though I would admit – most of the problematical components on my 5 BMW’s had a Bosch label on them.

    2) VW – how many CV joints does this thing have and why does one fail every 8k?

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    There’s no brand I’ll swear off and I really haven’t had any bad experiences with any vehicles. While I don’t have a poor reliability experience to base my opinion on I think I’d be willing to accept less than stellar reliability in order to drive what I want.

    The most reliable I’ve ever owned was a 91 Caprice Wagon that I put over 200,000 miles on. Never stranded me once and required very few repairs that weren’t wear items (in 200k you use up plenty of brakes and tires). The drive train was 100% bulletproof, just fluid changes all around. If GM ever released a new BOF station wagon I’d sell organs to get one.

    Since then I’ve owned a series of full size trucks (mostly GM) that have given me stellar service. I buy a new one every few years and they’ve never gotten anything besides scheduled maintenance and tire/brakes (typically both around 60,000 miles). My current K2XX Silverado has been a fantastic truck. I’m also happy with our Terrain, the first FWD/unibody I’ve ever owned; though it still is low miles. It was the only CUV that offered boxier more truck-like styling besides the horrible Patriot.

    I’ve got my eye on a Yukon XL SLE or Suburban LS for my next purchase. I’ll also consider an Expedition EL, but I’m not a fan of the 3.5L turbo-six. Powerful as hell, but damned if it doesn’t sound like a vacuum cleaner.

    For fun once open up a used vehicle search site and search for vehicles with over 200,000 miles. You will see a ton of domestic full-size SUVs and pickup trucks.

  • avatar
    davidhaile

    Ford – never, ever. All from 1 one-week span of incompetence with service on a 2000 Excursion diesel more than 10 years ago. If the mechanics would think through the problems, I’d have more respect. As it was, they just follow the book and replace unrelated parts hoping to that someday they’ll replace the bad part. Heck – replace the whole car if that is the approach to solving problems.

    • 0 avatar
      mechaman

      10 Years? I’d suggest your problems were more with the mechanics than the manufacturer…lotsa stuff has happened in that tenner.

      • 0 avatar
        davidhaile

        It was the whole experience including the service manager. They said my one year old batteries were bad and wouldn’t continue until I replaced them at $240. Then an ABS sensor was bad and had to be replaced. When they thought it was the alternator that didn’t sound like the right answer to what I saw happening. The bill was up to $900 and they weren’t even paying attention to the symptoms. There are plenty of other cars to choose from including my 2010 Prius with 123k miles and not a lick of trouble.

  • avatar
    mechaman

    Sounds like they thought you had enough spare cash to finance whatever they were planning … Professionals are supposed to get it right at the jump, or have a damn good explanation for why they didn’t. Enjoy the Prius!

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