Which Vehicles Last the Longest?

Which Vehicles Last the Longest?

Repairs are a part of the car ownership experience and there are many ways to quantify how reliable a car is. But what if you just want a car that will keep on going?

To find out which vehicles are known for going the furthest in their lifetime, we spoke to Michael Karesh from TrueDelta.

TrueDelta is a database where car owners can report on experience with their vehicles, including when a repair is needed, and how much a repair will cost. Car owners also report at what mileage their issues occur. This gives a very rounded perspective of when repairs might crop up, and what kind of trips to the service center you can expect.

We asked TrueDelta for a list of vehicles with the highest average mileage with reports on each coming from at least ten owner responses. Note that these cars aren’t necessarily the most reliable, but they have the highest average miles among their owners.

  1. 2003 Volkswagen Golf/Jetta diesel: 218,000 miles
  2. 2001 Volkswagen Golf/Jetta diesel: 218,000 miles
  3. 2000 Toyota Sienna: 213,000 miles
  4. 2002 Volkswagen Golf/Jetta diesel: 202,000 miles
  5. 2002 Ford Super Duty: 194,000 miles
  6. 2002 Toyota Prius: 193,000 miles
  7. 2001 GM full-size SUVs: 183,000 miles
  8. 2001 Toyota Tacoma: 180,000 miles
  9. 2001 Subaru Legacy / Outback: 178,000 miles
  10. 2000 Honda Odyssey: 177,000 miles
  11. 2000 Toyota 4Runner: 177,000 miles
  12. 2002 Toyota Tacoma: 176,000 miles
  13. 2002 Honda Odyssey: 173,000 miles
  14. 2000 GM full-size SUVs: 173,000 miles
  15. 2002 GM full-size SUVs: 173,000 miles
  16. 2000 Ford Super Duty: 172,000 miles
  17. 2003 GM minivans: 171,000 miles

Surprised? We sure were, since Volkswagen vehicles aren’t known for having a strong history of reliability. But then again, people who buy diesel Volkswagens are likely more concerned about the vehicle’s ability to travel long distances. The same can be said about the Toyota Prius.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Least Dependable Automakers

“People are more likely to buy a VW TDI or a Prius if they know they’re going to be driving a lot, since fuel economy then has more of an impact,” says Karesh. “Many owners of the older TDIs are willing and able to work on their own cars, and often do quite a bit of work to keep them going,” he said.

Sure enough, looking at the reports of 13-year old VW Jetta diesels on TrueDelta holds no surprises: the data base has 163 repairs per 100 vehicles, which is expected for such an old car. The cost of repairs aren’t too high though, with only 15 percent of them being over $1,000. Looking through the individual reports, many owners have over 100,000 miles on their cars.

Other cars on this list have more favorable repair frequencies. Owners of Toyota Prius and 4Runner vehicles reported fewer repairs than those Volkswagen owners, however, they were reported with fewer average miles.

Does this list show that certain cars are more reliable than others? Not exactly. Instead these are the cars that you can expect to get a ton of miles out of.

  • Raymond Ramírez

    That isn’t a list of “durability, but of high mileage. My two GM sedans lasted 26 and 21 years, And both were sold to a second owner and are still running! Very few imports can last over 20 years under the same owner, and I have only seen one that is over 20 years because the owner never drives it.

  • I’m not sure what you mean by “import.” It’s a LOT easier for me to find 1990s Hondas, Toyotas, Nissans, and Mazdas (yes, Mazdas!) than to find 1990s GMs, Fords, and Chryslers. The imports I do see on the road also tend to be in much better condition.

  • El Chapo’s gonna get me.

    VW cheated so they shouldn’t count.

  • Jonny_Vancouver

    Dear AutoGuide, while interesting, this information does not help me. I would really appreciate it if you guys and gals would use the time machine I know you have in the basement of your building to travel into the future and report what current (2016) cars will last the longest. Thanks.

  • Jonny_Vancouver

    Aha, I agree with you, They lost all credibility with me. Their best model imo is the GTI, now its not even a contender. WRX/STi all the way!

  • Jonny_Vancouver

    When it comes to cars, durability = mileage I would think … You could put a brand new car in a temperature controlled garage for 50 yrs and never drive it, but what would that prove?

  • Jonny_Vancouver


  • El Chapo’s gonna get me.

    and I loved my 1984 Jetta GL.

  • Mark S

    Not that surprised, the view on VW reliability is very different in Europe (where I am from), vs the USA. Some of that maybe the low spec they have used for the US market at times, but a lot is perception.
    I joked with a Toyota dealer that their cars are so reliable, they do not need a service department to do anything beyond oil changes, he was not impressed with the joke. That aside, very cool to see the Prius is lasting well, a lot of nay sayers when it was launched (mainly battery myths).

  • dhectorg

    These results are anecdotal at best with only 10 examples required to be on the list. There are millions and millions of cars on the roads, many far older than the year 2000, which is the oldest on this list. Utterly meaningless.

  • Andres Canipe

    You are so wrong. I have 26 year old Mazda Miata and 35 year old Toyota Tercel 4WD. Both run excellent. What is this prowress of trying to bash imported but not really imported cars as they are built in America giving Americans job bullshit.

  • Ben

    These model were equipped with VE type TDi engines (1996-2003) and pre-date any emission cheating by two generations of TDi designs. The next generation PD engines (2004-2006) will not be a high mile success due to poor camshaft design. The dirty rotten, no good, baby killing CR engine (2009-2014) was actually shaping up to be a stellar platform before the minute emissions scandal was blown out of proportion. VW had a credibility problem way before diesel gate. Under addressed camshaft wear issues plagued gas and diesel engines from 2004-2008 now the 2008+ gas 2.0t engines have serious timing chain issues.

  • Sultry_Llama_Of_Doom

    When the company I work for had Lincoln Town Cars, they wouldn’t get rid of them until they had over three hundred thousand miles on them. Many of them still drove quite nicely, too.