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best car for most miles


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25 replies to this topic

#1 FLAcharlie

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 07:51 PM

I'm on my 3d Subaru. First '90 Legacy wagon went to my daughter and was recently retired at 240k miles. OK, The 95 or so Impreza that I got the wife had really bad luck getting backed into in parking lots, the final mileage wasn't spectacular, probably not its fault. My current '97 Outback wagon has 160k miles on it and going strong.

Just took a job where I'll be commuting 180mi/day (did that for 10 months a year or so ago).

My question for the group is, I'm inclined to stick with Subies for this gig, but are there any other recommendations for cars that can make it to 200, 300, 400k miles ? Diesels maybe (I know they're traditionally more expensive to maintain ?) ?

Thankx.

#2 nipper

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 08:38 PM

only other car i know that lasts as long are volvos, but their switch gear start to break, otherwise they tend to run forever, BMWs are rumored to too, but then you need a mortage to keep Hans around to maintain the car.


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#3 Snowman

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 10:13 PM

For highest total mileage, I would go with a gen 1 (90-94) legacy. Their "expected" life before a rebuild is between 300k and 400k, and lots of people have done that. It is possible for the newer soobs to go that far, but since they use interference engines, and had more problems with headgaskets, the likelihood is greater that the engine would catastrophically fail sometime in there.

I wish Subaru made a diesel. That would be the sickest thing ever.

Really, just about any car can last that long, but only with proper maintenance. I would definitely run synthetic engine and gear oil. Change your coolant every 20,000 miles or so or every two years, whichever comes first. You may also want to seriously think about adding a coolant filter. That will keep crud from building up in the passages in the block, which can lead to localized overheating and shorter engine life. Keep relatively new hoses and belts in it to avoid any overheating-related stresses on the engine. I'm sure there's more stuff, but I can't remember it right now.

#4 The Dude

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 10:37 PM

Along with Subaru, for a long lasting car I would have to look hard at Toyota. A comparable 2wd Toyota will cost a little less than a Subaru, and will definitely get better mileage. Several websites can provide total cost to own estimates for both cars. My 99 Forester 200,000 miles, total repair parts? One rebuilt axle and a set of ball joints. Not too much to complain about, on this car anyway.

#5 TheBrian

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 01:08 AM

180 miles per day? That's an insane commute! But, for any situation, there is a right car.

With a stick-shifted Legacy getting 30mpg highway, you'd probably spend $4800 a year on fuel.
If you got something that could manage 40mpg, like a stick Corolla or Civic, you'd save $1400 a year on fuel, which is considerable. I doubt a Civic or Corolla would cost you $1400 extra in repairs over the course of the year.
Diesels are attractive, but they're hard to find in America. Plus, the VW Turbodiesels really don't get exciting gas mileage.

But, if you like Subarus, you don't need to minimize your transportation costs, and you like the "gee-whiz" factor of owning a car with 200kmi+ on it, then my vote is for a Subaru with a 2.2L, 1990 to 1996. '97 was the first year for the interference 2.2L engine.

#6 charlierh2

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 01:47 AM

Any NA sube should do you very well. The non interference 2.2s are getting old enough that you cant really rely on them unless you REALLY know the history of the car. Just avoid the Phase I 2.5L and you should be good.

Doesnt sound like you want to be swapping engines or anything. But if you do a rebuild 2.2 will take away the problem of history.

#7 SakoTGrimes

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 04:23 AM

Don't forget diesel Mercedes! The 4-cyl ones get like 45 miles to the gallon

#8 teppichkopf

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 10:46 AM

A friend of mine's dad bought new a mid 80s Mercedes 300D and racked up over 350k miles. When it got wrecked he bought the same model year even though it was 15 years old. Of coures up here diesel fuel cost a bit more than gas at the pump.

#9 bulwnkl

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 11:17 AM

SAABs are pretty much bulletproof when it comes to outright longevity. Also, though I'll be stoned as a heretic here I'm sure, your situation is ideal for an American car. A good Buick or even Pontiac with a 3.8-liter V-6 will run 250-350,000 highway miles easily. American cars have lower maintenance costs than any other makes, get fuel economy in the low 30's on the highway, and are bigger and much more comfortable cruising the freeways.

Okay, I'm going to go run and hide now. :)

#10 nipper

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Posted 30 November 2005 - 12:05 PM

LET THE STONEING BEGIN!!!!



hehe well the engine will run that long, but i doubt the switchgear and other gm dodas will last. And you have to love how the headliner sags on those cars.



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#11 vic/se

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 10:12 AM

I'm on my 3d Subaru. First '90 Legacy wagon went to my daughter and was recently retired at 240k miles. OK, The 95 or so Impreza that I got the wife had really bad luck getting backed into in parking lots, the final mileage wasn't spectacular, probably not its fault. My current '97 Outback wagon has 160k miles on it and going strong.

Just took a job where I'll be commuting 180mi/day (did that for 10 months a year or so ago).

My question for the group is, I'm inclined to stick with Subies for this gig, but are there any other recommendations for cars that can make it to 200, 300, 400k miles ? Diesels maybe (I know they're traditionally more expensive to maintain ?) ?

Thankx.



I have gone over 500k miles on my mercedes 300td.....and it's not more expensive to maintain. Any diesel engine of same displacement as gas is 30% more efficient.....so you should have a diesel .
Even if I read horror stories about subs, I hope to reach 400k with my wagon....I start to enjoy driving her with time, and she drives like new after 3 years

#12 zyewdall

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 11:39 AM

Diesels are attractive, but they're hard to find in America. Plus, the VW Turbodiesels really don't get exciting gas mileage.


I have to take issue with the gas mileage comment on the VW turbodiesels. My friend has a 99 TDI jetta, and it gets 42mpg on road trips, cruising about 90mph. If we slow down to a more reasonable speed (hard because it has so much power on the highway), it gets closer to 50mpg. Given that it feels much more powerful than a civic which might get similar mileage, I think this mileage is very good. The engine is very well built mechanically and will probably last forever in this catagory. Electronically, it does leave something to be desired and seems to be the shop several times a year for bizzare electrical control problems and the rest of the car isn't built as well as the japanese ones though, so don't expect to get 400k miles without some maintenance expense. I heard rumors that honda was going to be importing the diesel civic to the US next year -- if that's true, it should get similar or better mileage to the VW jetta, with way better reliability.

#13 cookie

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 12:21 PM

with Toyota Corrollas. My friend's kid is running one now with my advice and we work on it together. It has over 200,000 on it and is running strong and burning no oil in spite of a near total lack of service.
I would guess it has had about a grand in it since new which beats the heck out of my Subie.
I hope my freind is right that it is non interference because he has never changed the timing belt.
He brought it over last fall because the brakes were squeaking. The rears were down to the drum although they had changed the front the year before.
He said the temp was running low and fuel mileage had gone to heck. In changing the thermostat we found a rats nest in the air cleaner that nearly blocked it.
Mileage and temp are back where they are supposed to be now. He is doing several MPG better than my Subie with this small front drive wagon.
But is it fun to drive? Will it go off road ...no.

#14 nipper

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 12:25 PM

Any of the foreign made deisels will run forever. I look it at is a whole car isse. if the seats are falling apart, switches dont work, ac cant be fixed, then i really dont consider the car a good high milage car, Thats just my threshold. i dont care what it looks like on the outside, as i spend most my time on the inside :)
ive gotten rid of good running cars only because the parts were getting so hard to find, and usually those were non drive train parts.


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#15 XSKI712

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 09:58 PM

my 1991 toyota tercel just rolled over 135,000, and outside of a little burning oil and some holes in the exhaust, i'd venture to say that it will keep running for a long while. its on the market, if you're not too far, makin the upgrade to a '99 legacy 30th ann.

#16 97OBW

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 10:28 PM

with that many miles each day i would think saftey and comfort would be ones highest priorities. With that much driving your accident risks are higher, and comfort standards need to be high. i wouldent buy anything older than 4 to 5 years...i read an article a couple days back on the ford crown vics/grand marquis. they said it was a very reliable car(proven by its NYC cab usuage for over 10 years) and they also said it was an excellent highway cruiser. cars ive had experience with would be my moms 4 door 03' accord. has good power for a 4cyl and is very comfortable. MY parents have also owned a 1996 eagle vision(better looking triplet of the concord and intrepid)..this car is by far the best looking car we have ever owned(turned tons of heads).....besides its good looks head gasket blew at 36k...though this was probably some type of factory defect many other problems went wrong which lead to selling it at 75k
all in all i'd say if you want american stay away from chrysler other than that any midsize japanese car will last accords, camrys, maximas,

#17 rweddy

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 12:46 AM

SAABs are pretty much bulletproof when it comes to outright longevity. Also, though I'll be stoned as a heretic here I'm sure, your situation is ideal for an American car. A good Buick or even Pontiac with a 3.8-liter V-6 will run 250-350,000 highway miles easily. American cars have lower maintenance costs than any other makes, get fuel economy in the low 30's on the highway, and are bigger and much more comfortable cruising the freeways.

Okay, I'm going to go run and hide now. :)


I would say Subaru, Honda and Toyota are the best.

SAAB?? Funny you should say that everyone I know who has had one loves them but say they are in the shop a lot. My sister in law was going to buy one but everyone shop she talked to said to stay away unless she wanted a Saab-story.

#18 Strakes

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 10:17 AM

The later model Saab's (the GM clones) are apparently always in the shop. My friend's 2004 9-3 has been in the shop almost every other month since he bought it new. The dealer has always given him a loaner, but the hassle has really gotten to him. We're both car freaks and bringing up his Saab in a conversation will get him highly aggravated. He says that according to the dealer, the Subaru clone Saab 9-2 doesn't have those service-garage-queen issues. The older non-GM Saabs are the ones with the stellar durability reputation.

#19 adwolf1

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 10:34 AM

I have to concur with the folks who say history is important. No matter what you do, make sure the car that you get has a good, clear history and has been well maintained.

The gen-1 legacies & early gen-2's (with the 2.2 non-interference engines) can run forever, as long as they are well maintained.

Your MPG probably won't exceed 30mpg, even if you feather it on the highway.

#20 DerFahrer

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Posted 02 December 2005 - 12:22 PM

Get a well-maintained 1st-gen Legacy and it should be as reliable as any new car. Seriously.

The old Volvos and Mercs are great too, and while the old Saabs were pretty tough, their drivetrain layout scared me ****less ;)

#21 Patrickjd9

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Posted 03 December 2005 - 02:55 PM

Also, though I'll be stoned as a heretic here I'm sure, your situation is ideal for an American car. A good Buick or even Pontiac with a 3.8-liter V-6 will run 250-350,000 highway miles easily. American cars have lower maintenance costs than any other makes, get fuel economy in the low 30's on the highway, and are bigger and much more comfortable cruising the freeways. :)

You'll get no stones from me. These cars are a perfectly reasonable choice for such a commute, probably better for a taller/bigger person than a 4 cylinder Toyota/Honda sedan.

#22 rweddy

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Posted 03 December 2005 - 04:38 PM

You'll get no stones from me. These cars are a perfectly reasonable choice for such a commute, probably better for a taller/bigger....


They might be bigger, but I would go with a accord or camry if you need size. I have never seen any American sedan even with a 3.8 go 200k or over, esp. with orginal motor. American cars tend to fall apart at 100k.

#23 ShawnW

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 01:06 AM

A 2wd compact toyota pickup would get good mileage,be comfortable to drive and reliable.

A 94 or so 1.8L impreza would be real good on gas and have the same reliabilty as a 90-94 legacy with the same comfort as long as you arent over 6'1" tall. If you can spare the AWD I would, or if you want an automatic install a switch on the FWD fuse so you can cut off power to the rear wheels. This does save some gas.

#24 rweddy

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 01:18 AM

A 2wd compact toyota pickup would get good mileage,be comfortable to drive and reliable.

A 94 or so 1.8L impreza would be real good on gas and have the same reliabilty as a 90-94 legacy with the same comfort as long as you arent over 6'1" tall. If you can spare the AWD I would, or if you want an automatic install a switch on the FWD fuse so you can cut off power to the rear wheels. This does save some gas.

That is a great call, there is a 2wd Toyota truck at a dealership in Colorado with over 300,000 miles.

About the AWD cut off, the difference in gas mileage between an AWD legacy and a 2wd legacy is nominal, 1 or 2 mpg at best. I would not think it to be worth a cut off switch or fuse.

#25 _Aramchek_

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Posted 06 December 2005 - 07:34 PM

They might be bigger, but I would go with a accord or camry if you need size. I have never seen any American sedan even with a 3.8 go 200k or over, esp. with orginal motor. American cars tend to fall apart at 100k.


My previous car was a 1992 oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera 3.3 v-6 and it had roughly 160k miles on it and ran strong,used no oil,ran very cool,the most work it ever needed was tires and a new muffler and to top it off would destroy my 2.2 5spd outback anywhere over 70mph...and i think that it actually got better gas milage than my outback too:D ...that car was bulletproof and I abused it as much as I could too.

Granted it was *nowhere* near as fun to drive as the outback is,but my point is that it would still be going strong now and well into the 200kmile future if some idiot on their cell phone hadn't ran into me.




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