1,000,000 miles! That’s over 40 times around the circumference of the earth! Chances are that most cars aren’t built to survive that long, but these cars are! In this article, I’m going to show you some of the most reliable cheap cars out there! And there’s even one that has clocked over 3,000,000 miles! Let’s go!
Lexus LS400 – Lexus Limo
So, reliability and longevity is the name of the game, and 1,000,000 miles is a must, but you want to roll in comfort and luxury. Well, look no further than the Lexus LS400! Infamously known for reliability and luxury, the Lexus LS400 is sure to last you 1,000,000 miles. Don’t take my word for it, take it from Matt Farah of The Smoking Tire. That’s right! That actual Lexus LS400 ticked over 1,000,000!
Toyota threw tons of money at Lexus in order to make a Mercedes S-Class competitor. But, unlike the S-Class, Lexus had to make their luxo-barge reliable. And they had to build it to a weight limit, weighing no more than 4,000 pounds. The engineers working on this project had to come into work wearing a lab coat and booties!
All of these strict tolerances were thanks in part to project lead Ichiro Suzuki (no, not that Ichiro Suzuki). But, this Ichiro Suzuki is a master of perfection, employing only the best and most precise engineers to lay hands on these cars. He even had F1 technicians to develop the engine! While not for power, the F1 technicians had to make the engine bulletproof, and that’s exactly what they did.
The technicians paired their reliable masterpiece with a plush interior, fitted with all the necessities and nothing more. The LS400 comes standard with a bulletproof suspension that feels like you’re riding on a cloud.
About a year ago, you could’ve picked up a used LS400 for around $1,500. But, since the secret is out, today, they’re trading hands for a bit more. We found examples with less than 200,000 miles going for $4,500, which is still a bargain in my mind as they have plenty of life left in them.
But, say you don’t have that big of a budget. I’d point you towards a Ford Crown Victoria.
Ford Crown Victoria – A Reliable Mustang Sedan
The Ford Crown Victoria has been around for years. Whether it’s showing up in your rearview with red-and-blues or in lines waiting to pick up tourists from airports, the Crown Victoria is a reliable staple for both cops and taxis. When new the Crown Victoria only sold about a third to civilians, the rest went to police agencies and other fleet sales. So, Ford had to manufacture them for brutal police usage, they were Built Ford Tough.
But, in all seriousness, Ford made this car to withstand just about anything cops wanted to throw at it and that’s why they kept coming back to Ford. They would run these Crown Vics for a few hundred thousand miles, then offload them to taxi companies for pennies on the dollar. And while the taxi companies would run their Crown Vics for another few hundred thousand miles, the police agencies would go back and buy new Crown Vics!
Once the taxi companies were done with them, they wholesaled them to consumers. And that’s where you and I come in and buy them up for next to nothing. You can get ones with hundreds of thousands of miles or nicer ones like a 130,000-mile gem from 2011 for just under $3,000!
Did I mention it comes with the engine out of a Mustang? That’s right! Not only is it reliable but, with the P71 police package, it has an upgraded engine with beefier camshafts and better-suited suspension as well as chassis stiffeners to make it ready for anything and everything that the police want to throw at it.
I hate left-lane hogs. You hate left-lane hogs. Get one of these and people will be scattering from your view and moving over out of your way. To even an expert eye, they look like a police car.
But Crown Vics aren’t all that practical and you can’t haul much. Oh, I guess it can. Well, if you want more practicality, you’ve got to go with a Toyota pickup.
Toyota Pickup – Unkillable
A pickup is made for one thing: utility. And the Toyota Pickup is made for a lot more than just utility, it’s made to last. Everything is made as durable as possible on it. Top Gear tested it by sinking it in the English Channel, setting it on fire, and even blowing it off a building. But, surprisingly, the truck still ran and drove!
This seemed too good to be true for WhistlinDiesel. So, even he bought one to break, putting through its paces, and it proved to be reliable and durable throughout whatever he threw at it until he dropped it out of a helicopter at 10,000 feet. Now, would your little Fiat be able to take that?
At the end of the day, a Toyota Pickup will probably outlast you! And, for under $5,000, what more could you want? Better gas mileage? Well, lucky for you, you don’t have to look too far for that. The Toyota Camry will suffice.
1997-2001 Toyota Camry – Bland But Brilliant
And the best cheap Camrys that will outlast anything is the fourth generation. Built from 1997 to 2001, they were made like bricks, ditching everything that seemed unnecessary and adding things that added reliability.
While the car is very conservatively styled, this Camry won’t leave you stranded anytime soon. Keep your eyes peeled and you’re sure to see dozens of these roaming around, and that’s thanks in part to its reliability. And, if something does break, it won’t cost hundreds of dollars to fix because Toyota made a million of these.
There are two options for your engine, both of which are bulletproof: a small V6 or a smaller four-cylinder. But, they’re offered with a five-speed manual transmission to make up for that lack of power. Both engines get upwards of 25 miles per gallon and have the ability to do it reliably.
So, for $2,500, can you really go wrong? Maybe not, but a Toyota’s not a Lexus. And what if I told you that you could also get a cheap Lexus that could last 1,000,000 miles? You’d think LS400, but the Lexus ES300 also fits the bill.
Lexus ES300 – Reliable Luxury
Smaller than the LS400 and less complicated, the ES300 has just the right amount of reliability and simplicity mixed in with some luxury. Lexus really listened to their consumers as they took to focus groups and asked people what they wanted. While cosmetics weren’t a huge concern, functionality was a focus on and it sure shows!
Following up on the success of the LS400, Lexus knew it had to come out swinging with a newer, smaller model. And the ES300 sure delivered! While the V6 isn’t all that powerful or even fuel-efficient, it sure is reliable! Lasting hundreds of thousands of miles with just simple maintenance, these ES300s are unkillable!
I bet that once you hear Lexus, you think expensive, but you’d be wrong. You can pick up these ES300s for less than $2,000! And that’s an absolute bargain if you ask me. These cars are for luxury, but what about safety? While it isn’t unsafe, there sure are some other cars that come to mind when it comes to safety: Volvo.
Old Volvos – Super Bricks
And while old Volvos are both safe and cheap, did you know that they were made to last too? Get yourself any version of a Volvo 240 and chances are that you’ll be able to hand the car down from generation to generation. These old brick-like Volvos are known to last 300,000, 400,000, or even 500,000 miles with relative ease.
And you can pick up a clean one with some well-used miles for less than $2,000! But there’s another Volvo that’s sure to outlast a 240. And while it isn’t as new or as cheap, a Volvo P1800 is sure to outlast anything or anyone. And, I say that with confidence, as a P1800 holds the Guinness World Record for the most miles on any car in existence!
How many miles do you think it has? 1 million? 1.5 million? 2 million? Nope. 3.25 million miles! That’s roughly 130 times around the world! Unfortunately, the secret is out on the P1800s and they’ve skyrocketed in price, but that’s because they can last forever!
The main reason that they’re so expensive is that the people that have them hold onto them! With some research, I found a 1966 P1800 for just over $22,000, but it’s only got 62,000 miles, and it’s just finishing up with its engine break-in.
Buy this and you will save tens of thousands of dollars of maintenance-related repairs throughout the life of the car. Or just go another route and buy a cheap Honda Accord that will easily last you a few hundred thousand miles.
2002-2007 Honda Accord – Sporty but Reliable
While, out of the box, the 2002-2007 Honda Accord might not stand out to you, it should. Not only does it come with a choice of an efficient four-banger or a more potent V6, but both are also available with a manual transmission and both are cheap!
Honda built these Accords with reliability in mind. Sure, it will not have modern tech and features, but it will make sure to get you to your destination. Honda engineered these cars to be reliable, cheap, and more reliable. Many of these cars have hundreds of thousands of trouble-free miles.
And, for $1,500 and with less than 150,000 miles, can you really go wrong? Well, if you live in a climate with rough weather, most of these options probably won’t be a great choice for you, but an all-wheel drive Lexus RX is made to tackle any terrain!
Lexus RX300/330/350 – Reliable in Any Weather
Since entering the USA markets with the LS400, Lexus had a reputation of a blend of luxury and reliability which had not been done very often before they came along. Toyota and Lexus together decided that they needed to hit the market with an SUV that brought together Lexus luxury and Toyota reliability. And so that’s exactly what they did with the RX300.
They engineered a 3.0-liter V6 and paired it with a smooth-shifting four-speed automatic transmission. While it’s not all that fast or even all that efficient, it makes up for it in reliability, lasting hundreds of thousands of miles, which is perfect for people that live in areas with harsh weather conditions. And, for under $4,000, can you really go wrong?