Reliability in Cars

For a person, being called reliable is not a good thing. It tends to mean you’re soft or boring. Yet it’s precisely what most people are looking for in a car, whether it be a compact, mid-sized or SUV.

When a car becomes unreliable, what is the problem? It may be the air conditioning, the battery, brakes, the engine and its electrics, suspension and items such as the clutch/gearbox.

Once a car buyer chooses a model, they find dependable its very likely they will stick to that model, maybe for life. Psychologically speaking, people reaffirm their decision by ascribing good feelings towards it. I chose it, so unless I’m confronted with clear evidence that I made a poor choice, I’m going to believe I made a great choice.

What does Reliability Mean?

Family cars and commuter cars most likely to advertise their reliability, but that doesn’t mean they have the same definition of reliability.

In a family car, look at how practical it is and what are the running costs/how fuel efficient is it?

Does it up all the gas? Because families like fuel economy but in a commuter car, there is no reliability in a gas guzzler. Either way, it can’t break down often, which is what most of us think of when we think of reliable.

As for unreliable…

The cars least likely to be advertised as reliable are sports cars and indeed they have their brand of problems. Take Porsches – the 718 Cayman had faults with their engines as well as electrics. A third of them couldn’t even be driven. It may have been linked to having two engines; after all more can go wrong.

Porsche 718 Cayman

Then there’s the Panameras, 47% of which had faults due to their bodywork and other items such as the exhaust. Although the company did pay for some alterations, a number of people had to fork out for their own fixes. You could call buying some of these cars a gamble.

A sports car of the same Porsche brand you can rely on is possibly the 911 with an impressive 370+ horsepower engine. The precise hp is dependent on the exact model so it is best to check with your dealer. It has luxury and has the advantage of not needing those trips to the repair shop. As it has the obscure “number” name that is the number you would dial for assistance in the U.S. it’s a bit ironic that it’s considered the Porsche least likely to break down. Still not a ringing endorsement in many people’s books.

Cars that Might Make the Reliable List

Okay, we don’t have stats on the models that break down the least. Some companies claim to publish this info and they are hotly disputed by manufacturers who don’t make those lists.

We will, however, mention a couple cars that are boring enough to be considered reliable the way we mean it when talking about a person.

Hyundai Electra

When it comes to reliability in a staid, dull kind of way, some critics may look to a vehicle such as the Mitsubishi Mirage. It has an evident grayness and the controls seem workaday. Is it reliable though? It does have a tendency to gobble up the gas, not that good an attribute.

Another example is the Hyandai Electra which is built to attract the older generation; note the black/brown interior. There is something weird about the steering wheel, you either have to strain your arms or position your body too far forwards. The rear view is too obscured by the head rests, and the acceleration seems cursed, it just doesn’t get going. But it wasn’t designed to be “peppy.”

Okay, we know what you really mean by reliability….

Reliability means that the car is inexpensive to repair and won’t be in the workshop for several weeks when it does break down. For those who use the car everyday, say for commuting, this must surely be the most prominent meaning of the word “reliable”. So the trick is finding a car that’s reliable but not boring!

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