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News Room

Which Car Lasts the Longest?

Jason Snyman
South Africans are known to cling to their cars for a long time, and this suits us just fine. Because, like us, some cars are simply built to survive. We took a look at some industry favourites, renowned for their never-say-die attitude, and we ask; which car lasts the longest?

Well, that new car smell sure is something special. The feeling of driving a brand new car, right out of the box, for the very first time, is one that few people ever forget. But, of course, brand new cars are expensive., and when we consider the fact that it begins to depreciate in value the very minute it leaves the showroom floor, it doesn't quite seem worth it in today's turbulent economy, does it? In fact, even the few that can afford a brand new car often consider it a bit of a silly investment.

So, if you're looking to replace the car you currently have, or perhaps even fund your child's first set of wheels, it's really not a bad idea to look at previously owned vehicles.

The trick, of course, is to get the right one. You want a car built to stand the test of time. Reliable, affordable to maintain, easy to insure, and difficult to kill. So, where do we find these mythical beasts? Well, you're in luck, because we’ve put together a list of our favourite cars of all time. Cars that are renowned for their ability to just keep on going, and going, and going, and going. 

As the old saying goes; they sure don't make them like they used to. 

Let's take a look.

Highest Quality Brands And Models – The Popular Opinion

All over the world (and now more than ever), motorists are clinging to their investments. People now tend to keep their cars for years and years. In order to do this successfully, three factors need to be taken into account. These are the cost of repair, the cost of routine maintenance and, of course, the original quality of the vehicle.

You could keep any car running for years and years if you have the money to pour into it, but, ideally, you wouldn’t want to do that any more than you need to. So, you need a reliable brand and model, and luckily there are many to choose from. What's the popular opinion, then, when we take accolades into account?

Over the last couple of years, the annual Ipsos Quality Awards, for example, have seen Audi and Volkswagen continue to set the standard among global auto-manufacturers. Both brands have demonstrated near-unrivaled consistency in quality and customer satisfaction, with VW, in particular, also enjoying a lot of recent commercial success.   

Both brands, as well as Toyota (South Africans have always loved a good Toyota) and Nissan, have been awarded numerous Gold Awards by Ipsos. 

Of the car brands previously mentioned, several models have received high praise. Of Toyota, we've seen the Yaris, Corolla Quest, Avanza and Prado do well. The Hilux, in particular, collected Gold awards in recent years for Petrol Single Cab and Diesel Single Cab. 

Nissan has found several champions in the Micra, Almera, the NP200 Hardbody and Navara. Audi's A3 Sportback has also proven a firm favourite, as well as the A5 Sportback, the A3 and the Q5. 

Ford and Volkswagen also garnered Ipsos Gold in recent years with their Mustang and Polo, respectively, and the Opel Mokka and Renault Captur have driven away with Ipsos Gold and a level of praise uncommonly bestowed upon either brand.

CAR Magazine's annual list of Top Best Buys for last year (which is based on ranges instead of individual models), corroborated many of these in naming the vehicles deemed the best within their respective classes:

  • Nissan Micra;
  • Volkswagen Polo;
  • Audi A3;
  • Audi Q5;
  • Toyota Corolla Quest;
  • Toyota Hilux, and;
  • Renault Captur.

So, we can safely ascertain that these are smart buys. 

But, while the results of these respected awards are derived from conducting detailed surveys, involving thousands of motorists who own and drive a wide range of brands, and scoring is based on the average number of product-related defects, issues or problems reported by the owners at around the three-month ownership mark, the results are still based on pretty-much-new cars. 

Do newer cars have a technological advantage over the oldies? Sure. The brakes are generally better, the safety features are often better, and the list goes on, but what we really want to know is; how would these brands or models hold up after years and years of service? 

Let’s take a look at some of our other favourite cars, in no particular order of preference, that are destined to last a lifetime. 

1. Honda Accord

The Honda Accord is one of the most dependable cars out there today. Over the years, the Japanese manufacturer has always been at the forefront of technology and, along with the Civic and CR-V, the Accord has become a firm favourite among motorists. 

An absolute timepiece of a car, it delivers nothing but quality, year after year, and it’s easy to understand why it so often gets passed down from generation to generation. Forget all about Grandma's jewelry, the Accord is an heirloom worthy of real legacy. 

Since the late 1980s, the four-door sedan variant has enjoyed particular success, becoming one of the top selling vehicles in the US. Beginning production in 1982, the Accord was the very first foreign vehicle to be manufactured on American soil. It’s such a favourite in the States that it has featured in the Car and Driver’s annual 10Best list more than any other vehicle.

If you’re still not convinced, back in 2011 a man named Joe LoCicero, and his 1990 Honda Accord, passed the one million mile mark - all with the original engine and transmission, and only simple routine maintenance. 

This car simply doesn’t know how to quit, but the Accords do vary from model to model, so it’s worth doing a little research into the one you have your eye on.

2. Toyota Camry

No list of reliable cars would be complete without featuring at least one Toyota. We’ve decided to go with the bulletproof Camry, beating out the Hilux, Prius, Corolla, Tacoma, RAV4, and even the enduring power of the Tazz.

Similar to the Honda Accord, the Camry has long been a mainstay of reliability, efficiency and longevity for the last few decades. It’s the perfect sedan for a family. 

The 2012 - 2015 models, in particular, have cemented their legend by continuing to run like clockwork. People don’t buy a Camry because it’s luxurious, or particularly exciting to drive. You buy a Camry because you know you won’t have to buy another car for the next twenty or thirty years. It’s a loyal car, with great resale value, and it’s not too hard on the pocket. 

The 2018 Camry is arguably one of the most important cars to be released in recent years. The redesign opted for an appealing style, while still maintaining that ‘dynamite comes in small packages’ demeanour we’ve all come to expect.  

3. VW Passat

Volkswagen’s Passat is roomy, practical, and a phenomenal car in almost every conceivable aspect. 

In 2008, in the midst of the global economic downturn, VW was so confident in the success of the Passat that the company invested over $1 billion to build a brand new, state-of-the-art facility solely dedicated to building Passat models, and the company didn't regret it.

The Passat is known to be crammed full of features, meeting almost every safety requirement possible. While nobody can realistically anticipate being involved in a car accident when they leave their home, these things happen, and in a Passat you’ve got a car once named as a winner by the US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and awarded a 5-star safety rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Peace of mind goes a long way.

Coupled with German engineering, recent models of the Passat offer Bentley-level comfort and loads of luggage space, as well. 

Volkswagen generally has pedigree and class built right into the brand. The modern Polo or Polo Vivo may be a far cry from the old VW Beetle, or Jetta, or even the Golf, but one thing has remained consistent throughout the decades: 


After all, the very name, Volkswagen, means People’s Car.

CompareGuru has you covered.

During the pandemic, lockdown and beyond, CompareGuru recognises the uncertainty and anxiety you may be experiencing, and to do our part, we are offering the assistance and guidance of our expert Gurus at absolutely zero cost, to answer any and all questions you may have regarding the protection of yourself and your family.


Our Gurus are assisting anybody with queries relating (but not limited) to the following: 

  • Life Insurance and Funeral Cover;
  • The insurance T's and C’s;
  • How best to structure your insurance at this critical time;
  • And any other queries, where possible.  
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