A few low-production, near-supercars = millions of mainstream cars owned by many on a tight budget?
Yeah, that seems like a fair comparison.
It might be kind of forgivable if Hyundai and Kia didn’t have so many other long-term reliability issues. Ask some first and second gen Sedona owners, maybe find someone with a mid-00’s Sonata/Optima that blows its engine at 112,000 miles while most any modern Honda, GM, Ford, Toyota or even VW will still be running fine when the odometer reads twice that.
I hesitate to mention Chrysler products (despite the decent Pentastar), since a lot of the utter crap they produced in the past decade or so also had that harsh, unreliable, unrefined “World Engine” 4 cylinder developed jointly with Hyundai and Mitsubishi. Talk about the blind-leading-the-blind. They still don’t have a 4 cylinder that’s worth a crap. At least they’ll stop building FWD junk sedans, I guess its up to the Fiatsler Jeep CUVs to take their spot as the junk people who know cars avoid like the plague, but non-car people love until the warranty runs out and everything starts falling apart at 10x the rate of anything else. At least they’re more profitable and hopefully won’t stack up in empty parking lots…OH WAIT, they cant, those spots are occupied by der FÃ¼hrer’s nasty diesels.
I also failed on purpose to mention Nissan. Weak timing chains, CVT hell, even reliability of the traditional automatic in the older ’02 Altima+ was crap, so are the engines. I see two types of modern Nissans with over 75k on the interwebs for sale: Just had a bunch of work done, and needs a bunch of work done. “New transmission, new fuel pump, engine makes loud noise, $700” lol at least they bought a quality Japanese car instead of some piece of junk!
Of course all automakers have their bright spots and their dark spots. I saw a much-ballyhooed Toyota Corolla with “engine knocks” and 64,000 on its odometer (and the car looked it) today. A few bad apples here and there are a given in mass production and design.
Honda’s was its V-6 automatic transaxles, Ford’s was also FWD transaxles (now limited to the PowerShift DCT, which I’d still take over a ZF 9 speed) and the 4.0L SOHC timing chains, etc. But their modern stuff like the 3.5L, 3.7L, 3.5L EcoBoost, 5.0L, etc have all been very reliable, as is the 6AT hooked to the FWD V-6 models, and the RWD transmissions in other applications.
Point being, most automakers have improved considerably as of late. Nissan, Hyundai/Kia and FCA are backsliding. Well, Nissan is the backslider, the rest have usually been junk all along.
My brother bought a 2016 Ford Fusion S yesterday with 17k on it. It replaces both his GMC truck, who’s engine finally gave up (locked up due to lack of oil) at nearly 400k miles, and an 01 Altima that has 283k but is having issues and is no longer reliable.
I told him when he set out to not let ANYONE talk him into a newer Altima. You will NOT get the service out of it that you got from the 2001!
(2001 was the last year for the smaller Nissan Bluebird-based Altima, before we got an “Americanized Altima” that brings out the worst in American cars by having terrible driving dynamics, over-done styling that looks tired in 5 years ((90s Grand Am anyone?)) failure-prone drivetrain, noisy and cheap interior, saggy rear suspension ((many examples, notably Taurus/Sable gen 4, 00-07)), generally low quality like door handles snapping off, and a rental car persona.)
He went to a Ford dealer first, the guy was pushy and tried to get him into a new SUV, “some kind Hyundai hatchback” they said, and a Dodge Challenger. He came there looking for a decent, comfortable commuter. The salesman was an idiot. Other than a new SUV which he didn’t need or want, everything he shows them was 1) not a Ford product, and 2) junk.
He went next door to the Chevy dealer, drove the Tuxedo Black Fusion, loved it, drove an equivalent Malibu, disliked it, and then bought the Fusion. He got it for somewhere around $15k OTD. He said it drives much better, looks much better, and is more comfortable than the Malibu, which had more options (didn’t mention it’s price, but it obviously wasn’t spectacular enough to swing the pendulum in its favor).
His Fusion is the base model, but it’ll be a reliable, safe, comfortable commuter for him, which is exactly what he needed. He’s quite tall and didn’t really fit in the old Altima too well (originally bought for his wife), but has plenty of room in the Fusion. He said he is surprised at how sporty it is for just a midsize car.
I have no doubt it’ll still be running for a very, very long time.