The Department of No Surprises reports in

The cover story in the October Consumer Reports is MAKE YOUR CAR LAST 200,000 MILES, a worthy goal indeed. I got just under 195,000 miles out of a Toyota Celica back in the Pleistocene era, and had it not lost half of its steering gear in a supermarket parking lot one day, two hundred K would have been a snap. A subsequent owner did get it over the mark, and it might have gone much farther had it not been T-boned in a hit-and-run one sorrowful evening in Cleveland County. That old 20R engine was somewhere between bulletproof and grenade-resistant.

Gwendolyn has about 98,200 to go, and she’s in better shape now than the Toyota was at that point, so unless I am completely overcome by vehicular lust — or another damned Representative of Random Fauna springs out of nowhere into her path — she should make it easily. (My standards of maintenance have advanced over the years, roughly commensurate with my ability to pay for it.)

Not incidentally, this practice is one reason why the CAFE standard doesn’t work so well: if you never trade, you never get one of those more abstemious vehicles the Congress keeps insisting be built.

Meanwhile, guess what CR thinks is the appropriate vehicle to illustrate this cover? Hint: it’s not a Jaguar.


  1. miriam »

    30 August 2007 · 9:21 am

    I had a 1996 Ford Taurus that got 173,000 miles. There was absolutely nothing wrong with that car except that the bottom fell off. This impeded forward motion something awful.

    Damn! I loved that car!

  2. McGehee »

    30 August 2007 · 10:33 am

    Hmmm. My Bronco recently turned over 199,000.

    <hears distant rumble of thunder>

    Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything.

  3. Reds »

    30 August 2007 · 4:52 pm

    Almost made it with an 85 Chevy Beauville but eventually we just got rid of it.

    Also, I think there are a lot of reasons that CAFE standards don’t work and this is probably the least of them. I do some work with the Auto Alliance and the biggest problem is that they put trucks and cars in the same category which makes no sense considering the different tasks they are designed for. But it will very likely help new vehicles become more expensive too – so we got that going for us…

  4. CGHill »

    30 August 2007 · 5:19 pm

    I don’t know if it’s the least, but it’s certainly only one of several, and it would still apply even after trucks and cars are no longer treated as different species.

  5. Reds »

    3 September 2007 · 4:37 pm

    Good point, but I feel as thought if they were treated differently it’d be a step in the right direction. I think CAFE standards will eventually go through no matter what though, because its easier for lawmakers to do this to automakers rather than raise a carbon or gas tax. A tax would most likely work better, but it would be way too unpopular. If you’re interested I saw a lot of good info on the subject over at Its worth checking out.

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