Music - Chuki beats
The perfect car doesn't exist, but...
How about... reliability?
What Are The Most Reliable Cars?
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Naturally aspirated engines tend to be the most reliable at the moment, even if they're almost extinct.
Having a Low power output (less than 100hp/Litre) also keeps the engine reliable, and that's because it's less subjected to pressure and stress.
For now, Inline 6 and V8 engines are amongst the most reliable, and that's because they're well balanced.
Inline 4 engines are also good and are the most frequently used.
Turbocharging is fuel efficient, but kills reliability, especially if you use a larger turbocharger or the manufacturer is using a boost of over 1 bar.
Having one turbocharger and a low power output still makes the car reliable enough.
Adding more than one turbocharger adds complexity and the overall reliability of the engine decreases.
Traditional engines have one or two camshafts, and the most reliable generally have one camshaft. The reason, again, less complexity. Simple things tend to be the most reliable, aren't they?
Timing chains are more reliable than timing belts, so if you have a car with a timing chain, you can be sure that it will last for long.
Low revving engines tend to perform better in terms of reliability. An engine which has the redline at 6500 rpm will be more reliable than an engine which hits redline at 9000 rpm. The inertia of the pistons is adding a tone of wear to the engine, so even if it's sounds great, it may not be the most reliable option.
The compression ratio is also important. Older generation cars petrol cars had between 8.5 and 10. Current engines have up to 12.5, except Mazda's engine which has 14. Turbocharged engines have a lower compression ratio to increase the volume of the combustion chamber.
Summary - what engines can you get with the specs above?
Lexus, Toyota, Honda, Suzuki, BMW and more.
A specific example - Suzuki Vitara 2015 - 2017 - 1.6- 120HP - I4 - Low power output, naturally aspirated, compression ratio of 12, timing chain. Made in Japan. An absolute beast in terms of reliability. This engine will last for long.
Most Diesel engines are turbocharged nowadays. Most of the rules mentioned earlier are also available for Diesel engines.
Common Rail Injection is currently the most reliable option.
Inline 4, Inline 6, V6 Diesel engines are great and the most reliable. If it was up to me, I would pick a 3.0L Inline 6 Diesel engine.
Specific Example - BMW 316D with a 2.0L turbo diesel engine and just 115HP. Great fuel economy, great reliability. Built like a tank.
Now, Diesel vs. Gasoline - short summary
Diesel engines in terms of mileage are almost twice as reliable. Basically, a good Diesel engine with maintenance done on time can easily reach 800,000km, while most gasoline engines barely reach 500,000km. With extreme downsizing nowadays, I would say that a 1.4 turbo gasoline engine barely reaches 300,000km.
On the other hand, Diesel has expensive parts, expensive maintenance, a DPF filter which lasts for 200-300,000km, and as a whole, Diesel engines are more complex.
So, in other words, you might drive a Diesel for longer, but a Gasoline will be easier to run, especially if it's naturally aspirated.
Quick Summary - choose an engine with a decent power output, at least 4 cylinders, maximum 1 turbocharger, and preferably, with a timing chain.
As a whole, manual transmissions are more reliable than automatics, but the world is heading towards automatic transmissions, so what are the best options?
The most reliable are the CVTs and the 1 gear transmissions found in electric cars.
When it comes to torque converted automatics, in my opinion, BMW is the king. Reliable, fast, efficient, they're great.
The most unreliable, in my opinion, are the Dual Clutch Transmissions. Yeah, I know, throw rocks at me. I've driven most of them, the DCT is a pleasure to drive, but after 100,000km, problems start to occur.
Sequential Gearboxes are complex and they require special attention, so don't bother with them. Such a transmission can be found on the BMW M3 E46 SMG.
I'm sad to even say this, but the most reliable cars that money can buy today are from Lexus and Toyota. Honda is a great option, BMW is more luxurious, Audi is great for Quattro, Mercedes is awesome for luxury and elegance, and I don't want to go even further to supercars, that's a completely different league. We're talking about regular cars.