Our 2003 Envoy SLT just hit 80,000 miles. It has had one battery and two light bulbs, plus a recent new set of tires. Even the brake pads are still the originals. This has been one of the most solid, reliable vehicles we've ever owned. Ours has the 275 horsepower I-6, and on our vacations we average 24 mpg on the highway fully loaded with a fat dog in the back.
US made vehicles were mostly very good before about 1995, and better the further back you go. Most of what has made them unreliable is unavoidable - smaller cars, 'higher technology'. If we still had the standard of living to support using big, simple, heavy, rear wheel drive, V8 powered cars, they'd still be as durable as they used to be.
When you hit 100k/ miles, come talk to me. Since spring 09, I have replaced / had installed the following components in my 2004 GMC Envoy XL 4x4:
3 / 09 Front Differential (Used)... $2600
8 / 09 Transmission Rebuild... $2100
9 / 09 Exhaust Manifold / Catalytic Converter.. $1500.
That is what has been done so far. I have yet to replace the A/C evaporator coil for which I have been quoted $1000. Also, amazingly I need new emergency brake shoes. I have never used them except when checked during my state safety inspection (1x / year). I didn't mention that I dropped $800 on new tires - but that is normal maintenance... it stings when added to the mix ($6200 repairs + $800 tires = $7000 total) that I have already spent in all repairs & maintenance in the last 7 months.
Uncle already!! Put a fork in me - I'm done.
And we would have burned through the world's fossil fuels a long time ago. As durable as the older cars were, they were hopelessly inefficient. The smaller cars needed to come eventually.
Bigger doesn't mean better or less reliable. SAFER, yes, because the laws of physics has not yet been repealed. But more reliable? I think not. The most reliable vehicles we've owned have been mid-sized or compact domestic vehicles. Our one compact Honda never made 100,000 miles, but our Dodge Omni made 240,000 before being sold in perfect running condition. It also got over 35 miles per gallon.
I also have a hard time figuring out where the idea that today's domestics are worse comes from. The current crop of Ford and GM vehicles are the best cars in the world. While Toyota deals with millions of recalls for disastrous safety flaws and battles hundreds of roll-over lawsuits, the Ford Fusion is ranked as one of the world's most reliable cars (better than Camry or Accord) and a Buick and Ford product are rated highest in long-term reliability by J. D. Power and Associates. I think too many people are being led astray by Japanese ad hype.
My most unreliable cars were muscle cars with big V-8's. My most reliable have been 4-cylinder cars. I owned a 5.0 Fox Mustang and a 2.3 litre 4-cylinder Fox Mustang. The 4-cylinder was far more reliable. It also got twice the mileage.
My most reliable current vehicle is a 4-cylinder 2001 GM compact. Not a single problem and it now has 85,000 miles. It gets 30 mpg and has only slightly less power than my V-8 Mustang had.
The newer 4-cylinder Ford, GM and Chrysler cars put the old V-8's to shame in every way. Better mileage, much more reliable and just as fast.
"but our Dodge Omni made 240,000 before being sold in perfect running condition."
The Dodge Omni was made by Mitsubishi. NOT Dodge.
"The Dodge Omni was made by Mitsubishi. NOT Dodge."
Definitely not true. Check the facts. Both the Omni and Plymouth Horizon were totally domestic with the exception of the use of the under-powered and unreliable VW engines used early on. Chrysler dropped the less reliable VW engines and started using their excellent and very reliable 2.2, which was a Chrysler-built engine. The poorly built Mitsubishi Colt was sold by Dodge and Plymouth under the colt name for a brief time (my family had one, it was pure garbage) and the reasonably smooth but not overly reliable Mitsubishi 2.6 "silent shaft" 4 was used in some Dodges briefly. The 2.2 Chrysler-built engines were by far the best engines used in the Horizon-Omni lines and were very fast, got excellent fuel mileage and were extremely reliable. I doubt any with the Mitsubishi engines could ever have made 240,000 miles.
My brother bought a Mitsubishi car called the "Colt" and sold by Dodge in the late 70's. He skidded into a curb at 10mph on a rain-slicked road. The entire front suspension and subframe was destroyed. The very first thing the repair shop said was "You should have bought a Dodge Omni. It's much better built. Japanese cars have very flimsy frames and suspensions." Shortly thereafter he traded for an American made Dodge Daytona and it was flawless.
I don't know where people get the idea that Japanese cars are somehow better. We test drove a Toyota Highlander before buying our Envoy. Pieces of interior trim were falling off, it had no power and the brakes were defective. I don't call that "quality".
My 2004 GMC Envoy equipped with the six cylinder engine with 99,000 miles has seemed to run rough for some time. I checked to see if the engine mountings were good; they were; checked to see if the serpentine belt was rough; it wasn't, couldn't find anything wrong; it ran good.
Two days ago it started idling real rough and the check engine came on for the first time setting a code; P0014.
Took it to the GMC dealer and he showed me a copy from their service manual that is real alarming. Looks like the cam is advanced too much; it may be due to one or all three cam actuators, or the engine may be virtually junk because the crankshaft has so much endplay that it has shed metal into the oil system and will have to be replaced.
GM's document ID: 2235070, Pages 1-3, concerning: "#PiP3694C: Belt Noise Rough Idle And/Or SES Light With DTC P0014 and/Or P0017-Inspect CMP Actuator Solenoid and Crankshaft Endplay-keywords P0106 (Feb 16, 2009)
This memo affects: 2004-2009 Chevrolet TrailBlazer, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Envoy, GMX Canyon, Hummer H3, Saab 97x with an Inline 4,5, oe 6 cylinder engine. (RPO Codes L52, LK5 LL8 LLR LLV.
Better check with your dealer about this major problem.
I have six inline 04 Envoy XLT.
You probably go offroading. As a kid I was always under the car from offroad. I had really good luck from the Lord I guess. 104,000 miles and never left sitting but for battery, flat, or gas, and gas jumps and tire changes come free mostly from GM but then from Onstar.
Now I have death wobble in my alignment, and can't afford the alignment with this depression and $$4.20 gas. Thank God it is so reliable. Host of minors tho, gauges not working service engine soon etc.
You shouldn't have bought your exhaust manifold / catalytic converter from the dealer... by that price you clearly did... you could've got an aftermarket cat & possibly ex. manifold for a 1/3rd or less than that. Transmission rebuild at 100,000 isn't great, but isn't bad either.