1989 Plymouth Reliant LE 2.2 TBI from North America


The best cult car ever. The K Car


Climate controls do not light up.

Hubcaps are long gone.

Paint on hood starting to peel.

General Comments:

Mechanically, I've never known a simpler and more reliable car for the times it was built in. In pouring rain, she starts every time, first try, which is nice in a place where we get a lot of rain. You can steer with two fingers if you want to, or you can pay attention, but either way the car just seems to find it's path. At 120km/h, driving down a rain soaked highway, she never once hydroplaned. And while you're enjoying all this, the gas mileage is excellent.

Now for the interior. If you're not a fan of the old style American sedan, you're not going to make friends with the Reliant. Bench seats are in place, front and back. The shift lever is mounted on the steering column. The seats are soft, and for short people it's a long way down to get your feet on the pedals. This is all countered, however, by the simplicity of it all. The AM/FM radio doesn't skip a beat and keeps perfect time. The climate controls are easy to find and use (except in the dark... mine have stopped lighting up), and the dashboard display is the epitome of simple. Speedometer, fuel, battery, oil and odometer gages, and dummy lights for things like the emergency brake, high beams, and turn signals.

You will (trust me) want to remove the buzzer relay for the parking brake. It can, and will, drive you crazy.

The exterior of these cars, at best, is benign. Simple, square three box sedans. Everything is where it should be, and the cars are by no stretch imaginative. They are, however, very pleasing from the right angles. The image of the car changes much for the better if you install hubcaps; it just seems to make it sparkle. The paint doesn't last as long as the car, however, so invest in some touch up paint, some wax, some sandpaper, or a new paint job and keep your car looking nice.

Overall, these cars are excellent. They were never meant to last as long as they do (5 digit odometers?), but with proper oil changes and maintenance every once in a while, they'll run almost forever. Just don't let them go completely... things will deteriorate and you'll be sorry.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st November, 2004

2nd Nov 2004, 08:40

"buzzer relay for the parking brake"? My '88 Reliant did not have a buzzer on the parking brake, only a warning light. Why would it "drive you crazy" unless you drive around with the brake on?

Are you sure you are not talking about the seat belt buzzer?

The K-car may have been many things, but a "cult car"? lol.

1989 Plymouth Reliant 2.5 from North America


Reliable = Reliant


I had to have rust damage repair, however this is a New England car. I am also guilty of letting this car sit for long periods of time.

You will not launch like a rocket when hitting the gas.

Not a big backseat. I cannot fit 2 child car seats in the back well at all.

General Comments:

Great on gas.

Engine is like the energizer bunny. It keeps going and going. I've never had a major repair with the engine. NEVER! There are no fluid leaks at all.

Reliably started all winter this past winter. If you live in New England, you know it was a cold one.

I still have this car parked out in my driveway. Sadly, I am getting rid of it only because I need something more suitable for my kids. My car has had extensive rust damage as well which compels me to get another car. I feel this is because of the nature of how my car was kept. For several years I drove it infrequently and it was parked on a dirt ground in the woods. I see this car on the road all the time and are ALWAYS in better condition than mine is. Therefore, I feel it's a reflection of how my car was kept.

I've had no accidents, but I did spin a 360 on the highway. The car handled beautifully and if it wasn't for the fact it didn't stall, I wouldn't be here writing this.

People have actually stopped me in parking lots to say "I've owned a Reliant, don't you just love it?"

If you need cheap, reliable transportation, buy this car. Even though the year is 2003, you can bet it still has a lot of life in it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th July, 2003