I traded in a black 2-door Nissan Sentra on this Toyota 6 1/2 years ago because we needed a four-door car for kids, and I had always heard about how legendary Toyotas were for reliability. Talk about reliable! I am now approaching the 200,000-mile mark. While that is not unusual for me - I put 243,000 miles on a 1975 Monte Carlo, and 289,000 on a 1973 VW Beetle - what is unusual is just how few repairs this car has required.
I still have the original starter, alternator, and water pump - something I have NEVER experienced!
This car has even driven the Alaska Highway to Anchorage and back again to Utah without a single problem. It has NEVER broken down. While it can be kind of cramped inside for more than two adults (OK for two adults and two small children), it just runs and runs and runs. I am pretty consistent with maintenance - oil and filter change every 3,000 miles, tire rotation and balance every 5,000 miles, change transmission oil and filter annually, flush and refill cooling system annually, check brakes regularly, etc. - but I have decided to aim for the 300,000-mile mark for this car, and I see no reason why it won't do it.
What is amazing about Toyotas is how they keep going even in the face of typical buyer neglect. I see thrashed Corollas and Tercels still going - I had a coworker trade in a 8-year-old Tercel that had received indifferent maintenance the entire time she owned it, and it was STILL RUNNING GREAT! I do all my own automotive maintenance and repair work, and I have developed a strong respect for Japanese (i.e., Toyota) engineering and excellence of design.
The Big Three have made a lot of progress over the past decade, but the gap still exists (albeit smaller). My next car will be another Toyota!