I-TEAM: Report shows the longest-lasting family cars in Augusta

Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 7:02 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - With tax returns and stimulus checks in hand, many of you may be looking to invest in a new car, truck or SUV.

So, to help you know which make and model can go the distance whether new or used, the I-Team went to work. And we found the top vehicles nationally, and here in Augusta, that have logged well over 200,000 miles and kept on trucking.

“So, here’s the thing - it’s a 1998, but we bought it used.”

Meggan Shafer’s love affair with her family’s Toyota land cruiser is something she celebrates on Facebook, even though social media didn’t even exist when it rolled off the lot 23 years ago.

It celebrated 230,000 miles that day – and that was 15 months ago and it’s still cruising.

“Tyler was a toddler and we were expecting Cooper, and so Cooper came home from the hospital in it, and we did all the kids’ preschool, carpools, baseball, moving to Minnesota, moving back from Minnesota, all the things. all the time in that car,” Shafer said.

And all the time I’ve known Meggan, they’ve had the same SUV. She’s my husband’s aunt, and when we started dating a decade ago in college, Meggan’s kids were still in grade school – and now – you guessed it, they’ve each taken it for a ride.

“Bryce turned 16, we’re like, it’s the best 16-year-old car, perfect! Then Tyler turned 16, it got passed down to him. When Cooper turned 16, it got passed down to him. It’s still kicking,” Shafer said.

A recent analysis by found the Toyota Landcruiser is the number one longest-lasting car in the nation by a longshot, with more than 16 percent of their fleet on the road with odometer readings of more than 200,000 miles.

Karl Bauer is an Executive Analyst with the company.

“On average, any given model gets 1 percent of their vehicles hitting 200,000, so it’s a pretty small percentage that ever gets to 200,000,” he said.

“It was a little surprising to me in how big of a percentage jump it was. Was that surprising to you guys?” I asked.

“I think it was surprising to me. We’re talking three times the number three-car. 5.3 percent for the Chevy Suburban, and then 16.3 percent for the Toyota Land Cruiser. So, three times as many Land Cruisers hit 200,000 miles as Chevy Suburbans,” Bauer explained.

Speaking of the Chevy Suburban, the I-Team found that is the No. 1 longest-lasting vehicle here in the city of Augusta.

With 7.4 percent of all Chevy Suburbans lasting more than 200,000 miles on our local roadways.

Next up was another Chevy – the Tahoe.

Then the Toyota Tundra and 4Runner, and lastly, the Nissan Titan, rounding out the top 5, with 3 percent of those hitting the 200,000-mile landmark in the Garden City.

“So, I found it interesting, Augusta is just a little more domestic-leaning, they’re supporting their homebrew car makers with the two Chevrolets at the top instead of the two Toyotas at the national level,” Bauer said.

“I love seeing high mileage cars especially here.” Aaron Clements has seen quite a few as the president of C&C Automotive in Augusta.

“Well, cars are built better than they’ve ever been built before. And really if somebody wanted to, they could actually take a car and drive it a hundred-thousand miles without doing anything, but after that, it would be sort of downhill,” he said.

Clements says while that’s not advised, there is one part of routine maintenance that he believes is the most important - change your fluids. All of them. Religiously.

“After a period of time, fluids build up contaminants and there are metal particles. The metal particles cause more wear, it causes more friction and it’s pretty much downhill from there,” Clements said.

After that, routine oil changes and making sure to not skip early those early maintenances in the life of your car.

“That could be the difference between keeping a vehicle 150-200,000 miles and things start to fall apart on it and keeping a vehicle 150-200,000miles and looking back to say, ‘Wow. This is still a great car,’” Clements explained.

Meggan’s advice would be no matter where you live, consider a Toyota land cruiser, new or used.

“It’s crazy. Really crazy, but here’s the best part. Other families we know have the same car, the exact same LandCruiser, that has gone through all their kids, and it’s still driving,” she said.

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