The 10 Most Reliable and Durable Cars of Model Year 1983
This page lists the top ten cars of model year 1983 by reliability-and-durability grade point average (Reliability-Durability GPA or more concisely, R-D GPA).
1983's Top 10 Cars
These 10 car classics are listed below in descending order of Reliability-Durability GPA (best first). The equipment of each model is that offered in the U.S.
The 1983 diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz 300D came in a 4-door-sedan edition and with an inline 5-cylinder, 183-cubic-inch (3.0-Liter), 120-horsepower engine, a 4-speed automatic transmission, and a fuel capacity of 21.1 gallons. The 1983 300D has an overall length of 191 inches, an overall width of 70 inches, and a tire size of 195/70R14 ("tire width=195 mm"/"tire height=70% of width""Radial""wheel-rim diameter=14 inches").
The 1983 base list price of this Made-in-Germany model was $30,530.
The 1983 Honda Civic was offered in two 2-door-hatchback editions (1300 and 1500), a 4-door-sedan edition, and a 4-door-wagon edition (listed separately below, as data permitted such). The 1300 hatchback came with a 1.3-Liter engine; the other editions offered a 1.5-Liter engine. Both engines have 4 cylinders. All editions are front-wheel drive, and had been since 1980. The 1.5-Liter engine delivered 67 horsepower at 5000 rotations per minute. The sedan has an overall length of 161 inches and an overall width of 62 inches. Its tire size is 155R13.
The 1.5-Liter Civics came with either a 5-speed manual transmission of 3-speed automatic transmission; the 1.3-Liter Civic came only with a manual transmission.
For the 1.5-Liter Civic with an automatic transmission, Consumer Reports reports an in-city mpg (miles per gallon) of 23 and on-highway mpg of 36; for the 1.5-Liter Civic with a manual transmission - an in-city mpg of 26 and on-highway mpg of 45. The fuel capacity of the 1983 1.5-Liter Civic is 12.1 gallons.
The 1983 base list prices of these Made-in-Japan Civic editions were:
The 1300 hatchback: $4,899
The 1500 hatchback: $5,949
The 4-door sedan: $6,849
The 4-door wagon: $6,349.
For the last three, add $200 for an automatic transmission.
Air conditioner was a dealer-installed option.
The 1983 Honda Accord came in either a 4-door-sedan or 2-door-hatchback edition and with an inline 4-cylinder, 107-cubic-inch (1.8-Liter), 75-horsepower engine, a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission, and a fuel capacity of 15.8 gallons. The 4-door sedan has an overall length of 174 inches and an overall width of 65 inches. Its tire size is 185/70R13 ("tire width=185 mm"/"tire height=70% of width""Radial""wheel rim diameter=13 inches"). The '82 Accord's front-wheel drive helped make it a very popular vehicle.
The 1983 base list prices of these Made-in-Japan Accord editions were:
The 4-door sedan: $8,345
The 4-door sedan LX: $8,549
The 2-door hatchback: $7,499.
Add $300 for an automatic transmission.
Air conditioner was a dealer-installed option.
The 1983 gasoline-powered 2-wheel-drive Toyota Pickup Truck came with an inline 4-cylinder, 2.4-Liter, 96-horsepower (72-kilowatt), 129-foot-pound-torque (165-Newton-meter-torque) engine.
The Mazda RX-7, with a R-D GPA of 3.67
The Honda Prelude, with a R-D GPA of 3.66
The 1983 Honda Prelude came in a 2-door edition and with an inline 4-cylinder, 112-cubic-inch (1.8-Liter), a 100-horsepower engine, a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission, and a fuel capacity of 15.9 gallons. The car has an overall length of 169 inches, an overall width of 67 inches, and a tire size of 185/70R13 ("tire width=185 mm"/"tire height=70% of width""Radial""wheel rim diameter=13 inches").
The 1983 base list price of the Made-in-Japan Prelude was $7,995.
Consumer Reports described the Prelude as "a very desirable sporty car."
The 1983 Toyota Cressida came in either a 4-door-sedan or 4-door-wagon edition and with an inline 6-cylinder, 168-cubic-inch (2.8-Liter), 143-horsepower engine, and a 4-speed automatic transmission or 5-speed manual transmission. The sedan has an overall length of 186 inches and an overall width of 67 inches. The 1983 Cressida's tire size is 195/70R14 ("tire width=195 mm"/"tire height=70% of width""Radial""wheel rim diameter=14 inches".
The 1983 base list prices of these Made-in-Japan Cressida editions were:
The 4-door sedan: $13,169
The 4-door wagon: $13,729.
For the sedan, add $400 for an automatic transmission; an automatic transmission was standard in the Cressida wagon.
For the Cressida sedan with an automatic transmission, Cosnumer Reports reports an in-city mpg (miles per gallon) of 16 and on-highway mpg of 30. The fuel capacity of the 1983 Cressida is 17.2 gallons.
The Honda Civic Wagon, with a R-D GPA of 3.64
The Mercedes-Benz 380, with a R-D GPA of 3.51
The Porsche 944, with a R-D GPA of 3.50
The 1983 Porsche 944 came with an inline 4-cylinder, 2.5-Liter), a 150-horsepower engine, and a 3-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission, and a fuel capacity of 15.9 gallons.
The approximate base list price of this Made-in-Germany sport car was $20,000.
1982 saw the emergence of Honda Motor Company as a provider of high-reliability, high-durability cars; 1983 saw Honda dominate the list of the best, accounting for 4 of the Top 10.
1983 was the fourth year that one or more vehicles by Mazda Motor Corporation made the list and was the first year that a vehicle by Porsche AG made the list. Toyota Motor Corporation and Daimler-Benz AG had automobiles that made the Top 10 every year from 1975 to 1983.
Manufacturers of the Top 10
Honda Motor Company accounted for 4 of 1983's best, up from 3 in 1982.
Toyota Motor Corporation accounted for only 2 of the most reliable and durable cars of 1983, a decrease from 4 in 1982, 8 in 1981, 6 in 1980, 5 in 1979 and 1978, and 4 in 1977, 1976 and 1975.
Daimler-Benz AG accounted for two of the best cars of 1983; Mazda Motor Corporation and Porsche AG each accounted for one.
Japanese-built cars accounted for 7 of 1983's best cars; German-built cars accounted for the remaining 3.
Note that in 1983 (as in 1982, 1981, 1980, and 1979) none of the Detroit 3 had a car among the Top 10.
The following chart gives each car maker's percent share of the Top 10 of 1983.
Manufacturer Shares of Vehicles with a Reliability-Durability GPA of 3.00 or Better
The manufacturer shares of the 16 vehicles with a R-D GPA of at least 3.00 are:
Honda Motor Company: 25%
Toyota Motor Corporation: 19%
Daimler-Benz AG: 13%
Mazda Motor Corporation: 6%
Nissan Motor Company: 6%
Porsche AG: 6%
Subaru Division of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.: 6%
Volkswagen AG: 6%
BMW AG: 6%
To compute the reliability-durability grade point average of the MY 1983 cars, Consumer Reports' reliability ratings for the age ranges 4-to-5 years and 5-to-6 years are used.
CR's ratings are converted to numerical values following the standard academic pattern: a grade point of 4.0 (an A) is accorded a rating of Much Better Than Average, a 3.0 (a B) is accorded a rating of Better Than Average, a 2.0 (a C) is accorded a rating of Average, a 1.0 (a D) is accorded a rating of Below Average, and a 0 (an F) is accorded a rating of Much Below Average.
Then, for each age range, the grade point of CR's overall reliability rating is weighted 2/3 and the average of the grade points of the category ratings is weighted 1/3.
Finally, the average for the two age ranges is taken.
The Honda Civic Wagon and the Mercedes-Benz 380 offered only one age range of data.
Best and Worst Vehicles of Each Model Year