Ten Best Cars of 1978

The 10 Most Reliable and Durable Cars of Model Year 1978

This page lists the top ten cars of model year 1978 by reliability-and-durability grade point average (Reliability-Durability GPA).

1978's Top 10 Classic Cars

These 10 car classics are listed below in descending order of Reliability-Durability GPA.

  • The Toyota Corolla, with a Reliability-Durability GPA of 3.82

The 1978 Toyota Corolla came in either a 2-door-sedan, 4-door-sedan, 2-door-hatchback, or 4-door-wagon edition and with an inline 4-cylinder, 98-cubic-inch (1.6-Liter), 75-horsepower engine, a 3-speed automatic or 4-speed manual transmission, and a fuel capacity of 13 gallons. The 4-door sedan has an overall length of 165 inches and an overall width of 62 inches.

  • The Toyota Celica, with a R-D GPA of 3.82

The Toyota Celica came in either a 2-door-sedan or 2-door-hatchback edition and with an inline 4-cylinder, 134-cubic-inch (2.2-Liter), 95-horsepower engine, a 3-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission, and a fuel capacity of 16 gallons. The 2-door sedan has an overall length of 174 inches and an overall width of 65 inches.

  • The Toyota Corona, with a R-D GPA of 3.65

The Toyota Corona came in either a 2-door-sedan, 4-door-sedan, or 4-door-wagon edition and with an inline 4-cylinder, 134-cubic-inch (2.2-Liter), 95-horsepower engine, a 3-speed automatic, 4-speed manual, or 5-speed manual transmission, and a fuel capacity of 15.5 gallons. The 4-door sedan has an overall length of 173 inches and an overall width of 64 inches.

  • The Volvo 240 Series DL, GL (gasoline), with a R-D GPA of 3.64

The Volvo 240 Series came in either a 2-door-sedan, 4-door-sedan, or 4-door-wagon edition and with a fuel-injected, inline 4-cylinder, 130-cubic-inch (2.1-Liter) engine. The Volvo 244 had a 104-horsepower engine, a 3-speed automatic or 4-speed manual transmission, and a fuel capacity of 16 gallons. The 244 has an overall length of 193 inches and an overall width of 67 inches.

  • The Toyota Cressida, with a R-D GPA of 3.62
  • The Mercedes-Benz 300D Inline 5, with a R-D GPA of 3.60

The diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz 300D Inline 5 came in a 2-door-sedan or 4-door-sedan edition and with an inline 5-cylinder, 183-cubic-inch (3.0-Liter), 77-horsepower engine, a 4-speed automatic transmission, an overall length of 191 inches, an overall width of 70 inches, and a fuel capacity of 21 gallons.

  • The Toyota Pickup Truck, with a R-D GPA of 3.60
  • The Mercedes-Benz 240D Inline 4, with a R-D GPA of 3.57

The diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz 240D came in a 4-door-sedan edition and with an inline 4-cylinder, 147-cubic-inch (2.4-Liter), 62-horsepower engine, a 4-speed automatic or 4-speed manual transmission, an overall length of 191 inches, an overall width of 70 inches, and a fuel capacity of 21 gallons.

  • The Oldsmobile 88 V8 Gasoline, with a R-D GPA of 2.88

The Oldsmobile Delte 88 V8 came in either a 2-door-sedan, 4-door-sedan, or 4-door-wagon edition and with a 8-cylinder, 260-cubic-inch (4.3-Liter), 110-horsepower engine, a 3-speed automatic, and a fuel capacity of 21 gallons. The 4-door sedan has an overall length of 218 inches and an overall width of 77 inches.

  • The Mazda GLC rear-wheel-drive , with a R-D GPA of 2.81

The Mazda GLC came in either a 2-door-hatchback or 4-door-hatchback edition and with an inline 4-cylinder, 78-cubic-inch (1.3-Liter), 95-horsepower engine, a 3-speed automatic or 4-speed or 5-speed manual transmission, and a fuel capacity of 10.5 gallons. The 4-door hatchback has an overall length of 154 inches and an overall width of 64 inches.

Manufacturers of the Top 10

Toyota Motor Corporation increased its share of the Top 10, from 4 in 1975, 1976 and 1977 to 5 in 1978. This year, the Toyota Corolla and the Toyota Celica tied for the most reliable and durable car, each with a R-D GPA of 3.82.

As in 1977, Daimler-Benz AG accounted for 2 of the most reliable and durable cars.

The Volvo 240 Series placed 4th among the best of 1978 and added to its near legendary reputation.

Filling out the Top 10 were General Motors' gasoline-powered Oldsmobile 88 V8 and Mazda Motor Corporation's rear-wheel-drive GLC.

Note the sizable difference in the Reliability-Durability GPA of the 8th-place M-B 240D (3.57) and that of GM's 9th-place Oldsmobile 88 V8 (2.88).

The following chart gives each car maker's percent share of the Top 10 of 1978.

This is a pie chart of each auto manufacturer's share of the Top 10 cars and trucks of model year 1978 by Reliability-Durability Grade Point Average (GPA). The Reliability-Durability GPA of a car model is a composite score based on the category and overall reliability ratings of Consumer Reports for age ranges 4-to-5 years and 5-to-6 years. The chart and computations are by James Benjamin Bleeker.

Computations

To compute the reliability-durability grade point average of the MY 1978 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 Mercedes-Benz 240D I4, the Mercedes-Benz 300D I5, and the Toyota Cressida offered data only for the 5-to-6-year age range.

Additional Resources
 
For additional auto quality information, visit:
CarsOnInfo.net: The car-quality website for the above-average consumer.
 
One of the several Kindle E-books by site creator and manager, Jim Bleeker:

AutoOnInfo.net’s Car Quality Series Volume 2: Brand Quality for Model Years 1985 to 2006 and Effect on Brand Market Shares from 1985 to 2009

AutoOnInfo.net's Car Quality Series, Volume 2: Brand Quality for Model Years 1985 to 2006 and Effect on Brand Market Shares from 1985 to 2009

This volume of AutoOnInfo.net’s car guide series offers consumers and researchers an historical summary of the reliability and durability of car and truck brands and examines how these brands have fared in their U.S. market shares. It uses 6-year-old model entries in Consumer Reports’ Used Car to Avoid – also termed Vehicles to Avoid and Worst Cars, Year by Year – and CR’s reliability charts to ascribe quality grades to automobile brands for model-year groups 1985 to 1989, 1990 to 1994, 1995 to 1999, 2000 to 2004, 2005 to 2006, and 1985 to 2006. In addition to ascribing quality grades to each brand, it provides a chart that plots the number of the brand’s 6-year-old model entries in CR’s vehicles to avoid. To examine the effect that a brand’s reliability and durability has had on sales, two or more charts depicting the brand’s U.S. market shares for calendar years 1985 to 2009 are given. These grades and charts and the author’s comments impart an historical perspective that sheds light on the present condition of surviving vehicle lines and their future prospects, individual and institutional shortcomings, and what effect these may have on the U.S.

JB

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Hard Copy Books by James Bleeker available on www.blurb.com

Icon of Blurb.com Edition of Volume 2 of AutoOnInfo.net's Car Quality Series: Brand Quality for Model Years 1985 to 2006 and Effect on Brand Market Shares from 1985 to 2009
Icon of Blurb.com Edition of Volume 3 of AutoOnInfo.net's Car Quality Quality Series: 2012 Reliability GPAs and Grades of the 6-to-10-Year-Old Cars and Trucks from Model Years 2002 to 2005
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To the left are the icons of the hard copy editions of Volumes 2, 3, 4, and 5 of AutoOnInfo.net's Car Quality Series. To view a description of the book on blurb.com or purchase a copy, click the applicable icon.

JB

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Kindle E-books by James Bleeker available on www.amazon.com

Icon for Kindle Edition of Volume 1 of AutoOnInfo.net's Car Quality Series: The 2009 Reliability GPAs and Grades of the 6-to-10-Year-Old Cars and Trucks from Model Years 1999 to 2002
Icon of Kindle E-book edition of Volume 2 of AutoOnInfo.net's Car Quality Series: Brand Quality for Model Years 1985 to 2006 and Effect on Brand Market Shares from 1985 to 2009
Icon of Kindle E-book edition of Volume 3 of AutoOnInfo.net's Car Quality Series: 2012 Reliability GPAs and Grades of the 6-to-10-Year-Old Cars and Trucks from Model Years 2002 to 2005
Icon of the Kindle E-book edition of Volume 4 of AutoOnInfo.net's Car Quality Series: The 50 Best Cars in America in 2013

To the left are icons of the Kindle editions of Volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4, of AutoOnInfo.net's Car Quality Series. To view a description of the book on amazon.com or purchase a copy, click the applicable icon. To view all, click here.

JB
Icon of Kindle E-book edition of Volume 5 of AutoOnInfo.net's Car Quality Series: The 100 Worst Cars in America in 2013
Volume 6 of AutoOnInfo.net’s Car Quality Series is intended primarily as an aid to consumers in selecting a vehicle that both is reliable in the short term and provides a prospect of only modest repairs in the long term, and secondarily as an aid to auto industry analysts and reporters. To this end, it provides a list of the 50 Best Cars available in the U.S. in 2014 using the Overall Reliability GPA, AutoOnInfo.net’s standard measure of reliability now for several years, covering model years 2002 to 2013 for ranking pickup trucks, sport-utility vehicles (SUVs), family cars, wagons, small cars, hatchbacks, sport/sporty cars, coupes, convertibles, upscale cars, luxury cars, and hybrids, and includes each car’s reliability GPA and grade and the number of model years upon which the GPA and grade are based. As a further aid, it includes 2014 brand and manufacturer GPAs for comparison and contrast and for better assessing long term performance and ownership expenses. In addition, it offers more than 30 full color charts depicting each brand’s and car company’s share of the 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 Best Cars and each brand’s and auto maker’s share of the best pickups, best midsize sport-utility vehicles, best small SUVs, best family cars, best wagons, best small cars, best hatchbacks, best sport/sporty cars, best coupes, best convertibles, best upscale cars, best luxury cars, and best hybrids in America. For further study and better understanding of auto quality in North America, it offers 10 charts that display, using a bar graph with an axis value of 2.00 (for quick viewing of how much above or below average a brand’s or auto maker’s  Reliability GPA falls), the 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010 Reliability Grade Point Averages of each major brand and manufacturer, as well as a line graph plotting the 2010 to 2014 Reliability GPA ranks of the 6 most prominent manufacturers by U.S. sales.
The 100 Worst Cars in America in 2014 offers lists of the worst cars and trucks available in the U.S. It uses AutoOnInfo.net’s Overall Reliability GPA covering model years 2002 to 2013 for ranking pickup trucks, sport-utility vehicles (SUVs), minivans, family cars, wagons, small cars, hatchbacks, sport/sporty cars, coupes, convertibles, upscale cars, and luxury cars in order to aid consumers in avoiding a vehicle that may require a larger number of repairs and a greater number of expensive repairs. To this end, it includes each car’s reliability GPA and grade and the number of model years upon which the GPA and grade are based, as well as brand and manufacturer GPAs for comparison and contrast and for better assessing long term performance and ownership expenses.   In addition, it is offered as an aid to auto news reporters and auto analysts for better understanding and assessing the differences and changes in brand and auto manufacturer product quality and sales.  Further to assist consumers, reporters, and analysts in better understanding auto quality in North America, it offers 10 color charts that display, using a bar graph with an axis value of 2.00 (for quick viewing of how much above or below average a brand’s or auto maker’s  Reliability GPA falls), the 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010 Reliability Grade Point Averages of each major brand and manufacturer, as well as a line graph plotting the 2010 to 2014 Reliability GPA ranks of the 6 most prominent manufacturers by U.S. current sales.

To the left is an icon of the Kindle edition of Volumes 5, 6, and 7 of AutoOnInfo.net's Car Quality Series. To view a description of the book on amazon.com or purchase a copy, click the applicable icon. To view all, click here.

JB

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Pdf Editions of Books by James Bleeker available on www.scribd.com 

Icon of Kindle E-book edition of Volume 2 of AutoOnInfo.net's Car Quality Series: Brand Quality for Model Years 1985 to 2006 and Effect on Brand Market Shares from 1985 to 2009
Icon of the Kindle E-book edition of Volume 4 of AutoOnInfo.net's Car Quality Series: The 50 Best Cars in America in 2013
Icon of Kindle E-book edition of Volume 5 of AutoOnInfo.net's Car Quality Series: The 100 Worst Cars in America in 2013

To the left are icons of the pdf editions of Volumes 2, 4, and 5 of AutoOnInfo.net's Car Quality Series. To view a description of the book on scribd.com or download a copy, click the applicable icon. The pdf editions of Volumes 4 and 5 are available at no charge.

Volume 6 of AutoOnInfo.net’s Car Quality Series is intended primarily as an aid to consumers in selecting a vehicle that both is reliable in the short term and provides a prospect of only modest repairs in the long term, and secondarily as an aid to auto industry analysts and reporters. To this end, it provides a list of the 50 Best Cars available in the U.S. in 2014 using the Overall Reliability GPA, AutoOnInfo.net’s standard measure of reliability now for several years, covering model years 2002 to 2013 for ranking pickup trucks, sport-utility vehicles (SUVs), family cars, wagons, small cars, hatchbacks, sport/sporty cars, coupes, convertibles, upscale cars, luxury cars, and hybrids, and includes each car’s reliability GPA and grade and the number of model years upon which the GPA and grade are based. As a further aid, it includes 2014 brand and manufacturer GPAs for comparison and contrast and for better assessing long term performance and ownership expenses. In addition, it offers more than 30 full color charts depicting each brand’s and car company’s share of the 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 Best Cars and each brand’s and auto maker’s share of the best pickups, best midsize sport-utility vehicles, best small SUVs, best family cars, best wagons, best small cars, best hatchbacks, best sport/sporty cars, best coupes, best convertibles, best upscale cars, best luxury cars, and best hybrids in America. For further study and better understanding of auto quality in North America, it offers 10 charts that display, using a bar graph with an axis value of 2.00 (for quick viewing of how much above or below average a brand’s or auto maker’s  Reliability GPA falls), the 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010 Reliability Grade Point Averages of each major brand and manufacturer, as well as a line graph plotting the 2010 to 2014 Reliability GPA ranks of the 6 most prominent manufacturers by U.S. sales.
The 100 Worst Cars in America in 2014 offers lists of the worst cars and trucks available in the U.S. It uses AutoOnInfo.net’s Overall Reliability GPA covering model years 2002 to 2013 for ranking pickup trucks, sport-utility vehicles (SUVs), minivans, family cars, wagons, small cars, hatchbacks, sport/sporty cars, coupes, convertibles, upscale cars, and luxury cars in order to aid consumers in avoiding a vehicle that may require a larger number of repairs and a greater number of expensive repairs. To this end, it includes each car’s reliability GPA and grade and the number of model years upon which the GPA and grade are based, as well as brand and manufacturer GPAs for comparison and contrast and for better assessing long term performance and ownership expenses.   In addition, it is offered as an aid to auto news reporters and auto analysts for better understanding and assessing the differences and changes in brand and auto manufacturer product quality and sales.  Further to assist consumers, reporters, and analysts in better understanding auto quality in North America, it offers 10 color charts that display, using a bar graph with an axis value of 2.00 (for quick viewing of how much above or below average a brand’s or auto maker’s  Reliability GPA falls), the 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010 Reliability Grade Point Averages of each major brand and manufacturer, as well as a line graph plotting the 2010 to 2014 Reliability GPA ranks of the 6 most prominent manufacturers by U.S. current sales.

To the left are icons of the pdf editions of Volumes 6 and 7 of AutoOnInfo.net's Car Quality Series. To view a description of the book on scribd.com or download a copy, click the applicable icon. The pdf edition of Volume 7 is available at no charge. Volumes 6 and 7 have enhanced navigational capability as well as an improved page style.

JB