I've heard the opposite my entire life; German and Japanese cars are generally seen as the most reliable and well-engineered cars available.
Based on the fact that I have been in the Automotive industry for 6+ years and been teaching Automotive Service to Baccalaureate students for the last year and a half. I disagree... Audi, VW, and Porsche are some of the WORST cars to work on when it comes to electrical and ironically, have some of the highest failure rates for electrical circuits from tailights to ignition coils.
Mercedes regularly places extremely low on public and consumer survey's for customer satisfaction and overall reliability. I cannot speak to them being easy or difficult to service as that is one make I do not have much experience with.
To me, a well engineered vehicle does everything or most things a consumer expects from it, but is also easy to service, which saves on warranty costs for the manufacturer, and in the end makes the price lower for the consumer when that warranty inevitably runs out. Audi/VW/Porsche are some of the WORST designed vehicles I have ever worked on, and I mean that in the most honest way possible. It's often like they have an arrogance of thinking their vehicles are so good they will never need to be serviced so therefore they lack drastically in the service department.
Because most engineers do not work on vehicles... Most engineers are the reason most technicians are frustrated...Well I haven't heard BMW come up and being an engineering student and surrounded by other engineers and a few people who know cars... all of them tend to vouch for Beemers.
Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
I'm just gonna steer (oh god, no pun intended) back off course just for a moment, we have an automotive option for our mechanical engineers (like myself) and potentially other disciplines of engineering, and you willingly do that because you love cars and probably know lots about them and work on them already. The best ones generally have this sort of stuff in mind, but I think the problem is over-engineering and making the sacrifice of ease for fixing in the hopes that it likely wouldn't fall apart to begin with and the features such a design provides are basically the lesser of two evils in most people's minds... myself included. I'd rather see over-engineered than poorer quality, but that's just my take.Because most engineers do not work on vehicles... Most engineers are the reason most technicians are frustrated...
This is not the engineers fault however... The engineers bane (as I'm sure you know) is the fact that its nearly impossible to think of all circumstances. However things like needing to remove the right front wheel, inner fender, and having to impact off the alternator pulley before barely fitting the alternator through a hole under the frame rail. Or I could just remove the passenger side drive axle... WTF?!
Sorry.. off topic... back to the pedal!
Honda makes great cars. I had an Accord that had almost 300,000 miles. Had to constantly replace small things, but she started up and ran every time.I inherited a 2000 Honda Civic that wasn't well taken care of. I've been hit a few times, and turns out it's a tank! It's only accumulated minor scratches and dents, even with an underside that rusted to hell, and the other guy doesn't look nearly as good. I'm no mechanic, but I'm sticking with Honda because to me it's well engineered.
Also, Sonor. That is all.