Automakers often like to boast about reliability and longevity. If a potential buyer thinks a certain vehicle can last them an especially long time, they’ll be more likely to buy it and become a long-time brand loyalist if it works out for them.
Words are cheap and car research site iSeeCars has compiled the top 15 cars that drivers keep for 15 years or more. "With the average age of cars on the road at 11.6 years," said a representative from iSeeCars in an email to The Drive, "Americans are keeping their cars longer than ever." This data does not necessarily illustrate durability as lots of people get rid of their cars while they still have lots of life in them, but it does give us an idea of how long these cars can last. If the drivers of these cars like them enough to keep them for a decade and a half, there must be something good about them.
iSeeCars “analyzed over 650,000 cars from the 1981-2002 model years sold in 2017,” according to the study. Here’s the list with percentages of original owners keeping the car for 15+ years. The average for all cars is 6.8 percent.
- Toyota Highlander - 18.3 percent
- Toyota Sienna - 17.1 percent
- Toyota Tundra - 15.7 percent
- Toyota Prius - 15.0 percent
- Toyota RAV4 - 14.3 percent
- Honda Odyssey - 12.8 percent
- Toyota Sequoia - 12.8 percent
- Toyota Tacoma - 12.4 percent
- Honda CR-V - 11.9 percent
- Toyota Avalon - 11.7 percent
- Acura MDX - 11.6 percent
- Toyota Camry - 11.5 percent
- Subaru Forester - 11.5 percent
- Nissan Frontier - 11.0 percent
- Volkswagen Golf - 10.6 percent
That’s a whole lot of Toyota. 14 of the 15 cars on the list are Japanese and the top 12 is dominated by Toyota and Honda (counting Acura). Toyota is the clear winner as it sweeps the top five and has a total of nine cars on the list.
Surprisingly absent is American pickup trucks and SUVs which are famous for their durability. Trucks like the Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado indeed have an impressive record and have been proven to go the distance. According to a different iSeeCars study, the Ford Expedition and Chevy Suburban were in the top three longest-lasting vehicles with several similar plus-size American rigs on the list. Although they can last, they must change hands more often than the vehicles listed above.
If you’re in the market for a cheap used car that will last, apparently you should keep an eye out for Toyotas from the early 2000s.