The 10 Longest-Kept Cars When Bought New
Unsurprisingly, most are family cars, but one of the top two is a classic sports car built for two.
New cars are some of, if not outright, the biggest purchases we might make in our lives, so it only makes sense to keep your bought-new vehicle as long as possible. Take advantage of that warranty, stick to a rigid maintenance schedule, and put on miles until problems start to present themselves. The longer it takes before that happens, the better.
Automakers would like you to interpret a list of the top ten longest-kept vehicles as a measure of reliability, when in reality, other factors may be at play. Underwhelming successors or model discontinuation can drive new vehicle retention upward, as can customer loyalty in cases of certain brands (or even models).
Research group and used car search engine iSeeCars.com compiled a list of the top 10 vehicles that take owners the longest to put up for sale after buying new. As you would expect, the majority are family cars, but the top two buck the trend.
Honda's Odyssey minivan is the only self-acknowledged minivan to make the list, with owners reportedly holding on to them for an average of 8.3 years after purchasing new, and 0.9 years longer than the new car average of 7.4 years. That means a new Odyssey bought today probably won't arrive on craigslist until the end of 2026. We're pretty sure our chief auto critic Lawrence Ulrich wouldn't have minded hanging on to his Odyssey loaner for that long.
The Ford Taurus is one of three sedans and one of three Ford products to make the cut. Taurus owners hold on to their cars for as long as Odyssey owners do, according to the statistics, so why rank one above the other? Number eight shows it's not down to alphabetical order, so iSeeCars.com must have another decimal place it rounded to. Clearly, being one of America's most-liked sedans wasn't enough to stop Ford from killing the model. What a load of bull.
Again, tied with the Taurus and Odyssey, the Accord sets itself above the others by proving one of the country's most popular vehicles. Even so, dealers are struggling to sell Accords in 2018, which makes us think consumers should read reviews of the Accord before going out to buy another new car. This old standby might still impress you.
The Chevrolet Suburban has few natural predators remaining on the market on account of its colossal price, which nabs equally tremendous towing capabilities and size. It is the lowest-ranking of the seven-seater SUVs of the list, though, so if you are in the market for such a vehicle and only care how long the average buyer retains their truck, keep scrolling.
As a dedicated family car, its average tenure with its first owner is a lengthy 8.4 years. Ford's midsize Explorer crossover is far more affordable than the Suburban SUV above, however, and because it has an optional third row, it can cover the same family car bases as the Suburban without casting a shadow across half the county. We suspect lists of this sort in future years will feature more crossovers than just the Explorer, as the body style only took off with the mass market earlier this decade.
Despite a gaping, rap video-ready grille that makes us want to stop looking its way, the Toyota Avalon is the fifth longest-kept new car. Buyers of new Avalons (and all the vehicles below) aren't likely to put their vehicles back on the market until 2027, by which point there may be no new Avalon to replace it.
The current generation of the Toyota 4Runner is among the oldest three-row SUVs on the market, entering production at the end of August 2009, almost nine years ago. Because it tends to spend about 8.8 years in the custody of its buyers, the early 4Runners are only just about to hit the market in large numbers, leaving the families they have served for almost a decade.
"These vehicles tend to be family haulers, which means that parents are likely to keep them for longer than average and not replace them until a large family vehicle is no longer necessary," explained iSeeCars.com CEO Phong Ly, regarding the 4Runner and Explorer.
Just edging out the 4Runner is its bigger, more capable sibling, based on the Tundra pickup platform. Because of its full-size pickup underpinnings, the sturdy Sequoia can tow like the 4Runner can't, and is thus a better choice for those that need the capability. If it's capability you're after, though, keep scrolling to find the last of the three-row SUVs.
Have a break from the deluge of family haulers for a bit of fun. The Chevrolet Corvette is known for its dedicated fanbase, earned by being one of the longest-maintained and most-improved nameplates in the business. Coincidentally, nine years is slightly longer than the last two generations of Corvette have been in production, and between that and the known-enthusiastic Corvette customer base, it may not be unreasonable to guess that Corvettes are often sold only so the owner may make the down payment for a newer 'Vette.
"Sports cars tend to not be primary vehicles, which is why owners might hold on to them longer than the average car since they are not subjected to as much wear and tear," speculated Ly.
Is it really much of a surprise? A three-row family SUV based on America's bestselling line of pickup trucks is almost destined to be the longest-kept vehicle on sale today. Strangely, the Ford F-series does not fare as well, with iSeeCars.com reporting a below-average 7.2 year stay with its buyers. As most families cannot afford to turn in their full-size family vehicles for the new model every few years, however, the Expedition tends to stick with its owners when bought new. To use a cliche, if it ain't broke...you know the rest.