As new car prices continue to climb, it’s not surprising that some people are holding onto their vehicles for longer.
iSeeCars was curious about the models people hold onto for at least 15 years, so they examined over 350,000 vehicles from the 1981-2004 model years – excluding nameplates that are no longer available.
The results are surprising as the top 15 vehicles that owners kept for at least 15 years were all from Japanese automakers. The Toyota Highlander was most likely to be kept by its original owner as 18.3% of buyers held onto the model for at least 15 years. That’s more than twice the average of 7.7%.
Toyota also claimed the number two spot as 15.5% of Sienna owners held onto the minivan for at least a decade and a half. Rounding out the top five were the Toyota Tacoma (14.5%), Toyota Tundra (14.2%) and Subaru Forester (12.8%).
There are a lot of Toyota models on that list and this isn’t surprising as 12.7% of Toyota owners kept their vehicle for 15 years or more. That put them ahead of Subaru (11.0%), Honda (10.6%), Hyundai (8.3%) and Mazda (7.5%). The only American brands to crack the top ten were GMC and Chevrolet, which saw 7.1% and 6.9% of owners keep their vehicles for at least 15 years.
Breaking down the numbers even further, the longest kept crossovers were Toyota Highlander (18.3%), Subaru Forester (12.8%), Toyota RAV4 (12.7%), Honda Pilot (12.6%) and Honda CR-V (12.4%). On the truck side, it was the Toyota Tacoma (14.5%), Toyota Tundra (14.2%), Chevrolet Colorado (10.3%), Nissan Titan (9.5%) and Nissan Frontier (9.3%).
When it comes to sporty models, the Audi S4 was the winner as 7.9% of owners held onto the car for at least 15 years. This put the model ahead of the Mazda MX-5 Miata (7.7%), Chevrolet Camaro (7.1%), BMW Z4 (7.0%) and BMW M5 (6.9%).
On the luxury side of the equation, the Acura MDX was the favorite as 8.4% owners kept the crossover for a decade and a half. Other long owned models include the BMW 3-Series (8.2%), Lexus IS 300 (8.0%), Audi S4 (7.9%) and Mercedes C-Class (7.2%).
So what made owners of Japanese models hang onto their cars for so long? iSeeCars CEO Phong Ly suggested its largely due to reliability and durability. As he explained, “Owners are more likely to hold onto cars that are still dependable and don’t require a great deal of expensive maintenance.”