New report: The top 15 cars that people keep for 15 years or more

Mike Timmermann|

Toyota dominates the list of cars that owners keep for 15+ years

The automotive research firm analyzed more than 650,000 cars from the 1981-2002 model years that were sold in 2017. Fifteen models were at least 1.6 times more likely than average to be kept by the original owners for 15 years or longer.

For example, 18.3% of original owners continue to drive the top-ranked Toyota Highlander beyond 15 years. The average for all cars is just 6.8%.

Here are the top 15 vehicles, ranked by the percentage of original owners who keep the vehicle for 15+ years:

  1. Toyota Highlander: 18.3%
  2. Toyota Sienna: 17.1%
  3. Toyota Tundra: 15.7%
  4. Toyota Prius: 15.0%
  5. Toyota RAV4: 14.3%
  6. Honda Odyssey: 12.8%
  7. Toyota Sequoia: 12.8%
  8. Toyota Tacoma: 12.4%
  9. Honda CR-V: 11.9%
  10. Toyota Avalon: 11.7%
  11. Acura MDX: 11.6%
  12. Toyota Camry: 11.5%
  13. Subaru Forester : 11.5%
  14. Nissan Frontier: 11.0%
  15. Volkswagen Golf: 10.6%

“While a decade on the road used to be a significant milestone for vehicle life expectancy, the elevated quality of cars being produced has raised this standard to beyond 10 years ,” said Phong Ly, CEO of iSeeCars.com. “Japanese automakers are known for setting quality and reliability standards, so it is no surprise that they are the most likely to reach the 15-year milestone.”

In Consumer Reports’ latest owner satisfaction survey, Toyota ranked eighth. However, several of the automaker’s vehicles, including the Highlander, were CR’s top picks for 2017. See the list here.

Car shoppers may want to buy a one-month Consumer Reports subscription for $6.95 to read in-depth new and used car reviews.

Clark’s car buying tips 

Money expert Clark Howard recommends that you buy a car that’s two or three years old because brand new cars begin to lose value the second they’re driven off the dealer’s lot.

With a used vehicle, you don’t eat that depreciation — a key benefit to buying a pre-owned car.

Once you find a used car, follow these steps:

  1. Check the vehicle history report. Run the VIN through CARFAX.com to find out if it’s a flood vehicle or if it has been in a horrible accident.
  2. Have the used vehicle inspected by an independent mechanic. One of the key things to know about buying a used car is that you buy “as is.” CarFax alone is not enough of a check; you need to take this additional step.

Finally, arrange auto financing in advance! Look at credit unions, online banks or even traditional banks. Only take dealer financing if it beats any other offer you have.

RELATED: Buying gas from a station on this list is better for your car

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