The top 15 cars that owners keep for at least 15 years

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It’s common knowledge that once you drive a new car off the lot, it immediately loses a ton of its value. But some cars hold onto their worth much longer than others. A new study shows which vehicle models have lasted the longest for their original owners over the past 30 years.

The automotive research firm broke down data on more than 650,000 cars that were sold in 2017. For its study, iSeeCars researchers only focused on vehicles with a model year from 1981 to 2002. The study eventually figured out which 15 models were most often kept by their original owners for at least 15 years. It seems that foreign-made cars—especially those made in Japan—have the best longevity. No American-made vehicles cracked the list, and only one non-Japanese model made the cut.

When you consider that the typical U.S. vehicle owner keeps their car for about 6.5 years on average, according to IHS Markit, this study shows how truly impressive it is for anyone to keep a car for 15 years—which is more than twice the average!

So which vehicle models have stayed in their original owner’s garage for at least 15 years? Here’s the full list:

15. Volkswagen Golf

The only model not made in Japan to crack this list, the German-made Volkswagen Golf has been on the market since 1974, and continues to be popular. According to iSeeCars, 10.6 percent of new Volkswagen Golf owners keep their car for at least 15 years.

14. Nissan Frontier

Known as the Nissan Navara or Nissan NP300 outside of North and South America, the Frontier pickup has been on the market since 1997. Research shows that 11 percent of owners of new Nissan Frontiers keep them for more than 15 years.

13. Subaru Forester (Tie)

Still winning awards after more than 20 years on the market, the Subaru Forester is a popular crossover SUV. ISeeCars researchers found that 11.5 percent of new Forester owners kept them for 15 years.

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13. Toyota Camry (Tie)

One of the oldest models still being produced that’s on this list, the Camry is the first of nine Toyotas to make the Top 15, which is by far more than any other make. Like the Subaru Forester, 11.5 percent of Camry owners keep theirs for at least 15 years.

11. Acura MDX

The MDX (which stands for “Multi-Dimensional luxury”) has been part of Acura’s lineup since 2000. It turns out that 11.6 percent of new MDX owners hang onto them for 15 years.

10. Toyota Avalon

The Avalon has been sold by Toyota since 1994, and is currently only offered in the United States, Canada and a few other countries. ISeeCars found that 11.7 percent of new Avalon owners keep theirs for 15 years or more.

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9. Honda CR-V

The CR-V (which means “Comfortable Runabout Vehicle”) has been made by Honda since 1995. The study found that 11.9 percent of new owners of this SUV keep them for 15 years.

8. Toyota Tacoma

Another pickup truck that remains popular, the Toyota Tacoma has been on the road since 1995. An impressive 12.4 percent of its owners keep the truck for at least 15 years.

7. Toyota Sequoia (Tie)

The first-ever full-sized SUV to be built by a Japanese maker, the Sequoia has been sold by Toyota since 2000. Despite being massive, 12.8 percent of owners of new Sequoias have kept theirs for 15 years.

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7. Honda Odyssey (Tie)

Another vehicle that 12.8 percent of original owners have kept for at least 15 years, the Odyssey is the first minivan on the list. This reliable favorite, which has been in production since 1994, is also the last non-Toyota model to make the list.

5. Toyota RAV4

The RAV4 (which means “Recreational Activity Vehicle: 4-wheel drive”) is billed as the world’s first compact crossover SUV. ISeeCars found that 14.3 percent of new RAV4 owners kept them for 15 years.

4. Toyota Prius

The world’s first mass-produced hybrid car, the Toyota Prius has had drivers going green since 1997. Turns out Prius drivers love hanging onto them, as an impressive 15 percent of owners keep them for 15 years.

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3. Toyota Tundra

The first full-size pickup built by a Japanese maker to be sold in North America, the Toyota Tundra has been produced since 1999. The study found that 15.7 percent of new Tundra owners hang onto them for 15 years.

2. Toyota Sienna

A family favorite, the Sienna minivan has been made by Toyota since 1997. And many owners keep them long enough to raise the kids from daycare to adulthood, as 17.1 percent of them keep a new Sienna for 15 years or more.

1. Toyota Highlander

When it comes to longevity, no car touches Toyota’s Highlander. This crossover SUV has been on the road since 2000, and it appears many drivers just can’t let theirs go. A staggering 18.3 percent of original owners of new Highlanders keep them for at least 15 years.

Flickr | peterolthof

To see more from’s research into long-lasting vehicles, check out the full study online.

About the Author

Clint Davis

When he's not writing or spending time with his son and wife, Clint is probably watching sports, an old movie or adding to his VHS collection. A lifelong Ohioan, he's based in Columbus, and has two big dogs and a cat that's as soft as cotton. More.

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