Japanese Brands Own The List Of Cars U.S. Owners Keep For 10+ Years

A new study shows that, in the US, the top 10 cars most likely to be owned for 10 or more years are built by either Toyota, Honda, Subaru or Lexus.

The study was conducted by iSeeCars and showed that SUVs and minivans , but also hybrids such as the first-ranked Toyota Highlander Hybrid, the Toyota Prius and the Lexus RX were the most popular choices for the long haul.

In order to complete their study, iSeeCars analyzed over 2.5 million used cars (MY 1981 to 2006) sold between January 1 and October 30.

In total, there are five Toyota models, three Hondas, one Lexus and one Subaru, while the percentage of original owners who kept their new car for at least a decade ranges between 4 and 32.1 percent.

“The top 10 cars that people hold onto are all from Japanese automakers, which isn’t surprising since they have a reputation for reliability. But the makeup of the cars is unexpected,” said Phong Ly, CEO of iSeeCars.

“These kinds of cars tend to be used as family cars, so they might be expected to be kept for many years if they’re bought just as their owners start their new families,” added Ly.

The full list looks like this and includes the percentage of original owners keeping the car for 10 or more years:

1. Toyota Highlander Hybrid – 32.1%
2. Toyota Prius – 32.0%
3. Toyota Highlander – 29.0%
4. Toyota Sienna – 28.7%
5. Honda Pilot – 27.2%
6. Honda CR-V – 25.2%
7. Toyota RAV4 – 24.9%
8. Subaru Forester – 24.2%
9. Lexus RX Hybrid – 24.1%
10. Honda Odyssey – 24.0%

On average, just 12.9% of people are likely to hold onto their cars for at least 10 years, and only the Camry (20.3%), Accord (17.7%), Civic (17.1%), Silverado 1500 (13.9%) and Altima (13.3%) owners are keeping their cars more than the nationwide average.

Looking at it from a brand perspective, you’ll see that four out of the top five brands are Japanese (Toyota – 22.2%, Honda – 20.2%, Subaru – 19.1%, Acura – 17.8%), followed by Hyundai (17.4%), Lexus (16.5%), Kia (15.1%), Mazda (14.2%), Nissan (13.5%) and GMC (13.0%) finally cracking the list at number 10 as the only domestic brand.

Another top 10, this time for passenger cars their owners keep for at least 10 years (average at 12.9%), looks like this:

1. Toyota Prius – 32.0%
2. Toyota Avalon – 21.6%
3. Hyundai Azera – 21.1%
4. Toyota Corolla – 20.4%
5. Toyota Camry – 20.3%
6. Audi A3 – 18.9%
7. Mazda3 – 18.4%
8. Honda Accord – 17.7%
9. Hyundai Elantra – 17.5%
10. Honda Civic – 17.1%

Finally, if you’re curious about trucks only, just 9 models tend to stay with their owners more than the nation-wide average of 12.9%:

1. Honda Ridgeline – 22.3%
2. Toyota Tundra – 21.5%
3. Toyota Tacoma – 21.4%
4. Nissan Titan – 17.9%
5. Nissan Frontier – 17.0%
6. Chevrolet Colorado – 15.1%
7. GMC Canyon – 15.1%
8. Chevrolet Silverado – 13.9%
9. GMC Sierra 1500 – 13.7%
10. RAM 1500 – 11.5% (less than the average)


  • Neil Garratt

    That’s because people who buy a Japanese car are not exactly petrol head that want a new ride every few years. They are good cars but a bit magnolia, just not exciting. Whenever I follow a little jap box I just think to myself whoever brought that has given up on life already.

    • Obsequious Lickspittle
    • Grumpy

      i get Toyota, Honda, even Nissan, but mazda and subaru. arnt bad at all.

      Usually the guys who get a car every year are leasing a german. Much of that has to do with their reliability and cost after warrenty.

      • pcurve

        Absolutely. Also, BMW offers so much trunk money in their lease deals, leasing is cheaper on many of their models.

    • getoffme

      No wonder “petrol heads”, usually young are always in debt.

    • Big Black Duck

      some stereo typical bs…i drive Japanese cars because of the value proposition and I also like how they look…..only uninformed people make emotional decisions…real men make rational logical decisions before making an emotional one…i am sure you are one of those people that walks out of the shower and wets the whole floor before you wipe your self.. I also love cars from a design, styling and engineering perspective and the emotion they create becuase of how beautiful they look and not what they use as fuel source .. so you can continue to be a “petrol” head and I will continue to be a Car “Nut”.

      • Neil Garratt

        Man it’s like you watch me in the shower, they are good cars and like you said a good value proposition. There are some exciting ones, there is also the Toyota avensis…..

  • An Existing Person

    Part of this may be because they’re usually the cars that can last that long without major problems, which makes owners happy.

    • Status

      I was going to say the same. I still like American cars, but they just can’t seem to make one that can hold up that long and not make you feel like you’re being punished….or come with preinstalled negative baggage.

  • IFDU

    I think the real accomplishment here is that there are a few Hyundais on the list. They might be shaking that old stigma after all. We will see again in the next few decades.

    • Big Black Duck

      yes..hyundai and kia’s are doing such a good job…

  • petey53

    The lifetime of a Prius is a lot longer than even a good conventional car like a Mazda3 and it saves a lot in gas and maintenance. With standard automatic emergency braking, radar cruise and LED headlights, a base Prius is the safest hatchback for the money.

    • Ken Lyns

      Yea this is actually a surprise. Looks like the battery pack is degrading slower than expected.

  • bloggin

    With ‘reliability’ fairly consistent between major brands, the transition from one vehicle to another can also be attributed to new model redesigns and addition of newer technology over a shorter period of time. For example, the majority of the Toyotas listed on the 10+ year list, also have little to no upgrades or improvements that would warrant a new purchase.

  • Cheap-O

    I feel bad for whoever buys american they are such shit cars.

    • Big Black Duck

      there are some good cars…but I have to admit..until american cars get amber turn signals I will continue to view them as cheaply built vehicles..

  • Belthronding Tinuviel

    japan cars are mostly boring:(

    • Big Black Duck

      all german cars are boring too…they all look the same…

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