Japanese Brands Own List Of Cars U.S. Owners Keep For Over 15 Years

Toyota owners have quite the attachment to their cars, especially those who have a Highlander, as a new survey conducted by iSeeCars showed the Japanese SUV top the list of vehicles owners keep for 15 years or more.

The research firm looked at 650,000 vehicles between the 1981 and 2002 model years sold in 2017 and Toyota flooded the list. In fact, the top five vehicles kept for 15 years or more are all Toyotas, namely the Highlander, Sienna, Tundra, Prius and RAV4, with the Honda Odyssey following at sixth place.

Each of the cars listed was at least 1.6 times more likely to be kept by the original owner for 15 years or more, but the Highlander outpaced the average even further. Highlander owners were 2.7 times more likely to keep their vehicles, with 18.3 percent of original owners hanging on to them. The Sienna followed closely behind and was 2.5 times more likely to stick around in the driveway for at least 15 years, with 17.1 percent of owners holding onto the minivan for 15 years or more.

The entire list is populated solely by Japanese automakers, save for the Volkswagen Golf at the final, 15th spot, with 10.6 percent of original owners hanging on to their Golfs for at least 15 years.

“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 ten 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 fifteen-year milestone.”

  • Kash

    That’s probably because all those cars more likely to still be around 15+ years after they’re made without requiring a 2nd mortgage just to cover maintenance and upkeep costs.

    • D-splash

      agreed, it’s a reflection of a car’s reliability, but also customer satisfaction and vehicle loyalty play a role.

  • Merc1

    If that doesn’t prove that a Toyota is the most reliable vehicle ever built I don’t know what will. Really impressive.


    • brn

      It’s not a most reliable list. It’s a what does one person hang onto list. Not the same thing.

      • Jay

        I think he’s trying to imply that more people hang on to things that are reliable and don’t cost much for up keep. It’s partially true but these are not cars for people that have money. People with money replace cars with nothing even wrong with them…

  • TheBelltower

    Or maybe it means that the people who buy these cars can’t afford to replace them. Keep a Rav4, Camry, Avalon, Corolla or Elantra for 15 years… sad!

    • Navy P. Morroccan ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      Some people love their cars. I know people who are nearly millionaires and is still riding around in 15-year old vehicles or older because they invest their money in a stock market, IRA, or 401k.

    • Matt

      You’re sad for having this attitude. Not everyone can afford upgrading vehicles. I bet you upgrade to keep up with the Jones’s. Now that’s sad!

      • Mynameis Taylor

        not everyone wants to upgrade either. I’ve always thought that a person that drives a Camry, Corolla or a Rav4 are very practical type people. Style isn’t all that important to them.

    • Socarboy

      As the owner of a 1999 Tacoma with 266K miles, Toyotas may not be the jazziest or trendiest vehicles on the road. Like that plain Jane friend you have, that maybe a little dull, but you can always count on.

  • Christian Wimmer

    Toyota produces cheap and reliable cars. Cheap to buy, cheap to service and cheap[er] spare parts. It’s a given that the people who tend to buy them want something cheap and reliable and intend on keeping it long because they are probably not into cars from an enthusiast perspective.

    I noticed an absence of luxury brands on the list. But that’s no surprise given how they churn out new models on a weekly basis (literally) and owners in that niche tend to want the newest product as soon as it is available.

    I would have expected Porsche to be up there. Porsche buyers strike me as very loyal types who hold on to their sports cars for a long time. Right?

    • D-splash

      In terms of luxury brands, the Acura MDX made the vehicle list, while Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti made the brand list.

  • schnittz

    1981-2002 Toyota made reliable and inexpensive cars, while domestic were really behind. Things has changed domestics not only catch up but surpassed it’s Japanese rivals. 2007+ Toyota’s are not as reliable as they used to be.

  • brn

    Not a knock against the cars, but I find it very difficult to believe that so many Hyundai owners keep the car for 15 years. There’s such a large used market and the resale value is low. It doesn’t add up.

    OK, looked at it again. #1 on the list is still below 12%. Hyundai is 8.2%. It’s interesting data, but hard to draw conclusions from it.

  • Navy P. Morroccan ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    I had a relative to keep its Dodge Charger for 9 years w/out one major problem with the exceptions of the gear selector was sticking (due to foam restaurant cups that were sweating inside the cup holders) that caused the plastic mechanical piece to malfunction, and the headlamps ceased working in the 8th year of ownership due to a faulty switch, and in the 9th and final year, the ball joints had started to squeak, but all and all, a reliable Chrysler product surprisingly. Oh — the paint on the front end of the Charger had started pealing a bit, but no other major issues with that Chrysler product and it was the second owner of the vehicle when it purchased the vehicle in 2007 with 36k miles.

    *Note: I used it because I didn’t want to say what gender it is which it doesn’t matter, but I prefer not to say.

  • Bash

    One doesn’t need a special survey or anything to see that! But it’s true Toyota make lots of good cars. But just to be fair, I also see a lot of late 90s and early to mid 2000s domestic cars.

  • dumblikeyou2

    GM (GMC) is the only American company on the list of brands. Surely a Ford fanboy must have seen that, no? If it were Ford, a little parade would have broken out on here, yes.

  • Laurenz

    Woo Hoo! Highlander is #1! I have a 2003 Toyota Highlander Bass with 350k! Still runs and drives like it’s brand new!

  • Daren

    Iseecars.com also created a list of vehicles to go 200,000 miles. It is dominated by domestic vehicles. That shows dependability not how long a vehicle sits in a drive way.


    “The research firm looked at 650,000 vehicles between the 1981 and 2002 model years sold in 2017” so to be eligible the vehicle had to be available last year? What difference does being available last have to do with lasting 15 years? If a car was discontinued in 2015 it can’t last 15 years. And what happens if you include vehicles older than 1981. This is a very lame list at best.

  • Fred Smith

    In May I will have owned my Toyota Yaris base hatchback AT for 11 years. It only has about 100K on it right now, so I hope to have it for another 11 years at least – provided it doesn’t rust out as many vehicles do here in the NE US rust belt.

  • BlackPegasus

    My aunt had a 1994 Toyota Camry V6 with leather, moonroof and every conceivable option. It was like a Japanese luxury car without the badge. Because she often changed cars every 2-3 yrs through lease deals we never really knew how well the car would hold up to time and wear. It was a solid vehicle.

  • Infinite1

    A Toyota has the lowest cost of maintenance and ownership over its lifetime and more.

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