Driving for the Long Haul
When you’re looking to purchase a new car, its value 10 or 15 years down the road may be the last thing on your mind! You may be thinking more about the car’s appearance, features and performance first and foremost. But wouldn’t it be nice to purchase a vehicle that’s also likely to last a long time?
What the Research Says
We took a deep dive into the research and were amazed at the number of studies you can find online related to car longevity and value. One great resource is the industry research firm iSeeCars.com, which was co-founded by tech veterans from TripAdvisor and SAP. The firm just released a study that ranked the top 15 cars that were kept by their owners for 15 years or more. Their methodology involved analyzing ownership records of 750,000 cars from the model years 1981-2003 that were sold in 2018. The results of their research may surprise you.
Incredibly, out of the 15 spots, a full 10 were occupied by Toyota models! And every other car on the list was also Japanese-made. For the top four spots, owners were at least twice as likely as other owners, on average, to hold on to their cars for 15 years or more. The full list contains a mix of SUVs of all sizes, one luxury vehicle, two minivans, three sedans and a lone hybrid—the Toyota Prius. The report also contains more specialized analysis of top SUVs, light-duty pickup trucks, sports cars and luxury cars.
Top Cars Owners Kept for 15 Years or Longer*
- Toyota Highlander (18.5% of owners)
- Toyota Prius (16.2%)
- Toyota Sienna (16.1%)
- Honda Pilot (15.3%)
- Toyota Tundra (14.1%)
Average for all cars (7.5%)
*iSeeCars.com data 1/19
Be Diligent About Service
If you purchase a nameplate with a strong single-ownership track record, and regularly maintain your car as recommended by the manufacturer, your car may safely last a decade or more. For added peace of mind, you may also want to consider an extended warranty that would kick in after your original warranty expires. These service contracts can vary widely in what they provide—whether offered by the vehicle manufacturer or a third party—so be sure to look carefully at the coverage it offers for the price, as well as exclusions, deductibles, term length and other factors.
If you are a numbers geek—or just want to be really sure you are buying a car that holds its value well—there is plenty more research you can do online. Here are a few of the reports we recommend:
- Edmunds 2018 Best Retained Value Awards®
- Autoguide Cheapest Cars to Maintain
- iSeeCars Lowest and Highest Depreciation
- InsiderCar News Cars That Hold Their Value Longest
Our final recommendation? Once you choose your new vehicle, be sure to put away the numbers and focus on just enjoying it!