This post is contributed by Thomas Lee, a data scientist at iSeeCars.com.
Buying a new car is expensive, so having a vehicle that you’ll keep a long time makes financial sense. But which cars do owners keep the longest? A study by automotive research firm iSeeCars.com found that sports cars and SUVs are kept well beyond the average 7.3 years of ownership.
iSeeCars.com analyzed over 15.7 million used cars that were sold by their original owners and found that the average length of new-car ownership ranges from 8.8 to 10.6 years for 10 specific cars. That’s 21 percent to 45 percent longer than the overall average of 7.3 years. Drivers kept the Toyota Land Cruiser the longest — for 10.6 years before selling. Other cars on the Top 10 list include 3 other Toyotas and 4 sports cars. And half of the cars on the list are SUVs, some of which are large 7-seaters.
Top 10 new cars owners keep the longest
Rank Model # Years of Ownership (Average)
1 Toyota Land Cruiser 10.6
2 Porsche Boxster 9.9
3 Ford Expedition 9.0
4 Mercedes-Benz SLK 9.0
5 Ford Explorer 8.9
6 Toyota Sequoia 8.9
7 Chevrolet Corvette 8.8
8 Toyota Avalon 8.8
9 Toyota 4Runner 8.8
10 Audi TT 8.8
Average for all cars: 7.3
According to iSeeCars.com CEO Phong Ly, “While the age of cars on the road has grown to well beyond a decade on average, people are getting rid of their new cars after 7.3 years, which is about 1 to 2 years after they’ve paid them off.”
There are several reasons why owners may hold on to the cars from the top 10 list longer than average. For example, several of the cars have unique features. The Toyota Land Cruiser is a niche car with rugged, off-road capabilities and luxury features, but is priced less than its competitors from Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz. Owners of large SUVs may use them as family vehicles and log many miles while transporting their children everywhere. And sports cars have a timeless styling, which reduces the incentive to continuously upgrade to the latest model.
“It’s important to take the time to find something that fits your driving needs as well as your personality,” said Ly. “To get a car they’ll love enough to keep for years and years, car shoppers should do their research ahead of time. Spending time on test drives, calculating costs, and reading reviews are all ways to ultimately find a comfortable, perfect car.”
For more details about the study and its findings, visit the iSeeCars blog.
Thomas is a data scientist at iSeeCars.com, analyzing interesting consumer and industry trends. His background is in experimental/cognitive psychology and psychophysics. In his spare time he’s a classical/tango musician and board gamer. Sometimes he sees nested SQL queries in his sleep.