Special Report

Longest-Kept Cars in the Largest 50 Cities

In 2006, Consumer Reports reported that the average life expectancy of a new vehicle was eight years or about 150,000 miles. But now, 15 years later, many drivers are still hitting the streets behind the wheel of autos they purchased in 2006 or earlier.

The Toyota Prius tops the list for vehicles that original owners keep for 15 years or longer, according to iSeeCars.com. That doesn’t make it the most popular “old car” in every part of the country, though. The Prius reigns supreme in nine of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. But 16 other models have fans in at least one U.S. city each. (Across the country, these are the cars that Americans keep the longest.)

The Toyota marque is clearly the favorite, topping the list in 34 of the 50 metro areas. Toyota’s dominance is spread across seven models: Prius, Sienna, Tundra, Highlander, Sequoia, Tacoma, and Camry. Honda also makes a good showing, capturing hearts in seven cities with Pilots, CR-Vs, Civics, and Odysseys. Neither manufacturer shows up, needless to say, on the roster of new cars that are most likely to break down.

Only one American company, Chevrolet, breaks through in two of the 50 cities — Austin, Texas, and Kansas City, Mo. Other than that, Japanese cars own the list. In fact, seven of the ten car brands people don’t want to give up come from Japan, according to the iSeeCars’ study “Cars Owners Keep the Longest.”

The metro area where you’re most likely to see an original owner driving a vehicle that is 15 years old or older is San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, where the favorite is the Prius.

Click here to see the longest-kept cars in the largest 50 cities.