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Beloved Vehicles Drivers Just Can’t Get Rid Of

Cameron EittreimOctober 9, 2019

Car ownership is something drivers take pride in. Cars like Corvettes and Mustangs are notorious for being collector’s items among many others. Some spend their Saturdays polishing that special car. Others take it out and drive it every Friday night. Over the years there have been some cars that are renowned for their longevity and reliability. This has led owners to hold onto these models for a much longer period of time.

Naturally, it can seem like an addiction to hold onto a vehicle long past its prime. But many owners treasure their vehicles. There have also been many instances where a car will be sold by necessity, only to regret the sale later on in life. The original owners of the 1969 Camaro probably sold these cars in the 1980s only to see the value skyrocket nowadays. An original Camaro is almost worth as much as a home. That understandably left a sour taste in the mouths of those who prematurely sold. Some car and truck models experience intense brand loyalty like the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco.

Brand loyalty is a part of the automotive industry that makes car ownership so special. We’re going to take a look at some of the vehicles that have the longest-lasting ownership and what makes these cars more unique than most. Next time you meet someone who just won’t part with a classic car, you’ll have a better idea of why. Enjoy the list with info via Cars.com below.

Avalon Hybrid Via Car And Driver
Avalon Hybrid via Car And Driver

20. Toyota Avalon

Toyota as a brand has a long history of customer loyalty. It’s not uncommon to see a Camry or Corolla with close to a million miles on the odometer. This is why Toyota has such a stellar reputation for quality. But there are a few other Toyota models that have brand loyalty as well. The Avalon is a large luxury sedan that was released during the nineties. The Avalon was a step up from the Camry and a step below an ES 300. Building on the stellar Toyota reputation for quality, the Avalon has a smooth-running V6 engine and a comfortable ride.

Many upmarket owners appreciate the subtle nature of the Avalon. The car doesn’t stick out as a luxury vehicle but offers most of the same features you might find in a Lexus. The average owner holds onto a Toyota Avalon for 9.5 years, almost a decade. That’s a long time to own a single vehicle in today’s world. And it just goes to show how well-built the Avalon is. In a world of sedans all trying to vie with each other, the Avalon provides a plush ride and stellar reliability.

The limited package on the Avalon is arguably the most desirable. You’ll get a range of luxury options which include xenon headlights and a powerful 3.5L V6 engine. The Avalon will continue to be one of the most popular models to roll out of a Toyota factory. In today’s world, you can’t go wrong with its stellar reliability.

Sequoia Via Toyota
Sequoia Via Toyota

19. Toyota Sequoia

For decades, Toyota sold the 4Runner and the Land Cruiser as their only two SUV options. Both vehicles were far from refined. But the Rav4 came onto the scene in 1997 and introduced the world to a Camry-based compact SUV. With the popularity of the Rav4 came the even larger Sequoia, which, at the time, was based on the already stellar Tundra pickup truck. Toyota was the first Japanese automaker to market a full-size V8 powered SUV to compete with domestic models.

Brand loyalty to the Sequoia has been phenomenal with an average of 9.9 years of ownership. What makes the Sequoia so popular? Well, for starters, the vehicle just feels huge. Once you sit in a Sequoia, it feels different than any other SUV. Not to mention the Sequoia is factory height without any modifications. Another thing that people love about the Sequoia is the powerful I-Force V8 engine. Toyota has a knack for building engines, and the I-Force is perhaps one of the best to come out of Japan.

Three roomy rows of seats mean you can fit just about anybody in this large SUV. The Sequoia is great for going off-roading or driving to the grocery store. It’s not uncommon to see a Sequoia that has upwards of four hundred thousand miles on the odometer.

911 Yellowbird Via Motor Junkie
911 Yellowbird Via Motor Junkie

18. Porsche 911

Who hasn’t stood in awe of a Porsche 911? The sports car has been everywhere, from movies to video games. But, what makes this hyped-up sports car such a legend? Well, it all starts with its iconic design. The 911 doesn’t look like anything you’d ever seen before it. The iconic 911 is much more than just a sports car, though; it’s also a lifestyle. Porsche owners take this vehicle very seriously. Once you own one, you’ll probably want to hold onto it.

The 911 has changed a lot over the years, but the basic premise has remained the same. The 911 takes a lightweight, aerodynamic design with the engine placed in the rear of the vehicle. Nothing about the design is copied from another sports car on the market, and that’s what has made the 911 such a unique vehicle. Go to a car show and you are bound to see 911s that have been in the family for decades. The 911’s consumer loyalty is something that most car brands will never achieve.

With the current crop of 911 models, Porsche has returned to their heritage and the car is as classic as ever. Porsche enthusiasts that want an authentic driving experience have to look no further than the 911, as it’s one of the purest sports cars on the road. Sure, you can get a Corvette or a Ferrari. But there’s nothing like having an engine behind you and that signature lightweight design bolting down the freeway.

4Runner Via Motor Trend
Toyota 4Runner via Motor Trend

17. Toyota 4Runner

You were bound to see another Toyota on this list, and the 4Runner is just that vehicle. The 4Runner was the original mid-size SUV to hit the market, long before the Blazer or the Explorer were even a thought. The original 4Runner was based on the solid Toyota truck, which, at the time, was selling like hotcakes due to the fuel crisis. 4Runner owners tend to keep their vehicles around for 10 years or more. That’s a real testament to the reliability of the vehicle. But with the 4Runner, it’s about more than just being reliable.

The 4Runner offers you a practical take-it-anywhere design, something that many SUVs have failed to mimic. The 4Runner might not have the intriguing look of the Wrangler or similar SUVs, but it has a style and reputation that’s all it’s own. Modern incarnations of the 4Runner pack a powerful V8 engine. That’s something that would have been unheard of during the eighties when the vehicle was originally launched. The 4Runner is a more-than-capable off-road beast that still offers on-road driving manners for the modern family.

Ford Mustang GT Via Motor Trend
Ford Mustang via Motor Trend

16. Ford Mustang

The original pony car is a coveted part of any owner’s garage and with good reason. The Mustang birthed the lightweight V8 sports car that we see today. Without the Mustang you’d never have a Camaro or a Hellcat. But the Mustang was born out of necessity at a time when the world of cars was changing. It’s not uncommon for a Mustang owner to hold onto their vehicle for 10 years or more.

The most preferable models are of course the earliest Mustangs to come off of the lot. But there are also some pretty desirable late model Mustangs such as the Bullet and the Cobra. In addition to being scary fast, the Mustang is a livable car. That’s why most owners actively drive their Mustangs. Whether you are going to the grocery store or just going out for a Saturday cruise, the Mustang is a car that will constantly put a smile on your face.

They remain among the most retained automobiles in the world.

Ford Explorer

15. Ford Explorer

Where did the actual SUV craze come from? This vehicle right here. The Explorer changed the game in every aspect. If you wanted an SUV that could go off-roading and was still livable, the Explorer offered both. The earliest models came with the decked out Eddie Bauer trim while still managing exceptional fuel economy. The Explorer was more refined than the Blazer in every aspect, which is why the SUV has remained a top seller for almost 30 years. Explorer owners tend to hold onto their vehicles for an average of 8.8 years.

These mid-size sport utility vehicles are robust and durable. The early model Explorers are easy to work on and fairly reliable. Maintenance is cheap and you can find a 90s Explorer with the same V8 engine you’d find in the Mustang. The Explorer was also famously featured in the motion picture Jurassic Park. At the end of the day, if you want an SUV you can hang onto for decades, the Explorer (at least in its original form) is going to be it.

Expedition Via Motor Junkie
Ford Expedition via Motor Junkie

14. Ford Expedition

At the peak of the SUV boom, the Explorer was selling like hotcakes. But to get a full-size offering, you had to go to a GM lot. Ford launched the Expedition. The full-size SUV is based on the F-series truck just like the Bronco was. But it offers a plethora of features such as seven-passenger seating and an available rear entertainment system. Expedition owners keep their vehicles an average of nine years, and the truck is extremely cheap to fix.

Because most of the Expedition parts are interchangeable with the F-150, customers love the affordability. But the Expedition was also a well-built truck with the 4.7L Triton V8 under the hood. As the years progressed, the Expedition has only gotten better, offering a refined interior. The optional Expedition EX-L offers an extended wheelbase similar to the Suburban. The Expedition also has a pretty capable off-road function with push-button results that make the SUV great for camping. Overall, the Expedition gives owners many things to be relished.

SLK Via Motor Junkie
Mercedes SLK via Motor Junkie

13. Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class

There aren’t many cars on earth that are as recognizable as the SLK. You’ve seen them just about everywhere. At one point or another, you’ve probably dreamed about driving one. But even used, they’re expensive. The SLK has one of the longest owner retention rates at nine years. What makes this thing so good? Well, the V12 engine that’s packed into a lightweight coupe is one reason. The sheer amount of power under the hood makes this car phenomenal to drive. But even aside from that, you get all of the Mercedes Benz comforts.

The aftermarket world for the SLK is exceptional as well. You can soup your vehicle up with all kinds of extras from ride enhancements to appearance packages. The SLK is surprisingly reliable as well. With routine maintenance, it’s not uncommon to see one with over 200k on the odometer. If you’ve been looking to drive one of the most well-known sports cars in the world, the SLK is it. With its timeless style and a smooth ride, you just can’t go wrong.

Corvette Via GM
Chevrolet Corvette via GM

12. Chevrolet Corvette

Where do we start with the Corvette? Chevy owners have been in love with this car since it debuted in the 1950s. What makes the Corvette special is probably not the engine power or the looks. But it’s the heritage that comes with the vehicle. Every generation of the Corvette has a story to tell and a piece of history that goes along with it. Whether you drive the 80a models with the first digital dash or you drive a C5 ZR1, there’s just something about sitting behind the wheel of the American icon.

Owner retention of the Corvette is generally about 8.8 years. Corvette owners don’t usually sell their cars. Instead, they move onto the next generation. The Corvette is a car that you want to hold onto, and once you drive one you’re going to drive it again. The most popular generation of the Corvette was the C5, which introduced the world to the LS1 engine. These cars are modern and a blast to drive, and you can pick one up for a relatively affordable price.

Audi TT Coupe Via Motor Junkie
Audi TT Coupe via Motor Junkie

11. Audi TT

2020 is going to be the final year for the TT. The egg-shaped sports car was responsible for reigniting consumer interest in the Audi brand. If you’ve ever seen a TT you’ll know why, because the car is just a beauty to look at. Even at 20 years old the TT is still an amazing car that looks great. Throw in the optional turbo and you have a fun to drive the car that will whip around any turns you can throw at it. The average ownership of the TT is 8.8 years, which is right up there with the Corvette.

The TT has remained pretty much unchanged for most of its life. A mild redesign a few years ago made the car a lot more modern. But the simplistic joy that made the car such a blast to drive is still there. The TT is a car that you can look at years from now and respect the timeless styling and precision German engineering. Not to mention the fact that the TT has a functional backseat as well. The TT can be more than just a weekend sports car, as you can drop the kids off at school as well.

2013 Honda Civic Via Motor Trend
Honda Civic via Motor Trend

10. Honda Civic

Ah, the venerable Civic. You’ve seen them around Silicon Valley, in the cities, and at just about every college. The Civic is a cultural phenomenon that introduced the world to comfortable, cheap transportation. We’ve probably all driven a Civic at some point. Many are in shoddy condition but will still start every time. In fact, that’s the Civic’s claim to fame, its bulletproof reliability that lets you know that you’re going to get to work. Civic owners tend to hold onto their cars until the plastic is cracked and the engine is blown.

Some Civic owners even love their car so much that they replace the engine. The Civic has gained a massive following in recent years in the aftermarket world. The rev-happy engine is a blast to work on. For a few hundreds you can make the Civic look amazing. Body kits galore and all kinds of accessories await. Still, all that aside, the Civic is one of the most iconic cars on the road. No matter what income bracket you’re in, you’ve probably owned one.

Toyota Corolla Via Motor Trend
Toyota Corolla via Motor Trend

9. Toyota Corolla

Dubbed the best-selling car in the world, the Corolla has been around for a long time as well. Similar to the Civic in every aspect, the Corolla is also an affordable commuter car. The Corolla has always offered an intrinsic value and with consumers, and that’s an important thing. Another benefit that the Corolla has is the longevity of its engine. It’s not uncommon to see a Corolla with 400k miles on the odometer and still running strong.

The Corolla has an average ownership time of 7.7 years, which is quite a long time considering the various product cycles cars go through. In recent years the Corolla has become a lot more upmarket. They have incorporated a sports model and innovative features such as a backup camera. No longer is the Corolla just a bare-bones commuter car, and that’s a good thing.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Via Motor Trend
Jeep Grand Cherokee via Motor Trend

8. Jeep Grand Cherokee

When it comes to iconic cars that you keep around the garage, the Jeep brand is definitely one that comes to mind. Popular with just about everyone, Jeep owners are known to hold onto their vehicles until the wheels fall off. The Grand Cherokee was introduced as one of the first luxury midsize SUVs on the market. Loaded with everything to make the driver feel comfortable, the Grand Cherokee blends ruggedness with comfort. The Grand Cherokee has average ownership of 7.8, which is quite long.

The Grand Cherokee has stellar reliability, especially in the Hemi variation. This reliability has made the Grand Cherokee a winning combination of everything that SUV buyers are looking for. While the Grand Cherokee didn’t have the open-air feeling of the Wrangler, the SUV has still been a mainstream success for Chrysler. Even the current version of the Grand Cherokee is a beautifully-designed off-road machine.

CR-V Via Motor Trend
Honda CR-V via Motor Trend

7. Honda CR-V

Honda has made its bones as an affordable car company offering stellar value. But as the 90s rolled on, there was a need for compact SUVs. The original CR-V was based on the Accord, offering a car-based SUV like the Toyota Rav4. The Honda CR-V offered a real-time AWD system and a gas efficient engine that made the SUV a dream. Owner retention on the CR-V is high because its reliability is stellar. The average owner keeps their CR-V for around 7.6 years. Part of the reason for this is that the CR-V is a car that isn’t leased very often.

Instead, CR-V owners are usually young families or retirees who are looking to purchase. The CR-V offers a variety of unique features and even a loaded EX-L option. If you want a small SUV that’s going to take you just about anywhere, but with car-like driving experience, the CR-V is going to be it. You can’t go wrong with its car-like drive and exceptional reliability ratings.

Nissan Sentra Via Nissan
Nissan Sentra via Nissan

6. Nissan Sentra

Here’s the thing. The Civic and Corolla get most of the credit for being the most affordable and reliable compact cars on the market. But there’s been another compact car that’s been around for a long time as well. The Nissan Sentra is equally as reliable as the Corolla and the Civic, bolstering most of the features. The average ownership for the Sentra is 7.1 years, much longer than the average compact.

Today’s Sentra is much more refined than previous models. The model is comparable in size to a Civic or Corolla, but like with most Nissan products, there’s a sportier aspect. The standard four-cylinder engine is quite spunky and fuel-efficient. Standard features include a backup camera and a side-view camera as well, which all help to make the car safer. Overall, the modern Sentra is a stellar vehicle to hold onto.

Elantra Via Edmunds
Hyundai Elantra via Edmunds

5. Hyundai Elantra

Japanese brand Hyundai came to the United States selling affordable subcompact cars, notoriously some of the worst ever made. Who can forget the awful Excel? The compact car was unreliable and almost cost Hyundai its reputation. The company has spent a good deal of time rebuilding its reputation, and the Elantra was one of the cars to do it. The Elantra has average ownership of 7.2 years. The reason for this its excellent warranty that is one of the best in the car business.

That helps to reassure consumers the Elantra is going to be around for a while. The car also has a plethora of standard features, some of which the Civic or Corolla don’t offer. The Elantra has a stellar four-cylinder engine and the upmarket interior makes the car a pleasure to drive. The large backseat is also a plus for families and anyone who needs to haul a passenger or two around.

Altima Via Motor Trend
Nissan Altima via Motor Trend

4. Nissan Altima

The Camry and Accord aren’t the only two sedans to come from Japan that have made an impact on the car world. The Altima has been around since the 80s and the car continues to deliver great value. Nissan markets the Altima as a sportier family sedan, and consumer loyalty shows exactly how that benefits the car. Average ownership is 7.2 years. The standard engine in the Altima is one of the most reliable. You’ll notice that the Altima has a smooth exterior style, and Nissan has held to this formula.

The Altima has offered a variety of different packages, including a Hybrid version. Whether you want a brand new Altima or a used one, this car is an exceptional value. The Altima offers the reliability of the Nissan brand and the sportiness drivers look for in a sedan. Who says a family sedan has to be boring after all?

Sierra Via GM
GMC Sierra via GM

3. GMC Sierra 1500

One of the original automotive brands in the world is GMC. The truck division of GM has been the staple of workforces and farms for decades. The Sierra is the corporate clone of the Silverado, but the Sierra has a longer average owner. Part of the reason for this is the fact that the Sierra is a more upmarket truck. The Silverado is a basic no-frills work vehicle. Most of the time, they’re beaten up pretty badly.

Modern incarnations of the GMC Sierra 1500 feature everything from leather seating to navigation. The Sierra has come a long way since the early days of the brand. In recent years, GM has invested a good deal of money into developing the Sierra. The truck offers all of the comforts of a luxury vehicle with the workhorse nature of the Silverado.

Dodge Ram Via Motor Trend
Dodge Ram via Motor Trend

2. Dodge Ram/Ram 1500

In addition to the Sierra, there’s another pickup truck that also has a loyal following. The Ram 1500 has been on a rampage since the redesign in the early 90s. Consumers just can’t get enough of the big-rig styling and the unique engine options. The Ram brand has come a long way and owners usually keep these around for 7.5 years. The Ram brand offers everything from a chassis cab to 1500.

Today’s Ram 1500 offers one of the largest digital displays in the pickup truck industry. In addition to that, there’s also the rare SRT-10, which features a Viper engine. The Ram 1500 has been a sales success for the company. If you want a truck that can handle just about anything, as well as stay running for years to come, the Ram 1500 is the perfect combination of value and functionality.

2017 Nissan Rogue Via Motor Trend
2017 Nissan Rogue via Motor Trend

1. Nissan Rogue

Yes, even Nissan has entered the compact SUV race. The Rogue started as something unique-looking unlike anything else on the road in terms of a small SUV. The four-cylinder engine has enough pep to propel the SUV with authority. The interior is roomy and features most of the latest technology to make the SUV rather comfortable. When it comes to competition from the Rav4 and the CR-V, the Rogue can hold its own. Average ownership is around 5.3 years, which is about the time it takes for a new model year.

The Rogue has been one of the best-selling vehicles for Nissan. It offers versatility like the Pathfinder but in a more fuel-efficient package. In a world of crossover vehicles, it’s nice to see an SUV that still sticks to its guns as a versatile vehicle. The Rogue is due for a redesign soon, but the current model is still a competitive product.

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