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These Are the 20 Best Cars to Drive Until the Wheels Fall Off

By Matthew Frankel, CFP®,


Image source: Getty Images

One of the best ways to save money on your vehicle costs is to hang on to the same car for as long as possible. You may have heard that a self-made millionaire is more likely to drive a 10-year-old car than the newest model, and for good reason -- a vehicle is a depreciating asset, and by minimizing the amount of money you're sinking into it, the more you have to allocate in ways that can actually make you money.

With that in mind, automotive research firm iSeeCars analyzed more than 2 million cars to determine which are likely to last for the greatest number of miles, and here are the top 10:

Rank Vehicle Potential Lifespan (Miles)
1 Toyota Sequoia 296,509
2 Toyota Land Cruiser 280,236
3 Chevrolet Suburban 265,732
4 Toyota Tundra 256,022
5 GMC Yukon XL 252,022
6 Toyota Prius 250,601
7 Chevrolet Tahoe 250,338
8 Honda Ridgeline 248,669
9 Toyota Avalon 245,710
10 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 244,994
Data source:

There are a few important takeaways from this list. For one thing, notice that six of the top 10 are Toyotas, so it's probably fair to call Toyota the most reliable overall brand.

Second, notice that eight of the top 10 are pickup trucks and SUVs. This certainly makes sense. After all, these types of vehicles are -- by definition -- built to handle heavy work loads and long trips. They tend to be built with a greater focus on durability than sedans.

Finally, notice that there are no electric vehicles on the list. That isn't to say that an electric vehicle won't last you 250,000 miles. Simply put, most electric vehicles haven't been around long enough to gauge their long-term durability.

More: Check out our picks for best car insurance companies

Cars that have low ownership costs

Of course, if your goal in looking for a long-lasting vehicle is to save money, the mileage you can expect out of your car or truck is only one part of the equation. Sure, a car that will last 250,000 or more miles will prevent you from having to buy a new car for a while, but that doesn't mean much if you're spending a fortune on maintenance and repairs. And some of the vehicles on the list -- such as the Suburban and Yukon XL -- aren't exactly high-gas-mileage modes of transportation.

With that in mind, vehicle website analyzed the expected cost of three years of ownership for new vehicles, and here were the 10 with the lowest expected costs, including auto insurance , fuel, maintenance, as well as depreciation:

Rank Vehicle Estimated 3-Year Ownership Cost
1 Nissan Versa $14,449
2 Honda Fit $15,161
3 Kia Soul $15,298
4 Subaru Impreza $15,636
5 Kia Rio $16,078
6 Mazda 3 $16,152
7 Toyota Yaris $16,280
8 Honda Civic $16,291
9 Nissan Sentra $16,331
10 Hyundai Accent $16,357
Data source:

Not a lot of overlap

As you can see, there isn't much overlap here, although it's worth pointing out that there are some on this list that come close to being in the top 10 for reliability. For example, the Honda Civic is on the low ownership cost list and has an expected lifespan of more than 205,000 miles, giving it the number seven spot on iSeeCars' most reliable sedans list. And the Honda Fit is expected to last over 207,000 miles based on the same research.

Which is right for you?

The bottom line is that there are some vehicles that are extremely reliable, some that are relatively cheap to own, and a select few that fit into both categories. The best way to use this information is to help guide you towards a vehicle that is likely to save you money and that meets the transportation needs of you and your family.

We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team. Matthew Frankel, CFP® has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

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