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10 Cars Owners Keep The Longest - Subaru Forester And Outback Score Top Spots

The 2021 Subaru Forester and Outback are the most likely cars to be kept the longest by their owners. Check out the ten cars owners keep 15 years or more.

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If you buy a 2021 Subaru Forester or a 2021 Subaru Outback, you are likely to have it sitting in your garage 15 years from now. A new study by iSeeCars reveals the top-10 cars and SUVs owners keep the longest. The Subaru Forester makes both top-10 cars and SUVs lists. The Subaru Outback is also popular with owners and is now one of the top-10 SUVs.

iSeeCars analyzed over 660,000 cars from the 1981-2005 model years sold in 2020 to determine which cars owners are most likely to keep for at least 15 years. They also analyzed the data to decide which brands people keep the longest. Subaru scores the number three automaker (8.0 percent) behind Toyota (9.8 percent) and Honda (8.1 percent).

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Outback
Photo credit: Competition Subaru

The Forester is not a newcomer to the list and has been consistently on the report the past five years. Forester ranks number eight on the new top-10 list for 2021. The study shows 9.8 percent of owners keep the compact SUV for 15 years or longer. The average of all models is 6.1 percent.

Forester scores the number four spot on the top-10 SUVs owners keep the longest. That’s 1.6 times longer compared to the average SUV. But the Outback is a newcomer among the longest-held by SUV owners.

2021 Subaru Forester, 2021 Subaru Outback
Photo credit: Competition Subaru

The Subaru Outback (6.8 percent) takes the number ten spot on the top-10 SUVs list for 2021. The average for all SUV owners who keep their vehicle 15 years or longer is 5.9 percent.

The Subaru Forester and Outback are top-selling Subaru models in the automaker’s all-wheel-drive stable. Forester just took the number one crown away from the Outback in 2020.

Outback was the top model in 2019 with 181,178 sales, just ahead of Forester with 180,179 models delivered to customers. But in 2020, Forester finished the year with 176,996 total sales, well ahead of the Outback with 153,294 vehicle sales.

Why do owners keep Forester and Outback longest?

iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer“ says, “Japanese vehicles, (like Subaru), are known for their reliability and durability and attract practical consumers who want vehicles that can be kept on the road as long as possible.”

“The Forester is a reliable vehicle known for its safety and affordability,” said Brauer. “The vehicle offers standard all-wheel drive and impressive fuel economy, which furthers its appeal to practical consumers.”

“Though it is technically a wagon, the Subaru Outback competes with vehicles in the compact SUV class because of its cargo space and utility,” said Brauer. “Subaru attracts practical owners who are passionate about their vehicles, so it is no surprise that their owners keep them on the road for so long.”

If you buy a 2021 Subaru Forester compact SUV or a 2021 Subaru Outback SUV/crossover, you are more likely than other SUV owners to have it sitting in your garage 15 years from now.

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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Competition Subaru

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Diane esteves (not verified)    January 22, 2021 - 7:32PM

I have a 2014 outback..bought it new..i love still looks new..I probably will keep it 15 years.
I bought it because it is reliable..

William L. Moore III (not verified)    January 22, 2021 - 11:12PM

I’m a 2nd owner of a Audi A4 Allroad. My first one was my moms car that I drove back and fourth from College. After graduation still had it and removed student parking permits for parking on campus and the car had zero issues. Tires oil a hose that was it. Driver seat broke down but I found a replacement on EBay $200 and it matched and looked new. I put around One-Hundred- Eighty- Five- Thousand- Miles on that car. My girlfriend from College, her family lived in New York, N.Y. My family lives in Austin Texas and we married in CHICAGO to divide drive or flight time for family members. We drove to California after the wedding and my plan was to hit Two-Hundred Thousand on the car, but in River Side California, leaving a family home, this idiot came flying around on a two lane road that curved slid into the front of the car and totaled my Audi. In California, after the insurance gave me a fair price from USAA. I had a good amount bout my 2019 A4 Allroad. It’s different in height that I did not like but I found for not a huge price you can add air ride to the A4. It improved off road capability from the manufacture. Why Audi lowed the car and still build it for off road makes no since.But aside from that the Quattro is better than full time as with my old Audi. My fuel mileage is better because of that. I looked at the 2019 Touring Outback, drove both in California and trust me California roads suck! Great place to see if the car rattles that’s not a lie. After driving up hills and rough freeways me and my wife felt the Audi road better handled better. Now the Audi A4 Allroad has wider tires than the Outback, that could be the handling difference. The seats if you upgrade to the winter package you get much better seats that hug you.The Outback I just did not feel I could push the car it never gave me the assurance I could in curves. The heights difference that could be why. The power too me felt stronger and shifted much better if the road inclined and I did not hear the engine inside the car as with the Outback. I do like the fact the Outback has the crossbars for putting bikes or what ever on top of the Outback. With the Audi A4 Allroad you have to buy crossbars. The rear area for placing luggage the Audi held more stuff. (Side Note): The 2020 A6 Allroad looks bigger than the A4 Allroad but space in the rear holds the same amount as the A6 and the A4 Allroad Prestige cost $62,000 where the A6 Allroad costs $73,000 I can’t justify the Ten-Thousand difference for a V6.) the A4 has had zero issues it’s more become my wife’s car and she drives everywhere in that car. I like the navigation and information screen much better than the Outback’s and we have a friend with a 2020 Outback Touring like we test drove in California and we went out to diner with them in their Outback and that screen in the middle of the dash is too dam bright and very distracting which they said their not impressed with that screen.Also the back seat too me was tight and not comfortable.I went with my wife to a restraint, and sat in the back of our A4 Allroad. It seriously road nice I had front seat set to where if I was sitting up their so too see the room and the Audi actually gives you the curve in the back seats of the front seats that gives you more room. Now the only change to my Audi A4 Allroad to do what it can do from factory. I spent $2,500 to add Air Ride to the car. It changed the ride even better very smooth ride and going camping off road I can now raise my car height clearing rocks that before no way could the Audi ever achieve without destroying the underside of the car. The Outback gets my praise for its availability to clear rocks without any modifications. Now the New too theUnited States Audi A6 Allroad has an air ride suspension that will allow you to lift the ride heights but again Ten- Thousand- Dollars when I added it to my A4 for less than three-thousand. It took a day to install it, at the shop I went to that do Jeep’s and trucks for off road. My A4 is still solid no rattles paint is perfect hardly any rock chip in the front end, windshield still original many summer trips in our Audi and we are teaching Seventy Thousand Miles. Sadly people over look the A4 Allroad. (Side Note: don’t waste your time looking at the Jaguar station wagon. The AWD is terrible, snow traction with that car is a joke! The Diesel engine is the only thing I will give a thumbs up but the rest of that car does not hold up!) when we take the resale value of the A4 Allroad VS the Outback their very close. Why if your going to keep and drive the car and pass it down to your kids would resale matter? Well accidents do happen. And your most likely to replace the car. Insurance companies will only pay out so much for any car over ten years. I know this well, my first Audi ran great the leather seats were comfortable the A4 makes you forget your not driving a Sudan. I never felt that my first Audi or the new one want grip the road, I kid you not the Audi grips and the car wants to be pushed it’s like it’s saying push me and I do. I’ve driven in snow in New York N.Y. And HARTFORD Ct. and Colorado I know Colorado snow is powder unlike the East Cost. That said the Quattro goes threw snow, I’ve tried once to get it stuck. Seriously unless I go off road with ruts true I could get it stuck, even then the Quattro is amazing in how it works. I can how ever get an Outback stuck I did with my friends Touring and I did not actually intend to get his car stuck, long story to share how it happen. Anyway if you have never driven and Audi A4 Allroad, try it and compare it to the Outback.If you can afford the extra cost you want regret it. Even the base Audi A4 Allroad comes with leather seats and nice options.Thanks for reading

Mo (not verified)    January 24, 2021 - 9:57AM

In reply to by William L. Moore III (not verified)

Funny, I didn't a single European car on any of the lists. When you review consumer reports on cars that go over 200,000 miles I did not see a European car there either. The European cars cost too much, break often, and are extremely expensive to fix. I drove my Lexus RX for 200,000 miles will no issues, whereas a person who worked for me said that he averaged 400 a month in maintenance and repairs on his Audi. He eventually sold it and it was not worth the upkeep. There is a reason why Audi is only a "bit" player in the U.S.

David (not verified)    January 23, 2021 - 8:40AM

I have owned 3 Subaru's and will never own another. The junk CVT transmission that cost more to replace than the car is worth. I have an Outback that runs great but won't go anywhere because of the transmission. $7k to fix.

Mo (not verified)    January 23, 2021 - 9:46AM

Your title is very misleading. To me your article's title implies that these 2 vehicles are at the very top, when in fact they are not. The first 4 or 5 spots belong to Toyota which had 7 of the top 10 vehicles. Subaru had only 1 car, the Forester on the list at number 8. You had to go to the sub category of SUV's to find another Subaru product. Subaru was mediocre at best on the lists. The superstar was Toyota, followed by Honda, and Subaru was somewhere back in the pack.

Judith Rutledg… (not verified)    January 24, 2021 - 6:03AM

I was the very proud owner of a 5 am on 22Jan...we fell under deer attack...I walked away with some bruising to one shin(airbag)...all airbags deployed. My wonderful Forester unfortunately will not survive the attack...but I have no doubt that it saved my life. Later that day I was on the phone to my Subaru salesman...just waiting on insurance to put me back in an awd...Once again I can truthfully say...the best money I ever spent.