The dream of the 200,000-mile car isn't dead: it's just deferred by a few owners.
Right now, it's in few buyers' best interests to lay out the cash it takes to buy a new car. Those who do often end up in far more debt than they'd originally anticipated. According to credit agency Experian's State of the Automotive Finance Market report, the average auto loan amount for a new vehicle reached a record high of $30,621 at the end of 2016. The average loan amount for a used vehicle also jumped from $18,850 in 2015 to $19,329 in 2016. The nation's total auto loan debt reached $1.13 trillion by the end of 2016, up $98 billion from a year earlier, while the average financing term ranged between six and seven years.
"With the average loan amount for new and used vehicles hitting all-time highs, we are seeing the need for affordability drive consumer purchasing behavior," says Melinda Zabritski, Experian's senior director of automotive finance. "Our latest research shows an $11,000 gap between the average loan amount on a new and used vehicle — the widest we have ever seen. This upward trend is causing many consumers to find alternative methods like extending loan terms, getting a short-term lease or opting for a used vehicle to get what they want while staying within their monthly budget."
As a result, leases have become more popular while keeping drivers in vehicles for far less time. For consumers who still want to drive something new, leasing a new vehicle costs an average of $92 less per month than financing a vehicle. The average monthly payment for a new leased vehicle is $414, versus $506 per month for a new vehicle purchase. The number of consumers who chose to lease a new vehicle increased slightly from 28.87% at the end of 2015 to 28.94%, which means nearly a third of American consumers still prefer not getting too attached to any one car.
This has to be lucrative, but head-smackingly frustrating for automakers who are producing vehicles that regularly make it well beyond the 200,000-mile mark. Phong Ly, CEO of Boston-based automotive research firm iSeeCars.com, notes that there's already a fairly substantial list of cars that can zero out the odometer on multiple occasions. Considering that the average age of vehicles on U.S. roads is 11.6 years, according to market research firm, IHS Markit, there's still demand for cars and trucks that can keep it together for decades at a time.
"While any vehicle on today's market has the potential to travel 200,000 miles with proper maintenance and care, our list of longest-lasting vehicles shows that certain vehicles don't just have the potential—they do last well past 200,000 miles far more frequently than other models," said Ly.
We took a peek at iSeeCars.com's list and were impressed enough to share the results with the rest of you. Oh, and all of you SUV and crossover owners who've been getting the stink-eye from drivers of more efficient vehicles: their cars will die long before yours drives its last mile.
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Starting price: $28,205
Vehicles over 200,000 miles: 2%
It's not as "American Made" as the competing Ford (F) F-150 or Ram, but it did just get a facelift in 2014 and hadn't received one since 2006. That tells you just how little GM (GM) likes to fiddle with it and its sibling, the second-best-selling vehicle in the country Chevy Silverado.
Its V6 engine gives base Sierra to 305-horsepower, but still manages just a scant 24 mpg. However, perks like Chevy's MyLink audio system with color screen, USB ports and an audio jack on top of features including Bluetooth connectivity, OnStar telematics and SiriusXM satellite radio bring the cab up to date. The Sierra's payload and towing capacities have never been the problem. Its antiquated features were, and the updates like in-car Wi-Fi are far easier to resell once there are a few thousand more miles on the tires.
Starting price: $26,428
Vehicles over 200,000 miles: 2.1%
A new aluminum body and 3.6-liter V6 engine account for that fuel efficiency, while new tech features for both entertainment and communication bring it into the 21st century. That said, the F-150 could have remained as basic as ever and still sold more vehicles in a year than certain vehicle categories. It's on four decades of leading the U.S. and the pickup truck category in sales, and it isn't slowing down anytime soon.
So what kind of edge does this give the F-150 in a tight race between pickups? Well, the F-150's turbocharged EcoBoost V6 and new aluminum body manage 22 miles per gallon compared to the Ram 1500's 21. That also comes with an increase in performance, as the Ford reached 60 mph almost two seconds quicker than its Ram rival.
Starting price: $27,585
Vehicles over 200,000 miles: 2.2%
This and the GMC Sierra are pretty much the same vehicle, but both got an upgrade in 2014 after not getting one one since 2006.
Adding updates like Chevy's MyLink audio system with color screen, USB ports and an audio jack on top of features including Bluetooth connectivity, OnStar telematics and SiriusXM satellite radio bring the cab up to date, as does the mobile Wi-Fi hotspot in the GMC. However, the four-wheel drive is typically built into these trucks to help with payload and towing capacities, though it comes in mighty handy if you're navigating a front-heavy pickup through less-than-optimal conditions.
Starting price: $25,836
Vehicles over 200,000 miles: 2.3%
The Honda (HMC) Odyssey's versatile cabin seats up to eight, with second-row seats that can be configured to fit three child seats. The Odyssey's removable center console offers a useful flip-up trash-bag holder, and there's also a "cool box" beverage cooler to accommodate chilled refreshments. Available features include a blind-spot warning system and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with a 16-inch screen capable of simultaneously displaying two different program sources.
Best of all, an in-cabin vacuum is an available option for parents who just know that a healthy percentage of that trip's road snacks are going to end up on the floor. It also comes in handy for a vehicle that can carry up to eight people with enough room behind them for a small grill. More importantly, it can carry five family members, collapse the third row and have 93.1 cubic feet for more storage.
Starting price: $22,455
Vehicles over 200,000 miles: 2.2%
It brawls with the Toyota Camry each year for midsize supremacy, so it's not surprising that they duke it out over this honor as well. With a standard an 8-inch LCD display for its information, communication and app-based entertainment system, a single angle backup camera, dual zone climate control, a lane-drift detector, a power moon roof and alloy wheels, the Accord has fully embraced the perk-laden wonder of the midsize category. It doesn't pay to be strictly utilitarian anymore: you need options like a three-angle backup cam, enhanced safety sensors, LED running lights and adaptive cruise control to make your snoozer sedan appealing to buyers who'd just as soon ditch you for an SUV. That combined 32 miles per gallon helps drivers make peace with that decision, which regularly makes the Accord one of the Top 5 vehicles in the country based on sales.
Starting price: $24,120
Vehicles over 200,000 miles: 2.5%
The Toyota (TM) Tacoma has tremendous resale value for one reason: it's durable. That's a big deal in the Tacoma's world, where carbuyers who don't feel they need all the size and strength of a Ford F-Series or Chevy Silverado are drawn to its off-road agility, flexible cargo options and easy handling.
Last year, however, its was completely refurbished (though you wouldn't know it from the combined 22 miles per gallon that are actually less efficient than the model it replaced). Just graduated from the "make it look mean" school of automotive redesign, the Tacoma now has the angular features, menacing grille and leather interior trim to help you stand up to all those domestic pickup owners who won't give your small hauler so much as a sniff. However, with dual-zone climate control, push button start, a GoPro camera mounted on the windshield, a wireless charger, the Entune audio system, backup camera, blind spot monitor and off-road features, the Tacoma is build more for play than for pretending you're taking it to a work site.
Starting price: $36,650
Vehicles over 200,000 miles: 2.6%
Built in Georgetown, Ky., specifically for American car buyers, the Avalon has the look of an efficient Japanese luxury car and the oversized body U.S. drivers are looking for. However, the Avalon hybrid's combined mileage that's almost 14 miles per gallon more than its strictly gas version comes through sacrificing its 280-horsepower V6 for a 156-horsepower 4-cylinder.
The best part? It's basically a Lexus ES without the leather seating, a 15-speaker audio system and a whole lot of personalized upgrades. It's the big, budget-conscious pseudo-luxury car for folks who want the space, but not the stuff.
Starting price: $48,530
Vehicles over 200,000 miles: 3%
This is a GMC Sierra turned into a rolling apartment. Don't believe us? Check out the 5.3-liter, 355-horsepower V8 engine. Then get a look at the automated safety including forward collision alert, front and rear park assist, side blind zone alert, lane change alert, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive headlights and available adaptive cruise control. Those may not be super rugged, but they make this already-quiet ride a whole lot safer than the rollover-prone SUVs of the past.
With an infotainment system, keyless entry and push-button start, standard rear vision camera, 110v three-prong household style outlet, rain-sensing wipers and a wireless device charger -- as well as OnStar 4G LTE and Wi-Fi -- it's a bit more tech savvy than it looks. But with more than 6,000 pounds of towing capacity, it still has enough brawn for you not to correct yourself when you call it a "truck."
Starting price: $47,215
Vehicles over 200,000 miles: 3.5%
Families really don't care how much Wi-Fi you put into a car with 94.7 cubic feet of cargo space. They don't care that you can fit nine people in it and that stability features make it far safer than the trucked-up SUVs of yore. Even if they have a camper or a boat, that towing capacity can now be found in cheaper, more efficient cars. That said, the 15% increase in sales of large SUVs like this one since last year shows that families care about the total package. If this home on wheels can do it all, they're going to take it.
Starting price: $51,015
Vehicles over 200,000 miles: 4.2%
Welcome to the stretched-out version of the Yukon. You get 121.7 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats down vs. 94.7 in the standard model. Why? Because this is a boat tower, an RV dragger, a quad shuttler. This is a family vacation vehicle disguised as a contractor's truck -- which it totally could be, since it's basically and extended-bed Sierra with a cap. It's huge and it's versatile, but it's also kind of redundant on this list. Let's move on...
Starting price: $34,210
Vehicles over 200,000 miles: 4.7%
They don't make them like this anymore, but that's why it's so valuable years after it's purchased. The 4Runner is a mix of the big school and soccer shuttle families want and the gear-hauling weekend vehicle its remaining adherents desire, but it's definitely seen better days. Toyota was selling 129,000 4Runners in at their peak in 1997, but low gas prices and a brand resurgence brought sales from less than 20,000 in 2009 to more than 110,000 last year.
Sure, it only gets a combined 20 miles per gallon, but it's re-envisioned itself a tailgater's dream with a power outlet in the cargo space for hooking up a television or other electronic devices, nearly 90 square feet of cargo room and an optional sliding cargo deck. That last feature basically takes out the need for a folding table by providing counter space strong enough to hold 400 pounds of food and beverages.
Starting price: $49,915
Vehicles over 200,000 miles: 4.8%
Remember what we told you about the GMC Yukon? Yeah, well this is the same SUV with a Chevy badge. Ordinarily, this would be the part where we yell at General Motors for making a bunch of redundant vehicles and remind them that this kind of thing is why Pontiac, Saturn and Oldsmobile straight-up don't exist anymore. However, this is one durable vehicle that buyers love -- even if it has the mileage of a street sweeper. Carry on, GM.
Starting price: $44,965
Vehicles over 200,000 miles: 5.6%
Sticking the Toyota Tundra pickup's 5.7-liter, 381-horsepower V8 in a honking-big SUV is just going to yield the same results with less bed space. Built on the same platform as the Tundra, the Sequoia is yet another large SUV riding the small wave of buyers still clamoring for vehicles like it. Toyota tweaks the interior technology every few years or so, but the Sequoia has gone fundamentally unchanged since 2007. All of the above has contributed to a dramatic decrease in the Sequoia's popularity, with just 12,227 selling in the U.S. in 2016 compared to 70,000 at the vehicle's peak in 2002.
However, it can tow 7,400 pounds, has room for eight passengers, offers 120 cubic feet of total cargo space, has power reclining seats for passengers in the third row, one-touch moonroof and has the Entune infotainment system standard. It's yet another full-size pickup with a cap on it, but it delivers a lot for its bulk.
Starting price: $47,125
Vehicles over 200,000 miles: 5.8%
Yep, it's an absolute dinosaur of an SUV with no crossover blood whatsoever and a paltry 19 miles per gallon of combined mileage. Yes, this supersized EL version with eight more cubic feet of passenger volume and almost 22 more cubic feet of total cargo space that drops combined efficiency to 18 miles per gallon. But that isn't what we're here to discuss.
The Toyota 4Runner's cargo space with the seats up (47.2 cubic feet) is bigger than the Expedition's 18.6 cubic feet. Meanwhile, the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class' space with the rear seats gone (93 cubic feet) outclasses the Expedition's 85.5 cubic feet without its last row. Even the 108 cubic feet with all seats down rates pretty low on this list. So why hold onto it for that long? Because you can't kill it. There will be bigger cars with bigger engines, but if this has been puling your utility trailer for the last decade without much protest, there's no reason not to try for a decade more.
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