Toyota hybrid owners, on average, keep their cars much longer than owners of other vehicles.
That's according to a new analysis from iSeeCars, which analyzed 900,000 used cars from model years 2012 and 2013 sold in 2020. Analysts chose those model years because they were the point where hybrid powertrains became widely available across multiple market segments, and when a substantial number of all-electric cars had been sold, creating a statistically-significant pool of used vehicles.
2013 Lexus ES 300h
The Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Avalon Hybrid, and Camry Hybrid took the top three spots, based on original-owner retention. Of the cars surveyed, 38% of Highlander Hybrids were kept by their original owners, as were 36.5% of Avalon Hybrids (which weren't available until the 2013 model year), and 34.6% of Camry Hybrids. Figures for all three Toyota models were more than two times the average.
Two other Toyota hybrids also made it into the top 10 of original-owner retention. The Lexus ES 300h sedan—from Toyota's luxury brand—was ranked eighth, while the Prius was ranked 10th.
Analysts equated these results to owner satisfaction, but it could also simply be a hyper-focus on ownership costs. Toyota and Lexus have a sterling reputation for reliability, after all, and hybrids can lower ownership costs through fuel savings.
2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid
As Consumer Reports recently found, the ownership-cost advantages of hybrids (and EVs) broaden as vehicles get larger, and as people keep them longer.
Earlier this year the same publication crunched the data to find that Toyota has the longest-lasting hybrids, when looking at the percent of original sales still on the road.
But while keeping an older car longer may help save money, it may not be best for reducing overall carbon emissions.
Generally speaking, buying a more efficient new car is greener than holding on to a less efficient vehicle for a long time.
That calculation gets more complicated when you switch fuels. But by and large—especially considering that the grid will keep getting cleaner—EVs have become a better bet to drive (and hold on to) versus hybrids.