The cars people keep the longest are those with some unique quality, like styling, performance or utility, according to a new study of U.S. car owners, which ranked the Toyota Land Cruiser, Porsche Boxster, and Chevrolet Corvette in the top ten.

The folks at iSeeCars.com, a Boston-based automotive data and research firm, “analyzed more than 15.7 million used vehicles sold by original owners to identify when new car owners sell their cars” and compile a list of the vehicles whose buyers keep them the longest.

Ruggedly reliable trucks and sensible sedans didn’t place too close to the top, nor did high-end luxury cars or SUVs. (Apparently expensive cars aren’t seen as viable long-term prospects, probably mostly because of projected out-of-warranty repair costs.)

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But what did do well were unique or oddball cars, especially off-road-bred machines or sporty coupes and convertibles.

The overall top 10 includes four Toyota models, three of them SUVs – the Land Cruiser (#1; kept on average for 10.6 years); Sequoia (#6; 8.9 years); and 4Runner (#8; 8.8 years) – and the fourth the Avalon full-size sedan (also 8.8 years).

Spots two through five are occupied by the Porsche Boxster (9.9 years), Ford Expedition (nine years), Mercedes-Benz SLK (nine years) and Ford Explorer (8.9 years); the Chevrolet Corvette placed seventh, at 8.8 years, and the Audi TT rounded out the top 10, also at 8.8.

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Those Toyota SUVs (the Land Cruiser appears in Canada as the Lexus GX) are all true trucks with excellent off-road cred, as is the Expedition, making them all a bit of a rarity in today’s crossover-dominated market. And I don’t think we need to explain the appeal of a hot two-door or roadster.

The iSeeCars folks also compiled a list of popular cars and trucks that people kept the longest. It was topped by the Ford Explorer, followed by the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, and Jeep Grand Cherokee in the top five.

Breaking cars out into their own list saw the Porsche Boxster on top, followed by the Benz SLK, Corvette, Toyota Avalon and Audi TT.

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And lest you think Japanese car longevity is a myth, two Japanese brands’ pickup models placed top five among trucks: the Tacoma placed first, followed by the Nissan Frontier, Dodge Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan.

It is worth mentioning this is based on American data, so given the differences we know exist between the car-buying habits of Canadians and Americans, this list would look different if its focus swung north of the border.

But it nevertheless provides an interesting insight into which vehicles people really don’t want to let go of.

(via iSeeCars.com)