It isn’t news that cars lose value quickly. Most people know by now that you can expect a car to be worth half its original value after three years and only a third of its original value after five years. That’s not a hard-and-fast rule though, and the truth is, some cars depreciate faster than others. Even if you have to pay a little more in the beginning, it’s often worth it to buy a car that will hold its resale value better so you don’t lose as much when you sell it.
In an effort to highlight the cars that do the best to retain their value, Edmunds compiles lists of the vehicles that are projected to retain more of their value than the competition in the next five years. So which car should you get if you’re looking to buy the one that will best retain its value? Here are 10 segments and their winners.
Subcompact Car: Honda Fit
This one shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. On the one hand, you have Honda’s excellent reputation for reliability, and on the other, you have the Fit’s reputation for ingenious packaging thanks to its versatile folding seats. When you consider that the Fit’s engine makes just under 25 more horsepower than that Toyota Yaris while still getting better fuel economy, it’s no wonder people are willing to pay extra for a used Fit.
Compact Car: Subaru WRX
Not everyone in the market for a compact car will see the appeal of the Subaru WRX, but to the right buyer, a used WRX holds a lot of appeal. Brand new, it’s probably the best all-around, fun-to-drive car you can buy for under $30,000, and that combination of practicality and performance means the WRX is very desirable on the used market. The competition is also minimal, with the Ford Fiesta ST coming the closest despite not offering all-wheel-drive.
Midsize Car: Subaru Legacy
The Honda Accord and Toyota Camry both had great resale value, but the Subaru Legacy managed to take first place in the midsize segment. While it’s not performance focused like the WRX, the Legacy offers all-wheel-drive, making it a desirable car to drive in the mountains and anywhere that receives significant amounts of snow each winter. There is plenty of all-wheel-drive competition among midsize luxury sedans, but other non-luxury cars are exclusively front-wheel-drive.
Large Car: Toyota Avalon
The large sedan segment has seen some significant competition lately, but the Toyota Avalon took the resale value trophy. With a high-end interior, extremely comfortable ride, and no interest in performance or handling, the Avalon may as well be Japan’s take on a Buick. Add in Toyota’s stellar reliability, and you have a recipe for a vehicle that people are willing to pay top dollar for on the used market.
Entry-Level Luxury Car: Acura ILX
True luxury vehicles depreciate quickly since part of the value is in driving the best and the newest vehicle on the market. The Acura ILX, on the other hand, occupies a unique place in the market because it’s a Honda Civic dressed up in a suit, not a unique luxury vehicle. You still get Honda’s above-average reliability and the Civic’s road manners, but you also get a nicer interior and better looks. Clearly that’s something used car buyers value.
Midrange Luxury Car: Lexus GS 350
While luxury cars depreciate in part because buyers value newness, another piece of the depreciation puzzle is reliability. Once a luxury sedan is outside of its warranty period, it becomes very expensive to repair and maintain. The Lexus GS is the exception to that rule, though. It’s built to Lexus’ high standards of quality and will likely run reliably for several hundred thousand miles.
Premium Luxury Car: Porsche Panamera
Like Lexus, Porsche is strongly committed to making sure its cars are designed and built correctly down to the tiniest little details. As a result, even if you don’t like how the Panamera looks, you can’t argue that it isn’t extremely comfortable, well-built, and one of the best-handling sedans you can buy for any amount of money. Even on the used market, that’s worth paying extra for.
Entry-Level Sports Car: Dodge Challenger
The new Ford Mustang gets most of the attention in muscle car news these days, and a redesigned Chevrolet Camaro is set to begin selling soon. Other than its highest-performing version, the Hellcat, you don’t hear much about the Dodge Challenger, though. Apparently Dodge’s strategy of sticking with the same basic design and steadily making improvements is resonating with used car buyers, because it’s the Challenger that’s holding its value best.
Midrange Sports Car: Chevrolet Corvette
The new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray can hit 60 miles per hour in under four seconds, gets nearly 30 miles per gallon on the highway, and is quite attractive. Then again, that’s not exactly news in the world of Corvettes. What is news, though, is that the new Corvette also has an interior that feels worthy of being in such a great car, which is definitely a first. In 25 or 30 years, people are going to be collecting this Corvette, not the previous one, but perhaps more important for right now, the Corvette is a spectacular performance bargain.
Premium Sports Car: Nissan GT-R
Not everybody gets the Nissan GT-R, but the people who do feel extremely strongly about it. An Audi R8 buyer might cross-shop the R8 against a Porsche 911, but GT-R fans pretty much only want to buy a GT-R. When your potential buyers are convinced that there is no substitute, you can ask more for your car, and it looks like that’s what Nissan GT-R sellers are doing.