Between 2016 and 2018, two of the strongest auto sales years in U.S. history left America with a problem: lots of used, late-model cars.
Actually, it was only a problem if you were selling. Used-car buyers who stepped into the fray could snatch up a Camry, Mercedes E-Class, or Jeep Compass for more than 30% off just one year later.
Those models (and several others) don’t make sense to buy new. Meanwhile, cars that depreciated the least told the opposite side of the story, according to data from auto search engine iSeeCars.com. Instead of trying to find a deal on a used model, consumers don’t lose much by buying these vehicles new.
Here are the nine vehicles that retained the most value in 2017.
9. Subaru WRX
In past studies, iSeeCars data showed Subaru WRX holding its value with the best of them. That trend did not change at all for the WRX for model years 2016-17.
After one year on the market, the performance model lost an average of 14.2% off its purchase price. Buyers who compromised and bought used saved only $4,115 per transaction.
Next: Between its low sticker price and negligible depreciation, this Jeep doesn’t make sense used.
8. Jeep Renegade
Vehicles with a high sticker price always represent a deal on the used market for budget-conscious consumers. However, an affordable model like Jeep Renegade doesn’t deliver on that front.
The iSeeCars.com data showed buyers only taking an average discount of $2,897 (14%) when picking one up used. If Renegade is on your wish-list, look for dealer incentives and pounce.
Next: Honda’s subcompact SUV is also a great buy brand-new.
7. Honda HR-V
Subcompact SUVs are an affordable way to get on the road, and Honda HR-V starts below $20,000 brand-new. After one year in an owner’s hands, the HR-V kept most of it.
Used-model buyers only saw a discount of 13.8% ($2,885) by choosing a pre-owned HR-V from 2016-17.
Next: This pickup showed low depreciation in consecutive studies by iSeeCars.
6. Chevrolet Colorado
When iSeeCars crunched the numbers on vehicles from earlier years, Chevy Colorado retained the most value (nearly 93% after one year). Now that the Colorado market is much more saturated, the pickup depreciates a bit more.
Nonetheless, with just a 13.7% ($4,154) drop in value after a year in an owner’s hands, this model represents a great deal new.
Next: This SUV’s redesign made it a hot item on the used market.
5. Honda Pilot
With a redesigned model debuting for the 2016 model year, Honda Pilot commanded high prices on the used market, iSeeCars data showed.
Overall, buyers who got into a revamped Pilot paid an average of 86% compared to the new price. As a result, choosing a pre-owned model only saved them $4,858.
Next: Nissan’s midsize pickup also holds its value well.
4. Nissan Frontier
Pickup truck owners can out a lot of wear and tear on a vehicle in a year. If a Nissan Frontier is on your radar, it doesn’t make a ton of sense to take on any defects, given the model’s low depreciation.
In one year’s time, Frontiers dipped an average of 13.3% ($3,180) in the hands of an owner. The starting price for a 2018 model is $18,990.
Next: It’s reliable, scores high on owner satisfaction, and doesn’t depreciate.
3. Toyota 4Runner
If you want to compare the track record of Toyota 4Runner against any other SUV, it’s a tough model to beat. Consumer Reports owner satisfaction ratings are high every year, and 13 straight years of top reliability scores put 4Runner above the pack.
You can add “low depreciation” to the list of pros for 4Runner as well. After a year in an owner’s hands, this model lost just 12.7% of its value ($4,605). Only two vehicles did better in the study.
Next: Toyota’s pickup showed the lowest depreciation of any truck.
2. Toyota Tacoma
Even with a high average purchase price ($34,000), Toyota Tacoma does not offer used-truck buyers much of a break. Sellers saw nearly 90% of the pickup’s value returned after one year in their hands.
On the buyer’s end, getting one used meant taking the usual 10,000 (or more) miles and other compromises while only saving $3,320 (10.4%).
Next: The only model with less than 10% depreciation has a decades-long reputation for ruggedness.
1. Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Few vehicles on today’s market are as iconic as Jeep Wrangler, a model with origins dating back to World War II. Over the years, the SUV that was literally built for war has retained its rugged character.
Even with a reputation for average reliability, Wrangler retains its value well on the used market. In the iSeeCars study, it was the only model that lost less than 10% after one year in an owner’s hands.
Used Wrangler buyers only saw a price drop of 8.9% — an average of $3,199 — for a pre-owned Jeep.
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