PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- If your car is an investment, buying one should be as much about the return on that investment in the long run as it is about getting from here to there now.
While it's tough to think long term about an investment that depreciates in value as soon as it leaves the lot, it's not as if the value of that vehicle immediately falls off a cliff. Unless you decide to run it into the ground or buy a model not known for its longevity, there's still going to be some resale value down the road. The folks at auto pricing and valuation site Kelley Blue Book note that depreciation costs a car owner more than gas, maintenance or insurance during the first five years of new-car ownership.
Kelley Blue Book has been publishing its residual value guide since 1981 and knows a thing or two about resale value. That "blue book" value used-car buyers talk about when pricing a vehicle? Yep, same company that's been handing out their Best Resale Value Awards since 2003.
The 2013 model year has been extremely kind to Toyota (TM), thought not so much to Detroit Three loyalists. Toyota and its Lexus division were named Best Brand and Best Luxury Brand, respectively, for their ability to retain their cars' value over the first five years of ownership. Despite the automaker's spate of recalls and its struggles after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011, Toyota took six out of KBB's 22 vehicle categories while Lexus won two of three luxury categories (the Porsche Panamera won Best High-End Luxury Car).Though Honda (HMC) swept the small and midsized car categories and Toyota won both pickup honors, the Detroit automakers weren't completely shut out. The Ford (HMC) Fusion Hybrid won Best Hybrid/Alternative Energy car over the Lexus ES 300h, General Motors' (GM) Chevy Volt won Best Electric Car over the Toyota Prius Plug-In and GM's Chevy Camaro took Best Sports Car and Best High-Performance Car ahead of the Porsche Boxter and Lexus IS. There are only a handful of cars that give owners a big portion of their investment back five years later. According to Kelley Blue Book, the following vehicles are a car buyer's best chance of getting half their money back or more once it's time to sell:
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