You may value your vehicle now, but it would be nice if you could retain some of that value when you sell it.
As the pedals soften, the belts squeak and the features start losing their flair, your dream car just gets a little less appealing. Everything ages, and it's difficult to expect a mass-produced item to retain its original value years after you initially purchase. The best you can hope for is that it holds on to at least a modicum of that value and gives you enough to take the bit out of buying a new one.
Unless you decide to drive it into the ground or buy a less reliable model to save money in the short-term, your vehicle with still have significant resale value tens of thousands of miles down the road. Still, 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.
An average 2017 model-year vehicle only will retain about 32.9% of its original value after five years. That basically turns a $50,000 new car into a $16,450 used car half a decade from now. The majority of the market is filled with cars with average or below-average resale value, but there are some siginificant exceptions. In the colder sections of the country, for example a two-wheel drive vehicle's resale value often will not be as high as a four-wheel or all-wheel drive version of that same model. In warmer climates, black (or dark-colored) cars will not have as high resale value as they could command in other regions.
"Most options and packages added to a vehicle do not necessarily increase its resale value," says Eric Ibara, director of residual values for Kelley Blue Book. "However, there are exceptions to the rule, such as a high-performance engine or a performance package in a sports car."
Kelley Blue Book has been publishing its residual value guide since 1982 and has been tracking resale value every year since. The "Blue Book" value used car buyers talk about when pricing a vehicle was written by these folks, who've been handing out their Best Resale Value Awards since 2003.
KBB named Toyota and Porsche the brands with the best resale value for the 2017 model year, despite the fact that Porsche didn't place a vehicle among the Top 10 in resale value. However, the Porsche Panamera, Porsche Cayman and Porsche Macan had the best resale value in the high-end luxury car, sports car and luxury compact SUV/crossover categories, respectively. Toyota, meanwhile, sold 2.45 million vehicles here last year and has three vehicles in the Top 10.
As we learned from Kelley Blue Book, the following vehicles are a buyers best chance of getting half of their money back or more once it's time to sell:
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Starting price: $26,695
Resale value retained after five years: 45.4%
There are two Subaru cultures: the one that shuttles kids to school, lacrosse practice and the organic grocer of your choice and the one that tunes up the WRX and tears up the streets.
That flat-four Subaru Boxer engine delivers more than 260 horsepower from the base 2.0-liter model and more than 300 hp from the 2.5-liter upgrade. Want to hook it up with paddle shifters, a spoiler, sport-drive transmission and the Starlink infotainment system? Why? If you're really serious about tweaking a WRX and taking it to the streets, chances are you aren't tapping the folks at Fuji Heavy Industries on the shoulder for extra parts. Strip off the emblems, get your candy paint and order all of your upgrades straight from Japan. This isn't a polite parent's Subaru: it's the one their neighbors complain about.
Starting price: $20,940
Resale value retained after five years: 47.2%
In its original incarnation, the Canyon was an Isuzu in General Motors clothing. Jointly designed by the two automakers, the Canyon is still sold as the Isuzu D-Max abroad and once sold as many as 163,000 vehicles in the U.S. before the recession.
However, after Ford dropped its Ranger line of small pickups a few years ago, General Motors began to rethink the Canyon and gave it a more fuel-efficient engine with a combined 21 miles per gallon. It also made the Canyon look a bit more like GMC's Sierra just for the sake of continuity. Assembled in Wentzville, Mo., it's definitely aimed at the U.S. truck buyer who long ago switched to smaller trucks from Japanese automakers.
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Starting price: $28,205
Resale value retained after five years: 47.5%
It's not as "American Made" as the competing Ford F-150 or Ram, but it did just get a facelift in 2014 and hadn't received one since 2006. That tells you just how little GM likes to fiddle with it and its sibling, the second-best-selling vehicle in the country Chevy Silverado.
Its V6 engine gives base Sierra to 305-horsepower, but still manages just a scant 24 mpg. However, perks like Chevy's MyLink audio system with color screen, USB ports and an audio jack on top of features including Bluetooth connectivity, OnStar telematics and SiriusXM satellite radio bring the cab up to date. The Sierra's payload and towing capacities have never been the problem. Its antiquated features were, and the updates like in-car Wi-Fi are far easier to resell half a decade down the road.
Starting price: $29,475
Resale value retained after five years: 47.6%
The Ridgeline disappeared for a while, only to return with its funky bed configuration sanded down to look like every other pickup truck on the market. The truck's 1,458 to 1,588 pounds of payload and 3,500 to 5,000 pounds of towing capacity isn't exactly heavy duty, but its 3.5-liter V8 and 280 horsepower give it just enough power to feel like it. With a four-seat cab that looks like an SUV attached to a truck bed, this truck is far more suited to recreational users. The 7.3 cubic-foot trunk under the pickup bed is basically an 82-quart tailgating cooler, while the dual-actual tailgate offers utility not seen since the days of the station wagon. With three-zone climate control, multiple 12-volt power outlets, Bluetooth and an optional truck-bed audio system, the Ridgeline is built for a day at the stadium but can still make the hardware store runs and vacation treks when needed.
Pickup buyers hate change, but the fact that the Chevrolet Colorado and Canyon are basically the same vehicle with different body styling is still tough to swallow considering just how often GM used to do this with other vehicle lines in the past. However, GM strips just enough luxuries out of the GMC version to make the Colorado more affordable. While GM really likes to push the GMC as an optional 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, you're getting the same vehicle either way you buy.
Starting price: $30,020
Resale value retained after five years: 49%
Even with less than 10% of the U.S. truck market - compared to nearly 30% for Ford, General Motors and Chrysler - Toyota's big pickup fares just a bit better on used car lots than most of the Detroit Three's.
Toyota's created a niche market for pickups like the Tundra and the Tacoma and has seen its U.S. truck sales grow within the last three years. The Tundra, much like the Silverado, hadn't had an update since 2007 before a 2014 makeover that mostly involved giving it a bigger grille and sprucing up the interior with more comfortable seats and touchscreen-driven tech toys. A backup camera now comes standard, as does the Entune audio and information system with touchscreen and Bluetooth connectivity. The 4.0L V6, 4.6L V8, and a 5.7L V8 engines remain, as does the pokey combined 18 miles per gallon, but the payload, towing capacity and -- above all- reliability are what give the Tundra such a huge following.
Starting price: $23,995
Resale value retained after five years: 51.1%
Its interior sounds like a tent in a windstorm, its combined 19 miles per gallon and aren't exactly efficient and it's a little cozy unless you spring for the stretched out Unlimited version. However, that iconic look and off-road performance don't have an acceptable understudy.
The ground clearance and four-wheel drive come in awfully handy in miserable winter weather, while that removable hardtop makes it a sweet open-air ride in the summer. Carbuyers don't pick up a used version of the Wrangler because they want to truck the kids around or make grocery runs. They buy it because they want a "Jeep" and all the fun that conveys.
Starting price: $32,720
Resale value retained after five years: 51.1%
This pickup and the GMC Sierra are basically the same vehicle, so why does the Silverado have greater value?
This is the No. 2-selling vehicle in the country, with the GMC Sierra lagging far behind. Features including Chevy's MyLink audio system with color screen, USB ports and an audio jack on top of features including Bluetooth connectivity, OnStar telematics, SiriusXM satellite radio, and mobile Wi-Fi hotspot are all virtually identical to the Sierra's. However, the Silverado's hooked onto the more popular brand, so buyers are more likely to target it as a used car. Unfair to the Sierra, but we don't make the rules.
Starting price: $34,210
Resale value retained after five years: 54.5%
They don't make them like this anymore, but that's why it's so valuable. This list was once dominated by SUVs, but the emergence of the crossover has all but killed true SUVs. The 4Runner is a mix of the big school and soccer shuttle families want and the gear-hauling weekend vehicle its remaining adherents desire, but it's definitely seen better days. Toyota was selling 129,000 4Runners in at their peak in 1997, but low gas prices and a brand resurgence brought sales from less than 20,000 in 2009 to more than 110,000 last year.
Sure, it only gets a combined 20 miles per gallon, but it's re-envisioned itself a tailgater's dream with a power outlet in the cargo space for hooking up a television or other electronic devices, nearly 90 square feet of cargo room and an optional sliding cargo deck. That last feature basically takes out the need for a folding table by providing counter space strong enough to hold 400 pounds of food and beverages.
Starting price: $24,120
Resale value retained after five years: 58. 4%
The Tacoma has taken this award 12 times for the reason that every other Toyota is on this list: It's durable. That's a big deal in the Tacoma's world, where carbuyers who don't feel they need all the size and strength of a Ford F-Series or Chevy Silverado are drawn to its off-road agility, flexible cargo options and easy handling.
Last year, however, its was completely refurbished (though you wouldn't know it from the combined 22 miles per gallon that are actually less efficient than the model it replaced). Just graduated from the "make it look mean" school of automotive redesign, the Tacoma now has the angular features, menacing grille and leather interior trim to help you stand up to all those domestic pickup owners who won't give your small hauler so much as a sniff. However, with dual-zone climate control, push button start, a GoPro camera mounted on the windshield, a wireless charger, the Entune audio system, backup camera, blind spot monitor and off-road features, the Tacoma is build more for play than for pretending you're taking it to a work site.
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