PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- Your car is a significant investment and should get at least as much consideration as you'd give any other equities.
There's a bit of logic in making a long-term investment in a commodity that depreciates in value as soon as it leaves the lot. That vehicle's value drops, but it doesn't just go crashing to the ground. Unless you decide to drive it until it's a pile of parts or buy a less reliable model to save money in the short-term, your vehicle with still have significant resale value of tens of thousands of miles 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 2014 model year favored Toyota, much as it did last year and much to the chagrin of 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, Toyota took five out of KBB's 22 vehicle categories while Lexus won two of three luxury categories (the Audi A5 won Luxury Car) and best Hybrid/Alternative Energy Car for its Lexus ES 300h.
Though rivals Nissan, Subaru and Honda took the small and midsized car categories, Honda took best plug-in vehicle and Toyota won both midsize and full-size pickup honors, the Detroit automakers weren't completely shut out. The Chevrolet Corvette won Best High Performance Car, while the Chevy Camaro beat the Porsche Cayman for Best Sports Car.
There aren't a whole lot of vehicles out there that give car buyers the majority of their investment back five years later. According to Kelley Blue Book, the following vehicles are a buyer's best chance of getting half of their money back or more once it's time to sell:
10. Dodge Challenger
Resale value retained after five years: 50.5%
Even under Fiat ownership, some elements of Dodge's mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, He-Man-Woman-Haters-Club approach to auto sales managed to survive. The built-by-car-guys-for-car-guys Challenger and its rebooted muscle car aesthetic still lingers to lure meatheads who value racing stripes and rims over, oh, just about any other element of their vehicle.
Ordinarily, that alone wouldn't make one of these vehicles worth a second look five years from now -- even among the most superficial gearheads. But Fiat helped the Challenger smarten up a little bit by coupling a 305-horsepower V6 engine or 375-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 Hemi with loads of interior space, real-time touchscreen navigation, traffic updates, Bluetooth connectivity, Sirius XM satellite radio, keyless entry/starter and a whole lot of Harman Kardon audio upgrades.
Long after Harley goes electric and all the other performance ponies start closing in on 35 to 40 miles per gallon, these updates will make a 2014 Challenger worth a half-price look.