No one likes losing money, or taking a huge loss when it’s time to sell their vehicle. Depreciation happens regardless of make or model, so it makes financial sense to buy cars that are a few years old when the largest decrease in value has already affected what are essentially new cars. However, when it’s time to sell, depreciation works against you, lowering your ride’s value. The average car loses 43.8% of its value in the first five years, according to industry trend watcher iseecars.com. Below are some depreciation winners that will hold their value longer, costing you less on the future resale.
While the competition has stepped up their game and the compact and subcompact classes are filled with great choices, there’s only one king of slow depreciation here. Kelley Blue Book says the Honda Fit is the class leader for several reasons. First is Honda’s reputation for quality. Fit buyers may want the reliable Honda name, but may not need a larger Accord, so the economical Fit is a perfect… well, fit. The ergonomics are spot on, with tons of tech and features crammed into a dash layout that intuitively makes sense. The cabin space is incredible for a car this size, even accommodating drivers over 6’3″. It’s fun to drive too, with responsive steering and a suspension that thinks it’s in a Civic Type R. No wonder Fit owners hang onto their cars.
The Toyota Camry and Honda Accord have been the depreciation winners of the mid-size segment for at least the last 20 years, and KBB says you can’t fit a business card between them when it comes to depreciation – it’s that close. We already covered a Honda, so let’s talk about a Toyota now. The Camry has space and features comparable to the competition, but depreciates slower than competitors like the Chevrolet Malibu, due to a sterling reputation for quality going back to the ’80s. The 3.5L V6 is delivers 268 horsepower, and the 2.4L four cylinder achieves up to 33 MPG highway. Crash worthiness is impressive at an overall “Good” from IIHS, and five-stars in almost every NHTSA test category. Dependable, safe, economical, the Camry can do it all.
There are few better deals on Earth than depreciating luxury cars. You can get all the tech, comfort, and style, without the new car’s hefty MSRP. One of the brands that holds value regardless of model is perennial Kelley Blue Book favorite Lexus. Specifically, the rear-wheel drive Lexus GS 350 holds its value longer than any mid-size luxury car. The GS200t and GS350 are separate models in the lineup, but really it’s the same car with different options and either a turbocharged four cylinder or a V6 under the hood. Like a BMW 5-Series, the GS is a sporty version performance luxury vehicle with an angle toward driver engagement instead of insulated pampering. It’s loaded with tech and safety features, but Lexus is more about quiet quality and precision than showmanship. The GS is a roomy luxury cruiser that will be a great place to spend time for many years.
There’s few vehicles in any class on the road that depreciate slower than the Jeep Wrangler. While most people just think of it as The Jeep, the Wrangler is one of the world’s very best vehicles for off-road sport and utility, and modern SUVs developed out of old-schoolers like this one. The Wrangler is a two-door only, while the Wrangler Unlimited is a convenient four-door. The Wrangler has some modern touches like Bluetooth and Uconnect infotainment, but really what you are buying here is character. The Wrangler is the Tonka toy from your childhood that you can drive every day. It doesn’t hurt that Forbes placed it on their list of least depreciating vehicles, but mainly it seems owners think Wranglers are just too fun to sell.
Trucks in general hold their value better than the average car, due to their use as capable work vehicles. The Honda Fit above is a great car, but it stinks at hauling sheet rock. On the other hand, the durable Toyota Tacoma will reliably haul your gear for decades to come. The “Taco” may not sell in huge numbers like the Ford F-150, but that doesn’t stop it from dominating used truck values. More than just its history of ruggedness, the Tacoma benefited from being one of the very few mid-size trucks on the market, and it can be optioned up to take on trails just like the Wrangler. It’s also one of the vehicles most likely to pass 200,000 miles, according to iseecars.com.