Not all cars, trucks and SUVs are created equal.
Especially when it comes to new vehicles that hold their value best in the years after purchase.
A study of more than 4.3 million new and used car sales by the shopping website iSeeCars.com identified 25 models that hold their value better than average. That is, depreciating less than the average new car, which loses 50.2 percent of value after five years.
The winners are mostly SUVs and pickup trucks, which comprise nine of the top 10, iSeeCars reports, and 20 of the 25 vehicles that retain as much or more value than average.
The No. 1 and No. 2 vehicles overall are the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and Jeep Wrangler, which depreciated just 27.3 percent – retaining 72.7 percent of their value – over five years. The Wrangler is considered a sport utility vehicle or SUV.
The remainder of the top five and six of the top 10 vehicles that hold their value best are pickups.
Here are the top 25 vehicles listed by category and including overall rank, depreciation and amount of retained value after five years, based on the iSeeCars.com study:
1. Jeep Wrangler Unlimited – 27.3 percent depreciation, 72.7 percent retained value
2. Jeep Wrangler – 27.3 percent, 72.7 percent
6. Toyota 4Runner – 38.1 percent, 61.9 percent
12. Toyota RAV4 – 43.5 percent, 56.5 percent
14. Honda CR-V – 44.8 percent, 55.2 percent
16. Toyota Highlander – 46.2 percent, 53.8 percent
17. Subaru Forester – 46.6 percent, 53.4 percent
20. Honda Pilot – 49.2 percent, 50.8 percent
21. Subaru Outback – 49.7 percent, 50.3 percent
22. Dodge Durango – 49.7 percent, 50.3 percent
23. Kia Sportage – 50 percent, 50 percent
Jeeps topped the list because they “are known for retaining their value due to their enduring popularity, as well as their durability and performance across all terrains,” said Phong Ly of iSeeCars.com.
The iSeeCars spokesman attributed the presence of multiple Toyotas (three) and Hondas (two) in the top 10 because they have “a strong brand reputation for their reliability and durability, which helps contribute to their above-average value retention.”
3. Toyota Tacoma – 29.5 percent depreciation, 70.5 percent retained value
4. Toyota Tundra – 37.1 percent, 62.9 percent
5. Nissan Frontier – 37.8 percent, 62.2 percent
7. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 – 39.7 percent, 60.3 percent
8. GMC Sierra – 39.9 percent, 60.1 percent
10. Ram Pickup 1500 – 42.7 percent, 57.3 percent
13. Ford F-150 – 44.1 percent, 55.9 percent
“Pickup trucks depreciate the least of any vehicle segment at 41.3 percent, while cars depreciate at 54.1 percent and SUVs at 51.9 percent,” said Ly. “The lower depreciation for pickup trucks is likely because it is a growing vehicle segment and their popularity is keeping values high.”
9. Subaru Impreza – 42.3 percent depreciation, 57.7 percent retained value
11. Honda Fit – 42.9 percent, 57.1 percent
15. Dodge Challenger – 45.2 percent, 54.8 percent
18. Chevrolet Camaro – 48 percent, 52 percent
19. Toyota Corolla – 48 percent, 52 percent
24. Honda Accord – 50 percent, 50 percent
25. Toyota Sienna (minivan) – 50.2 percent, 49.8 percent
Of the lone passenger car on the overall top-10 list, the compact Subaru Impreza, Ly said, “The Impreza is the only compact vehicle in its class to offer standard all-wheel drive, making it one of the most affordable vehicles with that option. Subarus are also known for their safety and durability, which help contribute to the Impreza’s lower-than-average depreciation.”
The bottom line
“For consumers who buy new vehicles and sell them around the five-year mark, choosing a model that retains the most value is a smart economic decision,” said Ly. Although, on average, new-car purchasers keep their vehicles about seven years.
Understanding a vehicle’s depreciation is an important factor in helping both new- and used-car shoppers make an informed purchase decision, according to iSeeCars.
“If you plan on trading in or selling your vehicle after a few years, a car that retains most of its value can put more money in your pocket for your next car purchase,” said Ly. “If you are a used car shopper, choosing a car that has already taken a depreciation hit can provide you with a substantial deal.”