Best new car deals aren’t always the least-expensive models

Not all vehicles are created equal when it comes to resale value.

What looks like a more expensive vehicle may turn out to be your best new car deal in several years. And some that look like bargains ultimately may cost you more over the same period.

“You can save money buying a less expensive new car, but later find out it depreciates faster than a similar, more expensive car that holds its value better,” said Kelley Blue Book (KBB) in announcing its annual Best Resale Value Awards recently. “The money you save on a new-car purchase can be more than made up for by the greater depreciation five years later.”

Credit: Toyota via NewspressUSA
The 2020 Toyota Tacoma is Kelley Blue Book’s best resale value champion.

“Understanding what a vehicle will be worth when going to sell or trade it in can make the difference of hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in the long run,” said KBB. The awards recognize vehicles for projected retained value over the initial five-year ownership period.

KBB’s overall 2020 brand winners are Subaru (non-luxury) and Porsche (luxury), which garnered five and three category wins, respectively. But Toyota with five category wins and its luxury brand Lexus with four also fared well, with 10 brands total sharing the 24 categories.

Here are the 10 vehicles with best resale value – half of which also won their categories – along with percentage of value retained after five years:

  1. Toyota Tacoma, 60.6 percent *
  2. Chevrolet Silverado, 60.1 percent *
  3. Ram Pickup, 60.1 percent
  4. GMC Sierra, 59.3 percent
  5. Jeep Gladiator, 58 percent
  6. Jeep Wrangler, 57.6 percent *
  7. Toyota Tundra, 57.2 percent *
  8. Toyota 4Runner, 56.1 percent
  9. Chevrolet Corvette, 54.9 percent *
  10. Ford Ranger, 52.3 percent

* Category winners (see complete list below)

Following are the vehicles with the best resale value by segment and category, along with their percentage of value retained after five years, and category runners-up:

Sport utility vehicles

Subaru Crosstrek, subcompact SUV, 50.4 percent

  • Runners-up: Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-30

Subaru Forester, compact SUV, 45.5 percent

  • Runners-up: Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4

Subaru Outback, midsize SUV (two row), 43.4 percent

  • Runners-up: Jeep Grand Cherokee and Hyundai Santa Fe

Toyota Highlander, midsize SUV (three row), 45 percent

  • Runners-up: Subaru Ascent and Honda Pilot

GMC Yukon, full-size SUV, 40.2 percent

  • Runners-up: Toyota Sequoia and Ford Expedition Max

Volvo XC40, luxury subcompact SUV, 34.6 percent

  • Runners-up: Lexus UX and Jaguar E-Pace

Porsche Macan, luxury compact SUV, 40.5 percent

  • Runners-up: Mercedes-Benz GLC and Jaguar F-Pace

Porsche Cayenne, luxury midsize SUV (two row), 35.7 percent

  • Runners-up: Land Rover Discovery and Lexus RX

Lexus GX, luxury midsize SUV (three row), 37.9 percent

  • Runners-up: Lincoln Aviator and BMW X7

Lexus LX, luxury full-size SUV, 43 percent

  • Runners-up: Mercedes-Benz G-Class and Lincoln Navigator L

Jeep Wrangler, 4-door, off-road SUV, 57.6 percent

  • Runners-up: Toyota 4Runner and Jeep Wrangler 2-door

Passenger cars

Subaru Impreza, compact car, 42.7 percent

  • Runners-up: Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla

Subaru Legacy, midsize car, 37.9 percent

  • Runners-up: Honda Accord and Toyota Camry

Toyota Avalon, full-size car, 35.1 percent

  • Runners-up: Dodge Charger and Kia Stinger

Lexus ES, entry-level luxury car, 37.9 percent

  • Runners-up: Mercedes-Benz CLA and Lexus RC

Lexus GS, luxury car, 31.2 percent

  • Runners-up: Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A7

Porsche Panamera, high-end luxury car, 35 percent

  • Runners-up: Lexus LS and Lexus LC

Chevrolet Corvette, sports car, 54.9 percent

  • Runners-up: Porsche 911 and Dodge Charger Scat Pack

Toyota Prius Prime, hybrid car, 40.3 percent

  • Runners-up: Toyota Corolla Hybrid and Toyota Prius

Tesla Model X, electric vehicle, 44 percent

  • Runners-up: Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model S

Pickups and minivans

Toyota Tacoma, midsize pickup truck, 60.6 percent

  • Runners-up: Jeep Gladiator and Ford Ranger

Toyota Tundra, full-size pickup truck, 57.2 percent

  • Runners-up: Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500

Chevrolet Silverado HD, full-size pickup truck (heavy duty), 60.1 percent

  • Runners-up: GMC Sierra HD and Ram Heavy Duty

Honda Odyssey, minivan, 39.4 percent

  • Runners-up: Toyota Sienna and Kia Sedona

“Many new-car buyers do not realize that depreciation often is the greatest expense incurred by drivers during the first five years of vehicle ownership,” said KBB, which provides more details at

But this list should help you find a vehicle that fits your needs and lifestyle.

If you’re planning to shop for a new or used vehicle and need financing, learn more about preapproved vehicle financing with RoadLoans, a product of Santander Consumer USA.

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