Vehicles come and go. Some are better than others, but all cars have some purpose and most are good, useful, reliable or at least serviceable. Like anything else, though, some are better than others at retaining their value. Given how much time, money, and love we often invest in our cars, it’s important to consider resale value when buying a new car. Since this is “new car deals season” when dealerships are often pushing their current model year cars off the lot in favor of next model year’s fare, now is the time when many are considering their first foray into a new or lightly used car.
Find out which cars represent the best resale value for 2014.
What is Resale Value?
Resale value is something that’s difficult to measure, but easy to understand. We know, inherently, that a car with a long-lasting value will bring a better price when sold on the used or trade-in market. In contrast, a car with a marginal resale value will not hold that premium when changing hands to a new owner. To decide on cars with better resale values, we must consider the manufacturer, model, and the “freshness” of the model (how “new” the model’s current generation is). For our list here, we’ve consulted Edmunds.com, one of the definitive sources for used car values, Kelly Blue Book, and Kiplinger which also measures value for used cars.
These sources agree that the same brands generally top the list in terms of overall resale value based on the marquee of the vehicle alone. In alphabetical order, the highest resale value comes from Chevrolet, Honda, Jeep, Subaru, and Toyota. Depending, of course, on the class of vehicle you’re considering. We’ll look at three general categories: cars, trucks, and sports cars. Since we all measure resale value in 3-year and 5-year segments, which are the usual new-to-resale periods, we’ll average the three measures and use those to rank our choices in each category.
Best Resale Value Cars
In cars, the best value comes from longevity (expected mileage lifespan) and cost of ownership. In all cases, we’re considering a mid-level trim package and average configuration for each model – in other words, its “most-sold” variation. This as opposed to a rarely-purchased base model or highest-end trim level.
2014 Subaru Impreza WRX (hatchback)
This vehicle is one of the company’s most popular and it sells to both family owners and sports car enthusiasts. Edmund’s Average Price Paid* for Centreville, VA is $37,119. Resale retention is about 60% over three years and 46% over five. Since the Impreza has received a design overhaul for 2015, this car is also likely to have a lot of dealer incentives as the year ends. Similarly, the 2014 Subaru Impreza in all of its hatchback forms is usually a good value retainer.
2014 Honda Accord
One of the best-selling midsize cars, the Honda Accord is also one of the few with a relatively high resale value in its segment. Over three years, the Accord is expected to hold a resale value of about 60% and of about 46% over five years. KBB also notes that they expect the Accord Plug-in to do well in value retention. Edmund’s Average Price Paid for the 2014 Honda Accord sedan is $20,493.
2014 Toyota Avalon
In full-size cars, the Toyota Avalon is one of the best-sellers on the market and holds its value well, though this segment is rarely known for high value retention over time. Edmund’s Average Price Paid for the 2014 Avalon sedan is $33,513. Its three year average retention is 55% and the five-year is 42%.
2014 Lexus ES 350
This luxury midsize car is from Toyota’s premium brand, which has a reputation for holding value as compared to other luxury automakers. Edmund’s Average Price Paid for the 2014 Lexus ES350 is $36,090. Over three years, the ES 350 is expected to keep 64.9% of its value and over five, 47.1%. The hybrid ES 300h is also expected to hold value well.
2014 Toyota Sienna
Finally, the minivans are dominated by the Sienna from Toyota with its resale value retention of about 59% of original cost over three ears and of 43.2% over five. Edmund’s Average Price Paid for the 2014 Toyota Sienna is $30,514. In climates where it may be necessary and is a higher-selling option, the all-wheel drive model holds value better than otherwise. In climates not requiring that, it does not.
Best Resale Value Trucks and SUVs
With trucks, sport utility vehicles and crossovers, the focus is usually on cost of ownership and reliability over time. Here, we’re considering the most common sales package for the vehicle. For a truck or full sport utility, that is usually the mid-grade package with 4×4 capability. For a crossover that is usually the mid-grade package with all-wheel drive.
2014 Audi Q5 TDI
In small crossovers, the premium Audi Q5 with the diesel engine is a good seller and has high value retention even when compared to non-premium contenders like the Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4. Three year retention is 62% and five year is 42%. Edmund’s Average Price Paid is $49,653. Keep your eye on the Infiniti QX50 in the luxury category as a close second and on the Honda CR-V as a non-luxury option with high retention, especially for the longer term.
2014 Subaru Outback 2.5i
For midsize crossovers, the Outback is like its other Subaru siblings and holds value well. Much of this is thanks to the Subaru nameplate being high in owner retention, thus there are fewer used models on the market as there may be for others. Three year retention of value is about 62.5% and five-year is about 44.1% for the Outback. Edmund’s Average Price Paid is $27,775.
2014 Jeep Wrangler
In compact SUVs (truck-based vehicles), the Wrangler reigns supreme and has for some time. This retention is largely based on the iconic sport utility’s reputation for capability and desirability as a unique and immediately identifiable SUV. It is expected ot hold 68.1% of its value over three years and an impressive 58% of its value over five years. Edmund’s Average Price Paid is $28,165.
2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser
Despite 2014 being the last model year for this sport utility, the FJ Cruiser has a well-deserved reputation for offroad capability and a very unique body style that attracts many to it as an SUV. Edmund’s Average Price Paid is $30,497. Its value retention expectations are the best on our entire list at 81% over three years and 69.3% over five.
2014 Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTEC
In the full-sized SUV category, there is some contention for best. The 2014 Toyota Sequoia is tops on the KBB list but this one is tops on Kiplingers. We gave the win to the Merc, but it was tight and the numbers are close. Edmund’s Average Price Paid for the GL Series is $66,758. Expected three-year value retention for the GL350 is 68.7% and five-year is 47.8% beating out the Sequoia by a slim margin.
2014 Toyota Tacoma
Currently, there are only two midsize pickup trucks on the market, the other being the Nissan Frontier. Edmund’s Average Price Paid for the 2014 Toyota Tacoma regular cab is $19,423. Resale values are relatively close, but the Tacoma has a higher margin thanks to its Toyota nameplate. Over three years, expected retention is 73.4% and over five it’s 61%.
2014 Toyota Tundra
For full-sized trucks, Toyota also takes the top spot, though the Chevrolet Silverado was a close second. Edmund’s Average Price Paid for the 2014 Toyota Tundra regular cab is $34,568. Its expected resale value retention is 63.4% over three years and 52% over five.
Best Resale Value Sports Cars
Many factors play into sports car owner expectations. Reputation and brand are generally king while fuel economy and cost of ownership take a back seat. Most buyers are looking for style, pizazz, and “street credibility.”
2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
By far the most value-retaining sports car on the market, the Corvette holds value largely because of its near-guaranteed collectibility as a status symbol. Over three years, the Corvette is expected to hold about 66% of its value and over five, about 53.2%. Close behind the Corvette is the Chevrolet Camaro with a V6 engine. Edmund’s Average Price Paid for a new 2014 Stingray in Centreville, VA is $69,955. Those preferring a muscle car can expect good retention from the Dodge Challenger.
2014 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport
For luxury sports cars, the field is relatively wide, but the IS 350 in its F-Sport package is expected to hold sway in the resale value wars. Estimates are 65% over three years and 45.5% over five years. Edmund’s Average Price Paid for the IS 350 convertible is $50,630.
Featured image by Larry Lamsa via Flickr cc.