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Cars With the Lowest and Highest Depreciation

By Julie Blackley

The new cars that retain the most value after five years are SUVs and trucks, while electric vehicles and luxury sedans depreciate the most, according to a new study by automotive research firm and car search engine iSeeCars.com.

iSeeCars.com analyzed more than 4.3 million new and used car sales to identify models with the lowest and highest loss in value after five years.

"While the average new vehicle loses 50.2 percent of its value after five years, there are vehicles that retain more of their value and depreciate less than average,” said iSeeCars CEO Phong Ly. “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.”

iSeeCars Top 10 Vehicles With the Lowest Depreciation
Rank Model Average 5-Year Depreciation
1 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 27.3%
2 Jeep Wrangler 27.3%
3 Toyota Tacoma 29.5%
4 Toyota Tundra 37.1%
5 Nissan Frontier 37.8%
6 Toyota 4Runner 38.1%
7 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 39.7%
8 GMC Sierra 1500 39.9%
9 Subaru Impreza 42.3%
10 Ram Ram Pickup 1500 42.7%
Average for All Vehicles 50.2%
Download Table

Jeep earned the top two spots on the list, with the four-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited having the lowest five-year depreciation followed by its two-door counterpart, the Jeep Wrangler, by a fraction of a percentage point. “Jeeps are known for retaining their value due to their enduring popularity, as well as their durability and performance across all terrains,” said Ly.

Pickup trucks account for the majority of the list with six models, including the third-ranked Toyota Tacoma, the fourth-ranked Toyota Tundra, the fifth-ranked Nissan Frontier, the seventh-ranked Chevrolet Silverado 1500, the eighth-ranked GMC Sierra 1500, and the tenth-ranked Ram Ram Pickup 1500. “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.”

Ranked sixth is the Toyota 4Runner midsize SUV, which depreciates 38.1 percent after five years. “The Toyota 4Runner is a body-on-frame SUV, which means it’s built like a truck and has truck-like durability,” said Ly. “Its ruggedness and reputation for being a reliable vehicle help contribute to its value retention.”

The lone passenger car on the list is the compact Subaru Impreza. “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,” said Ly. “Subarus are also known for their safety and durability, which help contribute to the Impreza’s lower-than-average depreciation.”

Cars With the Highest Depreciation

iSeeCars also examined the cars that depreciate the most after five years with the highest depreciating vehicles losing between 31.7 to 42.7 percent more of their original value compared with the average vehicle.

iSeeCars Top 10 Vehicles With the Highest Depreciation
Rank Model Average 5-Year Depreciation
1 Nissan Leaf 71.7%
2 Chevrolet Volt 71.2%
3 BMW 7 Series 71.1%
4 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 69.9%
5 Ford Fusion Energi 69.4%
6 BMW 6 Series 68.3%
7 BMW 5 Series 67.3%
8 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 67.2%
9 Jaguar XJL 66.4%
10 Chevrolet Impala 66.2%
Average for All Vehicles 50.2%
Download Table

Electric vehicles earn the top two spots on the highest-depreciating list, with the Nissan LEAF losing 72.7 percent of its value after five years, followed by the Chevrolet Volt, which loses 71.2 percent of its value. Another alternative-fuel vehicle, the Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, earns the fifth spot with a depreciation of 69.4 percent. “Government incentives play a role in the steep depreciation of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles as their resale value is based off their lower effective post-incentive sticker price,” said Ly. “Since the technology of EVs changes at a rapid pace, outdated technology also contributes to their dramatic depreciation as well as range anxiety and lack of public charging infrastructure.”

Luxury sedans account for the majority of the list, with six models including the third-ranked BMW 7 Series, the fourth-ranked Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the sixth-ranked BMW 6 Series, the seventh-ranked BMW 5 Series, the eighth-ranked Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and the ninth-ranked Jaguar XJL. “Luxury vehicles depreciate at a higher rate because they are often leased, which leads to a surplus of three-year-old off-lease versions of these vehicles that lowers the demand for the older models,” said Ly. “While these luxury models quickly lose a lot of their value, they still don’t drop in price enough to attract used car shoppers who may be reluctant to pay the premium for high-end trims and technological features.”

The Chevrolet Impala earns the tenth spot on the list standing out as the only non-luxury conventional fuel vehicle. “The Impala underwent a major redesign in 2014, which lowers the demand for the 2013 model,” said Ly. “Additionally, they are often used as rental vehicles, and the oversupply of these vehicles coming out of fleets lowers their demand and results in steep depreciation.”

The Lowest- and Highest-Depreciating SUVs

iSeeCars.com also identified the top 10 lowest- and highest-depreciating SUVs as compared to the segment’s five-year depreciation of 51.9 percent.

iSeeCars Lowest- and Highest-Depreciating SUVs

Lowest-Depreciating

Highest-Depreciating

Rank

Model Average 5-Year Depreciation Model

Average 5-Year Depreciation

1 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 27.29% BMW X5 65.6%
2 Jeep Wrangler 27.31% BMW X3 64.0%
3 Toyota 4Runner 38.1% Lincoln Navigator 63.0%
4 Toyota RAV4 43.5% BMW X1 62.9%
5 Honda CR-V 44.8% Cadillac Escalade ESV 62.9%
6 Toyota Highlander 46.2% BMW X6 62.7%
7 Honda Pilot 49.2% Lincoln MKX 61.9%
8 Dodge Durango 49.7% GMC Yukon XL 61.3%
9 Kia Sportage 50.0% Volvo XC60 60.3%
10 Hyundai Tucson 51.8% Cadillac Escalade 59.7%
Average for All SUVs                                                     51.9%
Download Table

While the top three SUVs with the lowest five-year depreciation appear on the overall top 10 list, they are joined by a mix of domestic and foreign compact and midsize SUVs.

Toyota earns the distinction of having the most models on the lowest-depreciating list with three including the third-ranked 4Runner, fourth-ranked RAV4, and sixth-ranked Highlander. Also having multiple models on the list is Honda, which includes the fifth-ranked CR-V and the seventh-ranked Pilot. “Toyotas and Hondas have a strong brand reputation for their reliability and durability, which helps contribute to their above-average value retention,” said Ly.

The SUVs with the highest depreciation are exclusively luxury vehicles with the exception of the eighth-ranked GMC Yukon XL. “A new Yukon XL is priced like a luxury vehicle with an average price of $67,000, so it is no surprise that it drastically depreciates as a luxury vehicle would,” Ly noted.

BMW has the most models on the highest-depreciating list with four, including the top-ranked X5, the second-ranked X3, the fourth-ranked X1, and the sixth-ranked X6. “The high repair cost of German vehicles like BMWs is another factor in the high depreciation of these vehicles,” said Ly.

Ranking of Pickup Trucks

iSeeCars also determined the highest- and lowest-depreciation among five-year-old light-duty pickup trucks as compared to the segment average of 41.3 percent.

iSeeCars Ranking of 5-Year Depreciation for Pickup Trucks
Rank Model Average 5-Year Depreciation
1 Toyota Tacoma 29.5%
2 Toyota Tundra 37.1%
3 Nissan Frontier 37.8%
4 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 39.7%
5 GMC Sierra 1500 39.9%
6 Ram Ram Pickup 1500 42.7%
7 Ford F-150 44.1%
Average for Light-Duty Pickup Trucks 41.3%
Download Table

The pickup truck that retains the most of its value is the Toyota Tacoma, which has an average five-year depreciation of 29.5 percent, which is 28.5 percent less than the segment average. Conversely, the pickup with the highest depreciation is the Ford F-150, which loses 44.1 percent of its value after five years.

“The lowest-depreciating vehicles typically aren’t the best sellers, which explains why the top-selling F-150 is at the bottom of the list,” explained Ly. “The relative scarcity of Tacomas in the resale market coupled with their reputation for reliability helps drive up their value.”

Ranking of Alternative-Fuel Vehicles

iSeeCars examined the list to determine the lowest- and highest-depreciating alternative-fuel vehicles.

iSeeCars Ranking of 5-Year Depreciation for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
Rank Model Average 5-Year Depreciation
1 Toyota Prius c 51.5%
2 Toyota Prius 54.1%
3 Tesla Model S* 57.3%
4 Toyota Camry Hybrid 55.9%
5 Lexus RX 450H 57.4%
6 Lexus ES 300H 58.6%
7 Toyota Avalon Hybrid 59.0%
8 Kia Optima Hybrid 60.5%
9 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid 62.1%
10 Ford Fusion Hybrid 63.4%
11 Ford C-Max Hybrid 64.9%
12 Ford Fusion Energi 69.4%
13 Chevrolet Volt 71.2%
14 Nissan LEAF 71.7%
Average for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles 59.0%
*Tesla Model S numbers were calculated from Tesla’s annual report due to the unavailability of sales figures

The Toyota Prius c hybrid is the lowest-depreciating alternative fuel vehicle overall, while the Tesla Model S is the lowest-depreciating electric vehicle.

“The three highest-depreciating alternative-fuel vehicles are all electrics, making the Tesla Model S the only electric vehicle that depreciates less than the average for the segment,” said Ly.

Ranking of Sports Cars

iSeeCars examined the list to determine the lowest- and highest-depreciating sports cars.

iSeeCars Ranking of 5-Year Depreciation for Sports Cars
Rank Model Average 5-Year Depreciation
1 Subaru Impreza WRX 35.9%
2 Volkswagen Golf R 43.3%
3 Chevrolet Corvette 44.6%
4 Subaru BRZ 45.2%
5 Dodge Challenger 45.4%
6 Porsche 911 45.6%
7 Mazda MX-5 Miata 46.2%
8 Chevrolet Camaro 48.0%
9 Cadillac CTS-V 48.4%
10 Nissan 370z 50.1%
11 Ford Mustang 50.7%
12 Audi RS 5 51.2%
13 Dodge Charger 52.3%
14 Hyundai Veloster 52.3%
15 Hyundai Veloster Turbo 54.1%
16 BMW M3 54.2%
17 Audi S4 57.4%
18 Audi S7 58.0%
19 Porsche Panamera 59.1%
20 Audi S5 59.4%
21 Audi S6 59.5%
22 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class (AMG) 60.4%
23 Maserati GranTurismo 60.5%
24 BMW M5 61.8%
25 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class 62.6%
Average for Sports Cars 46.6%
The lowest-depreciating sports car is the Subaru Impreza WRX, while the highest-depreciating is the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class. “The Subaru Impreza WRX is the performance variant of the Subaru Impreza, which ranked ninth on our overall list, so it is no surprise that it is the lowest-depreciating sports car,” said Ly. “The highest-depreciating Mercedes-Benz SL-Class is joined by other luxury vehicles at the bottom of the list that have six-figure starting prices and have to come down significantly in price to attract used-car shoppers.”

Lowest- and Highest Depreciating Family Vehicles

iSeeCars also determined the lowest- and highest-depreciating family vehicles by category.

iSeeCars Lowest- and Highest-Depreciating Family Vehicles
Lowest-Depreciating Highest-Depreciating
Category Model Average 5-Year Depreciation Model Average 5-Year Depreciation
Midsize Sedan Toyota Corolla 48.0% BMW 5 Series 67.3%
Large Sedan Toyota Avalon 56.6% Chevrolet Impala 66.2%
Compact SUV Toyota RAV4 43.5% Ford Escape 58.6%
Midsize SUV Toyota 4Runner 38.1% BMW X5 65.6%
Large SUV GMC Yukon 55.9% Lincoln Navigator 63.0%
Wagon/Hatchback Subaru Outback 49.7% BMW 5 Series 67.3%
Minivan Toyota Sienna 50.2% Dodge Grand Caravan 55.7%
The lowest-depreciating family vehicle is the Toyota 4Runner mid-size SUV, which depreciates 38.1 percent after five years. Toyota models accounted for the lowest-depreciating model in five of the seven vehicle categories including the Toyota Corolla midsize sedan, the Toyota Avalon large sedan, the Toyota RAV4 Compact SUV, and the Toyota Sienna minivan.

The highest-depreciating family vehicle is the BMW 5 Series, which has the highest depreciation of 67.3 percent in two vehicle categories: midsize sedan and wagon/hatchback. An additional BMW, the X5, is the highest-depreciating midsize SUV.

Because each family has unique needs, there are a number of vehicle categories that can be classified as family cars,” noted Ly. “Regardless of the type of vehicle you choose, there are models that fare better than others when it comes to value retention."

Lowest- and Highest-Depreciating Vehicles By State

iSeeCars incorporated statewide data to determine the vehicles with the lowest five-year depreciation in the 20 most populous states.  

iSeeCars Lowest- and Highest-Depreciating Vehicles By State
Lowest-Depreciating Highest-Depreciating
State Model Average 5-Year Depreciation Model Average 5-Year Depreciation
AZ Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 25.0% Nissan LEAF 72.1%
CA Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 24.7% Nissan LEAF 72.4%
FL Jeep Wrangler 26.3% Nissan LEAF 73.1%
GA Jeep Wrangler 25.1% Chevrolet Volt 72.7%
IL Jeep Wrangler 26.7% Mercedes-Benz S-Class 71.1%
IN Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 27.3% Chevrolet Volt 71.4%
MA Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 27.6% Chevrolet Volt 71.7%
MD Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 27.8% BMW 7 Series 70.8%
MI Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 29.9% Mercedes-Benz S-Class 73.1%
MO Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 27.6% Mercedes-Benz S-Class 72.6%
NC Jeep Wrangler 26.6% Chevrolet Volt 71.3%
NJ Jeep Wrangler 29.4% BMW 7 Series 72.7%
NY Jeep Wrangler 30.7% Chevrolet Volt 72.6%
OH Jeep Wrangler 28.3% Nissan LEAF 72.5%
PA Toyota Tacoma 27.3% BMW 7 Series 71.1%
TN Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 26.2% Chevrolet Volt 71.4%
TX Jeep Wrangler 26.2% Nissan LEAF 71.6%
VA Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 27.8% BMW 7 Series 71.5%
WA Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 20.3% Nissan LEAF 72.4%
WI Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 29.6% Chevrolet Volt 72.0%
The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, which is the lowest-depreciating vehicle on a national level, earned the distinction in 10 of the top 20 most populous states followed by the Wrangler in nine states. Despite the Wrangler Unlimited’s consistency as the lowest-depreciating vehicle across these states, there is variation in its average depreciation percentage. The Wrangler Unlimited depreciates the least in Washington at 20.3 percent and depreciates the most in Michigan at 29.9 percent.

The Chevrolet Volt is the highest-depreciating vehicle across seven of the most populous states. The depreciation among these states remained consistent, ranging from 71.3 percent in North Carolina to 72.7 percent in New Jersey.

“The two models that depreciate the least nationally, the Wrangler Unlimited and the Wrangler, are also the least-depreciating model in 19 of 20 of the most populous states,” said Ly. “The lone non-Jeep to make the statewide list is the Toyota Tacoma, which is the third-lowest depreciating vehicle on our national list, showing parallels among national and statewide data.”  

Lowest- and Highest-Depreciating Vehicles By Metro Area

iSeeCars also examined the data to determine the vehicles that depreciate the least and the most in the top 20 most populous metropolitan areas.

iSeeCars Lowest- and Highest-Depreciating Vehicle By Metro Area

Lowest-Depreciating

Highest-Depreciating

Metro Area Model Average 5-Year Depreciation Model Average 5-Year Depreciation
Atlanta, GA Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 27.7% Chevrolet Volt 72.4%
Boston, MA-Manchester, NH Jeep Wrangler 26.8% Chevrolet Volt 71.4%
Chicago, IL Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 28.6% Mercedes-Benz S-Class 71.4%
Cleveland-Akron (Canton), OH Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 30.5% BMW 5 Series 69.2%
Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 26.6% Nissan LEAF 71.9%
Denver, CO Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 26.9% Nissan LEAF 70.3%
Detroit, MI Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 30.6% Chevrolet Volt 71.7%
Houston, TX Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 28.1% BMW 7 Series 71.3%
Los Angeles, CA Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 24.8% Mercedes-Benz S-Class 72.7%
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 28.4% BMW 7 Series 71.3%
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN Chevrolet Silverado 1500 36.4% Chevrolet Volt 71.1%
New York, NY Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 31.2% BMW 7 Series 72.9%
Orlando-Daytona Beach, FL Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 29.2% Mercedes-Benz S-Class 71.1%
Philadelphia, PA Jeep Wrangler 26.8% Chevrolet Volt 70.2%
Phoenix, AZ Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 25.0% Nissan LEAF 72.5%
Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, CA Chevrolet Silverado 1500 39.1% Nissan LEAF 72.0%
San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA Toyota RAV4 41.3% Fiat 500e 76.0%
Seattle-Tacoma, WA Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 19.5% Nissan LEAF 72.3%
Tampa-St Petersburg (Sarasota), FL Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 26.0% Chevrolet Volt 71.8%
Washington, DC (Hagerstown, MD) Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 28.7% BMW 7 Series 72.4%
 

The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is the least depreciating vehicle in the most metro areas with 15, while the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan LEAF tie as the most depreciating vehicles in six.

“Similar to the national and statewide lists, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is the leading vehicle for depreciating the least on a metro area level, while electric vehicles depreciate the most,” noted Ly.

The Significance of a Vehicle’s Depreciation

Understanding a vehicle’s depreciation is an important factor in helping both new and used car shoppers make an informed purchase decision. Consumers should anticipate their long-term needs when purchasing a vehicle. “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. “Conversely, if you are a used car shopper, choosing a car that has already taken a depreciation hit can provide you with a substantial deal.”

Car shoppers can obtain a vehicle’s projected 1 to 5-year depreciation using iSeeCars’ free VIN Report tool. The depreciation data can also be found on iSeeCars’ VIN Report apps on iOS and Android

Methodology

iSeeCars.com analyzed more than 3.6 million new cars from model year 2013 sold in 2013, and more than 750,000 used cars from the same model year sold between January and September 2018. Cars with outlier pricing were removed, as were heavy-duty trucks and vans and models no longer in production as of the 2018 or 2019 model year. Only models where depreciation was accurate to within +/- 0.5 percentage points were used in the final analysis. Used car prices from 2018 were inflation-adjusted by 7 percent to 2013 dollars, based on data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

About iSeeCars.com

iSeeCars.com is an online car search engine that helps consumers find the best car deals by providing key insights and valuable resources, like the iSeeCars VIN check report. iSeeCars.com has saved users over $168 million so far by applying big data analytics powered by over 25 billion (and growing) data points and using proprietary algorithms to objectively analyze, score and rank millions of cars and thousands of dealers. Based in the Boston area, iSeeCars.com was founded by former TripAdvisor and SAP executives determined to improve the car shopping experience for consumers.

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