Cars That Hold Their Value

By Julie Blackley

Cars That Depreciate the Least and Most

The new cars that hold their value the best after five years are a mix of trucks, SUVs, and sports cars, while electric vehicles and luxury sedans lose the most value, according to a new study by automotive research firm and car search engine iSeeCars.com.

iSeeCars.com analyzed more than 7.7 million new and used car sales to identify the models that depreciate the least and most after five years. "While the average new vehicle loses nearly half 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 purchase new vehicles and sell them after five years, choosing a car that holds its value is a smart economic decision.” 

Cars That Hold Their Value the Best 

The average car depreciation over the first five years is 49.6 percent, and the cars with the best resale value depreciate 19.4 to 39.5 percent less than average. The car with the best resale value is the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, which depreciates 30.0 percent over five years.
iSeeCars Top 10 Vehicles With the Lowest Depreciation
Rank Model Average 5-Year Depreciation
1 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 30.0%
2 Jeep Wrangler 31.5%
3 Toyota Tacoma 32.0%
4 Toyota Tundra 35.9%
5 Toyota 4Runner 36.5%
6 Porsche 911 37.2%
7 Honda Ridgeline 38.1%
8 Nissan GT-R 39.4%
9 Nissan Frontier  39.5%
10 Subaru Impreza WRX  40.0%
Average for All Vehicles 49.6%
Download Table

Jeep models account for the top two spots on the list, with the four-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited having the lowest five-year depreciation closely followed by its two-door counterpart, the Jeep Wrangler. “Jeep Wranglers are known for retaining their value for reasons including their ruggedness, durability, and iconic design,” said Ly. “Because of Jeep’s loyal following, their demand outstrips supply in the used car marketplace leading to high resale values.”  

Four pickup trucks make the list including the third-ranked Toyota Tacoma, the fourth-ranked Toyota Tundra, the seventh-ranked Honda Ridgeline, and the ninth-ranked Nissan Frontier. “Toyota and Honda are known for their reliability, and their reputation for dependable pickups helps aid their resale value,” said Ly. “The Honda Ridgeline is also unique in that it’s the only pickup truck that has the ride comfort of a crossover, while the Nissan Frontier is sold in lower volumes so it has a lower supply in the secondary marketplace.”

Ranked fifth is the Toyota 4Runner midsize SUV, which depreciates 36.5 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. “Since its release in 1984 the 4Runner has amassed a loyal following, and its ruggedness and reputation for being a reliable vehicle help contribute to its value retention.” 

Rounding out the list of cars that hold their value the best are three sports cars: the sixth-ranked Porsche 911, the eighth-ranked Nissan GT-R, and the tenth-ranked Subaru Impreza WRX. “The Porsche 911 is an iconic and beloved sports car that will always be in demand as a dream car for many consumers,” said Ly. “The Nissan GT-R and the Subaru Impreza WRX are popular sports cars that are produced in low supply, so there is a great demand for them in the secondary marketplace.” 

Cars That Depreciate the Most

iSeeCars also examined the cars that depreciate the most after five years with the highest depreciating vehicles losing between 37.3 to 45.6 percent more of their original value compared with the average vehicle. The cars that depreciate the most are a mix of luxury sedans and electric vehicles. The car that depreciates the most is the Maserati Quattroporte, which loses an average of 72.2 percent of its value, which amounts to $95,393.  
iSeeCars Top 10 Vehicles With the Highest Depreciation
Rank Model Average 5-Year Depreciation
1 Maserati Quattroporte 72.2%
2 BMW 7 Series 71.3%
3 Nissan LEAF  71.0%
4 BMW i3 70.9%
5 BMW 5 Series 69.2%
6 Acura RLX 69.2%
7 Ford Fusion Energi 69.1%
8 BMW 6 Series 69.0%
9 Jaguar XJL 68.9%
10 Chevrolet Volt  68.1%
Average for All Vehicles 49.6%
Download Table

Luxury sedans make up the majority of the list of highest depreciating vehicles, with six models including the first-ranked Maserati Quattroporte, the second-ranked BMW 7 Series, the fifth-ranked BMW 5 Series, the sixth-ranked Acura RLX, the eighth-ranked BMW 6 Series, and the ninth-ranked Jaguar XJL. “Luxury cars have steep depreciation because owners likely trade them in when they become outdated and used car buyers don’t want to pay a high premium on a dated model,” said Ly. “Additionally, they are expensive to maintain and the high cost of ownership impacts resale value.”

Alternative fuel vehicles round out the list of highest-depreciating vehicles including the third-ranked electric Nissan LEAF, the fourth-ranked electric BMW i3, the seventh-ranked Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, and the tenth-ranked Chevrolet Volt plugin-hybrid. “Previous government incentives contribute to the steep depreciation of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles because their resale value is based off their lower post-incentive sticker price,” said Ly. “Outdated technology also contributes to their dramatic depreciation as well as range anxiety.”

Best Resale Value SUVs

iSeeCars.com also identified the top 10 lowest- and highest-depreciating SUVs as compared to the segment’s five-year depreciation of 51.6 percent. The SUV that depreciates the least is the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, which loses 30.0 percent of its value over five years. 
iSeeCars Lowest-Depreciating SUVs
Rank Model Average 5-Year Depreciation
1 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 30.0%
2 Jeep Wrangler 31.5%
3 Toyota 4Runner 36.5%
4 Toyota RAV4 44.6%
5 Toyota Highlander 44.6%
6 Honda CR-V 44.9%
7 Mercedes-Benz G-Class 45.2%
8 Mercedes-Benz G-Class (AMG) 45.9%
9 Toyota Land Cruiser 48.6%
10 Subaru Outback 50.1%
SUV Average 51.6%
Download Table

The top four SUVs with the lowest five-year depreciation appear on the overall top 10 list and 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 four including the third-ranked 4Runner, fourth-ranked RAV4, the fifth-ranked Highlander, and the ninth-ranked Land Cruiser. “Toyotas have a strong reputation for reliability and longevity, and their high resale values reflect that,” said Ly. 

Two rugged Mercedes SUVs account make the list including the seventh-ranked G-Class and its eighth-ranked high-performance AMG variant. “The G-Class models are known for their off-road capabilities, and off-road SUVs tend to hold their value better than their less-rugged counterparts,” said Ly. “The G-Class is also a desirable vehicle that is viewed as a status symbol, and because its body style has not changed significantly, a five-year version is almost indistinguishable from a late-model one.” 

Rounding out the list are the sixth-ranked Honda CR-V and the tenth-ranked Subaru Outback. “Both the Honda CR-V and the Subaru Outback have strong reputations for longevity and reliability, which helps them hold their value,” said Ly.

Highest-Depreciating SUVs

The SUV that depreciates the most is the Lincoln MKT, which loses 66.1 percent of its value over five years. With an average new price of $56,474, buyers can buy a five-year-old version for $19,123.
iSeeCars Highest-Depreciating SUVs
Rank Model Average 5-Year Depreciation
1 Lincoln MKT 66.1%
2 Lincoln Navigator L  65.7%
3 BMW X3 65.1%
4 GMC Yukon XL  64.4%
5 INFINITI QX60  63.9%
6 BMW X6  63.8%
7 Cadillac Escalade ESV  63.6%
8 Audi Q7  63.5%
9 BMW X1  63.4%
10 INFINITI QX80  63.4%
SUV Average 51.6%
Download Table

The SUVs with the highest depreciation are dominated by luxury vehicles, which account for nine of the top ten high-depreciating models. “Luxury SUVs tend to have steep depreciation because of their high starting prices, which have to come down significantly to attract buyers in the secondary marketplace,” said Ly. 

Lincoln models earn the top two spots. The Lincoln MKT midsize SUV is the top depreciating SUV followed by the second-ranked Lincoln Navigator L full-size SUV. “Although it has an abundance of cargo space, the Lincoln MKT has drawn criticism for its styling, so its low resale value is likely due to buyers favoring other vehicles in the highly competitive midsize SUV segment,” said Ly. “Meanwhile, the Lincoln Navigator L is a common livery vehicle, so its resulting high mileage likely has a negative effect on its resale value.”

BMW has the most models on the highest-depreciating list with three, including the third-ranked X3, the sixth-ranked X6, the ninth-ranked X1. “The high maintenance and repair costs of German vehicles like BMWs leads to the high depreciation of these vehicles,” said Ly. 

The fourth-ranked GMC Yukon XL stands out as the only non-luxury vehicle on the list. “A new Yukon XL has a high average price of $66,488, so it’s no surprise that it drastically depreciates as a luxury vehicle would,” Ly noted. “The Yukon XL is also a common livery vehicle, so its high mileage likely brings down its price.” 

Trucks with the Best Resale Value 

iSeeCars also examined the pickup truck segment to find the highest- and lowest-depreciating pickup trucks.  “Pickup trucks depreciate the least of any vehicle segment at 42.7 percent,” said Ly. “The lower depreciation for pickup trucks is likely because of their durability and their popularity, which keeps their resale values high.” The Toyota Tacoma is the truck with the best resale value, while the Ford F-150 depreciates the most.
iSeeCars Ranking of 5-Year Depreciation for Pickup Trucks
Rank Model Average 5-Year Depreciation
1 Toyota Tacoma 32.0%
2 Toyota Tundra 35.9%
3 Honda Ridgeline 38.1%
4 Nissan Frontier 39.5%
5 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 42.0%
Average for Light-Duty Pickup Trucks 42.7%
6 GMC Sierra 1500 43.0%
7 Ram Pickup 1500 45.2%
8 Nissan Titan 45.9%
9 Ford F-150 46.5%
Download Table

The four lowest-depreciating pickup trucks also appear on the overall list of lowest-depreciating vehicles. The additional pickup with below-average depreciation is the Chevrolet Silverado 1500. “The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is known for its technological features and high-reliability, which helps boost its resale value,” said Ly. 

The Ford F-150 is the pickup truck that depreciates the most.  “The Ford F-150 is the best-selling pickup, so it depreciates more than the average truck because there are so many of them in the used car marketplace,” said Ly, adding, “Although the F-150 is the highest-depreciating truck with a depreciation of 46.9 percent, it still depreciates less than the average vehicle across all segments at 49.6 percent.”

Sports Cars with the Best Resale Value 

iSeeCars examined the list to determine the lowest- and highest-depreciating sports cars. The sports car with the best resale value is the Porsche 911 coupe, which has an average five-year depreciation of 37.2 percent. 
iSeeCars Lowest-Depreciating Sports Cars
Rank Model Average 5-Year Depreciation
1 Porsche 911 (Coupe) 37.2%
2 Nissan GT-R 39.4%
3 Subaru Impreza WRX 40.0%
4 Porsche 911 (Convertible) 42.0%
5 Ford Mustang 44.4%
6 Dodge Challenger 44.4%
7 Subaru BRZ 45.0%
8 Chevrolet Camaro 45.8%
9 Nissan 370Z 46.7%
10 Mazda MX-5 Miata 47.2%
Average for Sports Cars 48.0%
Download Table

With the exception of the two Porsche 911 models and the Nissan GT-R, the lowest-depreciating sports cars all have average new car prices of under $40,000. “Because of the relative affordability of these vehicles in the sports car segment, they don’t depreciate as steeply as their six-figure counterparts,” said Ly. “These are also popular sports car models, so there is a high demand for them in the used car marketplace.”

Highest-Depreciating Sports Cars

The highest-depreciating sports car is the Maserati Quattroporte, which has a five-year depreciation of 72.2 percent. 
iSeeCars Highest-Depreciating Sports Cars
Rank Model Average 5-Year Depreciation
1 Maserati Quattroporte 72.2%
2 BMW M6 67.4%
3 Maserati Ghibli 65.7%
4 BMW M5 64.6%
5 Mercedes-Benz S-Class (AMG) 63.3%
6 Maserati GranTurismo 62.2%
7 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class 61.5%
8 Audi S5 (Convertible) 61.3%
9 Porsche Panamera 59.9%
10 Audi S5 (Coupe) 59.5%
Average for Sports Cars 48.0%
Download Table

The average new car price for the highest-depreciating sports cars ranges from the Audi S5 at $66,536 to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class AMG variant at $171,040. “These vehicles drastically depreciate because of their high starting prices, and used car buyers aren’t willing to pay a premium for the dated versions of these cars,” said Ly. “They also have high maintenance and repair costs, and their associated high ownership costs factor into their depreciation.”

Resale Value of Hybrid Vehicles

iSeeCars examined the list to determine the lowest- and highest-depreciating hybrid vehicles. The average for the segment is 56.7 percent, with the Toyota Prius c as the hybrid vehicle with the best resale value.
iSeeCars Ranking of 5-Year Depreciation for Hybrid Vehicles
Rank Model Average 5-Year Depreciation
1 Toyota Prius c 49.7%
2 Toyota Prius 53.5%
3 Honda Accord Hybrid 56.1%
4 Toyota Camry Hybrid 56.3%
Hybrid Average 56.7%
5 Lexus RX 450h 59.1%
6 Lexus ES 300h 59.4%
7 Kia Optima Hybrid 61.0%
9 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid 61.7%
10 Ford Fusion Hybrid 64.3%
11 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid 67.2%
The Toyota Prius c hybrid is the lowest-depreciating hybrid vehicle, followed by its larger counterpart, the Toyota Prius. Rounding out the vehicles with better-than-average depreciation for the segment are the third-ranked Honda Accord Hybrid and the fourth-ranked Toyota Camry Hybrid. “The reliability of Toyota and Honda vehicles aids in the resale values of their hybrid models,” said Ly.

Resale Value of Electric Vehicles

iSeeCars also determined the resale value of electric vehicles. Electric vehicles have the highest depreciation of any vehicle segment at 67.1 percent. 

“Electric vehicles depreciate more than any other vehicle segment due in part to the state federal incentives that were in place when these vehicles were sold new,” said Ly.

The Tesla Model S is the electric vehicle that has the highest resale value after five years at 61.5%

iSeeCars Ranking of 5-Year Depreciation for Electric Vehicles
Rank Model Average 5-Year Depreciation
1 Tesla Model S* 61.5%
EV Average 67.1%
2 Chevrolet Volt 68.1%
3 Ford Fusion Energi 69.1%
4 BMW i3 70.9%
5 Nissan LEAF 71.0%
*Tesla Model S numbers were calculated from Tesla’s annual report due to the unavailability of sales figures

The Tesla Model S is the lowest-depreciating electric vehicle, and the only vehicle to fare above the segment’s average.  “The Tesla Model S likely has a higher resale value than other EVs because it has a higher range and over-the-air updates that help keep the vehicle current,” said Ly.

Best Resale Value Car Brands

iSeeCars analyzed the data to determine the lowest- and highest-depreciating car brands. Toyota is the brand with the best resale value, while Maserati has the worst resale value. Here are the best and worst car brands for resale value:
iSeeCars Lowest- and Highest-Depreciating Vehicle By Brand
Lowest-Depreciating Highest-Depreciating
Rank Make Average 5-Year Depreciation Model Average 5-Year Depreciation
1 Toyota 42.3% Maserati 66.4%
2 Ram 45.2% BMW 65.0%
Jeep 46.3% Cadillac 64.9%
4 Honda 46.6% Lincoln 64.1%
5 Porsche 47.2% Volvo 62.7%
6 Subaru 47.5% Jaguar 62.2%
7 Chevrolet 48.4% Audi 62.1%
8 GMC 48.8% Mercedes-Benz 62.1%
9 Dodge 51.4% INFINITI 62.0%
10 Mitsubishi 51.8% Buick 60.1%
Overall Average: 49.6%
As a brand, Toyota vehicles have the best resale value at 42.3 percent, which is 14.6 percent lower than the overall average. “Toyota vehicles hold their value across all vehicle segments thanks to the brand’s reputation for reliability,” said Ly.

The highest-depreciating car brand is Maserati with an average depreciation of 66.4 percent, which is 33.8 percent higher than the overall average. “Along with the Quattroporte being the highest-depreciating vehicle across all segments, two additional Maseratis were among the highest-depreciating sports cars,” said Ly. “Maserati exclusively makes expensive luxury vehicles, so it’s no surprise that the brand doesn’t hold its value well.”

Lowest- and Highest-Depreciating Cars By City

iSeeCars also examined the data to determine the vehicles that depreciate the least and the most in the top 20 most populous cities.
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 29.9% Maserati Quattroporte 74.9%
Boston, MA-Manchester, NH Toyota Tacoma 31.7% BMW 7 Series 71.9%
Chicago, IL Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 31.2% Maserati Quattroporte 71.6%
Cleveland-Akron (Canton), OH Porsche 911 23.6% BMW 7 Series 73.5%
Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 30.2% Maserati Quattroporte 75.6%
Denver, CO Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 29.3% Maserati Quattroporte 74.1%
Detroit, MI Jeep Wrangler 32.8% BMW 7 Series 72.6%
Houston, TX Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 30.5% Maserati Quattroporte 74.4%
Los Angeles, CA Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 27.5% Maserati Quattroporte 73.4%
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL Nissan GT-R 24.3% BMW 7 Series 73.2%
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN Wrangler Unlimited 29.9% Acura RLX 72.8%
New York, NY Toyota Tacoma 32.2% Maserati Quattroporte 73.3%
Orlando-Daytona Beach, FL Jeep Wrangler 28.7% Ford Fusion Energi 72.6%
Philadelphia, PA Toyota Tacoma 31.2% BMW 7 Series 73.0%
Phoenix, AZ Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 24.9% Ford Fusion Energi 72.7%
Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, CA Jeep Wrangler 28.0% Maserati Quattroporte 73.9%
San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA Jeep Wrangler 25.0% Nissan LEAF 73.9%
Seattle-Tacoma, WA Toyota Tacoma 26.4% Nissan LEAF 72.6%
Tampa-St Petersburg (Sarasota), FL Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 29.7% BMW 7 Series 74.1%
Washington, DC (Hagerstown, MD) Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 30.0% Maserati Quattroporte 74.1%
Echoing national trends, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is the least depreciating vehicle in the most metro areas with nine, while the Maserati Quattroporte is the most depreciating vehicle in nine.

Car Resale Value: Why it Matters

Understanding a vehicle’s resale value is an important factor in helping both new and used car shoppers make an informed purchase decision. “If you plan on trading in or selling your next vehicle at around the five-year mark, a car that retains most of its value can lessen the expense of your 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 significant 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 6.9 million new cars from model year 2014 sold in 2014, and more than 800,000 used cars from the same model year sold between January and October 2019. New car prices from 2014 were inflation-adjusted by 7.9% to 2019 dollars, based on data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. For each model and body type the depreciation in average price from 2014 to 2019 was mathematically modeled. Low-volume vehicles, heavy-duty trucks and vans, and models no longer in production as of the 2019 model year were removed from further analysis.

About iSeeCars.com

iSeeCars.com is a car search engine that helps shoppers find the best car deals by providing key insights and valuable resources, like the iSeeCars VIN check report. iSeeCars.com has saved users almost $200 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