It doesn’t take an industry analyst to realize these are unusual times in the car business. Inventory shortages affected by supply chain issues, global unrest, and the lingering effects of COVID-19 have driven new-vehicle prices through the proverbial roof, with the majority selling, as of this writing, for more than their manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRPs).
That’s sent more shoppers to the used-car end of dealers’ lots where supply and demand issues of their own have been driving up prices. Recent figures indicate that pre-owned vehicles are commanding more than 60 percent more than they were back in the pre-pandemic era. That means that counter to the conventional wisdom, used cars have actually risen in value, rather than depreciated, over the past two years.
While this has certainly made shopping for an affordable older car, truck, or SUV challenging, it’s been a boon to those selling or trading in a pre-owned model, with resale values at all-time highs.
But as Sir Issac Newton proved, what goes up must eventually come down. It’s unsure how the currently inflated prices of both new and used vehicles will last, which makes predicting the future values of current models especially difficult. Estimating a given model’s future worth is already a crapshoot at best. A pre-owned model’s value depends largely on local supply and demand, the vehicle’s age and condition, and the number of miles on the odometer.
Still, choosing a car that’s expected to retain its original value the most tenaciously is the best way to hedge against unforeseen future market conditions, and ensure your vehicular investment will bring the maximum return down the road.
To that end, we consulted with the valuation experts at the automotive research and listings site CarEdge. They’ve analyzed millions of automotive data points and posted rankings on nearly 200 models to determine which ones will best (and worst) preserve their values. Among mainstream brands, Subaru models can be expected to return the highest percentage of original value after five years, at an average 78.65 percent. Tesla ranks highest among luxury brands, with its vehicles expected to return 68.72 percent after 60 months.
We’re presenting the 20 models below that CarEdge envisages will perform best in this regard, despite facing unprecedented market forces. All data is for vehicles in good condition, averaging 12,000 miles driven per year. We’ll provide information on the industry’s 20 worst performers in a separate post.
1. Porsche 911
This legendary sports car may go fast, but unlike so many high-priced luxury cars it loses its value slowly. Some, especially the rarest and/or most coveted models, could even become highly valued collectible cars at some future point.
- Assumed Price New: $210,554
- After Five Years: $178,971
- Retained Value: 85.00 Percent
2. Kia Rio
While consumers and automakers alike all but ignored small cars in recent years as the market shifted to SUVs, they’re in greater demand when cash-strapped consumers look for more affordable and fuel-efficient models. That the Rio comes with an extra-long warranty helps seal the deal.
- Assumed Price New: $23,105
- After Five Years: $19,595
- Retained Value: 84.81 Percent
The compact Mazda3 is a true driver’s car in a field of largely basic transportation, with lively acceleration and energetic handling that makes even a quick trip to the store more enjoyable. Its value should remain solid over the first half-decade, though it can be expected to drop more sharply after seven years.
- Assumed Price New: $28,903
- After Five Years: $21,236
- Retained Value: 84.09 Percent
4. Honda Civic
The Honda Civic line encompasses sedans and hatchbacks, in trims that run the gamut from mild to wild. Its well-earned reputation for reliability helps this compact car retain its value admirably over the years.
- Assumed Price New: $28,992
- After Five Years: $24,353
- Retained Value: 84.00 Percent
5. GMC Canyon
The midsize GMC Canyon is a more affordable alternative to a larger and costlier full-size pickup truck, but it remains a worthy and versatile choice, offering multiple engine choices, cab configurations, and bed lengths.
- Assumed Price New: $45,975
- After Five Years: $38,412
- Retained Value: 83.55 Percent
This classic sports car is available in coupe and convertible body styles, with various degrees of performance to suit most tastes and budgets. Red-hot internal combustion-engine cars like this could become scarce in the future, which might help prop up the Chevy Camaro’s long-term value among future enthusiasts.
- Assumed Price New: $48,225
- After Five Years: $40,253
- Retained Value: 83.47 Percent
The Volkswagen Jetta remains a far more affordable way to drive a bona fide German-engineered sedan than choosing a same-size model from the likes of Audi, BMW, or Mercedes-Benz. It’s sufficiently roomy, yet is more fun to drive than the typical compact car, and depreciates at a lower rate than its luxury-brand alternatives.
- Assumed Price New: $26,752
- After Five Years: $22,274
- Retained Value: 83.26 Percent
8. Toyota Prius
The gas/electric hybrid-powered Prius hatchback remains one of the most fuel-efficient rides on the road, with an EPA rating for 2022 that maxes out at an applaudable 58/53 city/highway mpg. That helps makes it a money-saver both at the gas pump and down the road in terms of higher retained values.
- Assumed Price New: $32,992
- After Five Years: $27,350
- Retained Value: 82.90 Percent
While the light-duty Ford F-150 full-size pickup truck is the best-selling vehicle in the U.S., its larger sibling the F-250 Super Duty sells in fewer numbers. That supply difference likely helps bolster its future value to a subsequent owner looking for a less costly, but no less purposeful, alternative to a new model.
- Assumed Price New: $75,411
- After Five Years: $62,448
- Retained Value: 82.81 Percent
10. Toyota Tacoma
The midsize Toyota Tacoma pickup truck has long been an industry stalwart, even through the years when the market shifted almost entirely to full-size models, and is especially appealing when equipped for off-road use. The market for smaller trucks has been heating back up in recent years, however, which should benefit the Tacoma’s future worth.
- Assumed Price New: $41,774
- After Five Years: $28,011
- Retained Value: 82.58 Percent
11. Honda CR-V
The compact Honda CR-V crossover SUV has long been a top seller for its overall excellence and its reputation for reliability. It’s also roomier and more practical than the typical small sedan, which contributes to its popularity.
- Assumed Price New: $39,960
- After Five Years: $32,907
- Retained Value: 82.35 Percent
The Chevy Colorado midsize pickup is mechanically related to the aforementioned GMC Canyon, though it features brand-specific exterior and interior treatments. For many it can suffice as a cheaper and more maneuverable alternative to a hulking full-size model, like the brand’s own Silverado.
- Assumed Price New: $44,708
- After Five Years: $36,77
- Retained Value: 82.26 Percent
The Corvette has long been known as “America’s sports car,” and especially in its current mid-engine generation, exists as a bargain-priced alternative to exotic European coupes and convertibles. CarEdge.com says the venerable ‘Vette actually holds onto higher percentages of its original value better as time goes on, which speaks highly of its ongoing popularity among enthusiasts and more-casual fans alike.
- Assumed Price New: $103,298
- After Five Years: $84,704
- Retained Value: 82.00 Percent
14. Subaru Crosstrek
The subcompact Subaru Crosstrek is closely related to the brand’s Impreza wagon, adding body cladding and a higher ground clearance to garner a more SUV-like look and feel. Unlike most of its competitors, the Crosstrek comes standard with all-wheel drive, which adds to its appeal, especially in snowy northern regions.
- Assumed Price New: $33,660
- After Five Years: $27,601
- Retained Value: 82.00 Percent
15. Subaru Impreza
The Subaru Impreza’s expected resale value is only a percentage point lower than its SUV equivalent, the Crosstrek. While it likewise comes standard with all-wheel drive, the Impreza offers a wider model line that includes subcompact sedans and wagons.
- Assumed Price New: $26,775
- After Five Years: $21,668
- Retained Value: 81.00 Percent
16. Ford F-350 Super Duty
The heavy-duty Ford F-350 pickup is like a Tonka Truck come to life. It’s huge, powerful, boldly styled, and can be fitted with dual rear wheels for extreme towing abilities. It’s also expensive, but holds its own in the pre-owned market among those who require its uncanny abilities.
- Assumed Price New: $83,445
- After Five Years: $67,449
- Retained Value: 80.83 Percent
17. Mazda MX-5 Miata
The Mazda MX-5 Miata is one of the most enjoyable small roadsters to drive through twisty roads, but that assumes the weather cooperates, which more often than not it doesn’t. That tends to keep miles on a used Miata low. The hardtop model extends its seasonal utility a bit, however.
- Assumed Price New: $34,688
- After Five Years: $27,976
- Retained Value: 80.65 Percent
18. Toyota 4Runner
The midsize two-row Toyota 4Runner is an old-school rear/four-wheel drive truck-based SUV that can be configured to climb rocks with the best off-roaders. Rides like this have become rare in the crossover era, which we’d assume helps bolster its retained value.
- Assumed Price New: $55,260
- After Five Years: $44,562
- Retained Value: 80.64 Percent
The full-size Chevrolet Express van is built in a variety of styles, sizes, and passenger capacities, primarily for commercial and livery use. Even with a high rate of return, those starting a business would be wise to choose a pre-owned model if it’s not already beat up to save some cash for other uses.
- Assumed Price New: $48,772
- After Five Years: $39,218
- Retained Value: 80.41 Percent
20. Ram ProMaster
The Ram ProMaster cargo van is more modern in design and execution than the aforementioned Chevy Express. It’s available in various roof heights and lengths to meet a variety of commercial needs.
- Assumed Price New: $49,662
- After Five Years: $39,456
- Retained Value: 79.45 Percent
Cars with the Best Resale Value
|Residual Value After 5 Years||Assumed Price New||Price After 5 Years|
|Porsche 911||85.00 Percent||$210,554||$178,971|
|Kia Rio||84.81 Percent||$23,105||$19,595|
|Honda Civic||84.00 Percent||$28,992||$24,353|
|GMC Canyon||83.55 Percent||$45,975||$38,412|
|Chevrolet Camaro||83.47 Percent||$48,225||$40,253|
|Volkswagen Jetta||83.26 Percent||$26,752||$22,274|
|Toyota Prius||82.90 Percent||$32,992||$27,350|
|Ford F-250 Super Duty||82.81 Percent||$75,411||$62,448|
|Toyota Tacoma||82.58 Percent||$41,774||$28,011|
|Honda CR-V||82.35 Percent||$39,960||$32,907|
|Chevrolet Colorado||82.26 Percent||$44,708||$36,777|
|Chevrolet Corvette||82.00 Percent||$103,298||$84,704|
|Subaru Crosstrek||82.00 Percent||$33,660||$27,601|
|Subaru Impreza||81.00 Percent||$26,775||$21,668|
|Ford F-350 Super Duty||80.83 Percent||$83,445||$67,449|
|Mazda MX-5 Miata||80.65 Percent||$34,688||$27,976|
|Toyota 4Runner||80.64 Percent||$55,260||$44,562|
|Chevrolet Express||80.41 Percent||$48,772||$39,218|
|Ram ProMaster||79.45 Percent||$49,662||$39,456|