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7 Cars That Hold Their Value the Longest

Buying a car can be expensive, but owning a car also means ongoing costs. Depreciation, or the loss of value after you purchase a car, is one of the biggest costs involved with car ownership.

The average vehicle loses around 60% of its value within the first five years, with some makes and models losing a lot more than others. In many cases, a vehicle loses as much as 10% the first month it’s driven off the lot.  That’s why finding cars that hold their value over time is one of the best ways to save money on your purchase. Finding a car that takes a smaller depreciation hit can even save you more than a rebate or other special incentives.

To calculate this list of of cars that hold their value well, we used cost-to-own tools from industry standards Kelley Blue Book (KBB) and Edmunds. Both require that you use a specific ZIP code because car values vary depending on location. We used 28277 for LendingTree’s headquarters and compared the results with safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). If cars scored well both on the cost-to-own tools and in NHTSA and IIHS safety tests, they made our list. Learn how to research car values for yourself here.

Best compact cars that hold their value

Compact cars are larger than subcompacts and smaller than mid-sized cars. By definition, a compact car has 100-110 cubic feet of combined passenger and cargo volume. This category can include sedans, convertibles and hatchbacks.

2019 Volkswagen Jetta

  • $18,745 MSRP
  • KBB 5-year cost to own: $25,579; Edmunds 5-year cost to own: $28,456
  • 5-star NHTSA rating
  • Mostly good ratings from IIHS
  • 30 city/40 highway/34 combined MPG

The Jetta is the most affordable car on our list, which means you’ll take a smaller depreciation hit as an owner. For the savvy shopper, the combination of affordability with the Jetta’s substantial six year or 72,0000 mile bumper-to bumper, transferable warranty, make the Volkswagen Jetta a really attractive buy. The basic trim is zippy and agile, but the GLI offers a 2.0-liter turbo engine and 228 horsepower for the driver who craves something sportier. While the Jetta’s exterior design still lacks flash, this generation boasts some interesting technology enhancements. Traditional dashboard gauges have been replaced with a digital dashboard inherited from its luxury cousin Audi, and the Jetta is also now equipped with Beats audio.

2019 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid

  • $25,250 MSRP
  • KBB 5-year cost to own $25,648; Edmunds 5-year cost to own: not available
  • No NHTSA rating
  • IIHS Top Safety Pick
  • 52 city/highway combined MPG, 119 combined MPGe

KBB picked the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid as a favorite among the new Ioniq offerings which include a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and an electric version. The car gets 27 miles on electric power and then switches to hybrid mode. The fuel efficiency on this plug-in hybrid make it more affordable to drive. According to data from the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save more than $4,000 for fuel over the first five years than what you’d shell out for the average new vehicle. Drivers with an eye toward environmental impact may also love that the interior is designed with eco-friendly elements, including wood and recycled materials.

The basic trim includes Apple CarPlay, a rearview camera, 7-inch touch screen and it comes with a 5 year or 60,000 mile basic warranty. It also comes with Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain and lifetime battery warranty.

2020 Toyota Prius Prime

  • $27,750 MSRP
  • KBB 5-year cost to own: $23,615; Edmunds 5-year cost to own: Not available
  • No NHTSA rating
  • IIHS has not yet rated the 2020 Toyota Prius Prime. It was a 2019 Top Safety Pick.
  • 54 city/highway combined MPG, 133 combined MPGe

The second plug-in hybrid on our list offers better fuel economy than the first. Using gas alone this car gets a combined city/highway of 54 MPG. On the other hand the Prius Prime comes with a shorter basic warranty than the Ioniq and has slightly less power.

All of the 2020 Prime models come with thoughtful features, including a newly added fifth seat and two USB ports for back-seat passengers. You’ll also get Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa and satellite radio. One thing of note, however, the Toyota Prius Prime does not offer Android Auto.

Best mid-size cars that hold their value

Mid-size cars have between 110-119 cubic feet combined passenger and cargo volume, and the category can include crossovers and SUVs.

2019 Honda Accord LX

  • $29,488 MSRP
  • KBB 5-year cost to own: $29,488; Edmunds 5-year cost to own: $29,489
  • 5-Star NHTSA Safety Rating
  • IIHS 2019 Top Safety Pick
  • 30 city/38 highway/33 combined MPG

The Accord is a favorite with both buyers and critics for a lot of reasons. KBB has recognized the 2019 Honda Accord for its horsepower and fuel economy, and named it the winner of the 5-Year Cost to Own Award for 2019 in the midsize car category. Edmund’s named it the Editor’s Choice for 2019 Midsize sedan.

Why the accolades? Because it checks a surprising number of boxes. The standard model isn’t lacking anything in power and performance, the car has excellent driver safety features and resale value, and its cabin and trunk are both roomy. Plus, the 2019 models come with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

2019 Toyota Camry L

  • $24,095 MSRP
  • KBB 5-year cost to own: $31,934; Edmunds 5-year cost to own: $30,294
  • 5-star NHTSA rating
  • IIHS 2019 Top Safety Pick+
  • 29 city/41 highway/34 combined MPG

Predictability might not be the biggest draw for every buyer, but it’s exactly what we’re looking for when it comes to resale value. The Toyota Camry, which is often described as a safe and reliable, if lackluster sedan, is known for maintaining its resale value. Plus, the 2019 Camry offers more thrills than past generations. It recently got an upgrade to its design and suspension that makes it sportier, without sacrificing efficiency. The car also ranks in KBBs’ 2019 top five for horsepower and combined MPG.

Best full-size cars that hold their value

A full-sized car has 120 or more cubic feet of combined passenger and cargo volume. Full-sized SUVs and crossovers can fall into this category.

2019 Chevrolet Impala LS

  • $28,020 MSRP
  • KBB 5-year cost to own:$39,704; Edmunds 5-year cost to own: $37,268
  • 5-star NHTSA rating
  • Mostly good ratings from IIHS
  • 22 city/29 highway/25 combined MPG

This family-friendly sedan is more about comfort than utility. The base engine of the Chevy Impala may leave something to be desired but its interior space and massive trunk make it well-equipped for long hauls. Despite its roominess it isn’t bulky, and Chevy’s largest sedan is just as affordable as competitors in its class like the Ford Taurus. Edmunds rates the Chevy Impala as the fourth best large sedan, coming in right after the next car on our list.

2019 Dodge Charger SXT

  • $29,470 MSRP
  • KBB 5-year cost to own: $41,044; Edmunds 5-year cost to own: $38,103
  • 5-star NHTSA rating
  • Mostly good ratings from IIHS
  • 19 city/30 highway/23 combined MPG

The Dodge Charger is both a muscle car and roomy family sedan, all wrapped into one. The basic model comes with a powerful V6 engine, but if you’re drawn to the sporty quality of the Charger you may consider upgrading to the Hellcat, which has a V8. Just note that the upgrade means a significant leap in estimated cost to own. The Charger which takes third in Edmund’s list of best large sedans, comes in several trim levels with lots of customizable features. The basic trim, like several others on our list, comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but it’s also equipped with Dodge’s solid Uconnect system which responds quickly to smartphone input.

How to finance the cars that hold their value

Saving money on your next car purchase isn’t just about finding a car with good resale value. You can reduce the cost of ownership on your next car by finding a loan with more favorable terms, which means you’ll need to shop around for the best auto loan available. As a vehicle owner, you can also save money and ensure you’ll get more when you sell if you avoid excessive wear-and-tear, fix any blemishes and keep up with regular maintenance.


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