2016 WRX exterior 800x600 ・ Photo by Subaru
Resale values vary from class to class and from vehicle to vehicle. The phrase “you lose money as soon as you roll off the lot” has never been more true than with today’s sedans, which are prone to lose more value than SUVs. Depreciation can add up to roughly fifty percent of your total costs over the first five years of ownership these days, and a vehicle can lose two-thirds or more of its initial value over that time. That’s a huge chunk of cash. Want to minimize your losses? Choose a previously owned vehicle rather than a brand new vehicle to avoid a significant amount of depreciation loss over the long run. Our list of sedans with the best resale values includes a wide spectrum of choices, from subcompacts to high-end luxury vehicles.
The affordably priced Subaru Impreza holds its value exceptionally well for a compact sedan. It’s the least expensive all-wheel drive vehicle sold in America, with a starting MSRP of $18,395. Kelley Blue Book rates the Impreza sedan at #1 in the compact class overall, with a current resale value estimate of 54.9% after 36 months and 36.1% after 60 months. Reliability and versatility are key to the Impreza’s success, while an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 28 city/38 highway mpg keep operating costs in check. As a brand, Subaru offers some of the strongest resale values across the board, due to strong support in mountainous cold-weather states like Colorado and New Hampshire.
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The Honda Civic is a perennial best-seller, with reliability, strong resale values, and overall affordability the primary drivers of its success. Kelley Blue Book rates the Civic at #2 in the compact class overall, with a current resale value estimate of 49.4% after 36 months and 33.0% after 60 months. A low-mileage certified pre-owned Civic is one of the best bets for reliable transportation on a tight budget. An ample supply of clean low-mileage units ensures a fluid market. A major redesign in the 2016 model year reinvigorated the Civic and the reintroduction of a 5-door hatchback and high-performance Type-R in 2017 bring new excitement.
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While large sedan sales are down overall, the Nissan Maxima enjoyed a huge jump in sales in 2016. Kelley Blue Book rates the Maxima sedan at #1 in the fullsize class overall, with a current resale value estimate of 42.8% after 36 months and 30.8% after 60 months. A potent 305-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, solid handling, and distinctive styling are among the Maxima’s most appealing attributes, but the cockpit’s the trump card, with zero gravity front bucket seats, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. The fullsize Toyota Avalon and Dodge Charger offer solid alternatives, with the availability of a hybrid drivetrain in the Avalon and all-wheel drive in the Charger.
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The Subaru WRX’s cult status ensures strong resale values, but you need to know what you’re buying. The base WRX, WRX Premium, and WRX Limited are equipped with a 268-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter horizontally opposed boxer four, while the WRX STI is fitted with a 305-horsepower 2.5-liter boxer four. Kelley Blue Book rates the WRX sedan at #1 in the sport compact class overall, with exceptionally strong current resale value estimates of 55.2% after 36 months and 45.4% after 60 months. Mods are rampant on used WRXs. If you’re looking into a previously-owned vehicle, be wary of engine and suspension modifications that may lead to service issues at the dealership.
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The 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid is an exceptional value for more reasons than you might expect. Not only is it highly fuel efficient — with an EPA rating of 49 city/47 highway mpg — it’s wonderfully roomy, comfortable, and stylish. Better yet, all models are equipped with the Honda Sensing safety technology suite, which includes adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, collision mitigation braking, and road departure mitigation. If you can’t live without your smartphone, you’ll love the standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. Kelley Blue Book rates the Honda Accord Hybrid at #1 in the hybrid/alternative energy class overall, with a current resale value estimate of 42.7% after 36 months and 31.7% after 60 months. The Accord holds up remarkably well over time. iSeeCars.com rated the Accord as American's second longest lasting car in a recent study.
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While subcompact sedans are prone to high depreciation rates, they’re a great way to stay mobile while on a tight budget and can be fun to drive, to boot. The Toyota Yaris iA is a perfect case-in-point. It offers excellent handling, a handsome cabin, and excellent fuel economy with a remarkably low starting MSRP of $15,950. Kelley Blue Book rates the Yaris iA sedan at #2 in the subcompact class overall (after the Honda Fit), with a current resale value estimate of 39.0% after 36 months and 26.0% after 60 months. Although the depreciation curve is steep, you could win the numbers game with a clean certified pre-owned unit. The iA was previously sold under the Scion marquee and is actually a Mazda2 under the skin.
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The midsize Legacy completes Subaru’s hat trick in our list of sedans with the best resale value, with standard all-wheel drive one of the Impreza’s bigger brother’s strongest selling points. Kelley Blue Book rates the Legacy sedan at #1 in the midsize class overall, with a current resale value estimate of 47.6% after 36 months and 33.2% after 60 months. While the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry offer strong midsize resale values, they are not offered with AWD. If you need a sedan that will get there no matter the weather or road conditions, the Legacy is a best bet. A 2.5-liter horizontally opposed boxer 4-cylinder engine is standard on most models, but the top-of-the-line 3.6R Limited offers a stout boxer six.
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The Porsche Panamera delivers an edge against the depreciation which is known to afflict many expensive luxury vehicles. Kelley Blue Book rates the Panamera at #1 in the high-end luxury class overall, with a current resale value estimate of 48.5% after 36 months and 32.5% after 60 months. 2017 brings the new all-wheel drive Panamera Turbo, with a magnificent 520-horsepower 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine mated to an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. With a 0-60 mph time under four seconds, it’s the fastest entry on our list of sedans with the best resale value. The Lexus LS and Mercedes-Benz CLS also offered stronger than average high-end luxury sedan resale values.
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The luxurious Lexus GS Sedan lineup provides a wide range of choices, with GS, GS Hybrid, and GS F models. The base GS Turbo starts at a MSRP of $46,310. The GS 350 is equipped with a 311-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 and is available with rear-wheel- or all-wheel drive. The high-performance GS-F covers the 0-60 mph sprint in 4.5 seconds and is fitted with a 467-horsepower naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8. Kelley Blue Book rates the Lexus GS sedan at #1 in the luxury class overall, with a current resale value estimate of 42.0% after 36 months and 31.0% after 60 months.
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While overall sales in the midsize luxury sedan class were down from year-to-year, the Lexus ES remained the best-selling model, with a mid-cycle refresh in 2016. The front-wheel drive ES is offered in conventional ES 350 ($38,900) and hybrid ES 350h ($41,820) models, with the hybrid delivering an admirable 40 mpg combined. Kelley Blue Book rates the Lexus ES sedan at #2 in the entry level luxury class overall, with a strong current resale value estimate of 48.5% after 36 months and 34.5% after 60 months. If you're looking for luxury on a budget, buying a 5-year-old ES delivers plenty of bang for the buck. The smaller Lexus IS sedan offers solid resale values, as well.
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