The Top 10 Cars That Hold Their Value
Wondering which cars will be worth the most when you sell them on? We’ve got this year’s list—and it includes a lot of trucks.
Car ownership is expensive. This isn’t news. But one important consideration is how much money the vehicle in your driveway will be worth when you decide to sell it.
The folks at iSeeCars released a new study on just that, after combing through the data on over 800,000 car sales. The good news for owners is that, compared to last year, the used market is very strong, thanks to a perfect storm of pandemic slowdowns and the continued chip shortage. On average, a five-year old car lost roughly 40.1 percent of its value, compared to 49.1 for the same age only a year ago.
As ever, there are the over-achievers, the rides that hold onto even more of that original list price. The top half of this year’s list includes the same vehicles as 2020, but in a different order. If you own any of the following vehicles, you can rest easy knowing depreciation hasn’t hurt them nearly as much as the market average.
Top 10 Cars That Hold Their Value, 2021
10. Toyota 4Runner: 24.6% Depreciation
The Toyota 4Runner drops down the rankings for 2021, but still holds onto the bottom rung. On average, the study showed five-year old models lost 24.6 percent of their original list price. It’s probably because the 4Runner hasn’t changed substantially in over a decade.
09. Dodge Challenger: 24.4% Depreciation
So begins a string of American muscle. The Dodge Challenger might be old, but it holds onto its value, averaging just 24.4 percent depreciation across five years. Last year it was the top-performing pony car, but in 2021, both of its primary competitors overtook it.
08. Chevrolet Camaro: 23.6% Depreciation
Next up is the Chevrolet Camaro. One of the cheapest fun new cars you can buy, the Camaro sticks to the recipe it’s used since it debuted: relatively lightweight, rear-drive platform, powerful engines, and a choice of manual or automatic transmission. Five-year-old models shed 23.6 percent of their original value.
07. Chevrolet Corvette: 22.7% Depreciation
The Corvette charges up the rankings this year, beating its boxier sibling with a 22.7-percent depreciation rating. What gives? Well, while the current car is still V8-powered, the switch to a midship layout no doubt has strengthened prices of the last front-engined model.
06. Ford Mustang: 21.0% Depreciation
Topping the list of pony cars for 2021 is the evergreen Ford Mustang, which averaged just 21.0 percent depreciation for 60-month-old models. The Blue Oval pony comes in a bunch of different flavors, from EcoBoost convertible to raucous, high-revving Shelby GT350.
05. Toyota Tundra: 19.5% Depreciation
Only one full-size truck made the cut this year, and it’s the same Toyota Tundra as last year, in the same spot no less. The difference is that this used-car-hungry market has shrunk the average five-year depreciation figure to just 19.5 percent. Maybe you should look at just getting the new one; you’ll save on gas with that hybrid setup…
04. Toyota Tacoma: 13.8% Depreciation
It’s a one-two punch for Toyota, as the brand’s other truck secures the fourth-place spot for 2021. There’s a big gap here, as the Tacoma sheds just 13.8 percent of its original list price over the course of five years. Put another way, on average, it loses just 0.23 percent per month.
03. Porsche 911: 12.8% Depreciation
The Porsche 911 remains the most depreciation-proof sports car out there. For the third year in a row it’s the highest-rated car, and this year it’s behind only one vehicle (technically). At an average five-year depreciation of just 12.8 percent, that translates to a $20,710 difference between the MSRP and the used price.
02. Jeep Wrangler Unlimited: 10.5% Depreciation
Of course it’s a Wrangler. In fact, the Wrangler occupies both top spots on the list for 2021, on account of the two- and four-door models listing separately. This year, it’s the four-door that comes second, with a 60-month depreciation of just 10.5 percent.
01. Jeep Wrangler: 9.2% Depreciation
Hello again, Wrangler. For 2021, Jeep’s venerable off-roader once again tops the list, but this time it’s the smaller, more agile two-door model. With just 9.2 percent depreciation, the Wrangler is the king of this wild seller’s market.
Car ownership is expensive. This isn’t news. But one important consideration is how much money the vehicle in your driveway will be worth when you decide to sell it.
The folks at iSeeCars released a new study on just that, after combing through the data on over 8.2 million car sales. The good news for owners is that, compared to last year, the used market held onto slightly more value than before. On average, a five-year old car lost roughly 49.1 percent of its value, up half a percentage point over 2019.
As ever, there are the over-achievers, the rides that hold onto even more of that original list price. This year’s leader is the same as last year; in fact, the top six are all familiar faces, though they’ve shuffled places in the last 12 months. Most of the list is once again trucks, though sports cars fill out the rest of the ranks. Read on for the cars that hold their value the best.
Top 10 Cars That Hold Their Value, 2020
10. Nissan Frontier: 43.5% Depreciation
The Nissan Frontier no doubt holds its value because it’s been pretty much the same truck for most of this century. That changed for 2020 though, with a new 3.8-liter V6 engine and nine-speed automatic transmission. The new drivetrain will debut in the next-gen Frontier in 2021. Previous model years remain sturdy, affordable workhorses.
09. GMC Canyon: 41.2% Depreciation
Sticking with the mid-size truck market, GMC’s Canyon is next on the list. The Canyon offers buyers a variety of flavors: rear- or all-wheel drive, three engines (including a segment-exclusive diesel), and a lux-oriented Denali trim.
08. Dodge Challenger: 40.6% Depreciation
Give it up for Detroit muscle. The big Dodge Challenger might not be able to keep up with the Camaro or Mustang on a track, but it holds onto its value better than either of them. Dodge’s retro-styled two-door sheds just over 40 percent of its value after five years. Bad news if you want to pick up a first-year Hellcat on the cheap, but good news if you’ve been eyeing that brand-new Redeye…
07. Subaru WRX: 39.8% Depreciation
Like the Frontier, the Subaru WRX was present on iSeeCars’ 2019 list as well. While the pickup dropped down however, the the scrappy four-door rally car essentially stayed level, moving from 40 to 39.8 percent depreciation. It stands in a class of one these days: nobody else really offers an affordable, fun sedan with all-wheel drive and a manual transmission. That explains the solid used prices.
06. Toyota 4Runner: 38.5% Depreciation
We’re now firmly into re-run territory: all the remaining cars were in the top six last year too. The Toyota 4Runner drops a spot to sixth, with a 2.0-percent dip in depreciation. It remains a rugged, go-anywhere SUV in the old mold, using a body-on-frame chassis for maximum off-road ability. It continues to use the tried-and-true Toyota 4.0-liter V6, and in recent years has added a TRD Off-Road Pro trim.
05. Toyota Tundra: 37.0% Depreciation
The big Toyota Tundra is the only full-size truck to make this list, just like last year. Like the 4Runner and Frontier, this one is pretty long in the tooth, which is likely keeping the used prices buoyant. A 5.7-liter V8 offers a decent amount of hauling power, but it drinks more fuel than the comparable V8s from the American Big Three.
04. Porsche 911: 36.0% Depreciation
Sports cars tend to only hold their value well into their life, but the evergreen Porsche 911 bucks that trend. The iconic sports car sheds just over a third of its starting price according to the study, and there’s a good reason for it. iSeeCars executive analyst Karl Brauer explains: “Porsche maintains a tight inventory, so there aren’t many 911s in the used car marketplace and people are willing to pay a premium because it’s an aspirational car.”
03. Jeep Wrangler: 32.8% Depreciation
The Jeep Wrangler resists depreciation with the same tenacity it approaches the Moab with. As the venerable off-roader has grown in sales figures, demand has outpaced it, keeping used prices high.
iSeeCars separates out the two- and four-door models, and it’s the former that finds itself in third place this year. It slips ever so slightly over its 2019 figures, enough to let last year’s third-place truck leapfrog it in the 2020 standings…
02. Toyota Tacoma: 32.4% Depreciation
Yes, it’s Taco time. The Toyota Tacoma is the only vehicle out there to really rival the Wrangler’s used-market strength. The mid-size pickup has done so for a while, as it features a desirable blend of affordability, durability, and mod-friendliness. A popular candidate for overlanding, the Tacoma has a fiercely loyal fanbase, which explains it losing less than a third of its value even after five years. That’s still not enough to dethrone the other Wrangler, though.
01. Jeep Wrangler Unlimited: 30.9% Depreciation
Once again, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited tops the list of cars that best hold their value. The four-door version of the off-roader offers easier rear-row access and a smoother ride thanks to that extended wheelbase. It might shed slightly more value than it did in 2019—up 0.9 percent—but it’s not enough to lose the crown.
We’re very interested to see how the market responds to the upcoming, electrified Wrangler 4xe model. Hopefully we can pick one up for cheap come 2026.
Top 10 Cars That Hold Their Value, 2019
According to an iSeeCars study of more than 7.7 million new and used car sales, the average amount of depreciation after five years is just shy of half the original price (49.6%). We’re focusing in on the strongest performers here, the cars that hold their value best after 60 months. It’s a list largely dominated by trucks, with a handful of sporty nameplates peppered in.
10. Subaru WRX: 40.0%
The list kicks off with a surprising entry: Subaru’s rally-bred WRX. Offering a potent combo of turbocharged power and all-wheel drive security for nearly two decades on our shores, the WRX has stayed remarkably close to its original recipe the entire time. That might be why it holds onto its value—nearly 10% better than the average—so well: no matter which generation buyers choose, there’s a 2.0-liter flat-four and Subaru’s famous symmetrical AWD backing it up. It’s still an affordable, fun package: no wonder it only loses 40% of its value on average. We even rank it as one of the best used sports car buys for under $10k.
09. Nissan Frontier: 39.5%
The Frontier is comfortably the oldest car on the list. The current model has had a few facelifts over the course of its life since Nissan debuted it in 2005. It’s a mid-size truck in the old-school mold, with two different bed and cab lengths available. Large-displacement four- and six-cylinder engines aren’t particularly high-tech, but they’re reliable. This consistency probably contributes to the Frontier’s ninth-place finish on the list, with average depreciation of 39.5%. It’s the first appearance of multiple trucks, so get ready.
08. Nissan GT-R: 39.4%
Another Nissan, and this one couldn’t be more different than the Frontier. Well, they put power to all four wheels…
The reborn Godzilla holds its value well, just edging the Frontier for 8th, with 39.4% depreciation. Just like the big lizard, the GT-R has evolved and gained new powers over the years, but it retains a massive slug of turbo-V6 power and one of the most advanced all-wheel drive systems on the market. Its tuner-friendliness and limited numbers help keep values strong.
SEE ALSO: 2017 Nissan GT-R Review
07. Honda Ridgeline: 38.1%
Another Japanese mid-size truck, you say? Yes, amongst the entire lineup of Honda vehicles, it’s the Ridgeline that comes out on top when selling time comes. It retains 61.9% of its original value over five years. Sharing its unibody platform with the Pilot crossover and Odyssey minivan, the Ridgeline features a smoother on-road ride than most other trucks out there. A powerful and reasonably economical 3.5-liter V6 engine also helps.
06. Porsche 911: 37.2%
It turns out that even modern Porsche 911s are strong in the residual game. Newer 911s only shed 37.2% of their original sticker; they’re not printing their owners money like a 1973 Carrera RS 2.7, but it’s better than any other modern sports car.
What’s great about the 911 range is that there’s something for just about everyone. A basic Carrera is a sweet steer, and drivers can add power through the S or GTS trims. All-wheel drive is an option too, and standard on the rocketship Turbo. The 911 is available with coupe, convertible, and targa bodystyles, but only the coupe averages 37.2% depreciation: the convertible loses 42.0%.
SEE ALSO: 2018 Porsche 911 T Review
05. Toyota 4Runner: 36.5%
Welcome to truck town. The top half of the list is exclusively SUVs and trucks, with the Toyota 4Runner kicking things off. Sticking to a body-on-frame platform in the face of unibody crossover competition, the 4Runner prioritizes off-road prowess and towing capability over mall runs.
There’s decent room for five in the rugged (but plasticky) interior, and a respectable amount of power from its 4.0-liter V6 engine. That legendary Toyota reputation for reliability no doubt helps the 4Runner retain a strong 63.5% of its original list price.
04. Toyota Tundra: 35.9%
It might not match the American Big Three on the sales charts, but the Toyota Tundra beats its big-rig competitors on resale value. Tundra owners are a fiercely loyal bunch, with many trading in one for another when the time comes. The current all-V8 lineup—Toyota discontinued the V6 in 2010—keeps things simple. It lags behind more modern engines in terms of fuel mileage, but it does give the Tundra a hearty tow rating. Like the 4Runner, the Tundra also benefits from the Toyotas-are-reliable reputation too. Same goes for the next entry…
03. Toyota Tacoma: 32.0%
The Toyota Tacoma has long stood at the pointy end of the resale value scale. Demand for this tough-as-nails mid-size truck keeps prices robust in the used market. The Taco features a Goldilocks mix of size and power, making it a popular choice for overlanding and general off-roading. It also avoids the luxury trappings of the full-size truck market, keeping prices level over the years—and thus, not giving the Tacoma as much room to drop.
The Tacoma, Tundra, and 4Runner help push Toyota past all other brands on the overall depreciation charts. As a marque, Toyotas average a 42.3% loss over five years, compared to the industry-wide average of 49.6%.
02. Jeep Wrangler: 31.5%
Anybody that’s looked at used prices of Jeep’s iconic Wrangler saw this coming. These things hold onto their value with more strength than grandma’s holiday hugs. Those timeless looks, the freedom the removable roof and doors implies, that go-anywhere attitude: the Wrangler isn’t just an icon for Jeep, but for the freedom a car can provide.
“Jeep Wranglers are known for retaining their value for reasons including their ruggedness, durability, and iconic design,” said iSeeCars CEO Phong Ly. “Because of Jeep’s loyal following, their demand outstrips supply in the used car marketplace leading to high resale values.”
01. Jeep Wrangler Unlimited: 30%
If there’s one thing the two-door Wrangler is missing, it’s ease of access for the back-row inhabitants. Getting in requires a climb up and mild contortion to clear the side of the truck. Back in 2007 Jeep introduced the first factory-built four-door Wrangler Unlimited, and if on-the-road sightings are any indication, it almost immediately became the dominant model.
The package is plain to understand: all of the appeal of the Wrangler, but with 20 more inches between its wheels. It’s enough for another pair of doors and back-seat space that works for actual humans. The Unlimited’s increased desirability is reflected in its resale value: it’s the best vehicle in the entire market, shedding only 30% of its list price after five years.
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Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.
More by Kyle Patrick