Nearly all cars depreciate over time, but some more slowly than others. Here are the cars that hold their value the longest.
Unfortunately, nearly every car you buy will be a depreciating asset, its value diminishing over time. This can be even more vexing when you’ve financed your purchase. Making sure you’re never underwater on the loan is important, both for resale or trade-in value and even more so for insurance purposes. A big step in the right direction is choosing from cars that hold their value.
It’s often said that most cars take a significant hit to their value the moment they’re driven off the dealer’s lot. And while that’s true, there’s more to the story. Depending on the vehicle, some makes and models depreciate at substantially different rates with most luxury cars taking massive dives in value in just their first few years while other cars tend to lose their value much more gradually.
Part of the value to be found in buying a used car is identifying the Goldilocks zone where a car has depreciated enough to be more, and sometimes much more, affordable than a new car while also having a lot of life left mechanically. Often two to five years is the value sweet spot for used vehicles. But, for the cars on this list, the cars with the lowest depreciation rates, that sweet spot is closer to one-year old.
These brands consistently churn out cars that hold their value. As we’ll explore below, the reasons behind why these cars depreciate slowly can vary widely. But that each of these companies have in common is a potent mixture of brand loyalty and consistent quality (at least for certain nameplates, don’t @ me bro).
Subaru buyers love their rugged AWD do-it-all vehicles almost as much as they love their dogs, camping, and homemade hummus. Brand affinity plays a big part in why Subaru’s tend to maintain their value through the years.
The Toyota Way, Toyota’s meticulous approach to manufacturing, has resulted in a deserved reputation for reliability. Toyota’s brand is built not on flash or performance but on quality. Toyotas tend to hold their value because their cars are built to last in ways that others are not.
Speaking of a devotion to quality, Porsche has long been the pinnacle of performance automobiles. Unlike other German luxury brands, Porsche has largely shied away from compromising quality for scale. That their cars not only perform exceptionally well but do so for decades is why Porsches retain their value so well.
I’m sure there are a few GM haters out there saying, wait, one entry on this list is not like the others. But, once you’ve seen the list below of individual vehicles, you’ll know why people are willing to pay a market premium for Chevys and GMCs. GM is a big company with a long history; don’t allow the whiffs to overshadow the homeruns.
Honda’s reputation for quality is well established. From the S2000 to the Odyssey and the Civic Type R to the Ridgeline, Honda has managed to deftly balance fun with practicality. Add in Honda’s great reliability and it’s no wonder they highly sought after and maintain their value well over time.
The off-road all-star has built up a devoted fan base over its nearly 80-year history. Demand for used Jeeps tends to remain higher than average, and while the Wrangler isn’t known as the most reliable SUV out there, the fact that owners cherish them means they are usually well taken care of. What does go wrong gets promptly fixed. The Wrangler tends to depreciate slowly based on its iconic status and unmatched off-road credentials.
The Ol’Taco is notoriously hard to find cheap. Owners and dealers alike are familiar with the durability and reliability that takes Tacomas into stratospheric mileages. If you want to buy a truck and keep it for twenty years, there are few trucks better than the Toyota Tacoma.
Like the Tacoma, Toyota’s full-size Tundra also maintains its value well over time. The Tundra lags behind the competition when it comes to hauling, towing, luxury features and the latest tech, but what it does better than almost any other pickup is last. The Tundra can take decades of abuse, do serious work day-in-and-out and keep running. That’s why, when you’re done with your Tundra, you’ll still be able to get a decent chunk of cash out of it.
GMCs semi-luxury allure helps their full-size pickup hold its value well over time. The fact that Sierras are supremely capable and durable only adds to their cachet among truck buyers. And that’s the double-edged sword of buying a quality used truck, it might not come cheap, but true quality never does.
Another Toyota, another vehicle renowned for its longevity and the universal inability to find a used one for cheap. A new 4Runner stands to hold its value better than any other SUV on the market. It is also one of our go-to suggested vehicle for overlanding.
One thing Porsche owners have, aside from a lot of money, is a favorite vintage. Whether it’s a 901, a 964, or the current 992, Porsche 911s of every era are capable of inspiring deep devotion. Collectability, quality, and benchmark-setting performance make the 911 one of the best automotive investments around.
Dodge muscle cars have inspired their own set of rabid fans, with a history of smoking tires spanning 50-plus years. From late 60’s models all the way to today’s Hellcats, the Challenger has held its own at stoplights and on the used car market. In fact, if you finally want to win that decades old debate over muscle car supremacy, just as your Ford fanboy buddies why the Challenger holds it value better than a Mustang.
Speaking of fanboys, the Subaru WRX has its own cult following among lovers of ground effects and aftermarket DIY exhaust mods. We like to think of the “average” Subaru owner as a tweed-suit-with-elbow-patches-wearing assistant professor of 18th-century French literature or a German Shepard-owning crew-cut sporting lady in flannel and hiking boots. But the third demo of Subie fans is the vape cloud enveloped, Tik-Toking, purple-haired teenager convincing his parents that WRX is a totally reasonable first car. He’s right Mom and Dad, it is a good investment.
Like the 911 folks and the Dodge guys and the crazy kids and their WRXs, Corvette owners are a specific breed. We can joke all we want about the teeth gnashing that lead up to the C8 release over whether you could fit two golf bags in the trunk (turns out you can, just barely). But Corvette guys prize the cars because they want serious performance at an affordable price. The Corvette has consistently delivered on that promise for decades and the latest generation midengined C8 Corvette is no exception. Not only can you get supercar performance for around $60,000, the Vette will hold its value, too.
Like it’s GMC twin, the Chevy Silverado 1500 retains an inordinate amount of its market value based largely on its reliability and rugged capability. Truck buyers, the ones with real work do on the construction site, out in the farm fields, or far out in the boonies, know that what matters is consistency. The Silverado is nothing if not consistent. That it also rivals the F-150 and RAM 1500 in sophistication is just icing on cake.