Which 2013 Cars Have the Highest Resale Value?

By Marcy Bonebright, dealnews Senior Staff Writer

When you're shopping for a car, a good resale value might not be all that high on your list of requirements. However, as we've discovered about Apple products, taking resale value into consideration when you're making a big purchase can help your wallet in the long term. And when it comes to cars, it always pays to think about what a vehicle will be worth five years after you drive it off the lot.

According to Kelley Blue Book, "Over the first five years of new-car ownership, depreciation is a typical car owner's biggest transportation expense – bigger than the cost of fuel, maintenance, or insurance." With that in mind, Kelley Blue Book put together its list of the best cars of 2013, ranked according to their resale value after 60 months, or five years.

These "resale value projections are based on current vehicle data, sales data, market conditions for each vehicle, competition within vehicle segments, expectations of the future economy, and the combined experience of Kelley Blue Book's team of market and pricing analysts." The awards are broken down by best brand, overall top 10, and best in category.

And the Winner Is...

So which car came out on top? According to Kelley Blue Book, Toyota's 2013 FJ Cruiser is the number one car to buy if you're looking solely at resale value. They predict it will retain a whopping 63% of its initial value after five years. Note that this SUV lacks a lot in terms of fuel economy, which is a good reminder that a car's resistance to depreciation is only one factor to consider when buying a car.

Is a sedan more your speed? According to the list, the best mid-size car is the 2013 Honda Accord, which is predicted to retain 46% of its value after five years. Looking for a luxury car? The 2013 Lexus GS 350 will purportedly retain 47% of its value. Got your heart set on a hybrid? The 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid is your best bet at 45% predicted value retention.

Given the results above, it's unsurprising that Kelley Blue Book rated Toyota as the best brand to buy if for customers who are looking solely at resale value. "On the strength of 10 individual wins – six segment winners and four top 10 entries – this is the third time in four years that Toyota has taken home our Best Resale Value Award for Best Brand." The best luxury brand was Lexus.

Of course, this is all just speculation on the part of Kelley Blue Book. If you're looking for another point of view, Kiplinger's 2013 list of cars with the best resale value offers some insight as well. However, it remains a sad fact that any car you buy will drastically lose its value, no matter how well you care for it. And while resale value should not be the only thing you consider when you're buying a car, if you're stuck between two models, glancing at one of these lists may save you a lot of money in the long run.

What do you think, reader? Did your car make either list? How important is resale value when you're buying a car? Have you ever been burned by an unexpectedly low trade-in value for your vehicle? Tell us all about it in the comments below.

Front page photo credit: SuperStock

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DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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The only reason to mention resale value is if you intend to sell the car after you buy it. The only valid reason to sell a car (assuming you do actually need one) is because the one you currently own no longer meets your needs (i.e. you only have a small car and you now need a car that can hold a family). Otherwise, there is no rational reason to sell a car unless there is another factor (price of gas, for example) that drives the desire. But the reason you sell is the same reason the buyer will pay less (think about it).
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FJ Cruiser, really? Gad, that thing is so ugly it would make a train take a dirt road.
I say buy a used car with low resale value. :)