The best and worst cars for depreciation

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Five-year car depreciation across all vehicle segments

A long line of unsold 2021 Wrangler sports-utility vehicles sits at a Jeep Dodge dealership Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Castle Rock, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

  • Jeep Wrangler tops the list of vehicles with the lowest depreciation, at 9.2 percent over five years, compared to 40.1 percent average
  • Nissan LEAF depreciates the most, losing 65.1 percent of its value, amounting to a $23,666 drop in value over five years
  • Trucks and truck-based SUVs hold their value the best, while EVs and luxury sedans see the most depreciation

The new cars that retain the most value after 5 years consist of trucks, truck-based SUVs, and sports cars, while luxury cars depreciate the most according to a new study by automotive research firm and car search engine iSeeCars.com

iSeeCars.com analyzed more than 8.2 million car sales to identify vehicles from the 2016 model year with the lowest and highest loss in value from MSRP after five years. iSeeCars found that the average five-year-old vehicle depreciated by 40.1 percent in 2021, compared to 49.1 percent in 2020. 

“We’ve seen record high used car prices over the past 15 months as a result of the microchip shortage, and that has slowed down the average depreciation rate across all vehicles,” said iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer. “Vehicles that have historically maintained their value well have depreciated even less this past year, but even in today’s market some cars continue to drastically drop in value.”

Vehicles That Depreciate the Least

The average car depreciation over the first five years is 40.1 percent, and the five-year-old cars with the best resale value depreciate 1.6 to 4.4 times less than average, as shown below. 

Top 10 Vehicles With the Lowest Depreciation – iSeeCars Study
RankModelAverage 5-Year DepreciationAvg $ Difference from MSRP
1Jeep Wrangler9.2%$2,796
2Jeep Wrangler Unlimited10.5%$3,810
3Porsche 91112.8%$20,710
4Toyota Tacoma13.8%$4,899
5Toyota Tundra19.5%$8,458
6Ford Mustang21.0%$7,280
7Chevrolet Corvette22.7%$17,655
8Chevrolet Camaro23.6%$8,553
9Dodge Challenger24.4%$10,308
10Toyota 4Runner24.6%$10,818
Average for All Vehicles40.1%$15,764

Jeep earns the top two spots on the list, with the Jeep Wrangler having the lowest depreciation followed by its four-dour counterpart, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited in second. “Jeep Wranglers are known for retaining their value due to their enthusiastic fanbase, as well as their durability and performance across all terrains, especially off-road,” said Brauer. “Jeep Wranglers also have maintained their iconic design, so even older models don’t appear dated.”

Sports cars account for five models on the list including the third-ranked Porsche 911, the sixth-ranked Ford Mustang, the seventh-ranked Chevrolet Corvette, the eighth-ranked Chevrolet Camaro, and the ninth-ranked Dodge Challenger. “Along with the 911’s timeless design and reputation for reliability, Porsche sells few 911s relative to market demand, so there aren’t many 911s in the used car marketplace,” said Brauer. “The Mustang, Corvette, Camaro, and Challenger are all classic American sports cars with an aspirational appeal for many consumers, and drivers are likely more willing to pay a premium for them, especially because they aren’t as common in the used car marketplace.”

Two Toyota pickup trucks make the list: the Tacoma in fourth and the Tundra in fifth. “Toyota trucks have a well-earned reputation for reliability and quality, and the in-demand Tacoma is the best-selling midsize truck in the country,” said Brauer. “These indestructible trucks can be workhorses or dependable family haulers, which widens their appeal and helps boost resale value.”

Rounding out the list is the tenth-ranked Toyota 4Runner midsize SUV, which depreciates 38.5 percent after five years. “The Toyota 4Runner has Toyota’s reputation for reliability and indestructibility as a truck-based SUV,” said Brauer. “It has also enjoyed enduring popularity since its release over 35 years ago, contributing to its high residual value.”

Vehicles that Depreciate the Most

iSeeCars also examined the vehicles that depreciate the most after five years, which lose 1.4 to 1.6 times more of their original value than the average vehicle.

Top 10 Vehicles With the Highest Depreciation – iSeeCars Study
RankVehicleAverage 5-Year DepreciationAvg $ Difference from MSRP
1Nissan LEAF65.1%$23,666
2BMW i363.1%$32,663
3BMW 7 Series61.5%$63,271
4Maserati Ghibli61.3%$51,659
5BMW X560.3%$41,950
6Jaguar XF59.5%$38,523
7BMW 5 Series59.1%$36,210
8Audi A658.2%$35,393
9Lincoln Navigator L57.7%$44,849
10Volvo S6057.3%$24,956
Average for All Vehicles40.1%$15,764

The Nissan LEAF is the vehicle that depreciates the most, losing 65.1 percent of its value after five years. “Electric vehicles like the first-generation Nissan LEAF become outdated quickly due to the rapid advancements in range and battery life, as early LEAF batteries were only expected to last eight to ten years,” said Brauer. “Government incentives like the $7,500 federal tax credit also play a role in the LEAF’s steep depreciation, as its resale value is based on original MSRP, but real-world transaction prices when new are effectively $7,500 lower.

A second electric vehicle, the BMW i3 earns the second spot. “The BMW i3 had just 80 miles of range before its 2017 update, and it had a high price tag for its city car designation,” said Brauer. “The limited market for the i3 led to its recent cancellation, and its lack of popularity, high price tag, and government incentives all contribute to steep depreciation.

Luxury sedans account for six models on this list, including the third-ranked BMW 7 Series superluxury sedan, the fourth-ranked Maserati Ghibli, the sixth-ranked Jaguar XF, the seventh-ranked BMW 5 Series, the eighth-ranked Audi A6, and the tenth-ranked Volvo S60. “Luxury buyers want to be seen in the latest version of their preferred model, but that status fades quickly after a luxury vehicle drives off the lot, drastically reducing these models’ value on the secondary market,” said Brauer. “Moreover, the popularity of sedans has declined, so the price has to significantly drop to make these vehicles desirable to used car shoppers to compensate for their high operating costs and outdated technology.”

Two SUVs from luxury brands round out the list, including the fifth-ranked BMW X5 midsize crossover SUV and the ninth-ranked Lincoln Navigator L full-size SUV. “The BMW X5 has a higher than average starting price for the class as well as a high cost of ownership and high repair costs, all contributing to the vehicle’s steep depreciation,” said Brauer. “The Lincoln Navigator L is a common fleet and livery vehicle, which depreciate more than privately owned vehicles.”

Vehicle Depreciation by Segment

Small SUVs

iSeeCars determined the lowest- and highest- depreciating subcompact and compact SUVs relative to the segment average, which is 41.0 percent. 

Top 5 Lowest- and Highest-Depreciating Small SUVs – iSeeCars Study
Lowest-DepreciatingHighest-Depreciating
RankVehicleAverage 5-Year DepreciationVehicleAverage 5-Year Depreciation
1Jeep Wrangler9.2%Ford Escape49.8%
2Honda HR-V34.3%FIAT 500X49.1%
3Mazda CX-334.5%Chevrolet Equinox47.7%
4Jeep Renegade34.8%GMC Terrain47.3%
5Toyota RAV435.8%Mitsubishi Outlander46.2%
Small SUV Average: 41.0%

For more information on this vehicle segment, refer to our list of Best Small SUVs

Small Luxury SUVs 

iSeeCars determined the lowest- and highest-depreciating small luxury SUVs relative to the segment average, which is 46.0 percent.

Top 5 Lowest- and Highest-Depreciating Small Luxury SUVs – iSeeCars Study
Lowest-DepreciatingHighest-Depreciating
RankVehicleAverage 5-Year DepreciationVehicleAverage 5-Year Depreciation
1Porsche Macan37.1%Volvo XC6054.8%
2MINI Countryman39.1%Buick Envision52.4%
3Mercedes-Benz GLA39.3%Audi Q550.8%
4Mercedes-Benz GLC40.4%BMW X350.7%
5BMW X143.6%Acura RDX49.6%
Small Luxury SUV Average: 46.0%

For more information on this vehicle segment, refer to our list of Best Luxury Small SUVs

Midsize SUVs

iSeeCars determined the lowest- and highest-depreciating midsize SUVs relative to the segment average, which is 39.9 percent.

Top 5 Lowest- and Highest-Depreciating Midsize SUVs – iSeeCars Study
Lowest-DepreciatingHighest-Depreciating
RankVehicleAverage 5-Year DepreciationVehicleAverage 5-Year Depreciation
1Jeep Wrangler Unlimited10.5%Nissan Pathfinder52.8%
2Toyota 4Runner24.6%GMC Acadia52.6%
3Toyota Highlander38.0%Chevrolet Traverse51.2%
4Dodge Durango41.9%Nissan Murano49.7%
5Jeep Grand Cherokee42.4%Hyundai Santa Fe49.5%
Midsize SUV Average: 39.9%

For more information on this vehicle segment, refer to our list of Best Midsize SUVs

Luxury Midsize SUVs

iSeeCars ranked the depreciation of midsize luxury SUVs relative to the segment average, which is 46.2 percent.

Ranking of Luxury Midsize SUVs by Depreciation – iSeeCars Study
RankVehicleAverage 5-Year Depreciation
1Lexus RX 35034.6%
2Lexus GX 46039.5%
3Porsche Cayenne44.5%
4Mercedes-Benz GLE46.4%
5Land Rover Range Rover Sport47.7%
6Volvo XC9048.6%
7BMW X649.6%
8Acura MDX53.2%
9BMW X553.7%
Midsize Luxury SUV Average: 46.2%

For more information on this vehicle segment, refer to our list of Best Luxury Midsize SUVs

Large SUVs

iSeeCars ranked the depreciation of full-size SUVs relative to the segment average, which is 44.1 percent.

Ranking of Full-Size SUVs by Depreciation – iSeeCars Study
RankVehicleAverage 5-Year Depreciation
1Toyota Land Cruiser35.4%
2Toyota Sequoia39.7%
3Chevrolet Tahoe41.2%
4GMC Yukon43.7%
5Chevrolet Suburban45.7%
6GMC Yukon XL46.9%
7Ford Expedition52.8%
Full-Size SUV Average: 44.1%

For more information on this vehicle segment, refer to our list of Best Large SUVs

Large Luxury SUVs

iSeeCars ranked the depreciation of full-size luxury SUVs relative to the segment average, which is 53.1 percent.

Ranking of Full-Size SUVs by Depreciation – iSeeCars Study
RankVehicleAverage 5-Year Depreciation
1Lexus LX 57037.7%
2Mercedes-Benz G-Class40.2%
3Cadillac Escalade51.1%
4Land Rover Range Rover53.0%
5Cadillac Escalade ESV54.2%
6Infiniti QX8054.7%
7Lincoln Navigator55.8%
8Buick Enclave56.5%
9Lincoln Navigator L57.7%
Full-Size Luxury SUV Average: 53.1%

For more information on this vehicle segment, refer to our list of Best Luxury Large SUVs

Midsize Pickup Trucks

iSeeCars ranked the depreciation of compact pickup trucks relative to the segment average, which is 21.4 percent.

Ranking of Midsize Pickup Trucks by Depreciation – iSeeCars Study
RankVehicleAverage 5-Year Depreciation
1Toyota Tacoma13.8%
2GMC Canyon25.6%
3Chevrolet Colorado27.1%
4Nissan Frontier27.8%
Compact Pickup Truck Average: 21.4%

For more information on this vehicle segment, refer to our list of Best Midsize Trucks

Full-Size Pickup Trucks

iSeeCars ranked the depreciation of full-size pickup trucks relative to the segment average, which is 31.8 percent.

Ranking of Full-Size Pickup Trucks by Depreciation – iSeeCars Study
RankVehicleAverage 5-Year Depreciation
1Toyota Tundra19.5%
2GMC Sierra 150030.7%
3Chevrolet Silverado 150031.0%
4Ford F-15031.7%
5Ram 150035.2%
6Nissan Titan XD38.8%
Full-Size Pickup Truck Average: 31.8%

For more information on this vehicle segment, refer to our list of Best Full-Size Trucks

Small Cars

iSeeCars ranked the depreciation of small compact cars and subcompact cars relative to the segment average, which is 36.3 percent.

Ranking of Small Cars by Depreciation – iSeeCars Study
RankVehicleAverage 5-Year Depreciation
1Subaru WRX29.4%
2Honda Civic30.4%
3Toyota Corolla32.9%
4Subaru Impreza34.2%
5Chevrolet Spark38.0%
6Nissan Versa38.2%
7Hyundai Veloster38.3%
8Kia Rio38.7%
9Volkswagen Golf GTI39.8%
10Kia Forte39.9%
11Hyundai Accent40.9%
12Hyundai Elantra41.2%
13Volkswagen Jetta43.7%
14Nissan Sentra44.2%
Small Car Average: 36.3%

For more information on this vehicle segment, refer to our list of Best Small Cars

Small Luxury Cars

iSeeCars ranked the depreciation of small luxury cars relative to the segment average, which is 46.4 percent.

Ranking of Small Luxury Cars by Depreciation – iSeeCars Study
RankVehicleAverage 5-Year Depreciation
1Lexus RC 35032.7%
2Lexus RC 30033.1%
3Lexus IS 35039.1%
4Mercedes-Benz CLA39.5%
5Lexus IS 30040.9%
6BMW M341.3%
7BMW 2 Series42.6%
8Audi S344.2%
9Audi A546.2%
10Mercedes-Benz C-Class46.8%
11BMW 4 Series (coupe)47.0%
12Acura ILX48.3%
13Audi A348.9%
14BMW 4 Series (sedan)50.1%
15INFINITI Q5052.0%
16BMW 3 Series52.3%
17Audi A452.5%
18Volvo S6057.3%
Small Luxury Car Average: 46.4%

For more information on this vehicle segment, refer to our list of Best Luxury Small Cars

Midsize Cars

iSeeCars ranked the depreciation of midsize cars relative to the segment average, which is 43.6 percent.

Ranking of Midsize Cars by Depreciation – iSeeCars Study
RankBrandAverage 5-Year Depreciation
1Honda Accord39.0%
2Toyota Camry40.7%
3Subaru Legacy41.5%
4Mazda MAZDA643.8%
5Hyundai Sonata44.8%
6Chevrolet Malibu45.1%
7Volkswagen Passat48.2%
8Nissan Altima48.9%
Midsize Car Average: 43.6%

For more information on this vehicle segment, refer to our list of Best Midsize Cars

Midsize Luxury Cars

iSeeCars ranked the depreciation of midsize luxury cars relative to the segment average, which is 53.6 percent.

Ranking of Midsize Luxury Cars by Depreciation – iSeeCars Study
RankVehicleAverage 5-Year Depreciation
1Lexus ES 35040.8%
2Acura TLX51.1%
3Mercedes-Benz E-Class51.5%
4Audi S653.6%
5Mercedes-Benz E-Class56.8%
6Audi A658.2%
7BMW 5 Series59.1%
8Jaguar XF59.5%
9Maserati Ghibli61.3%
Midsize Luxury Car Average: 53.6%

For more information on this vehicle segment, refer to our list of Best Luxury Midsize Cars

Sports Cars

iSeeCars also determined the highest- and lowest-depreciation among sports cars as compared to the segment average of 24.7 percent. 

Ranking of Sports Cars by Depreciation – iSeeCars Study
RankBrandAverage 5-Year Depreciation
1Ford Mustang (Coupe)21.0%
2Chevrolet Corvette (Coupe)22.7%
3Chevrolet Camaro (Coupe)23.6%
4Dodge Challenger24.4%
5Chevrolet Corvette (Convertible) 27.7%
6Subaru BRZ28.0%
7Mazda MX-5 Miata31.2%
8Chevrolet Camaro (Convertible)31.4%
9Ford Mustang (Convertible)39.3%
Sports Car Average: 24.7%

For more information on this vehicle segment, refer to our list of Best Sports Cars

Electric Vehicles

iSeeCars ranked the depreciation of electric vehicles relative to the segment average, which is 53.7 percent.

Ranking of 5-Year Depreciation for Electric Vehicles – iSeeCars Study
RankModelAverage 5-Year Depreciation
1Tesla Model X46.9%
2Tesla Model S52.4%
Electric Vehicle Average53.7%
3Nissan LEAF65.1%

For more information on this vehicle segment, refer to our list of Best Electric Cars

Hybrid Vehicles

iSeeCars ranked the depreciation of hybrid vehicles relative to the segment average, which is 45.4 percent.

Ranking of 5-Year Depreciation for Hybrid Vehicles – iSeeCars Study
RankModelAverage 5-Year Depreciation
1Toyota RAV4 Hybrid36.4%
2Toyota Prius41.8%
3Toyota Highlander Hybrid42.2%
4Toyota Camry Hybrid45.4%
Hybrid Vehicle Average45.4%
5Lexus ES 300h48.7%
6Toyota Avalon Hybrid50.3%
7Hyundai Sonata Hybrid52.2%
8BMW X560.3%
9BMW i363.1%

For more information on this vehicle segment, refer to our list of Best Hybrid Cars

Car Depreciation: Why It’s Important to Understand the Value of Your Car

Understanding a vehicle’s depreciation is an important factor in helping both new and used car shoppers make an informed car buying decision at the dealership. Consumers should anticipate their long-term needs when purchasing a new vehicle. “If you plan on making a trade-in or selling your vehicle after a few years, a brand new car that has a slower rate of depreciation can put more money in your pocket for your next car purchase,” said Brauer. “Conversely, if you’re a used vehicle shopper, choosing a car that has already taken a depreciation hit can provide substantial savings.” 

Car shoppers can obtain a vehicle’s projected 1 to 5-year depreciation rate to better understand a car’s value using iSeeCars’ free VIN Check tool. 

More from iSeeCars.com:

Methodology

iSeeCars.com analyzed more than 800,000 used cars from model year 2016 sold between January and August 2021. Heavy-duty trucks and vans, models no longer in production as of the 2021 model year, and low-volume models were removed from further analysis. MSRPs from 2016 were inflation-adjusted to 2021 dollars, based on data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The difference in average asking price for each vehicle between its MSRP and its used car pricing was mathematically modeled to obtain the vehicle’s 5-year depreciation.

About iSeeCars.com

iSeeCars.com is a car search engine that helps shoppers find the best car deals by providing key insights and valuable resources, like the iSeeCars VIN check reports and Best Cars rankings. iSeeCars.com has saved users over $312 million so far by applying big data analytics powered by over 25 billion (and growing) data points and using proprietary algorithms to objectively analyze, score and rank millions of new cars and used cars.

This article, Cars That Hold Their Value Best, originally appeared on iSeeCars.com.   

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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