Car shopping is still crazy. New inventory is recovering but still not meeting demand, and used car prices are all over the map. Some models seem less popular than others, and their prices reflect that, but some used cars have actually increased in value over the years, which is a nearly unheard-of turn of events. iSeeCars, an analytics and car shopping firm, runs several research studies throughout the year to judge car prices and trends, and its latest depreciation study holds a few surprises.
The vehicles with the lowest depreciation — or best resale value — over five years:
- Jeep Wrangler: -7.3%
- Jeep Wrangler Unlimited: -8.7%
- Porsche 911: -14.6%
- Toyota Tacoma: -14.9%
- Honda Civic: -16.3%
- Subaru BRZ: -18.2%
- Ford Mustang: -19.4%
- Toyota Corolla: -19.8%
- Nissan Versa: -19.9%
- Chevrolet Camaro: -20.2%
Most models on the slowest depreciation list will come as no surprise to anyone with even a passing interest in cars and shopping. Popular vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler, Porsche 911, Toyota Tacoma, and Honda Civic comprise the list of slowest depreciating vehicles over five years, while a who’s-who of luxury brands brings up the rear. The Jeep Wrangler depreciated slowest, losing just 7.3 percent of its value over five years, when the overall market shows a 33 percent average depreciation over the same period.
Amazingly, when you look at just the first three years after new cars leave dealer lots, you discover that some vehicles actually appreciated:
- Porsche 911: +5.7% increase
- Toyota RAV4 Hybrid: +2.5% increase
- Jeep Wrangler Unlimited: +2.0% increase
- Porsche 718 Cayman: +1.8% increase
- Jeep Wrangler: +0.3% increase
The Porsche 911, Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Porsche 718 Cayman, and Jeep Wrangler grew in value over their new MSRPs by as much as 5.7 percent — which represents $11,373 over the original MSRP in the case of the 911. iSeeCars found that midsize trucks, sports cars, and fuel-efficient vehicles held their values best. “The market is pricing late-model used cars as though they were new. If shoppers can’t buy a new car, the next closest thing is a used car with low miles, thus the appreciation in value for these cars,” according to Karl Brauer, executive analyst for iSeeCars.
Overall depreciation is slowing across different time periods. iSeeCars analyzed three-year depreciation and found that it declines an average of 16.9 percent, which is much slower than the same average last year, which measured 23.8 percent. Demand for new vehicles is strong and supplies are still tight, leading to a rise in prices and a slowing of depreciation. The firm wisely advises buyers to think about depreciation when buying a new car, as it impacts resale value, and can cost thousands in just a few years.