If You Want A Car That Holds Its Resale Value, Buy A Jeep Wrangler

Whatever you do, stay away from the Maserati Quattroporte

Some cars hold their values well, while others are total money pits.

We all think about it every once in awhile (or at least I do). That couple of tons of metal, glass and plastic sitting in my driveway is wrecking my bank account…should I just go ahead and sell it? If I did, would I even get anything for it? A new iSeeCars study set out to analyze 7.7 million new and used car sales to find out which models held their value, and which ones are true depreciation disasters.

Over the first five years of its life, the average car loses 49.6 percent of its value. Buy wisely, however, and you can actually see more of your hard-earned money back when you go to sell it. In fact, the study found that the best contender depreciated 39.5 percent less than that 49.6 percent average, losing just 30.0 percent of its value in five years. The worst car, on the other hand, lost nearly $100,000 in value over that same period.

The Porsche 911 is one of the most expensive cars mentioned in the iSeeCars study, but it holds its value better than most other cars on the market.

The resale value winners

Two brands dominate the iSeeCars study for holding their value better than their competition. Yes, one brand is Toyota, as you’d expect. But there were some surprising entries on the pleasant end of the spectrum. The Nissan GT-R, for instance, loses just 39.4 percent of its value over five years. Surprisingly, even the Subaru WRX only loses 40.0 percent, which is still better than losing half its value.

RankMake/Model5-Year Avg. Depreciation
1Jeep Wrangler Unlimited30.0%
2Jeep Wrangler31.5%
3Toyota Tacoma32.0%
4Toyota Tundra35.9%
5Toyota 4Runner36.5%
6Porsche 91137.2%
7Honda Ridgeline38.1%
8Nissan GT-R39.4%
9Nissan Frontier39.5%
10Subaru WRX40.0%

Few surprises here, apart from the above mentioned GT-R. The Jeep Wrangler holds its value better than all others, losing between 30.0 and 31.5 percent depending on whether you bought the more popular four-door Unlimited, or the smaller two-door model. The Toyota Tacoma, Tundra and 4Runner all held their own thanks to their bulletproof reputation for dependability.

Others that hold their value include the iconic Porsche 911, as well as the Honda Ridgeline and Nissan Frontier. Those last two trucks are sales outsiders among midsize trucks, but look like a better long-term investment if you plan to sell them, according to this study.

The Maserati Quattroporte loses over two-thirds of its value in its first five years. [Photo: Maserati]

Depreciation heavy hitters

On the other side of the spectrum, we have the luxury barges and electric cars that comprise serious depreciation cases over the first five years of ownership. At the moment, electric cars don’t inherently hold their value like conventional cars do. Tesla fares better than the others, but electric cars on the whole aren’t great when it comes to resale value.

RankMake/Model5-Year Avg. Depreciation
1Maserati Quattroporte72.2%
2BMW 7 Series71.3%
3Nissan Leaf71.0%
4BMW i370.9%
5BMW 5 Series69.2%
6Acura RLX69.2%
7Ford Fusion Energi69.1%
8BMW 6 Series69.0%
9Jaguar XJ L68.9%
10Chevrolet Volt68.1%

It’s worth noting the electric cars that aren’t among the worst depreciators. Namely, all Tesla models and the Chevrolet Bolt. Those are the best-selling electric cars at the moment, which would explain their tendency to hold value better than slow-sellers like the BMW i3. The Nissan Leaf is also one of the less expensive EVs out there, which is why you can find so many on the cheap. So, if you’re looking to buy a used EV, these may be the ones to pursue.

2020 BMW 7 Series
Cars like the BMW 7 Series lose most of their value over the first five years. [Photo: BMW]

It’s a similar story on the luxury car front. Crossovers are hot sellers, so they tend to hold their value better than their sedan counterparts. Models like the BMW 5 and 7 Series — both iconic luxury limousines — don’t sell too well these days. What’s more, they lose a tremendous amount of their value over five years, with their depreciation hovering around 70 percent. Cars like the BMW 6 Series, Acura RLX and Jaguar XJ are even slower sellers, explaining their presence near the bottom of the list.

The worst offender, though, is the Maserati Quattroporte. Not only is it heartbreakingly expensive to buy, as the Quattroporte S starts at $107,980, but it also loses a whopping 72.2 percent of its value after five years. Buy one brand new, and by 2024 that car will be worth just over $31,000. Ouch. Still, it’s a great deal if you’re buying one new — or maybe not.