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June 01, 2021

Which cars retain their value better?

Depreciation, the steadily declining value of your vehicle over the years, is every car owner’s nightmare. No matter what you do, that new beauty is going to be worth less the moment you drive it off the dealer's lot.

In some instances, a lot less. Falling resale values can actually even leave owners owing more on their car loans than the cars are worth. That's called being "upside down."

But, even if you’re not upside down, you may be in for a shock at trade-in time: The car you thought was worth $12,000 or $11,000 could be worth $10,000 at most.

With resale value in mind, ALG compiled this list of the brands likely to depreciate the least during ownership. Top marks go to Subaru and Honda.

Canadian Black Book has its own version of residual value, broken down by specific vehicles and measured over a 4 year period.

Toyota topped the charts with six category winners, out of 17 categories, in this year’s rankings, which are based on the current value of 2006 models.

The winners in several different categories are:

  • Subcompact – Toyota Yaris
  • Compact – Mazda5
  • Midsize car – Honda Accord, Subaru Outback, Volkswagen Passat (tie)
  • Full-size car – Toyota Avalon
  • Entry luxury car – Lexus IS series
  • Luxury car – BMW 5 Series, BMW 6 Series, Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class (tie)
  • Compact SUV – Toyota RAV4
  • Midsize SUV – Honda Pilot
  • Full-size SUV – Nissan Armada, Toyota Sequoia (tie)
  • Luxury SUV – Mercedes-Benz G-Class
Not sure where your car fits? Visit CBB's new consumer site to learn the trade-in value, average asking price and future value of virtually every car and truck manufactured since 1997.

Do you pay much attention to such depreciation stats? What do you do to maximize future value when considering a car purchase?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...