Kelley Blue Book's 'Best Resale Value' Awards Goes Carless for 2019

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Until subscription services irreparably modify what constitutes “owning” a car, resale value will continue being an important consideration when shopping for a new vehicle. Every dollar you can squeeze out of your vehicle down the road is one you don’t have to hand over at the dealership.

Every year, Kelly Blue Book compiles a list of models occupying the top spots of the resale value charts, and, every year, we’ve watched as passenger cars are gradually replaced by pickups, crossovers, and SUVs. Last year, the Subaru WRX was the only sedan to break into the top 10. However, this year’s KBB list is entirely devoid of cars.

While the information is incredibly helpful for consumers, predicting the deprecation of a new model isn’t an exact science. Analysts have to account for current and future market conditions, supply and demand, brand perception, the changing state of the economy, equipment offerings on specific models, and how well older versions of the vehicle fared on the resale market. In the end, all you’re left with is a well-informed guess across trim lines.

According to KBB, your average auto will garner a 39 percent return on its original sticker price after 60 months. These vehicles should fare much better, with none expected to deliver any less than 50 percent of their initial value:

For 2019, the Porsche Macan comes in at number 10 by holding 65 percent of its value after 36 months and 50 percent at five years. That makes it the only German or premium nameplate to grace the list. It was bested by the Ford F-Series, which is expected to keep 57.5 percent of its value after three years and 50.6 percent of its sticker after 60 months.

Moving up the list, we have the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado, Honda Ridgeline, Toyota 4Runner, GMC Sierra, and Toyota Tundra — all of which are expected to maintain at least 51 percent of their original MSRP after five years.

However, the big standouts are the 2019 Jeep Wrangler and Toyota Tacoma pickup. FCA’s iconic off-roader took second place with 66.5 percent after 36 months and 58.3 percent after 60. Meanwhile, Toyota’s pickup is expected to keep a whopping 69.4 percent after three years and 62.2 percent at five.

Thankfully, KBB also breaks down its value assessment to include segment standouts.

With none averaging better than 41 percent after 60 months, subcompact crossovers ended up not being the best group for those looking for stellar resale prices. Standout models included the 2019 Honda HR-V, Toyota C-HR, and Mazda CX-3. But going bigger ultimately turned out to be better in terms of resale. Mid and full-size SUVs averaged higher resale values than their economy minded brethren.

Cars averaged worse overall, but didn’t suffer from the same size disparity as crossovers and SUVs. For example, the Honda Civic took top honors in the subcompact category by holding an estimated 41.2 percent of its initial value after 60 months. In comparison, the full-size winner, Dodge’s Charger, fared far worse at only 35 percent — lower than the industry average.

If you’re shopping for a replacement vehicle, you might want to check out KBB’s expanded list to see if anything you’re considering made the cut. Again, you won’t be able to set your watch to these findings. But, based on the accuracy of KBB’s pervious resale estimations, they should still give you a very good idea of what to expect.

[Images: Toyota; Porsche; Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Kcflyer Kcflyer on Jan 31, 2019

    I have a related question. But first, an explanation. I have spent quite a bit of time looking for a F250/F350 4x4 crew cab with the 7.3 L diesel. These trucks in good shape with between 80 and 150 thousand miles are advertised between 20 and 30 thousand dollars. But when I check KBB and NADA the values are shown as less than half of that. Clearly the folks at those sites have no clue the cult following these trucks have and the prices they demand. So I'm wondering how they can be so far off? Isn't it their job to understand this stuff? Makes me wonder what other vehicles values they might be out of touch with.

    • See 3 previous
    • 87 Morgan 87 Morgan on Jan 31, 2019

      @kcflyer Wow. I remember selling my 00' 7.3 for 28k in 02'! Granted, it was a short bed extended cab, but XLT 4x4 Auto. I liked my 03' cummins far better. For me, the 98' or older square body super duty are the rig to have; in no way meant to insult you or the truck you are buying if you are going with the rounder bodied 7.3 that I used to have.....

  • Cimarron typeR Cimarron typeR on Jan 31, 2019

    It seems like VAG diesels are really taking a beating, you can find 2-3 year old A6 TDIs with less than 35k miles online for 22-24k all day long, with an extended powertrain warranty post-fix .Not so much on Touaregs TDIs though.

  • Dave M. The Outback alternates between decent design and goofy design every generation. 2005 was attractive, 2010 goofy. 2015 decent. 2020 good, but the ‘23 refresh hideous.Looking forward to the Outback hybrid in ‘26…..
  • Lorenzo Subaru had the ideal wagon - in 1995. The Legacy Outback was a straight two-box design with rear quarter and back windows you could see out of, and was available in brown with a 5-speed manual, as God and TTAC commenters intended. It's nice they're not raising prices, but when you've lost the plot, does it matter?
  • Bkojote Remember a month a go when Cleveland wanted to create a more walkable Cleveland and TTAC's 'BIG GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM' dumbest and dullest all collectively crapped their diapers? Here's the thing- look on any American highway and it's littered with people who don't /want/ to be driving or shouldn't be. Look at every Becky on her phone during the morning commute in her Tucson, look at every Brad aggro driving his 84 month loan GMC. Hell look how many drivers nowadays can't even operate a headlight switch. You expect these people to understand a stoplight? In my neighborhood alone 4 people have been rear ended at lights from someone on their phone. Distracted driving over the past 10 years has spiked, and it's only going to get worse unless Becky has an alternative, because no judge is going to pull her license when 'she needs it to get to work!' but heaven forbid she not check fb/tiktok for 40 minutes a day.
  • Scott Shouldn't the The Italian Minister for Business be criticizing The Milano for being too ugly to be Italian?Better use of resources doing that....
  • Steve Biro Frankly, while I can do without Eyesight and automatic start-stop, there is generally less B-S with Subarus in terms of design, utility and off-road chops than with many other brands. I just hope that when they adopt Toyota’s hybrid system, they’ll also use Toyota’s eCVT.
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