There’s no sure-fire way to know how fast your new car will succumb to depreciation. You can rapidly accelerate the rate at which it loses value, after all, by doing things like putting on miles too fast, going too long between oil changes or crashing it into a tree. However, provided there aren’t any, ahem, major unanticipated depreciation events, you can make pretty reliable predictions about how fast a car will lose its value based on its make and model.
GOBankingRates conducted a study to show just how fast you should expect your new car’s value to deteriorate based on data from Edmunds. Looking at 30 of the most popular cars on the market, the study breaks down which models are cars that hold their value and which will lose significant value as soon as you drive them off the lot.
Clearly, if you’re certain that you’ll be driving your new wheels well into the next decade or two, the resale value might not be your primary concern. However, if you’re the sort of person who likes to upgrade vehicles periodically or think that a growing family might necessitate a new car sooner rather than later, you might want to consider which cars depreciate the least.
2019 Toyota Tacoma
- Five-year drop in value: 26.43%
- Five-year depreciation total: $6,929
Whether you’re a contractor or just a family looking for a reliable truck that will hold up over the years, the Toyota Tacoma could be a good option, as it’s among the cars that hold their value the best. Even five years into ownership, the truck only loses a little over a quarter of its value, and its base retail price of just over $25,000 puts it well within reach of many consumers’ budgets.
2019 Toyota 4Runner SUV
- Five-year drop in value: 31.21%
- Five-year depreciation total: $12,185
Toyota has clearly worked something out about building vehicles that hold their value. Five years later, your 2019 Toyota 4Runner should sell for about a third less than what you bought it for. But be aware that it comes at a price: the 4Runner had the highest projected five-year fuel cost in the study. At $15,833, your expected fuel costs are nearly double the most efficient cars on this list.
2019 Jeep Wrangler
- Five-year drop in value: 31.23%
- Five-year depreciation total: $11,714
Clearly, plenty of people buying a Jeep are planning on driving it in harsh conditions, but this is one car that appears ready to hold up to those rigors. Just know that you’re making a bit of a commitment when you buy a Jeep Wrangler — projected five-year fuel costs are among the highest of these 30 cars, and repair costs are likely to be higher than they would be with other options.
2019 Toyota Highlander SUV
- Five-year drop in value: 34.72%
- Five-year depreciation total: $11,994
If you want the thrill of driving a new car without getting hit too hard when you sell it back, spending exactly a year behind the wheel of a Highlander might be a good strategy. The car depreciates just $3,157 in its first year. The only cars that lose less value in that first year feature sticker prices well under $30,000 a year, while the Highlander retails at $34,547.
2019 Chevrolet Colorado
- Five-year drop in value: 36.28%
- Five-year depreciation total: $10,874
The Chevy Colorado is another example of a car with a resale value you can feel confident in — but you’ll also pay the price at the pump. While the Colorado is among the eight cars that lose less than 40% of their sale price over the first five years of ownership, it’s also going to cost you $14,256 in gas over that period.
2019 Ram 1500 Crew Cab
- Five-year drop in value: 37.37%
- Five-year depreciation total: $14,425
The Ram 1500 Crew Cab is almost the opposite of the Colorado, shedding some $8,964 in value in its first year alone — one of the steepest drop-offs in this study. However, after that initial decline, the vehicle holds up much better, eventually limiting total depreciation to $14,425 over five years. Just know that your insurance costs will be higher than with most of the other cars on this list.
2019 Subaru Crosstrek SUV
- Five-year drop in value: 37.48%
- Five-year depreciation total: $9,634
No car sees a smaller decline in value in its first year than the Subaru Crosstrek, with just over $2,500 in depreciation off its $25,704 price. Throw in five-year fuel costs that come in under $10,000 and financing costs that are just over $4,000 and you have an option that works well for the cost-conscious.
2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Regular Cab
- Five-year drop in value: 38.21%
- Five-year depreciation total: $12,664
The Silverado is another truck that depreciates a great deal in its first year — nearly $9,000, to be exact. However, over the next four years, it never loses more than $1,000 in a single year, meaning that about three-quarters of its lost value comes during those first 12 months.
2019 Honda CR-V SUV
- Five-year drop in value: 40.29%
- Five-year depreciation total: $10,544
The Honda CR-V is almost the complete opposite of the Silverado 1500 when it comes to depreciation. The CR-V loses the second-least value in its first year of any car in this study, while each successive year it loses nearly double what the Silverado does. By the end of five years, though, the percentage loss for both is very close, with a Silverado owner hanging on to just an additional 2% or so of the purchase price.
2019 Toyota RAV4 SUV
- Five-year drop in value: 40.97%
- Five-year depreciation total: $11,781
All but eight cars on this list depreciate less than 40% after five years, clearly demonstrating that cars are a tool, not an investment. But in the case of the RAV4, you’re also getting fuel efficiency. With projected gas costs of $9,504 over the next half-decade, you’re getting gas mileage you’d usually have to forego an SUV to capture.
2019 Ford F-150 Regular Cab
- Five-year drop in value: 41.44%
- Five-year depreciation total: $12,838
While scoring on the better half of this list for the rate at which it depreciates, the insurance costs associated with an F-150 might make some shoppers demure. The five-year costs for insurance are projected to be $7,373 — among the highest in this study.
2019 Subaru Outback SUV
- Five-year drop in value: 42.26%
- Five-year depreciation total: $12,313
According to Consumer Reports, the Outback beats out the competition in terms of offering more cargo space in a smaller car — something that helps it maintain its utility while still keeping projected gas costs low. And while it’s clearly not among the leaders in terms of holding its value over time, it’s also significantly better than the lower end of the spectrum with just over 40% of the sale price eroding by the fifth year you own it.
2019 Ford Mustang
- Five-year drop in value: 43.36%
- Five-year depreciation total: $13,265
The depreciation of your snazzy new muscle car is at its fastest upfront but slows considerably in years two through five. However, your five-year projected fuel costs are higher than many of the SUVs on this list, and you’ll spend close to $7,000 on insurance if this is the vehicle you go with.
2019 Honda Pilot SUV
- Five-year drop in value: 43.48%
- Five-year depreciation total: $14,172
The Pilot isn’t a vehicle that’s going to produce a ton of excitement for its driver. However, for a lot of Americans, a solid family car that can handle shuttling around children and groceries alike is all that’s needed. In the Pilot, you’ll be getting a car that holds up its value reasonably well and has relatively low insurance costs at just under $6,000 over five years.
2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV
- Five-year drop in value: 44.02%
- Five-year depreciation total: $13,610
Beyond the question of resale value, any prospective Grand Cherokee owner should keep the cost of ownership in mind. Clearly, this is a car built for a specific purpose, so it’s reasonable to think that most people making the purchase aren’t in the dark about the increased costs for gas and repairs. But, with the projected fuel costs of $13,571 and repair costs of $1,488, the rugged Jeep will mean carving out a little more space in your budget for auto costs.
2019 Honda Civic Sedan
- Five-year drop in value: 44.91%
- Five-year depreciation total: $9,626
The Civic is the most affordable car on this list, selling for $21,434. And while you might rethink buying one if you’re planning on trading it in within a few years, if you do plan on owning it for the lifetime of the vehicle, the odds are good you’ll be getting your money’s worth. The Civic has the lowest true cost to own of any car in the study at just over $35,000, including the lowest five-year projected costs for taxes, fees and financing; the third-lowest costs for fuel; and second-lowest costs for maintenance.
2019 Dodge Challenger Coupe
- Five-year drop in value: 45.43%
- Five-year depreciation total: $14,086
Anyone interested in getting a little more oomph under the hood might consider the extra horsepower you get from the Dodge Challenger. Just know that your insurance company is aware that people buying the Challenger might have something other than textbook defensive driving in their future plans — the projected five-year insurance costs are $8,735, the highest in the study.
2019 Chevrolet Equinox SUV
- Five-year drop in value: 45.51%
- Five-year depreciation total: $11,633
As the study edges into the cars that are losing larger percentages of the sale price in the earlier years, there are at least a few cars that still offer a clear value proposition to potential owners. When you look at the purchase price of the Equinox (about $30,000) and low cost of taxes, fees, financing and fuel, you wind up with a long-term cost below many of the other options on this list — even if that comes with a faster rate of depreciation.
2019 Toyota Camry Sedan
- Five-year drop in value: 45.59%
- Five-year depreciation total: $11,255
The Camry has become something of a beacon for its reliability and efficiency, the true standard-bearer for the “whatever gets me from point A to point B” crowd. And based on the results of the study, that remains true despite the fact that you’ll lose nearly half the value you pay up front over just five years. With its purchase price of just over $25,000 and ongoing savings in most other costs — including the study’s lowest maintenance costs — you wind up with the third-lowest true cost of ownership at just $37,794.
2019 Honda Accord Sedan
- Five-year drop in value: 46.27%
- Five-year depreciation total: $11,376
When it comes to the Accord versus the Camry, it’s not easy to find a major reason to pick one or the other purely from the data in the study. The Accord does have the lower true cost of ownership, but only by $10 at $37,784. And from there, you have to consider the fact that the purchase price for the Camry is $101 higher. All told, these cars might not hold value as well as you’d want, but they’re cheap to buy and cheap to own for a lot of the same reasons.
2019 Honda Odyssey Minivan
- Five-year drop in value: 46.98%
- Five-year depreciation total: $14,813
The relative popularity of the SUV is pretty clear when you peruse this list. Eighteen of the 30 models are SUVs, with trucks accounting for another five. There is one minivan, though, and that would be the Honda Odyssey. An Odyssey will cost you a bit more than an Accord — its fuel costs are, predictably, about 50% higher — and it’s not a vehicle you should expect to get great resale value on. However, the Odyssey will end up costing you less in insurance costs and about the same in maintenance, so families looking for a bit more room but wanting to avoid the additional costs of an SUV might consider it.
2019 Subaru Forester SUV
- Five-year drop in value: 47.16%
- Five-year depreciation total: $13,046
While the Subaru’s cost of $27,665 upfront is on the more affordable side, especially among the SUVs, it doesn’t do a great job of retaining that value over the first five years of ownership. But, given the relatively low costs elsewhere, the true cost of ownership ends up just under $43,000, putting it on the lower end for this study.
2019 Mazda CX-5 SUV
- Five-year drop in value: 48.79%
- Five-year depreciation total: $13,332
The lone entry from Mazda in this study, the CX-5 is probably going to sell for about $13,000 less than you bought it for after five years. Fortunately for owners, not unlike the Subaru Forester, the low costs in other categories help keep the true cost of ownership lower, at just $42,346.
2019 Ford Explorer SUV
- Five-year drop in value: 49.19%
- Five-year depreciation total: $16,483
Not only does the Explorer offer little in the way of value retention, but it’s going to cost you a fair bit at the pump. The SUV’s projected five-year costs for gas run to $14,256 — tied for the third-highest in the study. Combine that with relatively average costs elsewhere, and the Explorer might not be the best selection for the especially cost-conscious.
2019 Lexus RX 350 SUV
- Five-year drop in value: 50.37%
- Five-year depreciation total: $26,059
There are a lot of good reasons to buy a Lexus, but none of them include saving money. One of just three cars in this study with a purchase price over $50,000, it’s also worth less than half of what you paid for it after just five years. Throw in relatively high costs for taxes, fees, financing, insurance and maintenance, and you’re looking at the third-highest true cost of ownership at nearly $70,000.
2019 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV
- Five-year drop in value: 52.27%
- Five-year depreciation total: $17,445
The Santa Fe is clearly a better buy than the RX 350 from a pure value perspective, with slower depreciation and lower costs in almost every category. All told, though, the true cost to own is almost $52,000, and you’re not going to be able to recoup a lot of that by selling it down the line.
2019 Chevrolet Traverse SUV
- Five-year drop in value: 52.77%
- Five-year depreciation total: $17,193
Though it features costs that are right around the middle for most categories, the Traverse stands out sharply in one way: the cost of insurance. It has the second-lowest total for projected five-year insurance costs. However, that’s one bright spot for a car that is otherwise among the fastest depreciating cars in the study.
2019 Volkswagen Tiguan SUV
- Five-year drop in value: 53.43%
- Five-year depreciation total: $13,134
While clearly among the cars that depreciate the most, the Tiguan is actually a relatively cost-conscious buy. The base price is under $25,000, and the projected five-years costs for taxes, fees and financing are each the second-lowest in the study. This makes the true cost of ownership closer to the lower end, at just $43,359.
2019 BMW X5 SUV
- Five-year drop in value: 56.21%
- Five-year depreciation total: $39,704
The BMW X5 came in dead last in nearly every category — save for the five-year fuel costs and insurance costs — ultimately representing the costliest car to own in this study by a wide margin. Not only are you out about $40,000 of your $70,000-plus purchase price just to depreciation, but you can add over $7,000 in taxes and fees, over $11,000 in financing costs, over $8,500 in insurance costs, over $9,000 in maintenance and over $3,000 in repairs. All told, the true cost of ownership is a staggering $92,931. So while owning a BMW comes with some cache, you’re paying plenty to get it.
2019 BMW X3 SUV
- Five-year drop in value: 59.68%
- Five-year depreciation total: $29,840
Purely from a financial perspective, the X3 is a flat-out better buy than its cousin the X5. It costs about $20,000 less to purchase, and the true cost works out to $72,448 — the second-highest in the study, but still about $20,000 less than the X5.
That being said, in terms of the rate of depreciation, the X3’s position atop the list of worst resale value cars is clear.
How much a car’s depreciation rate should factor into your decision about what to buy is going to depend on your situation. After all, if you plan on owning the car for its entire lifetime, you clearly wouldn’t concern yourself too much with its depreciation. In that case, a car that depreciates rapidly but saves you on gas, insurance and more is likely going to be a better buy.
However, this study should make it clear that there’s also a lot to think about when it comes to resale value. No matter what your plans are for the next few years, you never know when things change and you might need to trade in your sports car for a minivan or your SUV for a fuel-efficient hybrid. And in that case, retaining value becomes crucial, so it’s worth paying attention to depreciation.
More on Saving Money on Cars
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- Best Balance-Transfer Credit Cards of 2019
Methodology: GOBankingRates analyzed the top 30 most researched vehicles according to Edmunds.com during March 2019 to discover how fast these cars will depreciate over five years. Using the Edmunds Inc. True Cost to Own pricing calculator, GOBankingRates analyzed each vehicle and found the five-year totals for (1) depreciation, (2) taxes and fees, (3) financing, (4) fuel costs, (5) insurance, (6) maintenance and (7) repairs. GOBankingRates then calculated the (8) five-year drop in value (%) for each vehicle. Depreciation costs were shown for each year while the remaining factors were only given five-year totals. GOBankingRates only considered 2019 models and kept the location for the calculations constant, using the ZIP code 90245 (El Segundo, California). The Edmunds Inc. True Cost to Own calculations use the following assumptions:
- You will drive 15,000 miles per year
- You are financing the vehicle using traditional financing, not lease financing
- You have an above-average credit rating for the purpose of determining your finance rate
- You are making a 10% down payment on the vehicle at purchase
- Your loan term is five years, or 60 months
As a supplemental factor, the seven aforementioned totals were combined to give each car a (9) True Cost to Own value. Depreciation for each vehicle was calculated and based off each model’s (10) Total Cash Price, which is the vehicle’s True Market Value® (TMV®) price plus any typically equipped options, destination charge, base tax, and fees assessed by your state and, if applicable, gas guzzler tax.
Photo Disclaimer: Please note photos are for illustrative purposes only. As a result, some of the photos might not reflect the make, model and year of the vehicle listed in this article.
About the Author
Joel Anderson is a business and finance writer with over a decade of experience writing about the wide world of finance. Based in Los Angeles, he specializes in writing about the financial markets, stocks, macroeconomic concepts and focuses on helping make complex financial concepts digestible for the retail investor.