Not enough car shoppers consider resale value when they're shopping for a new car. That's too bad, because it's an important item to keep in mind -- mostly because it's one of the biggest costs that a car buyer must endure. After all, the difference between a car with excellent resale value and one with rapid depreciation can mean several thousand dollars in your pocket when it's time to trade it in or sell it on your own.

With that in mind, we've listed eight compact cars that offer excellent resale value, and that means you won't have to worry about getting nothing for your car when it's time to upgrade to a new one.

Honda Civic

The Honda Civic is highly popular because of its excellent reliability, its roomy interior and its legendary durability. Offered as a 4-door sedan or a sleek 2-door coupe, the Civic also boasts a long list of available trims, from a sporty Si model to a fuel-efficient Hybrid and a luxurious EX-L. More importantly, it offers some of the best resale value of any compact car on the market: According to Kelley Blue Book, it retains a whopping 59.4 percent of its value after three years, or 47.4 percent after five years. Those are good numbers made even better by the Civic's reasonable starting price of around $20,000 with shipping.

Hyundai Accent

The Accent is the smallest Hyundai you can buy. Offered as a sedan or a hatchback, the popular subcompact boasts a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder that makes 138 horsepower and a frugal 27 miles per gallon in the city or 38 mpg on the highway. Better yet, it includes a host of standard safety features such as front-side and side-curtain airbags. With a base price of just $16,000 with shipping, the Accent is also a great choice for shoppers interested in a reasonably priced new car, and it's made even better with a first-place finish among subcompact cars in residual expert ALG's annual Residual Value Awards.

Hyundai Elantra

With a second-place finish among compact cars in ALG's Residual Value Awards, the Elantra is certainly one of today's top small cars when it comes to resale value. But the Elantra isn't just a frugal choice: It's also an excellent car, offering great gas mileage, three appealing body styles, and a long list of available features that includes luxury-car items such as heated rear seats, keyless entry and ignition, a navigation system and a 7-inch touchscreen. The Elantra also starts at an affordable $18,000 with shipping.

Kia Soul

The Kia Soul may not seem like a compact car when you first look at it, but the tall-roofed hatchback is much more of a car than a crossover. Evidence of this includes a fuel-efficient 1.6-liter 4-cylinder, standard front-wheel drive and a car-based chassis that makes the Soul surprisingly easy to drive. We're also fans of the Soul's impressive practicality and base price of around $16,000 with shipping -- a figure that includes power accessories, Bluetooth and side-curtain airbags. Best of all, the Soul offers excellent resale value, scoring a first-place finish among subcompact utility vehicles in ALG's Residual Value Awards.


The Mazda3 is one of our favorite compact vehicles. Not only is it surprisingly fun to drive for a compact, the Mazda3 also offers excellent styling, muscular powerplants and luxury-car-like options that even include adaptive cruise and automatic high-beam control. But you don't have to spend big money to enjoy the Mazda3: The sedan starts around $18,000 with shipping, while the 5-door hatchback is just under $20,000. Best of all, the Mazda3 earned top honors among compacts in ALG's Resale Value Awards.

Nissan Versa

The Versa is the ultimate car for shoppers interested in frugal, no-frills transportation that can bring them from point A to point B without hassle. Offered as a sedan or as a 5-door hatchback dubbed the Note, the Versa initially shows you its frugal side with a highly affordable base price of around $13,000. More importantly, Kelley Blue Book says it offers the best resale value of any subcompact car, retaining more than 58 percent of its value after three years. The frugality continues to the Versa's standard 1.6-liter 4-cylinder, which returns 31 mpg city/40 mpg hwy when paired with its optional continuously variable automatic transmission.

Subaru Impreza

According to Kelley Blue Book, the Subaru Impreza offers the best resale value of any compact car on the market. We believe it, largely because the Impreza is famous for its all-weather capabilities, its impressive durability and its long-term reliability -- all traits that used-car shoppers tend to appreciate. We also like the Impreza's standard all-wheel drive and the fact that it lets buyers choose between a sedan, or for only a slight increase over the $19,000 base price, a 5-door hatchback. We suspect that the performance-oriented WRX also plays into the Impreza's strong resale ratings, especially considering that demand for the sporty model is always high, whether it's new or used.

Toyota Prius c

Residual value experts at ALG say the Toyota Prius c is the best alternative-fuel vehicle on the market when it comes to holding value. That makes sense, as the Prius c has all the traits that would make it desirable in the long term, from reasonable base pricing (it starts around $20,000) to stellar gas mileage that tops 50 mpg in the city. We also love the Prius c's practical hatchback body style and its long list of available features that includes a sunroof, heated seats, Toyota's Entune infotainment technology and a navigation system.

Toyota Yaris

The Toyota Yaris is highly ranked among subcompact cars by both Kelley Blue Book and ALG. That's probably because the tiny Yaris offers reasonable pricing (it starts around $16,000), strong fuel economy (30 mpg city/37 mpg hwy) and Toyota's excellent reputation for durability. It may not be the most exciting car on the road, but the Yaris is a good choice for budget-minded drivers looking for a new car that will help them save as much money as possible.

author photo

Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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