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Here Are 5 Normal Cars That Hold Their Value

We all know about depreciation. Normal cars depreciate quickly — and the premium brands, especially their full-size sedans, depreciate like they’ve been sent off a cliff. But, every once in a while, there’s an exception to the rule: a car that you can comfortably own, drive and feel good that you probably won’t take a massive hit on. Here are five great examples!

Toyota Tacoma

Toyota Tacoma

Toyota’s small truck is one of the best at this. On paper, it’s hard to see why. They aren’t as capable as a full-size truck — and they don’t get better fuel economy. However, in reality, they have an extremely stout powertrain — and while potential frame rust is something you need to pay attention to, that’s about it. And, indeed, there are plenty for sale on Autotrader right now with huge mileage on them! If you have a low mileage one though, it’s amazing how expensive they still are. For instance, a brand new 4×4 Tacoma SR5 is $34,990. Or, you can get this eight year old one with 54,000 miles on it for $27,995. Yes, that is less than $1,000 PER YEAR in depreciation. Not bad. Find a Toyota Tacoma for sale

Jeep Wrangler

Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler is like the Tacoma. If you look at it on paper, you just think: Really? But, yes, they really do sell for that much. The legendary off-road capabilities and the fact that it has remained true to its roots certainly play a part in the desirability of these cars. Also, driving with no doors is fun. The absolutely enormous aftermarket for the Wrangler can be overwhelming — and it can make the car as unique as its owner. This, coupled with the configurability from the factory, means that you would be hard-pressed to find a duplicate. Parts are pretty inexpensive and easy to find — but the cost of entry is pretty high! For instance, a brand new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited with a hard top is $33,635. Or you could purchase this 12-year-old Jeep Wrangler Unlimited X with only 163,000 miles on it for $14,599! That’s $1,500 per year — or 12 cents per mile — in depreciation! Crazy, isn’t it!? Find a Jeep Wrangler for sale

Volvo XC70

Volvo XC70

Here’s one I’m a little bit surprised about. This is a nice, lifted wagon that sold really well until the XC60 came along. It does seem to have its own cult following of those who bought their first one in 2004 and have had three of them since. That kind of loyalty is hard to ignore — and it does keep the prices high. Indeed, here in central Vermont, they are highly sought after and every one my dealership has brought in so far has been sold within a few days, at most. It’s also interesting to see that of the last four we’ve sold, one traded an S60R, the other three traded their old and decrepit XC70s toward a newer one. They do depreciate a bit faster than the two cars below, but they’re still surprising. For instance, here’s a 4-year-old one with 100,000 miles that is still worth nearly $20,000! That isn’t a fluke either: The last one we sold was the same year, same color, same trim level and the same price! Find a Volvo XC70 for sale

Honda Element

Honda Element

Like the next car on this list, here’s a mainstream car that, had you timed it just right, could’ve been an investment. While they were still in production, they depreciated as you would expect. Then they went away, and the community they had created has made the value rise to levels you wouldn’t expect! The Element was designed entirely with practicality in mind: boxy, easy to clean, reliable and cheap to run. No one will have used the word sexy in their description, but it puts the "utility" in sports utility vehicle. For a fun example, here’s a 2011 Honda Element with 60k miles. How much is it? $10,000? $12,000? $15,000? Nope, it’s $19,850! This is a car with an original MSRP of $24,185. That’s not even $500 per year in depreciation. Do you have a pristine one hiding in your barn? Might be a good time to dust it off and put it on Autotrader! Find a Honda Element for sale

Subaru Baja

Subaru Baja

Here’s another example of a unique car that did what all mainstream cars do and depreciated like normal. Then, as the world started to appreciate cars from the 1980s and 1990s, we all turned to the Baja as a reminder of the Brat from decades ago. This drove the prices up to the point where — it’s scarcely believable, but — if you played your cards right, it would’ve been a better deal than the Element. This 2006 Baja is available right now with only 35,000 miles on it for the tidy sum of $18,991. This is a lot of money for a 13-year-old car with an original MSRP of $23,295. As with many Subarus, they were typically purchased and then used until inches from death. This makes these low mileage cars that much more desirable and eye-poppingly expensive compared to what you would expect a mid-2000 Subaru to be priced at. This particular car has depreciated $331 per year, which equates to $28 per month. You can’t even take the family to McDonald’s for that anymore. Find a Subaru Baja for sale

So, in conclusion, if you go out to your barn and there are any of the above vehicles in it, now might be the time to sell!

Bill Leedy spends his time selling used cars to folks throughout Vermont and the Adirondacks. He can also be found on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram under the name Green Mountain Car Guy.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Odd about the XC70 depreciation since it’s sedan version was notoriously terrible for the same reason. They launched that generation in ’07 and in ’08 I bought a year old one for less than half sticker price. 

  2. I can attest to the Jeep part.  I went looking for a lightly used JKU  a couple of years ago and all the ones I liked were $35K or more.  I ended up buying a new one for that price!  The upside is that I’ve kept the miles down (thanks press cars!) and ideally will be able to sell it for a decent amount in a couple of years.

  3. The resale value on Tacomas is insane. I was shocked to find a 2000 with 260,000 miles on it listed for $14k. MSRP when new was $23-25k based on the similar one I bought brand new that my daughter wrecked a couple years ago. I wasn’t pleased when I got my $700 from CarMax. 

    • $14k for almost anything with 260k miles on it is crazy!!  Sorry to hear that yours met a sticky end!  Hopefully your daughter was okay!

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