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Slide Show | January 2013

12 Best Cars With the Highest Resale Value, 2013

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An important measure of a vehicle's value -- and appeal -- is what it's expected to be worth three and five years down the road. These figures are the estimated price a dealer would pay if you traded in the vehicle, expressed as a percentage of the original sticker price.

Resale values come from a complex set of calculations based in part on historical data and economic predictions, as well as competition in each automotive segment, how appealing a car's brand is, and supply (including fleet sales and leases) versus demand.

To win Best Resale plaudits, the model must first be selected as one of our top 25 vehicles in its category. From that group, we pick the vehicle with the highest three-year resale value. A model is not eligible for the award if another trim level of the same model has won Best Resale in a lower-price category.


12 Best Cars With the Highest Resale Value, 2013

Cars Under $20,000: Ford Focus S

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Ford

Resale value iconResale value: 3-year: 62%; 5-year: 45%

Sticker price: $16,995 (manual sedan)

Invoice price: $16,064

TrueCar national average price: $16,672

MPG: City: 26; Hwy: 36

In addition to nabbing the highest resale value in its class, the Focus walks away with Best in Class honors just one year after its 2012 redesign. It's an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick, too.

Cars Under $20,000: Ford Focus S

Cars $20,000-$25,000: Mini Cooper Hardtop S

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MINI

Resale value iconResale value: 3-year: 68%; 5-year: 53%

Sticker price: $24,000 (manual)

Invoice price: $21,670

TrueCar national average price: $23,094

MPG: City: 26; Hwy: 35

The original Mini Cooper ties with the Mini Cooper Coupe for the top resale value of any vehicle in our rankings. The Cooper Hardtop S has go-kart-like driving dynamics and a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine that produces 181 horses (which allows the car to zip from 0 to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds), but it still gets 35 miles per gallon on the highway.

Cars $20,000-$25,000: Mini Cooper Hardtop S

Cars $25,000-$30,000: Mini Cooper Coupe S

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MINI

Resale value iconResale value: 3-year: 68%; 5-year: 53%

Sticker price: $25,450 (manual)

Invoice price: $22,975

TrueCar national average price: $24,500

MPG: City: 26; Hwy: 35

Mini's outside-the-box styling routinely defies expectations. The Mini Cooper Coupe, introduced last year, shares the body of the Cooper Hardtop -- but adds a sloped, sporty roofline. In John Cooper Works trim, the two-seater Coupe gets from 0 to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds.

Cars $25,000-$30,000: Mini Cooper Coupe S

Cars $30,000-$40,000: Volvo S60 T5

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Volvo

Resale value iconResale value: 3-year: 61%; 5-year: 43%

Sticker price: $32,795

Invoice price: $30,881

TrueCar national average price: $30,884

MPG: City: 21; Hwy: 30

Volvo's S60 adds high resale values to its reputation for stellar safety, and this year IIHS named it a Top Safety Pick+ (a new designation that means it did well in the new small overlap test; only midsize models were tested). The 2013 model year brings more advanced technology with standard Tunnel Detection, a feature that automatically turns on your headlights when you enter a tunnel.

Cars $30,000-$40,000: Volvo S60 T5

Cars $40,000-$50,000: Infiniti G37 Journey coupe

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Infiniti

Resale value iconResale value: 3-year: 62%; 5-year: 45%

Sticker price: $41,195

Invoice price: $38,223

TrueCar national average price: $38,096

MPG: City: 19; Hwy: 27

Every member of Infiniti's G series is fun to drive -- with a sporty suspension and plenty of power -- but the model that's tops for trading in is the base level G37 coupe.

Cars $40,000-$50,000: Infiniti G37 Journey coupe

Cars $50,000 and Over: Audi A7 3.0 Premium Plus

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Audi

Resale value iconResale value: 3-year: 58%; 5-year: 41%

Sticker price: $64,695

Invoice price: $60,231

TrueCar national average price: $62,424

MPG: City: 18; Hwy: 28

The hatchback version of the A6 tops the luxury charts for resale value for the second year in a row. Though it shares powertrains with its sibling, the A7 has the edge in cargo space -- it claims 11 cubic feet more, for a total of 25.

Cars $50,000 and Over: Audi A7 3.0 Premium Plus

Sports Cars: Ford Mustang V6 coupe

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Ford

Resale value iconResale value: 3-year: 63%; 5-year: 46%

Sticker price: $22,995 (manual)

Invoice price: $21,719

TrueCar national average price: $22,367

MPG: City: 19; Hwy: 29

With a low price, respectable fuel economy and serious power (305 horses), Ford's pony car easily attains great value status. Add in a resale value of more than 60% after three years and the Mustang is a good bet. Giddyap!

Sports Cars: Ford Mustang V6 coupe

Wagons: Ford C-Max SE

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Ford

Resale value iconResale value: 3-year: 61%; 5-year: 44%

Sticker price: $25,995

Invoice price: $24,294

TrueCar national average price: $24,362

MPG: City: 47; Hwy: 47

Brand-new for the 2013 model year, the C-Max hybrid boasts better fuel economy than any in its class other than its plug-in hybrid sibling, the C-Max Energi, and it bests even that version's resale values. The 2.0-liter engine in combination with the electric motor puts out 188 horses, giving the C-Max performance not typically seen in a hybrid.

Wagons: Ford C-Max SE

Minivans: Honda Odyssey LX

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Honda

Resale value iconResale value: 3-year: 51%; 5-year: 40%

Sticker price: $29,505

Invoice price: $27,060

TrueCar national average price: $28,303

MPG: City: 18, Hwy: 27

It might have lost the Best in Class crown this year to the Toyota Sienna, which has more horsepower and headroom and gains points for knee airbags, but the Odyssey still claims better fuel economy, more interior and cargo space, and higher resale values. It features six airbags and is an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

Minivans: Honda Odyssey LX

Small Crossovers: Subaru Forester 2.5X

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Subaru

Resale value iconResale value: 3-year: 56%: 5-year: 39%

Sticker price: $23,290

Invoice price: $22,051

TrueCar national average price: $21,949

MPG: City: 21; Hwy: 27

A perennial Kiplinger favorite, Subaru's Forester offers value in a no-nonsense package. All-wheel drive to take you over the river and through the woods is standard on the IIHS Top Safety Pick, as are Bluetooth and six airbags. Add the All-Weather Package ($500) on the Premium trim level for heated front seats and exterior mirrors, plus a windshield-wiper de-icer.

Small Crossovers: Subaru Forester 2.5X

Midsize and Large Crossovers: Lexus RX 350

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Lexus

Resale value iconResale value: 3-year: 61%; 5-year: 46%

Sticker price: $40,205

Invoice price: $37,649

TrueCar national average price: $38,563

MPG: City: 18; Hwy: 25

Though the RX's hybrid sibling, the RX 450h, walks off with Best in Class this year, chalk that up to that model's extra fuel economy and horsepower. The RX 350's 3.5-liter V6 puts out plenty of horses (270), and the car costs $6,600 less than the hybrid RX. It also nets a one-percentage-point better resale value after three years and two extra points after five.

Midsize and Large Crossovers: Lexus RX 350

Truck-based SUVs: Jeep Wrangler Sport

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Jeep

Resale value iconResale value: 3-year: 58%; 5-year: 42%

Sticker price: $23,190 (manual)

Invoice price: $22,617

TrueCar national average price: $22,940

MPG: City: 17; Hwy: 21

Jeeps set the standard for off-roading. For 2013, the timeless Wrangler features a 3.6-liter V6 that delivers 21 mpg on the highway and 285 horses, plus new front and rear seats engineered for more comfort on long hauls. On summer days, pop the top for the ultimate in fun.

Truck-based SUVs: Jeep Wrangler Sport

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