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All Contents © 2018The Kiplinger Washington Editors
By Miriam Cross, Associate Editor
| January 30, 2015
As part of Kiplinger's annual Best Car Values feature, these new vehicles have the highest projected three-year resale values in their respective categories. A vehicle’s future worth is an important measure of its overall value and appeal. The figures here are the estimated prices a dealer would pay if you traded in the vehicles both three and five years down the road, expressed as a percentage of their original sticker prices.
To win the Best Resale Award, a model must first be selected as one of the top 25 vehicles in its category. Kiplinger ranks sedans within price categories. Crossovers, minivans, wagons and trucks are sorted by segment and size and then ranked. A vehicle is not eligible for the award if another trim level of the same model has won Best Resale in a lower price category.
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.
SOURCES: Kelley Blue Book (new vehicle data & ownership costs); Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (Top Safety Pick)
KELLEY BLUE BOOK FAIR PURCHASE PRICE: The Kelley Blue Book® Fair Purchase Price for new cars is generally the midpoint of the Fair Market Range. It is Kelley Blue Book's estimate of what a consumer could reasonably expect to pay in during the period between December 19, 2014 through January 15, 2015 for a new vehicle with standard options, excluding taxes, title and fees. It's based on actual new-car transactions, plus data from other reliable third-party sources as well as market conditions.
MSRP: The MSRP, or Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, is the price set by the manufacturer and does not necessarily reflect the price actually paid by consumers in your area. The MSRP shown here includes destination and freight charges but excludes services and handling fees and state and local tax, title and license fees.
INVOICE PRICE: Dealer invoice represents the dealer’s cost for the vehicle only and doesn’t include any of the dealer’s costs for advertising, selling, preparing, displaying or financing the vehicle.
Resale value: 3-year: 67%; 5-year: 49%
Sticker price: $17,270 (LX)
Invoice price: $16,836
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $16,800
MPG: City: 33; Hwy: 41
Our pick for Best New Car in this category also tops its class in resale value. The 2015 Fit offers more interior space than the previous version (despite shaving nearly 2 inches off its length) and a more powerful engine. Plus, there’s no need to pay more for safety: Every trim comes with a standard rearview camera, and the Fit receives a Top Safety Pick accolade from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Resale value: 3-year: 64%; 5-year: 50%
Sticker price: $22,815 (S 4dr, manual)
Invoice price: $21,935
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $21,781
MPG: City: 30; Hwy: 45
Forty years after its U.S. debut, the Golf still offers European driving dynamics at a value price -- especially when it comes to the fuel-thrifty diesel TDI model, which gets a $3,000 price drop for 2015 and wins our Best New Car Award. The cargo area is enlarged to an impressive 23 cubic feet, and an array of safety features (including adaptive headlights and forward-collision warning) are available when you upgrade to higher trims.
Resale value: 3-year: 67%; 5-year: 51%
Sticker price: $27,090 (base, manual)
Invoice price: $25,612
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $26,049
MPG: City: 21; Hwy: 28
The redesigned 2015 WRX gives you more bang for your buck, with a slew of new features (including a rearview camera, a driver’s knee airbag and Bluetooth) baked into every model and a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that spits out 268 horses. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and the automatic-transmission option in higher trims lets you fine-tune the throttle response to “Intelligent,” “Sport,” or “Sport Sharp.”
Resale value: 3-year: 64%; 5-year: 45%
Sticker price: $30,390 (3.6R Limited)
Invoice price: $28,534
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $28,253
MPG: City: 20; Hwy: 29
Standard all-wheel drive and high-tech features run throughout the Legacy lineup, and the 2.5i Limited version takes our Best New Car Award in the $25,000 - $30,000 category. But the top-of-the-line 3.6R has higher resale values. The 3.6R has a robust 256-horsepower engine and a reassuring menu of standard safety equipment, including a rear vehicle-detection system that monitors blind spots and alerts the driver to cross traffic behind the car. The keyless-access system works with a PIN, so you can leave your keys in the glove box while you go for a run or a swim, then reenter the car by punching in a code.
Resale value: 3-year: 63%; 5-year: 45%
Sticker price: $40,990
Invoice price: $38,186
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $38,879
MPG: City: 19; Hwy: 28
The IS 350 nabs the Best Resale Award for the second year in a row, after a 2014 redesign delivered more legroom and cargo space, improved suspension, and 10 standard airbags. Available tech includes forward-collision warning, automatic high beams, lane-departure warning, and blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert.
Sticker price: $43,715 (base)
Invoice price: $40,721
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $43,321
Melding the best of the Lexus GS luxury sedan and the IS sports car, the RC 350 coupe delivers crisp handling and an eight-speed transmission, as well as a V6 engine that puts out 306 horsepower. Lexus calls the RC 350 a luxury sport coupe, and the stylish interior is accented with real wood trim. It doesn’t skimp on safety, either: Front knee airbags are standard, and the model gets a Top Safety Pick + rating from IIHS when outfitted with optional forward-collision warning.
Resale value: 3-year: 56%; 5-year: 40%
Sticker price: $73,445 (base)
Invoice price: $67,642
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $72,710
MPG: City: 16; Hwy: 24
Lexus’s flagship sedan also locked in last year’s award for Best Resale. It combines a powerful but efficient 386-horsepower V8 engine with an elegant interior. New for 2015 is a spiffed-up multimedia system with smart navigation features, including predictive traffic information and an ETA calculator. The new Enform Remote mobile app lets you unlock the car or start the engine remotely.
Resale value: 3-year: 67%; 5-year: 45%
Sticker price: $33,845 (3.6R Limited)
Invoice price: $31,710
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $31,617
MPG: City: 20; Hwy: 27
The base version of the Outback won our Best New vehicle award, but the 3.6R Limited has higher resale values. The six-cylinder engine puts out 256 horsepower, compared with the 175 horsepower from the four-cylinder engine that powers the rest of the lineup. Plus, the Limited trim builds in convenience features such as keyless access with a PIN code and heated seats front and back. When equipped with EyeSight, which integrates adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and lane-departure warning, the Outback gets a Top Safety Pick + rating.
Sticker price: $42,910 (Touring)
Invoice price: $39,291
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $40,013
A perennial Kiplinger pick for Best in Class minivan -- and one of Kiplinger’s greatest cars of the 21st century -- the road-trip-ready Odyssey offers agile handling, a miniature fridge and plenty of entertainment options for all eight passengers. Fuel economy is reasonable, too: The Odyssey gets 28 miles per gallon on the highway. A rearview camera comes standard, but you can also add forward-collision and lane-departure warning systems with the Touring model.
Resale value: 3-year: 67%; 5-year: 44%
Sticker price: $50,895 (S)
Invoice price: $47,332 (estimated)
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $49,291
MPG: City: 17; Hwy: 23
Porsche’s first small crossover is as much sports car as it is crossover. The S trim, powered by a 3.0-liter, turbocharged V6 engine, produces 340 horsepower and zooms from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than six seconds. An automatic start-stop function conserves fuel by shutting off the engine as the vehicle comes to a stop, and you can switch the car to off-road mode with the push of a button.
Resale value: 3-year: 64%; 5-year: 40%
Sticker price: $69,420 (HSE)
Invoice price: $64,561 (estimated)
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $69,420
Thanks to an aluminum structure, the second-generation Range Rover Sport is lighter and more nimble than its predecessor. But it can rough it, plowing over mud, rocks, sand and snow using a terrain-response system that automatically adapts to surface conditions. Inside, there’s a more intuitive control panel and cushy, armchair-like seats.
Resale value: 3-year: 69%; 5-year: 50%
Sticker price: $64,525 (BlueTec)
Invoice price: $60,008 (estimated)
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $62,202
MPG: City: 19; Hwy: 26
The diesel-powered GL350 BlueTec boasts the highest resale values of any crossover in our rankings. Options include Active Parking Assist, which steers you into a parking spot, and Active Lane Keeping Assist, which corrects your course if you stray from your lane. If you’re hauling cargo, you can expand storage space from 16 cubic feet to almost 50 by stowing third-row seats with the push of a button. The GL350 BlueTec can tow up to 7,500 pounds, too.
Sticker price: $38,190 (Launch Edition, manual)
Invoice price: $36,127
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $37,135
Sleeker, faster and more aggressive than its more-sedate sibling, the WRX STI boasts quick steering response and sporty handling. The all-wheel-drive system offers three driving modes, and the turbocharged engine tops 300 horsepower, meaning the new whiplash-reducing front seats might come in handy. The Launch Edition run is limited to 1,000 vehicles, but the base STI ($35,290) offers a 63% resale value after three years.
Resale value: 3-year: 83%; 5-year: 69%
Sticker price: $27,390 (Sport, manual)
Invoice price: $26,683
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $25,979
MPG: City: 16; Hwy: 21
The Wrangler Unlimited stays ahead of the pack on resale value, keeping a stunning 83% after three years -- more than any other vehicle on our list. A 3.6-liter V6 engine delivers 21 miles per gallon on the highway and 285 horses. The Wrangler is highly coveted for its off-road prowess, but front and rear seats are engineered for comfort on long trips on the highway. For 2015, Jeep incorporates an eight-speaker audio system and a toolkit for removing the roof and doors.
Resale value: 3-year: 81%; 5-year: 66%
Sticker price: $29,420 (double cab, long bed, 4WD)
Invoice price: $27,320
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $29,393
This in-demand midsize pickup keeps its value for the long haul. It’s propelled by either a four- or six-cylinder engine and comes in two-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive versions. Entune Audio with hands-free Bluetooth calling and music streaming is included across the lineup, and a rearview camera is optional. Looking for a touch of luxury? The Limited package bundles in chrome wheels, fog lamps and softer interior materials. Or upgrade to the TRD Off-Road package to prep for more-rugged terrain.
Resale value: 3-year: 75%; 5-year: 64%
Sticker price: $36,530 (4.6L, 4WD)
Invoice price: $33,873
Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price: $35,974
MPG: City: 14; Hwy: 18
A number of trims of the Tundra CrewMax pickup tied for Best Resale, so you can’t go wrong whether you pick the 4.6-liter or 5.7-liter engine (both are V8s). Standard across the Tundra CrewMax line-up are a 5.5-foot bed, a power vertical sliding rear window, towing capability that exceeds 9,000 pounds, and a backup camera. Energy-absorbent glass filters out the worst of the sun’s heat during summer drives.
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