When shopping for a new vehicle, a buyer's attention usually goes to price, monthly payments, styling and the amount of rebate.
But one of the often overlooked factors is resale value. How much the vehicle is projected to be worth after three, four or five years is key if you are the kind of driver likely to sell or trade the vehicle in after a few years.
Kelley Blue Book tracks resale value, and recently issued a list of the best brands and individual models for resale value.
Best Brand: Subaru
The Japanese brand is best known for having all-wheel-drive standard on all of its vehicles. The Subaru Outback is ubiquitous in states such as Minnesota, Maine, New Hampshire and Oregon -- states that experience regular snow, lots of spring mud and rain. But Subaru also limits its sales rebates and other incentives, which means that owners are able to sell their vehicles for the biggest percentage of the original purchase price of any brand. Of course, Subaru is also known for their owners hanging on to their vehicles well beyond 100,000 miles.
Best Luxury Brand: BMW
The German automaker is known for its consistency and engineering. The 3 Series is often cited as the best overall vehicle in the world. The perennial desirability of the brand means that it is always in demand.
Best Single Model: Audi A5
The two-door coupe has been much praised in auto-enthusiast magazines and blogs for handling and a stellar interior. Availability is limited. All that adds up to a car that will stay in high demand. Audi lags behind other manufacturers in quality, but it has been improving.
Best Luxury SUV: BMW X5
The luxury brand with the best resale value also claims the top spot in this category. The X5 seats seven, has all-wheel drive, and its styling has kept it in high demand since it debuted in the 1990s.
Best Overall Crossover: Honda CR-V
Best resale value is one of the attributes that makes the CR-V the top selling crossover, topping the Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, Chevy Equinox and others.
Best Non-luxury SUV: Jeep Wrangler
The Wrangler is a one-of-a-kind. It is the most capable off-roader. The 2011 version has gotten several upgrades to the interior and is quieter on-road. For many, the Wrangler is still to raw and rough for on-road driving. But for sheer capability in mud or snow, there is none like it.
Best Pickup Truck: Toyota Tacoma
A sleeper, the Tacoma gets very little advertising support. Small business owners who don't need a full-size pickup like a Ford F Series or Chevy Silverado have long known that the Tacoma holds its value. It has high reliability, as well. Look for one on the used market, and the prices will amaze you. The Tacoma should continue to be a big winner for Toyota since Ford will soon leave the mid-sized pickup market when the Ranger ends its run. GM may also get out of the mid-sized pickup market.
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