Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A burgundy 2016 Buick LaCrosse is driving on a grass-lined highway.

7 Cars That Hold Value and Remain Dependable over Time

When you’re shopping for a used car, you want to know which cars stand up best to the test of time. It’s actually smart to purchase used because all cars depreciate in value the moment you drive them off the lot. You save a lot of cash by purchasing a car even two years after it was originally sold. Unless you have money to burn, buying used just makes good sense. Still, it’s important to know which cars hold value enough to make it worth your while. Generally, dependability in a car is a great asset, but sometimes buying used is a great way to get the luxury or performance vehicle you always wanted.

Let’s look at ten cars you might want to buy used, so you get the value of dependability… Or maybe just the fun of a once expensive car that’s been lightly used. With that said, these vehicles are listed in no particular order, and regardless of the year of the model, it’s a good idea to avoid buying a car that’s more than ten years old. Classic cars are excluded, of course, but few cars remain reliable after that length of time. If you live in northern climates where salt is used on the roads in winter, that life span is usually a lot shorter.

The Toyota Prius

It may seem surprising to those of us who remember life before hybrids, but the Prius has been around almost 20 years. This vehicle is highly rated as a reliable car, which is no surprise coming from a company known for its reliable vehicles. Resale values stay fairly high for the Prius, so you don’t get the kind of low prices you might find with other brands, but you do get to enjoy the savings in gas and repairs. That can help balance out the higher resale price you have to pay if you purchase one used. Most of the models within the last ten years are rated well, though Kelley Blue Book rates the 2015-16 models lower than the others of the last decade. In those two years, the Prius didn’t accelerate well when first hitting the gas, and AC shuts down when sitting at a stoplight. Otherwise, reliability holds fast across all the models of the last decade.

The Dodge Challenger

Just because you’re buying a used car doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun. It may surprise buyers, but the Dodge Challenger has been given great ratings when it comes to dependability. Clearly, you are not buying this muscle car because you want to save on gas; the Challenger will drink gas as readily as a truck, and then some at a whopping 20-23 MPG. However, you do get the fun of driving a car with a lot of horsepower and plenty of sex appeal. If you dive into used car forums, there are a lot of Challenger owners who say they haven’t had to put much into repair work aside from the normal stuff like brakes or oil changes. This is another vehicle that holds its value, so expect to pay for the value of a used Challenger.

A grey 2018 Dodge Challenger, popular among used cars, is in an industrial building.

The Honda Odyssey

Before you scroll past the minivan option, the Honda Odyssey has a lot of what you might expect out of a crossover SUV, but with more space. Under the hood resides the power of a V6 engine, and this car was built for comfort on long drives. Driving the Odyssey it handles more like a car and gets better gas mileage than other vehicles in its class. It seats eight, the third row folds flat to the floor, and the second row comes out completely to make the back of the vehicle flat for transporting large items. Minivans may not be for everyone, but this vehicle holds its value and is dependable. If you love space, even the third row is accommodating for adults.

The Mazda3

Of all the cars in this list, the Mazda 3 might be the most well-regarded by consumers and experts alike. Not only does it retain value and dependability, but it also gets great fuel economy at between 30-35 MPG due to its SkyActiv technology to save on gas. The Mazda 3 is a zippy car with a lot of get-up-and-go, which is no surprise for this sporty sedan. If you’re looking for space, this is not the car for a family. In fact, the back seats are just about as good as extra trunk space, but that’s not why you buy a Mazda. This is a car that will handle well, and it will be fun to drive while sipping from the gas tank.

The Buick LaCrosse

Buick manages to hold value in general, but the LaCrosse has been given high marks for comfort, reliability, and a quiet cabin. For a few years (in the 2014-16 range), the ratings lowered in terms of the new eAssist system when it was introduced. The eAssist system helps utilize fuel more efficiently as a hybrid, and during the first few years of this system, it seemed to be less than extraordinary. Though the experts didn’t love the system, they also didn’t complain about it terribly much. This car deserves a test drive before you decide, but it holds value and is rated for dependability. Besides, if you find a used LaCrosse with a V6, you won’t have to worry about the hybrid at all.

The Ford F-150

A grey 2017 Ford F-150 is driving through muddy water.

When you need a truck, it can be outrageously expensive to purchase hot off the line. There are a lot of great trucks out there, but Ford is sort of the grandfather of trucks that know how to work hard. The F-150 will hold its value and is a dependable vehicle that will not only tow and haul but will also be comfortable for long trips. With the F-150, you get a truck that is the perfect ride if you travel with a trailer often, and this is the best in its class for towing and payload capacity. Even if you find one of these trucks as old as ten years, you’ll likely still get a back-up camera and sway control if you tow. The bad news about going back in years is that it will steadily get less gas mileage. Over the last ten years, Ford has made the engine more efficient, going from closer to 10 MPG to closer to 20 in more recent years.

The Mercedes Benz S Class

Buying a luxury car may be a dream you believe can’t come true, but it can if you’re willing to buy used. The Mercedes S Class is a model that has a little more depreciation in value than other models, despite the fact that it’s still a great vehicle. It will guzzle gas with a V8 roaring beneath the hood, but it does come as a hybrid, even as old as ten years ago. This luxury vehicle will reward you with power, comfort, a quiet cabin, and responsiveness on the road for a much lower sticker price than if you drive it new.

From small sedan to minivan, and from sporty coupe to a mid-duty truck, this list runs the gamut of options for used cars that hold value and run dependably over time. If you’re willing to spend the money on a decent used car, it will be a great bargain to buy these models used. Not all cars hold their value, and not all cars are in the price range of affordability for everyone; used cars can be the best of both worlds if you have your eye on a great vehicle for less.