Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

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Maximize Your Budget: Top Cars That Don’t Depreciate

Buying a car is a rite of passage for any young adult, and whether you’re off to college or about to begin your career, having a reliable vehicle is imperative. On the lot of your local used car dealer, you may be unsure about which vehicle to choose, mainly because you’re on a budget, and the cheaper, the better… right? Well, not exactly, as experts will tell you that you get what you pay for when it comes to vehicles.

However, there are options out there that are known to offer drivers more for their money while holding onto their value. You may have heard of the term “depreciation,” but you’re unsure of exactly what it means, and when you’re searching for your first car, you’ll need to keep depreciation in mind. Thankfully, there are cars that don’t depreciate – or at least don’t depreciate very much, which can save you a lot of stress and money in your car buying experience.

What Is Depreciation?

So, what exactly is depreciation, and how will it affect your decision on a vehicle? The term depreciation is defined as the rate at which the value of your vehicle decreases year after year. Unfortunately, new cars are more susceptible to this, as new models tend to depreciate the most within the first year; many of them even lose a significant amount of their value the moment they’re driven off the lot. Fortunately, used cars have already gone through the bulk of their depreciation, making them perfect for all different types of buyers.

Depreciation will depend heavily on the make and model of a particular vehicle, working in tandem with the value of the vehicle and the average percentage it is expected to decrease each year. You’ll also find that outside factors can affect a vehicle’s depreciation, such as accidents, and some vehicles just depreciate more than others. Luxury vehicles, especially, tend to lose their value the quickest, while sturdy vehicles like trucks and sedans tend to maintain their value for a longer period of time.

You may be wondering how this affects you at this point in time. Well, the vehicle you choose probably won’t be your forever vehicle, and you’ll most likely want to trade it in for something you really like once you get your bearings and save up a bit. You’ll also most likely want to trade it in and put the money you get for this vehicle toward your dream vehicle, and if your current car has depreciated too much, the amount you get for your trade will significantly decrease as well.

You’ll notice that the vehicles that tend to depreciate the least are from reputable brands with long-standing histories of building top-notch vehicles that can withstand any journey. That’s why it’s recommended to stick to some of the industry’s best so that you’re getting the most value for your hard-earned money when it finally comes time to upgrade.

Cars That Depreciate the Least

Like we mentioned earlier, there are some vehicles that depreciate less than others, which makes them the ones to watch on a used car dealership’s lot. Let’s chat about some of these trusted offerings so that when you’re shopping, and you see one of them, you can make a mental note to take a closer look.

A blue 2020 Honda Accord Sport is shown from the side stopped at a stoplight.

Honda Accord

A recent winner of Kelley Blue Book’s 5-Year Cost to Own Award, the Honda Accord has been a dependable staple in the Honda lineup since the 1970s. It has been recognized as having the lowest projected ownership cost in the midsize car segment, and with its desirable features, celebrated reputation, and variety of options, finding a used Honda Accord in great shape is easy. Hondas hold their value well and combined with the Accord’s efficiency, driveability, and available features, this model tops the charts if you’re looking for a trusted and affordable first car. When you stick to newer model years, you get to enjoy more modern upgrades like tech, safety features, and more.

Jeep Wrangler

The Wrangler has been heralded as having one of the best resale values around for years. Not only is this rugged off-road SUV a strong addition to your travels, able to safely and confidently take you where you need to go, even if road conditions get bad, but it’s also built with precision, making it a strong pick that holds its value. The Wrangler’s average depreciation rate over a five-year period is approximately 30%, whereas most other vehicles depreciate around 50% over the same period, putting the Wrangler ahead of the competition when it comes to overall retained value. With a reliable reputation, as well as capabilities that can’t be beat, the Wrangler remains a top option for any driver, especially those looking to maximize their budget.

Toyota Camry

Many drivers know that Toyota builds solid vehicles, and when you want to take advantage of some of the best resale values around, you’ll want to invest in a Toyota. The Camry has been a popular pick for many drivers since its debut in the early 1980s. And with its variety of safety features, comfort, and smooth ride, especially in more recent models, it’s no surprise that this trusty midsize sedan depreciates less than its competition. Spacious enough to provide a cozy driving experience yet affordable and filled with desirable features, the Camry is a solid vehicle to choose when shopping for a car that won’t let you down in terms of dependability, safety and value.

A red 2020 Honda Fit is shown from the side driving away from a used car dealer.

Honda Fit

Compact yet ultra-reliable, the Honda Fit not only provides you with outstanding gas mileage, it has been known to hold its value among the best throughout the years. Although it was recently discontinued, there are plenty of used Honda Fits on dealership lots across the country, waiting to provide their owners with unmatched dependability that is hard to find in many of its competitors. Pleasantly spacious on the inside with a sleek, modern design on the outside, the Honda Fit is a small hatch with a big heart. If you want to make the most of your journey, the Honda Fit is a superb choice.

How to Make the Right Decision

When it comes to your used car search, it helps to be prepared with the facts, which extend far beyond the simple sticker price. Making your decision solely on price will vastly affect your experience, and no one wants to end up with a lemon or a car that loses its value within the first few years of its lifespan. We suggest making a list of what you’re looking for in a vehicle, even if it’s not much at the moment. Just because you may be on a tight budget, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to get a quality car with the features you want for an affordable price. There are many highly sought-after vehicles at used car dealers everywhere that provide drivers with exactly what they’re looking for while being well within their budget.

Although you’ll have a lot more options available to you when you’re looking at used cars instead of brand new models, it’s important to know which vehicles hold their value the best. This will make your search infinitely easier, which can maximize your budget. This may be your first car, and you don’t want to make a mistake and buy something that won’t hold up or won’t perform how you need it to, which means sticking to some of the tried and true top options is advised. Remember some of these crowd favorites as you embark on your adventure of car shopping, and you’ll end up with a vehicle that will deliver a dependable ride for many miles.