Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A blue 2020 Honda Civic is shown from the rear driving on an open road.

Shopping for the Future: Cars with High Trade-In Values

Buying a new vehicle is exciting, but that excitement often overshadows something crucial that many buyers forget to consider: trade-in value. Purchasing a vehicle is an investment, whether you’re buying a new or used car. That’s why it’s not only essential to consider the purchase price, but it’s vital to consider the resale or trade-in value.

You’ll eventually need or want to trade your current vehicle in for a different model. Ideally, your vehicle should yield you enough money to put toward your next purchase, allowing you to reduce your monthly payments and afford a better-equipped car, truck, or SUV. So, how can you proactively ensure you’ll get top dollar for your vehicle—years before it’s time to trade? Simply shop for vehicles with high trade-in values like the ones listed below.

#5 Honda Civic

The Civic is one of Honda’s longest-running nameplates, and for good reason; it’s been one of the top-three best-selling sedans in America since 1973. The sedan, also available as a hatchback, offers numerous features, from top-tier trims laden with luxury and technology to entry-level models perfect for young drivers just starting out on the road. Along with this broad spectrum of options, the Civic is also renowned for its reliability. It can clock hundreds of thousands of miles with routine maintenance and still be ready for more.

These characteristics give most Civics a high resale value regardless of age. But just how high? It turns out that’s debatable, with Motor1 projecting the Civic to retain 84% of its value after five years and Kelley Blue Book projecting it to have a 49.8% resale value. With most new models losing 60% in value after 60 months, both projections make the Civic a frontrunner—and a wise investment for those looking for a sophisticated sedan.

So, what does this mean in terms of numbers?

  • Any Civic model is a great find, but let’s look at what the Civic’s resale value means in terms of a 2022 model. The 2022 Civic starts at $22,550, making it worth approximately $18,900 by Motor1 standards or $11,229 by Kelley Blue Book standards.
  • Either way, it’s still far more valuable than alternatives like the Hyundai Elantra, which at a depreciation rate of 60%, is worth around $8,000 after five years.

#4 Toyota Prius

The Prius helped introduce American drivers to hybrid capability, sealing its fate in the Toyota lineup and as one of the most fuel-efficient options in the industry. Today, that reputation has earned the Prius a stellar resale value, especially as more drivers turn to hybrid powertrains to save on fuel and dip their toes into an all-electric future. So, what does this mean for the Prius when it’s time to trade?

Buying a Prius not only saves you money at the pump but also means reaping a larger return on your investment. As of 2022, the Prius retains around 82.90% (Motor1) in value over its first five years on the road. While we’ll apply this to the 2022 model, most Prius models offer similar value, varying slightly based on their age, packages, and technology.

Here’s what it looks like in terms of numbers:

  • The 2022 Prius starts at $25,075, and the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq starts at $24,695. The Prius retains 82.90% in value over five years, making it worth around $21,000.
  • The Ioniq, while comparable, is a newcomer to the industry and doesn’t retain its value as well, with a lower resale value after five years due to the lesser-known reputation of the Hyundai brand.

A car with a high trade-in value, a grey 2020 Mazda3 is shown from the side driving on a dirt road.

#3 Mazda3

Drivers with a penchant for sport-like handling and speed don’t have to sacrifice a high trade-in value when shopping for a vehicle that will meet their needs. The Mazda3 is proof of this, distinguishing itself by its exceptional handling and capable powertrain that make it incredibly fun to drive. But, more importantly, the Mazda3 is an excellent value on the used lot, with experts estimating the compact sedan to hold around 84% (Motor1) of its value after five years.

What does this mean in terms of trade-in value?

  • The 2022 Mazda3 starts at $21,150, making it one of the most affordable sport-inspired sedans in the segment. After five years, you can expect it to retain around 84% of its value—or be worth over $17,700, depending on condition and mileage.
  • However, there is a caveat to the Mazda3’s high resale value. The sedan sees a sharp decline in value by its seventh year on the road, so trading sooner rather than later is ideal and crucial to consider when shopping for an older model on the used lot.

#2 Toyota Tacoma

The Toyota Tacoma is a staple in the industry, continuing Toyota’s reputation for building long-lasting and capable road warriors that can handle themselves on and off the pavement. The Tacoma, affectionately known as the “Taco,” has one of the highest resale values in the segment because it proves that age is only a number. In the Tacoma’s case, mileage has little to do with prowess on the road. As a result, you’ll find used models are in high demand regardless of age.

In addition, the rising popularity of off-roading has earned the Tacoma even greater acclaim. The Tacoma’s midsize platform makes it easy to maneuver on technical terrain, and its long heritage in the Toyota lineup makes it easy to modify and accessorize. It’s an adventurer’s chariot and an investor’s dream—especially when you look at the numbers!

Here’s what the Tacoma’s resale value can look like:

  • The 2022 Tacoma starts at $27,150, with most drivers opting for models like the TRD Off-Road, priced around $35,000. Motor1 projects the truck to retain approximately 82.58% in value, making trims like the TRD Off-Road worth about $28,900.
  • In contrast, Kelley Blue Book estimates the Tacoma’s five-year resale value at 60.6%, making it worth around $21,200. With off-road equipment and modifications, this price can climb even higher.

A red and a white 2019 Toyota 4Runner are shown from the side off-roading.

#1 Toyota 4Runner

Do you see a trend? Toyota seems to be a common thread, and that’s because this automaker discovered a winning combination. The 4Runner proves that a traditional SUV on a truck-based platform still sits at the top of the food chain among a class of crossovers and sedan-like SUVs.

The 4Runner’s body-on-frame platform defies the current trend and sets the stage for an SUV that’s more capable than ever. The four-wheel-drive model is especially enticing to off-roaders, adventurers, and everyday drivers looking for exceptional handling and traction in any condition. This is why the 4Runner is well-known for its high resale value, which Motor1 experts project around 80.64% and Kelley Blue Book at 58.6% after five years.

So, what does this look like when it’s time to trade?

  • The 4Runner will fetch a fair price at any age, but the 2022 model puts this value into perspective. For example, the 2022 4Runner TRD Off-Road is just under $42,000 and rolls off the production line ready for the trail. Even after five years, it’s an excellent investment and can be valued anywhere from $24,600 (KBB) to $34,000 (Motor1).
  • When you consider mileage, modifications, packages, and other off-road accessories, the 4Runner’s value skyrockets—and can be an adventurer’s jackpot on the used lot.

What Does This Mean for You?

Customers should always shop with the future in mind. So, beyond focusing on what a vehicle will offer you today, it’s essential to look at your return on investment. Check out vehicles with high resale values that will serve you well from the driver’s seat today but also do wonders at getting you behind the wheel of a newer model down the road. So, what’s the best way to shop?

Resale values run a broad spectrum—from high-end Motor1 estimates to moderate projections from renowned authorities like Kelley Blue Book. This range proves the importance of doing your homework, looking further at a vehicle’s resale value from multiple outlets, and comparing that value to your initial investment. From there, it’s a matter of taking a test drive and seeing how you feel in the driver’s seat of your next car, truck, or SUV.