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People buying new cars rarely do so with the intention of hanging on to them for decades. Frequently, buyers have two questions in mind: How does the car perform, and what will its resale value be after five years of depreciation?
Kelley Blue Book, the car valuation guide, has been the go-to resource for consumers who want answers to these questions. It's official website, KBB.com has just released its list of the top 10 cars with the best predicted resale value for 2013.
It projects the resale value using such factors as current sales data, market conditions for each vehicle and expectations for the economy.
What are the qualities that make a car ideal for the Top 10 Best Resale Value Award winners? According to Kelley Blue Book's Eric Ibara, there's no single attribute.
"Obviously a good looking car, a popular car, is more likely to sell at a higher price," Ibara said in an interview. "But if you remember back to Economics 101, it really comes down to supply and demand. You can have a good car, but if it was overproduced, its price will be lower in the marketplace."
CNBC.com presents Kelley Blue Book's list of the top 10 cars, with the best resale value for 2013.
By Daniel Bukszpan
Posted 27 Nov. 2012
Resale Value at 36 months: 60%
Resale Value at 60 months: 46.5%
The tC has consistently been the best-selling model in Toyota's youth-oriented Scion division. The Kelley Blue Book website describes the coupe as a "small two-door with a surprisingly roomy backseat."
Kelley Blue Book cites a starting price of approximately $20,000, making it an ideal choice for the young driver who doesn't have a lot to spend. Ibara said that despite this car's reputation as "a niche vehicle," it should retain its value over the years.
Resale Value at 36 months: 62.5%
Resale Value at 60 months: 46.9%
The 2013 Honda Civic has not yet been released, but Kelley Blue Book places it ninth on its list because of its reputation as the "gold standard" of compact cars. It was redesigned for 2013, and although some of the reaction has been lukewarm, that hasn't affected its predicted resale value.
"In spite of some criticism about minor changes in redesign, the Civic continued to be the best seller in its segment," Ibara said. "The Civic has again been one of those vehicles that retains its value very well as part of being a Honda, and with the changes implemented this year, the Civic tops its segment."
Resale Value at 36 months: 65%
Resale Value at 60 months: 47%
The 2013 LX is new to the top 10 list — so new that Kelley Blue Book has yet to review it. Despite the fact that large SUVs have fallen out of favor with new vehicle buyers, Ibara said that they have continued to hold their value.
"In spite of what's politically correct, there are still people who need a large vehicle," he said. "It really fulfills a niche in the marketplace. The fact that it carries the Lexus brand only helps."
Resale Value at 36 months: 67%
Resale Value at 60 months: 47.3%
According to Kelley Blue Book, the Cayenne is the best-selling Porsche in the U.S. The site refers to it as "arguably the sportiest SUV on the market," and cites a very reasonable starting price of $50,000.
The Cayenne can tow 7,716 pounds, and seat five passengers. "It's doing quite well, as is most of the vehicles in the Porsche lineup, in terms of resale value," Ibara said.
Resale Value at 36 months: 62%
Resale Value at 60 months: 49%
Described as "a unique combination of mainstream badge and premium amenities," Kelley Blue Book says the 2013 Land Cruiser is also "the most storied, most luxurious and priciest vehicle in the Toyota lineup."
Ibara compared the Land Cruiser to the Lexus LX. "The Land Cruiser is like the LX in that it's a large SUV, coming in a little more affordable and with less luxury features than the LX, but still fulfilling that need for space within a vehicle," he said.
Resale Value at 36 months: 66.7%
Resale Value at 60 months: 49%
The 4Runner is a truck-based SUV. While this type of vehicle has been steadily displaced by crossovers that drive like cars, the 4Runner has retained what Kelley Blue Book calls its "rigid body-on-frame design."
The SUV "does well year after year, partially as a result of being a Toyota," Ibara said. "It's a nice complement to the Highlander, that drives less like a truck. The 4Runner is more of a utility vehicle. It drives like truck."
Resale Value at 36 months: 64.7%
Resale Value at 60 months: 50.7%
The new CR-V is not that different from the fully redesigned model of 2012. Reasonably proportioned on the outside and spacious on the inside, Kelley Blue Book says that the CR-V "continues to lead the pack in terms of long-term resale values."
Ibara notes that the CR-V "competes in a very competitive segment, compact utility, but does very well in that segment. It has always provided customers a choice in a smaller utility vehicle with great reliability."
Resale Value at 36 months: 67.6%
Resale Value at 60 months: 55.4%
Kelley Blue Book doesn't mess around when it comes to bestowing accolades upon the 2013 Wrangler. "Today's Jeep Wrangler is the most comfortable, most capable model in the long history of the icon, and a resale value standout," it says.
After 60 months, Wrangler owners are expected to be able to resell their vehicles for more than half of what they paid originally. "It holds its value extremely well," Ibara said. "Wrangler does well partly because of its uniqueness, and also because people are looking for a vehicle like the Wrangler as a used car."
Resale Value at 36 months: 70.3%
Resale Value at 60 months: 57%
The Toyota Tacoma is the best-selling compact pickup in the U.S., and it has appeared on the Kelley Blue Book Top 10 Best Resale Value Award list no less than 10 times. "The Tacoma has done well year over year," Ibara said. "Like the Wrangler, it's the perennial winner of our best resale value award."
Kelley Blue Book says the Tacoma "delivers on all the work and play expectations that make Americans love their pickups, and does it in a more manageable, fuel-efficient form than a full-size pickup, while offering a wide range of trims, powertrains and cab configurations."
Resale Value at 36 months: 76%
Resale Value at 60 months: 63%
The FJ Cruiser has the best estimated resale value of any 2013 model. Kelley Blue Book describes it as an "off-road stud," and its high predicted resale value comes down to two factors: demand and more demand.
"It's quite unique in its field," Ibara said. "We think it fulfills a market need. Toyota also maintains a low production volume on the vehicle, which adds to its value as a used vehicle."