Best Resale Values of 2021
For many Americans, a new car will be the second-largest purchase of their lives — next to owning a home. With the average transaction price of a new vehicle now above $40,000, buyers find it even more important to know that their new purchase will retain its value for years to come. Although many cars depreciate considerably the moment they’re driven off a dealer’s lot, Kelley Blue Book says the following vehicles have the best resale value — better than all others in their respective categories. This year marks the 19th time Kelley Blue Book has determined winners for the annual Best Resale Value Awards. Prices listed are base MSRP with no optional equipment; expected value is based on KBB’s predicted resale value for a vehicle in average condition after five years of ownership.
Best Brand — Toyota
Toyotas have always held their value well, and according to Kelley Blue Book these vehicles maintain the best resale value — better than any other automotive brand. One factor in Toyota’s top ranking is the successful arrival of several popular new models last year, including the RAV4 and Highlander crossovers. It’s also worth noting that four of the top 10 vehicles with the best resale value are Toyotas, including the Tundra pickup which ranks highest of any vehicle in America.
Best Luxury Brand — Porsche
Porsche has reigned supreme for the last five years, maintaining its place as Best Luxury Brand. With Macan standing out as tops in the compact luxury SUV segment, the Cayenne, 911 and new Taycan also performed well in their respective categories, confirming that Porsche will likely be a tough competitor for years to come.
Best Compact Car — Subaru Impreza
Value in 5 years: 43.1% of MSRP — $8,101
The Impreza returns to the top spot in KBB’s Compact Car category for the seventh time in the last eight years. Subaru’s compact entry is available as a sedan or hatchback and was the first model built on Subaru’s all-new global platform. All Imprezas have a 152-horsepower 2.0-liter Boxer engine mated with Subaru’s full-time all-wheel-drive system. U.S. EPA ratings note this stylish, fuel-efficient small car achieves up to 38 mpg on the highway.
Best Mid-Size Car — Toyota Camry
Value in 5 years: 40.9% of MSRP — $10,213
The Toyota Camry has been the most popular passenger car in America for almost 20 years, and its ability to offer the best resale value in the midsize segment is at least part of the reason. Toyota introduced the eighth-generation Camry a few years ago, and for 2021 this best-seller gets updated exterior styling, interior improvements, and the latest version of the company’s Safety Sense 2.0 suite of safety features. For those seeking more sport, Toyota offers the Camry TRD with performance suspension and brakes, more aggressive styling and a cat-back exhaust system.
Best Sports Car — Chevrolet Corvette
Value in 5 years: 49.5% of MSRP — $29,156
Chevrolet introduced the eighth-generation Corvette in 2019, and it has the best resale value of any sports car since it went on sale. Still recognizable as a Corvette despite new styling, the mid-engine Stingray boasts better weight distribution, vastly improved performance and a high-tech cockpit. The C8 Corvette Stingray features an all-new LT2 6.2-liter V8 engine that produces 490 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque. Chevrolet does not offer the new Corvette with a manual gearbox — instead the engine gets paired with Chevrolet’s first 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Best Entry-Level Luxury Car — Lexus IS
Value in 5 years: 38.4% of MSRP — $14,976
The Lexus IS debuted almost 20 years ago, adding a level of performance to what was at the time Toyota’s relatively new luxury brand. Lexus refreshes the IS for the 2021 model year with bold new styling, improved performance and a luxurious interior — all contributing to land the sport sedan at the top of its segment for best resale value. The 2021 Lexus IS can be configured in two trim levels: IS 300 and IS 350. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and buyers can add all-wheel drive to either trim. Lexus also offers the IS 350 with the F SPORT package.
Best Luxury Car — Lexus LS
Value in 5 years: 33.0% of MSRP — $25,080
The flagship sedan of the Lexus lineup, the LS barely edged out its LC coupe sibling for best resale value among luxury cars. Available as the LS 500 or hybrid LS 500h, the big sedan comes fully loaded with a long list of high-end features. For the 2021 model year the LS receives a number of updates including a new Palomino leather interior that can be further enhanced with open-pore black wood trim. A new 12.3-inch multimedia display is standard, as are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
Best Hybrid Car — Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
Value in 5 years: 48.6% of MSRP — $13,924
As developer of one of the original compact crossovers for the American market, Toyota expanded the RAV4 lineup in 2016 to include the Hybrid. The latest version boasts bold styling, improved capability, better performance and an array of new safety and convenience features. The next-generation Toyota Hybrid System II in the RAV4 HV is more compact, more efficient and quieter than the previous version, working together with the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder Dynamic Force gasoline engine. Power gets delivered to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission, and the new e-AWD system adds an independent electric motor to proactively deliver torque to the rear wheels depending on conditions.
Best Electric Vehicle — Tesla Model X
Value in 5 years: 47.3% of MSRP — $42,565
The first production electric SUV on the market, the Tesla Model X is both quick and efficient. Adaptive air suspension is standard; the Model X offers seating for seven, with access to the rear seat via top-hinged Falcon Wing doors. Thanks to the absence of an internal combustion engine, the Model X has a large front trunk in addition to a rear cargo area. For 2021 Tesla adds a Model X Plaid that features three electric motors for a total of 1020 horsepower. This high-powered electric crossover has an estimated range of 340 miles and can accelerate to 60 mph in a mere 2.5 seconds.
Best Subcompact SUV / Crossover — Subaru Crosstrek
Value in 5 years: 50.4% of MSRP — $11,211
Subaru introduced the next-generation Crosstrek a few years ago, built on an all-new platform that originally debuted with the Impreza. Crosstrek fits nicely into the Subaru lineup, featuring the familiar hexagonal grille, “hawk-eye” headlights, an impressive 8.7 inches of ground clearance and full-time all-wheel drive. Inside, the infotainment system features an 8-inch touchscreen display and Apple CarPlay / Android Auto connectivity. Subaru Eyesight, the brand’s advanced driver assist system, is now standard for all Crosstreks (except with manual transmission). For 2021 Crosstrek adds a new Sport trim with more aggressive styling, unique wheel arch moldings and a new 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 182 horsepower.
Best Compact SUV / Crossover — Subaru Forester
Value in 5 years: 45.0% of MSRP — $11,158
An all-new Forester premiered in 2019, and it is the roomiest version ever offered with a 1.2-inch-longer wheelbase, more rear-seat legroom and more cargo capacity, as well as improvements in crash protection, comfort, quietness and driving dynamics. EyeSight driver-assist technology is standard, and Forester Touring features DriverFocus safety technology that can alert the driver about fatigue or distraction. The Subaru Forester is powered by a direct-injection 2.5-liter Boxer engine that produces 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. For 2021 steering-responsive LED headlights and high-beam headlight assist are standard equipment.
Best Mid-Size SUV / Crossover (2-Row) — Subaru Outback
Value in 5 years: 41.3% of MSRP — $11,066
One of the vehicles that helped define the crossover segment, the Outback was all new for the 2020 model year. Constructed on Subaru’s new global platform, the Outback features updated exterior styling, a vastly improved interior, updated powertrains and the latest version of EyeSight — Subaru’s suite of advanced safety technology. All Outbacks feature Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel drive with active torque vectoring, vehicle dynamics control, X-Mode with hill descent control and a generous 8.7-inches of ground clearance.
Best Mid-Size SUV / Crossover (3-Row) — Kia Telluride
Value in 5 years: 47.0% of MSRP — $15,129
The largest SUV ever offered by Kia and created specifically for the U.S. market, the Telluride arrived last year with seating for up to eight occupants. The big SUV is powered by a 3.8-liter V6 engine producing 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and an available active on-demand all-wheel-drive system. The stylish Telluride gets high-end features such as a leather-wrapped steering wheel; optional heated and ventilated seats for the first and second rows; available double-stitched, quilted leather-trim seats; simulated brushed metal and matte finish wood; and reclining third-row seats all add to the big SUV’s appeal.
Best Full-Size SUV / Crossover — GMC Yukon
Value in 5 years: 46.4% of MSRP — $23,525
One of the largest SUVs on the road, the Yukon accommodates up to nine occupants and has enough extra space to carry all their stuff. With a big V8 engine, more than 8 inches of ground clearance, a locking rear differential and an automatic 4-wheel-drive system, the Yukon is certainly up to the task when leaving the pavement behind. The 2021 GMC Yukon is all new and easily noticed with its larger, squared-off grille flanked by new LED headlights with a signature LED running light surround. Vertical LED fog lights further emphasize the SUV’s bolder appearance. GMC offers the Yukon in four trim levels: SLE, SLT, AT4 and Denali. Each trim is available in a standard version or extended-length XL.
Best Off-Road SUV / Crossover — Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Value in 5 years: 55.8% of MSRP — $15,889
An all-new Jeep Wrangler debuted a few years ago, and the iconic off roader continues to hold its value better than almost any other vehicle on the road, ranking No. 5 overall. The Wrangler offers a comfortable ride on pavement while boasting impressive off-road prowess. Offered in a range of trim levels, the Wrangler features two hardtops, a Sunrider soft-top and a Sky One-Touch power top. Adventurers who seek even more open space from their Wrangler can remove the doors and fold down the windshield. For 2021 Jeep celebrates both ends of the motive spectrum by adding a Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid as well as a Wrangler Rubicon 392 with a 470-horsepower V8 to the lineup.
Best Luxury Subcompact SUV / Crossover — Volvo XC40
Value in 5 years: 37.3% of MSRP — $12,570
Volvo bolstered its premium crossover lineup a few years ago with the all-new XC40. Styling is similar to its larger siblings, most notably the signature “Thor’s Hammer” headlights. Even the base-level XC40 Momentum comes well equipped with leather seat trim, an 8-way power driver’s seat, automatic climate control, a rearview camera, a power tailgate and 18-inch alloy wheels. A 9-inch vertical touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 250-watt AM/FM/HD audio system with eight speakers and Bluetooth streaming are also standard on all XC40s. Last year Volvo added the fully electric XC40 Recharge to the lineup.
Best Luxury Compact SUV / Crossover — Porsche Macan
Value in 5 years: 42.0% of MSRP — $21,882
The compact premium SUV market is undeniably crowded, but the Macan certainly stands out from said scrum. The second crossover to join the Porsche lineup, Macan is the best-selling model in the German company’s lineup. Styled after the larger Cayenne, Macan still embodies all qualities expected from the iconic German sports car brand. The compact SUV has full-time all-wheel drive and is available in four high-performance trim levels, including a Macan GTS that sports a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 engine producing 375 horsepower.
Best Luxury Mid-Size SUV / Crossover (2 Row) — Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Value in 5 years: 34.8% of MSRP — $24,186
Land Rover has earned a reputation for building vehicles with true off-road capability; however, with the Range Rover Sport the company added excellent on-road performance to the package. Outselling the larger Range Rover as well as the smaller Evoque, the Range Rover Sport features full-time 4-wheel drive with electronic traction control, an 8-speed automatic transmission and an extensive list of safety features. A number of engines are available, ranging from a fuel-efficient diesel to a 550-horsepower supercharged V8 in the Range Rover Sport SVR. Not only can the Range Rover Sport top 150 mph, it can also claw its way through three feet of water — just not at the same time.
Best Luxury Mid-Size SUV / Crossover (3 Row) — BMW X7
Value in 5 years: 37.8% of MSRP — $28,312
As the flagship Sports Activity Vehicle of the BMW lineup, the X7 takes its place as the next logical progression from the X1, X2, X3, X4, X5 and X6. While clearly identifiable as a BMW, the X7 is a thoroughly modern take on BMW design with slim twin headlights flanking the largest kidney grille ever crafted for a BMW; together these give the X7 a wide, aggressive stance. The X7’s luxurious interior has leather and wood trim as well as dual 12.3-inch display screens. Power comes from either a turbocharged 335-horsepower 6-cylinder engine or 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 that produces 456 horsepower.
Best Luxury Full-Size SUV / Crossover — Mercedes-Benz G-Class
Value in 5 years: 48.0% of MSRP — $63,240
The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is one of a kind — it tackles the toughest terrain, and then after a quick shower rolls up to valet stands at the finest restaurants and plays its role perfectly in both situations. Easily spotted with its distinctive boxy styling, the extremely capable G-Class went through a redesign a few years ago — its most significant change since the original iteration. With a luxurious and roomy interior, the G-Class is available as a G550 or more powerful and sporty AMG G63, the latter boasting 577 horsepower.
Best Minivan — Toyota Sienna
Value in 5 years: 44.7% of MSRP — $15,404
Toyota introduces an all-new Sienna for the 2021 model year and for the first time the popular minivan features a hybrid powertrain. With fresh styling, an all-new chassis and a range of new features, this fourth-generation Sienna uses the Toyota Hybrid System II that teams a high-efficiency 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with two electric motors for a total output of 243 horsepower. Inside, Sienna designers created a “Bridge Console” between the two front seats, providing a clever space for storage and device charging. With all covers closed the design is exceptionally clean, yet the console features a large storage bin, multiple cupholders and a large area below the bridge to stow a bag, purse or other items that need to remain within reach.
Best Midsize Pickup Truck — Toyota Tacoma
Value in 5 years: 55.8% of MSRP — $14,648
Not only is the Toyota Tacoma the most popular midsize truck on the market, it consistently ranks near or at the top of the resale value list. The Tacoma is available in several configurations with two cab styles, two bed lengths, five trim levels and a choice of 2WD or 4WD. Last year Toyota updated the Tacoma with a new grille and wheel designs for most trim levels, as well as an upgraded audio system with a larger touchscreen and Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa compatibility.
Best Full-Size Pickup Truck — Toyota Tundra
Value in 5 years: 59.0% of MSRP — $19,957
Although the Tundra doesn’t come close in sales to American-brand full-size pickup offerings, this big truck has the best resale value — better than any other vehicle in America. Toyota’s full-size pickup truck can be configured in almost 50 different ways with multiple cabs, bed lengths, powertrains and trim levels. With trims ranging from the basic SR to the luxurious Platinum, Tundra offers impressive capability and Toyota’s reputation for reliability in a very tough truck market.
Best Full-Size Pickup Truck (Heavy Duty) — GMC Sierra HD
Value in 5 years: 56.8% of MSRP — $20,505
GMC introduced an all-new Sierra HD for the 2020 model year with updated styling and more capability than ever before. Built with new architecture, the Sierra HD is taller and longer than its predecessor with a bold grille and new LED signature lighting. The interior is more spacious and has a host of new features. Available as the 2500 HD or 3500 HD, the 2020 Sierra has multiple trim levels that include the off-road-ready AT4 or the ultra-luxurious Denali. The Sierra HD can be configured depending on need; with the right setup it can tow as much as 35,500 pounds.
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