You can’t judge the true cost of a car just by its list price. While some vehicles appear expensive up front, you can save big dollars by finding one that has a high resale value. Kelley Blue Book – which has been a leader in used car valuations since the 1920’s – recognizes this fact each year with its best resale value awards. In addition to identifying the top 10 vehicles across all categories, it also calls out the best brand and the best luxury brand in the world when it comes to retaining value.
This year was a sweep for Lexus and its parent company, Toyota. The Lexus ES 350 was voted as the best entry-level luxury vehicle, the Lexus LS 450 won the high-end luxury car award and the GS 350 came in second in the luxury vehicle category. The brand also dominated the luxury SUV rankings, with the GX 460 coming in first among the mid-size luxury SUVs, and the LX 570 taking top honors for a luxury full size SUV. In fact, this is the third year in a row that Lexus has claimed the overall first place for luxury vehicles.
If anything, Toyota did even better. It was named best overall brand, and took 4 of the top 10 spots overall. In fact, the Toyota FJ Cruiser took the number one position on Kelley Blue Book’s list, retaining a staggering 81% of its initial value after 36 months – the second year in a row that it has done this. The Toyota Tacoma came in a somewhat distant second at 73.7% after 36 months, but this still put it more than 3% ahead of the third place Jeep Wrangler. Toyota also scored with its 4Runner in fourth place and the Tundra claiming sixth position. As with Lexus, this is the third year in a row that Toyota has claimed pole position.
According to Kelley Blue Book, “For the third year in a row, Japan’s biggest automaker has earned podium-topping stature as the brand to buy if you want to see more of your money come back when you sell your vehicle. There’s no trick to Toyota’s success in the resale value arena — it’s an old-fashioned formula: Make a quality product that improves people’s lives, sell it at an affordable price, and make triple-certain that the comfort, reliability and enjoyment last for years.”
To understand the power of resale value, consider the following (just some easy maths). You’re from Conneticut and decide to buy a Lexus ES 350 in your homeland, and you pay a list price of $36,450 at a Connecticut Lexus dealer. After 36 months, you can resell the car again for 64% of that, or about $23,325. That means that you have only paid out $365 a month. On the other hand, if you bought a 2013 Chrysler 200, you would have paid around $20,600, but the resale value would be only $7,700 after 36 months. That’s a drop of $11,900 – or $330 a month. In other words, for an extra $35 a month, you can own a Lexus.
As you see, sometimes the best way to spare some money is to spend some upfront, because a few months later you’ll end up getting a better value for your invested amount.