What's the value of your vehicle?
Kelley Blue Book announces 2012 best resale value winners.
2012 Jeep Wrangler
In this poor economy, purchase price is more important than ever when buying a car. But with unsure employment and volatile stock markets, it shouldn't be the only "price" taken into consideration. Knowing how much that vehicle will be worth when it's time to sell has a great effect on your total cost of ownership, and, thus, should have a great influence on what car, truck or SUV you want to ultimately buy.
To help new car buyers estimate how much their investment might be worth down the road, Kelley Blue Book, the first name in automotive resale data, publishes its annual Best Resale Value Awards. The awards are based on the expected resale value, as a percentage of the original manufacturer's suggested retail price, for a vehicle in average condition after five years of ownership. In addition to actual resale figures from auctions nationwide, KBB's experts consider vehicle attributes, brand factor, past performance and economic forecast when choosing the winners.
We spoke with Eric Ibara, KBB's director of residual value consulting, about the 2012 model-year winners. Here, we present all 19 category winners, along with insight from Kelley Blue Book and our take on each. Hopefully it will help you make a more informed buying decision on your new ride.
Subcompact Car — 2012 Honda Fit
Resale value, 36 months: 59 percent | 60 months: 40 percent
The subcompact class was added for 2011, and the Honda Fit has come out on top both years, winning comfortably this year. The Fit benefits from Honda's brand reputation. "The Fit upholds Honda's signature formula for success by combining reliability, fuel efficiency, affordability and innovation," Ibara says.
Our take: For a very small car, the Fit has lots of interior space. Its 57.3 cubic feet of cargo volume with the rear seats folded down is as much as some compact SUVs. The Fit also historically has been the most fun-to-drive car in its class; however, in our opinion, the Chevy Sonic, Ford Fiesta and Mazda2 have surpassed it. We'll see if those cars can match the Fit's record for reliability.
Compact Car — 2012 Honda Civic
Resale value, 36 months: 56.5 percent | 60 months: 41 percent
The MINI Cooper hardtop has dominated the compact class for nine straight years, but dropping resale values for the MINI and a redesign of the Civic put the Honda on top this year. That redesign has been blasted by the automotive media, and Ibara says the redesign helped the Civic only a little, adding 3 percentage points to its 60-month resale value: "We did not give it a large bump, as we sometimes do, just because we felt the redesign was not spectacular."
Our take: The Civic has taken a hit for its plasticky interior and loud cabin, and rightfully so. New entries such as the Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus have pushed the quality envelope of the compact-car class while the Civic has backslid. However, it's still a lot of car for the money, with fine dynamics and excellent reliability.
Midsize Car — 2012 Toyota Camry
Resale value, 36 months: 50.7 percent | 60 months: 36.8 percent
Also redesigned for 2012, the Toyota Camry overtook the Honda Accord in the very competitive midsize-car class. As with the Civic, Kelley Blue Book didn't think the redesign was game-changing, but a 3 percent increase was just enough to edge out the Accord by 0.2 percentage point. Ibara says Toyota's recent negative publicity is in the rearview mirror: "We didn't think the Camry got hurt by the recalls. Toyota has a very loyal customer base, so we think the Camry is going to continue to hold its value very well."
Our take: Instead of making a great leap forward, the 2012 Toyota Camry improved on an already proven formula. It's not the most fun car to drive, but the ride is luxurious, the space efficient and the reliability still top-notch.
Full-Size Car — 2012 Nissan Maxima
Resale value, 36 months: 51 percent | 60 months: 34 percent
The Nissan Maxima competes with relatively few cars in a class that doesn't hold very strong resale values. Only the van and the new electric-vehicle classes have lower segment scores. The Maxima's 34 percent five-year resale value placed it below the industry average of 35.5 percent, but comfortably ahead of the Ford Taurus's 30.8 percent second-place figure. To be fair, the Dodge Charger was not considered, as complete 2012 pricing wasn't ready in time for KBB's consideration.
Our take: The Maxima sits in a strange position between the Nissan Altima and the G37 from Nissan's luxury brand, Infiniti. It has the finely crafted interior of an Infiniti but the front-drive platform of a Nissan. The company markets it as a family sports car, and it certainly is sporty, but an Infiniti or BMW better fits that bill.
Near Luxury Car — 2012 Lexus IS
Resale value, 36 months: 59 percent | 60 months: 41.3 percent
The Lexus IS is a perennial contender, placing at or near the top of its segment every year. A repeat winner, it beat out the Acura TL by a comfortable 4.3 percentage points and the BMW 3-Series by almost 9 points. "I think Lexus has found a niche for that vehicle," Ibara says. Lexus was named the best luxury brand, and that helped the IS.
Our take: Aimed at the BMW 3-Series, the Lexus IS isn't quite as dynamically capable, but it's still awfully fun to drive. Add to that a classy interior and reasonable pricing, and the IS is our favorite Lexus. If you can spare the money, opt for the IS 350, which adds smooth, willing power without sacrificing too much fuel economy.
Luxury Car — 2012 Audi A5
Resale value, 36 months: 64.7 percent | 60 months: 41 percent
A repeat winner, the Audi A5 ran away with the win in its class. Its 41 percent five-year resale value compares favorably to the second- and third-place finishers, the Mercedes-Benz SLK and Lexus LS, which held 34 and 33.5 percent of their value, respectively. Ibara says the A5 is appealing because it offers luxury and performance at a more affordable price than you get with BMW or Mercedes.
Our take: Arguably the best-looking car available today in coupe form and not too shabby as a convertible, the Audi A5 is also rewarding to drive. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine provides an excellent balance of satisfying power and frugal fuel economy.
Sports Car — 2012 Chevrolet Camaro
Resale value, 36 months: 55 percent | 60 months: 41.3 percent
With its retro-cool styling, the Chevrolet Camaro has caught on with buyers, outselling the Ford Mustang. Still, KBB's Ibara is surprised at how well the Camaro has performed; its five-year resale value improved by an impressive 7.3 percentage points. "The Camaro has been out for a couple of years now, but it's really holding its value," Ibara says. "We found during the year that we ended up bringing the residual value up on the Camaro."
Our take: Sometimes looks win out over performance. We think the lighter Mustang handles better, offers better visibility and has a higher-quality interior, but the V6 performance is about the same between the two cars. We'd choose the third-place Mustang, but we can't blame people for liking the Camaro's looks.
High-Performance Car — 2012 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Resale value, 36 months: 60 percent | 60 months: 43.5 percent
The Camaro SS, with its 6.2-liter 426-horsepower V8 engine, performed even better than the healthy V6 model. It beat out the Lexus IS F, with its 40 percent five-year residual value, the Chevrolet Corvette and its 39.5 percent figure, and last year's winner, the Ford Mustang GT, which has fallen to 36.1 percent.
Our take: Apparently, pony-car buyers value V8 performance over the base V6 engines. That's understandable, because the Camaro SS makes great noise and generates torque-rich power. Once again, we prefer the Mustang GT, for the reasons listed above, as well its 5.0-liter V8 engine, which revs more freely and delivers better fuel economy.
Hybrid Car — 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid
Resale value, 36 months: 52 percent | 60 months: 36 percent
As with the Civic in general, the Civic Hybrid's redesign helped it increase in value enough to beat out the competition. It bested the Lexus CT 200h and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. Kelley Blue Book changed this class this year from hybrid/alternative-energy car to simply hybrid car. That means last year's winner, the Volkswagen Golf TDI, now just counts as a Golf. As more diesel cars come to the United States, it is likely that KBB will revert to the old classification or add a diesel-only class.
Our take: The Honda Civic Hybrid is a fine compact car but it suffers from the same perceived lack of interior quality as the Civic itself. Historically, we have not been impressed with the fuel economy of Honda's hybrid system, but the 2012 Civic Hybrid is up by 3 mpg to a combined EPA rating of 44 mpg. It still trails the Toyota Prius by 6 mpg, but it's more fun to drive and now more competitive in efficiency.
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not sure how they come up with these numbers, or choices.
i have a 2006 subaru impreza sti, new it was 34k, kbb says its worth 21k now.
so in 5 years i have retained about 60 percent value.
i don't see any of the vehicles above claiming those numbers.
It is a shame that these persons writing this never owned a vehicle or traded one in. These prices after 36 and 60 months are more likely what the dealers price them after you traded for little or nothing.
The Kelly Blue Book, Black Book, and the NADA are sometimes very far apart. So which book do the dealers use to come to place a value your vehicle? Of course the lowest value book. These articles like this are just for people who have no idea what the real world value of vehicles are.
The Volt is an electric vehicle? Nonsense.
I dont care what the commercials and GM rhetoric have sold you on.
It has both an internal combustion engine, and an electric drive. It is a plug-in HYBRID.