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Luxury Cars with High Resale Value

Author: Andrew Davis

Depreciation. It's the number-one bane of a car-buyer's existence. Carfax cites a 10% loss that takes place the very second that you drive that new car off of the dealer's lot. If that's not bad enough, you can knock of another 10% throughout the course of the first year of ownership. Over five years, the average car drops a total of 50%-60% in value.

That's painful enough on a relatively inexpensive subcompact car, but downright frightening on cars that come with big price tags. Yes, you have a loss even on luxury wheels, when it comes time to trade in or resell. After five years of ownership, even many of the top-ranked luxury cars are worth 40% or less of what they fetched when new. That's a loss of more than $45,000 ($9,000 a year for the first five years) on a $75,000 car. And don't think that using your motor for business can ease the pain: There are luxury automobile limitations on the amount of depreciation that can be taken as a tax deduction.

But while almost all cars depreciate, some depreciate less than others. If you want to buy a luxury car that holds its value, here are 10 makes that are worth considering.


Starting at the beginning of the alphabet, Acura received top billing for retained value from Edmunds, a well-known and respected car reviewer. Edmunds liked the entire line-up of offerings, from the entry-level ILX to the RDX sport utility vehicle, applauding the brand's "appealing mix of performance, technology and value." The upscale division of Honda, the Japanese line offers 11 vehicles to choose from.


Kelley Blue Book also likes the sporty Audi A5 and the Audi Q7, a midsize SUV, ranking them among the top echelon of competitors in the Best Luxury Car category. Their sentiment is echoed by the team at AutoTrader, which took a look at data from both Kelley Blue Book and resale value experts at ALG and determined that the Audi Q7 in particular is is worthy of high marks for luxe features like heated front seats and dual-zone climate control. Though multiple s have sung their praises and they have had high resale value up to now, the unanswered question is how badly the Volkswagen diesel engine scandal, which also touched Audi, will affect resale on the manufacturer's complete line going forward.


In an interesting twist on the traditional definition of luxury car, American muscle manages to find a place among the leaders as multiple reviewers give good resale ratings to the Chevy Corvette. The folks at Autotrader reached the conclusion that for shoppers trying to combine performance and financial sensibility, the Chevrolet Corvette is the best choice on the market. They reference data from both Kelley Blue Book and ALG to claim that the 'Vette is the best sports car you can buy when it comes to depreciation, beating out rivals from Audi and Porsche. The positive take on an American legend is supported by "U.S. News and World Report", which in 2015 gave the Corvette number-two billing in the Luxury Sports Cars and Luxury Convertibles categories. With a price tag nearly reaching six figures for loaded models, it's safe to put the Corvette on your list of luxury cars worth a look.


Kelley Blue Book positively gushes over Lexus, praising the brand for its consistent ranking as the luxury brand with the best resale value year after year. The sedans, coupes, crossovers, hybrids and sport utility vehicles all get noteworthy mention, with the top-of-the line Lexus LS 460 marked as the go-to choice for deep-pocketed buyers. It's worth an extra mention that Kelley has shown consistent love for this brand over time, a noteworthy development in a contest where the winner usually changes from year to year. Edmunds also gives a nod to the Lexus brand for its utterly refined luxury vehicles that retain their resale value.

Mercedes Benz

Kelley Blue Book also lavishes some love on the Mercedes-Benz S Class, noting that German automaker's flagship sedan offers unmatched power, grace and technological sophistication. With the base model starting at $100,000, and fully loaded models more than double that, this legendary label demands you bring a fat wallet to the showroom to get all the features you're sure to want.


If you are in the market for a fast, pretty four-door, you may well agree "there is no substitute for a Porsche. The sleek and stylish Porsche Panamera takes top honors from Edmunds in the Premium Luxury Car" category. It also garners strong accolades from Kelley Blue Book.

The Bottom Line

Now that we've got your engine racing, be sure to supplement our list with a little reading (when it comes to car shopping, you can never be too well prepared). Start with Investopedia University's detailed insights in The Complete Guide To Buying A New Car. From there, take a look at 10 Steps To Buying A Car (Without Getting Taken For A Ride). And last, but not least, it wouldn't hurt to read 10 Tips For Buying A Car Online.

After that, some research into the prices, features and availability of what you want to buy will serve you well before you head to the showroom engage a salesperson. Keep in mind that, if you are heading out to find a luxury car, you are about to make one of the larger purchases people make. Spending extra time conducting research can save you tens of thousands of dollars and help you avoid buyer's remorse.

Don't forget that a new car is fun transportation, but a lousy investment. It's next to impossible not to leave thousands of dollars' worth of depreciation on a dealer's lot. But with the right purchase, you can keep the loss to a minimum over the years – and have the fun of driving a fine automobile in the meantime.

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