While most car buyers today consider sticker price the most significant number when choosing a new vehicle, our editors recommend taking a closer look at a number Kelley Blue Book is expert in calculating: its resale value. Depreciation often is the greatest expense incurred by drivers during the first five years of vehicle ownership, so choosing a vehicle that retains its value better than others is important in keeping your total ownership cost low.
The Kelley Blue Book Best Resale Value Awards recognize automakers' outstanding achievements in producing vehicles that best retain their value. Awards are presented to top vehicles within 15 vehicle categories, for Overall Top 10 vehicles across all categories and the brand with the best projected resale value across its entire line of vehicles.
2010 Best Brand: Toyota
This may be the first time Toyota has won our Best Resale Value Award for best brand, but you can be sure they've been a contender every year. Quality, dependability and reliability are key reasons the Toyota Camry is the best-selling car in the country - and why the Toyota Corolla is the best-selling car in the history of the world - and a proven formula for strong resale values. As the country reprioritizes financially, it's not surprising to see continued success for a brand that's built a strong reputation as a smart buy. For those careful with their hard-earned dollars, Toyota makes some of the most appealing vehicles - new and used - on the road.
2010 Best Luxury Brand: Lexus
That Lexus would take home Kelley Blue Book's first Best Resale Value Award for top luxury brand should come as a shock to no one. In the 20 years since Lexus sold its first car, Toyota's luxury division has built a reputation for quality that's positively unmatched in the industry. And it's not just the cars; Lexus owners frequently cite the dealership experience as a key component to their satisfaction and one of the reasons their next car will sport the same circle-L badge. Recently, Lexus has begun to build upon its foundation of quality by infusing its lineup with more style and performance. Lexus also offers more hybrid models than any other automaker.
2010 Best Resale Value Top 10
2010 Audi A5 The A5 is a sleek but substantial, downright beautiful vehicle. Don't let its elegance fool you, though - underneath the swooping sheet metal and luxurious interior is an eager, powerful engine and sporty suspension that's ready to take on the twistiest roads as well as make a trip to the grocery store a little more exciting.
2010 BMW M3 A performance-car based on the venerated BMW 3-Series is bound to be a winner. While big power, stellar handling and aggressive looks make the M3 an icon among automotive enthusiasts, consistently strong resale values helps justify the purchase to their significant others.
2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS Back from limbo with a redesign that incorporates a bold, muscular look, a V8 that produces over 400 horsepower and an impressive interior that could be considered a cross between retro and futuristic, the Chevrolet Camaro is sure to remain a popular choice among car enthusiasts and general consumers alike.
2010 Chevrolet Corvette With a powerful V8 engine, exceptional handling and an interior with a host of creature comforts (including enough room for two golf bags), the Chevrolet Corvette is an iconic sports car that offers exceptional bang for the buck and nets itself, yet again, a spot on our list.
2010 Honda CR-V More than 10 years after its debut, this compact crossover is still a benchmark in the segment it helped create. Practical, versatile and fuel-efficient, the four-cylinder Honda CR-V consistently draws praise from new and used shoppers alike for its "just right" packaging, making it a winner in the resale department.
2010 MINI Cooper The MINI Cooper is no flavor of the week; it's a car with staying power. And no wonder; with smile-inducing style, thrilling driving dynamics and perpetually strong residual values, the MINI Cooper is a car that satisfies in the short and the long term.
2010 MINI Cooper Clubman The Cooper Clubman is made for those who love the style and handling of the MINI Cooper but need a little more interior space. With a roomier cabin, engaging performance, unique persona and strong resale values, the MINI Cooper Clubman is a smart buy that appeases both heart and mind.
2010 Toyota Prius Not only is the Prius the country's most fuel-efficient mass-produced vehicle and its best-selling hybrid, it's also a roomy five-seater that offers a multitude of features to appeal to both the across-town commuter and the on-the-go modern family. It's no surprise then that the Prius continues to shine year after year when it comes to residuals.
2010 Toyota RAV4 With available seating for seven and a powerful V6 engine, the Toyota RAV4 can be equipped like a mini-mid-size crossover, while offering even more car-like ride and handling plus better fuel economy. Add Toyota's reputation for quality into the mix, and it's easy to see why the RAV4 remains one of the most popular compact crossovers out there and a resale value champion.
2010 Toyota Tacoma As compact pickups have grown into mid-size pickups, the Toyota Tacoma has remained a resale champion. You can find greater towing and payload capacity elsewhere in the category, but the Tacoma is the only entry with the added value of a Toyota badge.
>NEXT: Check out the 2010 Best Resale Value Award category winners