Everyone knows that to get a good deal on a new car, you have to negotiate a good price and secure a good financing rate. Fewer buyers consider predicted resale value in the quest to get the most for their money, but a $25,000 new car with strong resale value can actually cost less over a short three-year ownership cycle than a $20,000 car with poor resale value. The car you choose can be more important than the terms you negotiate.
The annual Kelley Blue Book Best Resale Value Awards recognize automakers' outstanding achievements in producing new vehicles that best maintain their appeal after five years of ownership. Check out the overall champions here, then find out which cars took top resale honors in the segments you're shopping.
When you're done with the 2011 Best Resale Value Awards, take a look at the new cars unveiled at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show.
2011 Best Brand: Subaru
For many, Subaru is synonymous with all-wheel drive. A smaller group instantly equates the automaker with rally racing and performance. And for a surprising number of people we talk with, any mention of Subaru still conjures the iconic BRAT introduced in the late seventies. Very few, though, associate the automaker with excellent resale value. But this year Subaru tops Honda
and other usual suspects as our 2011 Best Resale Value Award recipient for best brand. How so? A styling renaissance is putting the vehicles on more shoppers' radars, and what they're discovering are cars and crossovers
that are just plain nicer and better-built than they've long thought. Subaru and its symmetrical all-wheel drive are still extra popular in the white and wet parts of the country, but the secret is slipping out and more people are taking notice of a gem they may have overlooked since the BRAT went bye-bye in 1987.
2011 Best Luxury Brand: BMW
BMW cars and crossovers appeal to used-car buyers for the same reasons they appeal to new buyers: performance, style, luxury, a respected badge, or any combination thereof. Performance purists will talk of driving feel and the famed inline-six engines. Fans of BMW style will throw around terms such as angel eye headlights, flame surfacing (maybe) and the Hofmeister kink. Luxury buyers might be inclined to call out the historically outstanding seats. And more than a few buyers we know aspired to drive a BMW simply because it's a BMW. Where it all comes together for excellent resale value is the fact that a used BMW is just as fun, fashionable, comfortable and prestigious as a new one.
2011 Best Resale Value Top 10
2011 Audi A5
Some cars just seem to have a perfect form, beautiful from any angle, and the 2011 Audi A5 is a rare contemporary example of that. The Audi A5 looks just the way a sports-luxury coupe
should look and drives exactly the way a sports-luxury coupe should drive, with crisp handling and responsive acceleration. The hot fudge on the Haagen-Dazs is the A5's interior, which offers impeccable style and superb functionality.
2011 BMW X5
Combining seven-passenger utility, all-weather capability and BMW performance, the X5 appeals to those looking for extra helpings of both sport and utility. Strong resale values are proof of its wide-ranging appeal.
2011 BMW X6
The 2011 BMW X6 offers the road presence and elevated seating position of a crossover
, but with decidedly more expressive styling and less of the soccer-mom stigma that taints some utilities.
2011 Honda CR-V
Surprise, surprise, the Honda CR-V wins another Best Resale Value Award this year. A veritable greatest hits collection of everything a smart shopper might want in a vehicle, the Honda CR-V offers the utility and raised seating position of an SUV
, but in a compact and fuel-efficient package.
2011 Jeep Wrangler
One of the most iconic, uniquely American shapes in the automotive world belongs to the Jeep Wrangler. Whether driving top-down through suburbia or putting its legendary off-road abilities to use on the Rubicon trail, the Jeep Wrangler is the quintessential vehicle for freedom-loving explorers.
2011 Lexus GX
A real SUV intended to haul cargo, people and trailers, the 2011 Lexus GX is also an affable off-roader that will take you into the mud - and out of it again - in luxurious style. Powered by a 4.6-liter V8 producing 301-horsepower and 329 pound-feet of torque, the Lexus GX's standard Kinetic Dynamic Suspension sets it a notch above the competition while the luxurious interior and Toyota quality only up its stock.
2011 Lexus RX
Lexus' first-ever utility vehicle has been completely redesigned for 2011 with fresh new interior and exterior styling. Available with front- or all-wheel drive and loaded with a cadre of available gadgets, there is a 2011 Lexus RX for the soccer mom, the discerning driver and even the weekend camper.
2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser
The Toyota FJ Cruiser's serious off-road capability coupled with around-town driving comfort qualify it as a Swiss Army knife in the mid-size SUV segment. Add in Toyota's reputation for reliability and quality and it's no wonder the FJ Cruiser also retains excellent resale value.
2011 Toyota Tacoma
Blending reliable performance with ruggedness, the Toyota Tacoma is both the resale value and sales leader of the competitive mid-size pickup
segment. The Toyota Tacoma is an eight-time winner of Kelley Blue Book's Best Resale Value Award.
2011 Subaru Outback
The 2011 Subaru Outback is more than a wagon
, it's a lifestyle statement. Boasting a sporty but rugged stance, real off-road capability and a strong fan base of weekend warriors, the Outback can comfortably shepherd you through a week at the office to a weekend of fun and camaraderie.
>NEXT: Check out the 2011 Best Resale Value Award category winners or see some of the potential future winners unveiled at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show.