When you consider the costs of a new car, of course you look at the purchase price and the estimated gas mileage. But don't forget how well it retains value -- what will it be worth when you want to sell or trade it?
Auto website Edmunds.com has released its fifth annual list of brands and individual models that are best at retaining their value after five years. "A reliable assessment of a vehicle's resale value can be a critical piece of information for car buyers," Edmunds says. "Smart car buyers will choose vehicles with high retained value so they can maximize their worth at trade-in or sale."
Overall winners of the brand awards were Toyota among mainstream brands and Acura among luxury nameplates. Edmunds also chose individual 2015 models as winners in various categories. The retained value is expressed as what a car will be worth in five years as a percentage of its original average selling price.
Click here for a closer look at five of the most interesting choices.
Compact car: Subaru WRX
The WRX, a favorite of drivers who like to compete in rally races or autocross, will be worth 53.2 percent of its original value after five years, Edmunds estimates. Like all Sunbaru models, the WRX has all-wheel drive. That helps with what reviewers surveyed by U.S. News Best Cars describe as excellent cornering ability and nimble handling through curving roads.
The WRX offers a choice of a 2-liter, four-cylinder engine with 268 horsepower or a turbocharged, 305-horsepower, 2.5-liter version. The base engine equipped with the standard manual transmission has an EPA rating of 21 MPG in the city and 28 on the highway.
The WRX starts at a list price of $26,295 and is also on our list of high-performance cars for under $30,000.
Midsize car: Subaru Legacy
Edging out competitors like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, the Legacy is estimated to retain 48.5 percent of its original value after five years. Though not as sporty as the WRX, the Legacy also is praised for its lively handling and powerful brakes.
The standard four-cylinder 2.5-liter engine with 175 horsepower gets an estimated 26 miles per gallon in city driving and 36 on the highway -- especially good for a sedan with all-wheel drive. The Legacy offers an optional 3.6-liter, six-cylinder engine with 256 horsepower rated at 20 MPG in the city and 29 on the highway. Both engines come standard with a continuously variable automatic transmission. Reviewers also like the Legacy's quiet, smooth, comfortable ride.
The Legacy list price ranges from $21,695 to $29,595.
Large car: Toyota Avalon
The Avalon will retain 44.8 percent of its original value in five years, Edmunds estimates. The top Toyota car model, Avalon shares some of the refinement of the parent company's Lexus luxury brand.
Reviewers praise Avalon's smooth ride, agile handling and comfortable, stylish interior. It comes with a 3.5-liter, 268-horsepower V-6 that's rated for 21 MPG in city driving and 31 on the highway. Test drivers reported that it delivered substantial power for all driving situation.
List price for the Avalon ranges from $32,285 to $39,980.
Compact crossover SUV: Honda CR-V
The top-selling vehicle in that fast-growing category, the CR-V will retain a whopping 55.2 percent of its value after five years, Edmunds says. The CR-V has top safety and reliability ratings as well.
Reviewers praise its comfortable front seats and unusually roomy back seats. With those back seats folded down, the CR-V can carry 71 cubic feet of cargo -- more than most competitors. The CR-V also has leading fuel economy in this class, rated 27 MPG in city driving, 34 highway.
List price ranges from $23,445 to $32,895.
Mid-range sports car: Chevrolet Corvette
Long a favorite of sports-car enthusiasts who like to buy American, the Corvette will retain 52.2 percent of its value after five years, Edmunds estimates. The Corvette comes in the basic Stingray version and the even-higher-performance Z-06. Test drivers praise both versions for tremendous power and athletic handling, plus comfortable seats and stylish interior.
The Stingray comes with a 6.2-liter V-8 that produces 455 horsepower and is rated for 17 MPG in the city, 29 on the highway. The Z-06 comes with a supercharged version of that engine with a monumental 650 horsepower. Its mileage rating is 15 MPG city, 22 highway. But if you're buying this car, gas mileage isn't your top priority.
List prices for the Corvette start at $55,000 and range up to $83,000 for the Z-06.