Style, performance and gas mileage are crucial points when you are shopping for a new car. But don't forget which models hold their value best. That quality will determine your future trade-in value and, if you like to lease, can enable low lease payments now.
Auto website Edmunds.com has announced its annual awards for brands and individual models that hold their value best. At the brand level, Honda Motor Corp. had a double win. Honda won the mainstream award with an average projected retail value of 50.1 percent after five years and Acura took the luxury title with a 45.4 percent value.
"For many shoppers, the long-term value of a car is one of the biggest deciding factors when they're comparing brands and models," says Joe Spina, Edmunds director of remarketing. "These awards make it easier for shoppers to identify the best return on their purchase if and when they decide to sell it down the road."
Edmunds picked individual 2014 model winners by category
Click here for details on winners in seven of the most popular vehicle categories.
Honda Civic. After the 2012 redesign of the Civic drew reviewers' complaints about poor interior quality and cabin noise, Honda did over the Civic for 2014 -- more quickly than usual. The result puts the Civic back near the top of small-car rankings. An upgrade of cabin materials and sound suppression is coupled with lively acceleration.
When equipped with the continuously variable transmission, the Civic is rated at 30 MPG in city driving and 29 on the highway. The Civic also has an unusual number of standard features for this class, including a rearview camera for safety when backing up. Manufacturer's list price for the Civic ranges from $18,122 to $28,664. Edmunds projects that the Civic will retain 52.2 per cent of its value after five years.
Nissan Altima. In this high-volume, ultra-competitive sector, the Altima stands out for being fun to drive compared with its more staid competitors. Reviewers cite especially its crisp handling coupled with plenty of power from its four-cylinder engine and even more from an optional V-6.
The Altima gas mileage also ranks strongly among competitors in this class, with a rating for the four-cylinder of 27 MPG in city driving and 38 on the highway. Test drivers also praise the interior with comfortable front bucket seats and plenty of rear-seat legroom. The Altima list price ranges from $22,138 to $30,305. Edmunds projects that it will hold 47.3 percent of its value after five years.
Dodge Challenger. With aggressive styling that recalls its muscle car forbears, the Challenger has proved a popular competitor to the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. The Challenger comes standard with a V-6 engine, but also offers a powerful Hemi V-8 option. The V-8 versions come with standard manual transmission, which reviewers praise for its smooth shifting.
Sacrificing some gas mileage for all that power, the Challenger with the V-6 engine is rated for 18 MPG in city driving and 27 in highway driving. It is 15 city, 18 highway for the V-8. One of the few retained value winners from a Detroit-based company, the Challenger lists from $26,777 to $44,787. Edmunds projects the Challenger to retain 55.0 percent of its value after five years.
Luxury midsize sedan
Reviewers say the standard four-cylinder engine provides decent acceleration while they prefer the more powerful V-6 option. EPA ratings for the four-cylinder are 22 MPG in the city, 31 on the highway while the V-6 is rated at 19 city, 28 highway. The TSX lists from $29,027 to $31,881. Edmunds projects it will retain 45.4 percent of its value after five years.
Jeep Wrangler. This off-roader is all about crawling over rocks and through the mud. And the suspension that enables those acrobatics can mean a not-too-comfortable ride in commuting or long road trips. In an adaptation from its Army origins, the Wrangler now comes in a four-door version that is more passenger-friendly.
The standard engine is aV-6 rated for 17 MPG in the city and 21 on the highway -- an improvement from past years. The Wrangler list prices ranges widely from $22,821 to $34,628. Edmunds expects it to retain 56.9 percent of its value after five years.
Toyota Sequoia. The Sequoia is a strong choice for families who need to haul a lot of people and stuff. The three-row seating is unusually comfortable even in the third row -- which works only for children in some three-row models. The second and third-row seats fold down when you need to expand the cargo capacity.
Going for the power needed with hauling and towing, Sequoia comes with a standard V-8 engine. That power has its price, though, in the gas-mileage ratings of 13 MPG in the city and 18 on the highway. The Sequoia doesn't come cheap, ranging from $42,683 to $60,734. Edmunds expects it to retain 49.2 percent of its value after five years.
Luxury compact/midsize SUV
BMW X6. With the X6, buyers are opting for luxury and stylish design, since its sleek contours limit the amount of interior room. But that interior is a classy one, with top-notch materials and roomy and comfortable front seats. The back seats, while comfortable are a bit cramped.
The X6 comes with a standard turbocharged V-6 that delivers plenty of power. But if you need more boost, a twin-turbo V-8 is available. The V-6 is rated at 17 MPG city, 22 highway while the thirstier V-8 comes in at 14 city, 22 highway.