It’s a sad fact of life: all cars and SUVs lose value. You knock roughly 20 percent off of what a new car is worth just by buying it – and each mile it drives or owner it gets takes more away from how much a car is worth. That leftover worth is a car’s residual value.
Residual value is the percentage of a car’s purchase price the car holds onto as it gets used and a key part of how much a car or SUV costs to own. Most people focus on the price of the next SUV they’re about to purchase, but smart shoppers look at the total cost of ownership. An SUV with a good residual value will net you more money when it’s time to sell it.
Kelley Blue Book provides data on residual values. Here are some of the best SUV residual values, based on KBB data. This list should help you find a great deal on an SUV lease or purchase.
With the a smooth ride, upscale interior, and a robust V8 engine, the Tahoe ranks first among large SUVs in US News rankings. KBB estimates the Tahoe will retain 53.7 percent of its value after three years. That means a base model at $47,000 will fetch more than $25,000.
Though the Tahoe is the latest in a long line of traditional, truck-based SUVs, it has some of the most current advanced collision avoidance technology, such as lane-departure and forward collision warning. Additionally, the Tahoe comes with Apple CarPlay, ensuring occupants can connect with the latest iPhone after 36 months.
Lexus LX 570
KBB calls the LX 570 the best Luxury Full Size SUV for residual value, retaining 57 percent of its value after 36 months. Standard features like surround-view parking camera and blind spot monitoring system ensure the LX570’s high demand.
At its core, the magic of the LX is the blend of comfort and capability. The 383-hp V8 and advanced 4x4 let the LX climb over terrain that would make most luxury SUVs cringe, but with the immensely comfortable interior, you may never leave the driver’s seat.
Lexus RX 450h
The RX hybrid has the best residual value among hybrid SUVs, retaining 60.5 percent of its value after 36 months and 44.5 percent after 60 months. In the past, there may have been hang-ups on the hybrid drivetrain, but parent company Toyota has a proven track record of reliability.
The RX hybrid has 308 net horsepower on tap and seating for five, while providing 31 miles per gallon in the city, and 30 mpg on the highway. Those five passengers can enjoy comfortable seating and top-notch materials. With a bold outward design, the RX will still look fresh in 36 months.
It’s impressive that the first generation of a new car earn such a high residual value, but a luxury vehicle in high demand is certainly capable of retaining 64 percent of its residual value after 36 months, as is the case with the Porsche Macan.
The Macan features all the handling attributes you’d expect from a Porsche, but with seating for five and a weekend’s worth of luggage. But it is the excellent predicted reliability that earned he Macan the best residual value among luxury compact SUVs.
Lexus GX 460
You may be starting to notice a theme here, with multiple Lexus SUVs, but it’s hardly a surprise. The combination of high-end interiors, capable 4-wheel drive systems and reliability expected from Lexus all do well for these SUVs, including the GX 460.
For 2016, Lexus added the Enform infotainment system, bringing the latest in driver interface controls to the exceptionally capable GX. Though some competitors may be more powerful, the 4x4 systems in the GX are unrivaled in the mid-size Luxury SUV class.
Do a cursory check of used Jeep listings, and you’ll find that even ten-year-old Wranglers are keeping a lot of their value. There is no “down season” for an all-weather SUV with a convertible top. That’s only part of the story for the SUV with the second highest residual value.
Even after 60 months, the Wrangler is predicted to hold more than half its value. What the Wrangler lacks in basic comfort, it makes up for in unmatched off-road capabilities and a look all its own. Few car-owner communities are strong enough to have their own “wave,” and that sense of community factors into the long-term value of these vehicles.
While its competitors have gone for car-based setups, and prioritized on-road comfort over all-terrain capability, Toyota stuck to its guns with the 4Runner. That results in a residual value that not only tops the list of SUVs, but comes in second only behind its stablemate, the Toyota Tacoma. The 4Runner retains an amazing 66.7 percent of its value after three years, and 60.3 percent after five years.
When driving the 4Runner, you feel its truck-based DNA, and people search for this when shopping SUVs. Cargo space in two-row models is solid, and the upgraded infotainment for 2016 ensures that the 4Runner won’t be too long in the tooth in 36 months.