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What Cars Have the Best Resale Value?

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What you pay for a car at the dealership is just part of an automobile’s overall cost. Perhaps the biggest long-term drain on your pocketbook is your car’s depreciation, the amount of value it loses over time. This can be reflected when you trade your car in for a new purchase, or in what you pay for a monthly lease.

Kelley Blue Book, the “bible” of the auto industry when it comes to new and used car prices, recently released its Best Resale Value Awards for 2009. Its awards recognize those vehicles in 15 categories projected to retain the most value over five years, as well as 10 overall winners.

Here, in alphabetical order, are the winners in the “Overall” category:

Honda Civic1) Honda Civic. The Kelley Blue Book shows this car with a base MSRP of $16,015 and a current Blue Book value of $15,374. With a decades-long reputation for reliability and one of the best-selling name plates in the Honda line, the Civic is a car Kelley confidently recommends to new- and used-car buyers alike.

Honda Fit2) Honda Fit. The second Honda product on the list, the basic Fit has an MSRP of $15,460 and a current Blue Book value of $15,305. Although the Fit is Honda’s smallest and lowest-priced car, Kelley likes its five-door versatility, performance and—again—long-term reliability.

MINI Cooper3) MINI Cooper. The second-generation MINI continues to get rave reviews and, with even better gas mileage than before, is in even greater demand. Most MINI dealers still have waiting lists, which only helps to increase the price of used models. The basic car has both an MSRP and Blue Book value of $19,200, a testimony to the car’s popularity.

Scion xB4) Scion xB. Like the MINI Cooper, the boxy Scion has a base of fanatic enthusiasts that help to keep its long-term value strong. Both its base MSRP and Blue Book value stand at $16,420. Although its styling changed a bit recently, it still reeks of “practicality.”

Scion xD5) Scion xD. Hey, it’s another Scion! And this one is smaller, less boxy, and even more fuel-efficient than its “big” brother, getting an almost hybrid-like 33 mph. With a base MSRP and Blue Book value of just $15,320, it’s one of the most affordable cars on this list.

Scion tC6) Scion tC. Three Scions makes a Kelley Blue Book trifecta! Unlike the squared-off xB and xD, the tC is styled as a more traditional coupe. Yet, as Kelley points out, it manages to maintain both Scion’s youthful spirit and reputation for reliability. The tC has a base MSRP and Blue Book Value of $17,670.

Toyota Corolla7) Toyota Corolla. Don’t worry. We have Toyotas on this list. Plenty of ‘em. We begin with the Corolla, the best-selling nameplate of all time. Now in its 10th generation, this quintessential Toyota embraces new technology with optional on-board navigation and Bluetooth connectivity. Kelley shows the base car with an MSRP of $16,000 and a Blue Book Value of $15,555.

Toyota Prius8) Toyota Prius. With gas prices back up, hybrids are once again gaining in popularity. Since its introduction to the world market in 2001, the Prius has become virtually synonymous with fuel-efficient, low-emission hybrid technology. Now in its third generation, the Prius continues to be in high demand in both new and used models. The Toyota Prius currently has a base MSRP of $22,750 and a Kelley Blue Book Value of $22,516.

Toyota Yaris9) Toyota Yaris. Another trifecta! This is Toyota’s smallest, most affordable car, with a base MSRP of just $14,055 and a Blue Book value of $13,914. Available in three, four, and five-door versions, the Yaris gets an impressive 36 mpg as well as benefitting from Toyota’s decades-long reputation for quality engineering.

Volkswagen Rabbit10) Volkswagen Rabbit. The only German car on this list, the Rabbit combines style and affordability with unusually strong high-speed performance. (It was designed to travel the Autobahn, after all.) The “wascallly wabbit” has a base MSRP of $17,000 and a Kelley Blue Book value of $16,660.

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