Vehicles that maintain high residual/resale values deliver unmistakable benefits to all segments of the automotive ecosystem.
Stronger values give manufacturers the ability to offer the market a competitive total cost of ownership advantage that can have a tangible effect on consumers and dealers alike. But what vehicles have the best residual values today?
Which ones, among the mass market brands, are at the top?
Given the importance of residual values on the automotive market, J.D. Power is revealing the inaugural Residual Value All-Stars list to recognize vehicles that are projected by our analysis to retain the most value over a 36-month period.
The focus is on mass market vehicles — luxury vehicles will be recognized in a few weeks — that have distinguished themselves in this important metric.
The J.D. Power assessment is based on extensive analysis that integrates a wide range of customer surveys — including our well-known Vehicle Dependability Study — along with the deepest wholesale and retail transaction data sets in the industry. This results in an accurate and comprehensive perspective on the variables that will determine residual values of vehicles over the next three years.
What it takes to be a J.D. Power Residual Value All-Star
In general, cars that have made it onto our list do well on several competitive performance attributes — even fuel economy. They are thoughtfully packaged with features and benefits for which consumers have expressed a preference and tend to have a compelling design. The underlying characteristics typically engender strong brand loyalty, ultimately resulting in the preservation of future values.
It is interesting to note that certain categories of vehicles have tended to hold their values better than others. Midsize and large pickup trucks, for instance, carry the highest average residual value among all vehicle segments, with used-car buyers willing to pay more for these trucks — relative to the initial manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) — than they do for sedans.
With that as an introduction, here are the vehicles that have the strongest residual value outlook on the list of J.D. Power 2019 Residual Value All-Stars:
2019 Toyota Tundra Large Pickup Segment — 66% J.D. Power Residual Value Projection
The Toyota Tundra has the highest residual value projection on the list of All-Stars. We expect the Tundra to hold more than 66% of its value after three years. Dependability is one of the most important factors that can help elevate residual values. Tundra ranks the highest in the Large Light Duty Pickup segment in the 2019 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, conducted by JD Power. The second-generation Tundra went on sale for the 2007 model year and has been relatively unchanged since receiving only one refresh along the way for the 2014 model year. Despite small changes along the way and now being in its 13th year of production, the Tundra proves that despite being long in the tooth it still harnesses qualities that keep it top of its class.
2019 Toyota Tacoma Midsize Pickup Segment — 64% J.D. Power Residual Value Projection
The 2019 Toyota Tacoma is a classic pickup truck, offering the kind of off-road capability and overall performance demanded by consumers that will allow the Tacoma to hang on to just more than 60% of its value over the next three years. Similar to its larger sibling (Toyota Tundra), the Tacoma has been synonymous with rock solid reliability and quality which helps keep the midsize pickup popular in the eyes of midsize pickup buyers. Now in its third generation the Tacoma is better than ever, with a slew of trim levels and body configurations there seems to be a perfect fit for almost anyone. Competition in the midsize pickup segment is heating up, brands such as Ford are reentering the marketplace with their new Ranger, however the Tacoma continues to be the benchmark for the class.
2019 Jeep Wrangler Compact SUV Segment — 62% J.D. Power Residual Value Projection
Redesigned for the 2018 model year, the iconic Jeep Wrangler features improved cabin materials, modern features and has a very comfortable ride. Many advanced safety features have been added to elevate its profile in this category. We predict that the Wrangler will retain a residual value of more than 60% over the next three years. Consumers continue to love the one-of-a-kind Wrangler because of its heritage and roots back to the 1940 Willys Quad vehicle that was commissioned by the U.S. Army and eventually sparked the production of the 1941 – 1945 Willys MB.
The Wrangler’s rugged retro-like styling continues to evolve with each generation and has allowed it to develop an almost cult-like following. While some competitive models in the compact SUV segment are more refined and provide more modem amenities, no other vehicle in production can match the Wrangler’s perfect combination of heritage and off-road capability.
2019 Toyota 4Runner Midsize SUV Segment — 61% J.D. Power Residual Value Projection
It has been 10 years since the Toyota 4Runner was completely redesigned. This year, the 4Runner is selling even better than it did when the model was fresh. Perhaps that has to do with today’s SUV-hungry buyers, but the 2019 4Runner is also a distinctive model. It is rugged and off-road capable, yet it’s spacious and family-friendly.
We believe that 4Runner will retain 60% of value over the next three years. Similar to the Toyota Tundra and Tacoma, the 4Runner also has a reputation for being one of the most reliable and rugged vehicles in its class. The current generation 4Runner is a maverick in the midsize SUV segment, one of the last available body-on-frame SUVs available in the marketplace. Despite being a little rougher around the edges than its unibody construction rivals, the 4Runner has achieved a cult-like following akin to the Jeep Wrangler. These characteristics help keep this old-school style SUV popular in evolving times.
2019 GMC Yukon Large SUV Segment — 57% J.D. Power Residual Value Projection
American manufacturers return to the winner’s circle with the 2019 GMC Yukon. The value included in this year’s model has prompted us to project that the Yukon will maintain 57% of its residual value over the next three years. The 2019 Yukon pairs some of the old-school SUV traits we’ve talked about in other high-retaining models with a little more refinement helping it reach the top of its class. The current generation Yukon was introduced for the 2015 model year. Now in its 5th year of production, the fourth generation 2019 Yukon stays true to its roots offering several trim levels and optional equipment in the small but popular large SUV segment.
2019 Honda Accord Midsize Sedan Segment — 60% J.D. Power Residual Value Projection
While residual values are generally lower for sedans compared to trucks and SUVs, the midsize car segment managed to put up very competitive numbers. Nearly every model in this category has been refreshed or redesigned over the past 12 months, including this year’s winner, the 2019 Honda Accord. The combination of quality and value incorporated into this year’s Accord is prompting us to project a residual value of 60% over the next three years. After a major 2018 redesign, the 2019 Accord remains a relatively fresh design in the competitive midsize sedan segment. Honda’s formula for the Accord remains simple, with a few trim levels and engine configurations available including both traditional internal combustion and hybrid offerings. Now in its tenth generation, the Accord has maintained a solid reputation for its reliability, practicality and also value retention.
2019 Subaru CrossTrek Compact Sedan Segment — 58% J.D. Power Residual Value Projection
The Subaru CrossTrek, an all-wheel-drive crossover, is both rich with features and affordably priced. The 2019 model offers several major updates and is expected to maintain 58% of its value over the next three years. The CrossTrek offers an adventurous appearance and is a great bridge between compact sedan and compact SUV segments.
Subaru’s quasi-SUV/traditional hatchback is a popular choice for those looking for the rugged capability of an off-road SUV and the practicality of a car. For the 2019 model year, a plug-in hybrid model offering 17 miles of electric-only driving range before changing over to gasoline entered the vehicle’s lineup. Subaru has built a reputation for its safety. The brand’s EyeSight suite of driver-assistance features including adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist are available on all trim levels which help make the CrossTrek one of the most advanced vehicles in its class when it comes to safety technology.
As average transaction prices continue to rise, residual value performance will play an increasingly important role in the way consumers buy and lease vehicles.
And leasing remains a significant driver of new vehicle deliveries — 29.7% of retail deliveries overall were leased in CY18. It will be interesting to see what steps are taken by manufacturers of mainstream vehicles to address this important variable in the coming years. And we’ll see what influence those steps have on the J.D. Power 2020 Residual Value All-Stars list.
Maya Ivanova is senior quantitative researcher at J.D. Power. Coming soon, David Paris will reveal the J.D. Power 2019 Luxury Residual Value All-Stars list. Ivanova discusses the first installment of the awards program and more in the podcast below.