10 Economical Cars That Maintain Their Value

A smart car buyer always considers how their new purchase will affect their bank account down the road. As you know, a car costs more than the sticker price, with gas, maintenance, and repairs comprising a portion of your true monthly car allowance. If you're stuck with an unreliable gas guzzler, then you could find yourself micromanaging your driving habits to avoid the inevitable financial hit — and that's neither convenient nor fun. The following cars (and SUV) are not only economical, but they maintain their value because of their proven reliability. For those reasons, their owners can drive free of the anxiety that often accompanies car ownership.

  1. Honda Civic

    Known for being one of the most practical cars on the road, the Civic has forged quite a reputation in America since it was introduced in 1973. Its combination of low sticker price, reliability, excellent gas mileage, and high resale value has made it, at times, the bestselling car in the nation, a distinction that was previously unthinkable for a compact Japanese vehicle. According to fueleconomy.gov, the 2012 model (4 cyl, 1.8 L, Automatic 5-spd) gets 28 mpg city and 39 mpg highway, while the hybrid gets 44 mpg city and highway. Motor Trend states the average resale value of a 2008 DX coupe is $13,932.

  2. Honda Accord

    Essentially the big brother of the Civic, the Accord possesses the same positive attributes, but with more room and a few more conveniences. Over the past three decades, it has become a go-to option for American families, who've increasingly demanded near perfection from their vehicles. Although it's a bit more expensive than the average mid-size and full-size car, owners can rest assured that it's worth the investment. According to fueleconomy.gov, a 2012 four-door model (4 cyl, 2.4 L, Automatic 5-spd) gets 23 mpg city and 34 mpg highway. Motor Trend states the average resale value of a 2008 EX sedan is $21,892.

  3. Honda Fit

    Honda has hit another one out of the park with the Fit, which was introduced just before gas prices skyrocketed. One of the highest ranking affordable cars, it's everything you want in an efficient vehicle and then some. Its owners are most surprised by its roominess and comfort, neither of which are expected attributes of a hatchback subcompact. According to fueleconomy.gov, a 2012 model (4 cyl, 1.5 L, Automatic 5-spd) gets 28 mpg city and 35 mpg highway. Motor Trend states the average resale value of a 2008 base hatchback is $14,444.

  4. Toyota Camry

    Currently, the Camry is the best-selling car in North America. Like the Accord, its archrival, the Camry offers everything but flashy styling, though the car is far from unappealing. The new 2012 model has undergone some notable changes, including a major redesign of the interior and some more subtle changes to the exterior. According to fueleconomy.gov, the 2012 model (4 cyl, 2.5 L, Automatic) gets 25 mpg city and 35 mpg highway, while the Hybrid LE gets 43 mpg city and 39 mpg highway. Motor Trend states the average resale value of a 2008 base sedan is $16,234.

  5. Hyundai Elantra

    The rapid ascension of Hyundai as one of the leading foreign car manufacturers in America has coincided with the rise of Elantra. Before its redesign in 2006, it had developed a reputation of poor quality. In the last half-decade, however, it has moved into the class of Accord and Camry, as it boasts an enhanced engine, improved performance, a spacious interior, and distinctively eye-catching appearance that earned it the praises of car enthusiasts. According to fueleconomy.gov, the 2012 model (4 cyl, 1.8 L, Automatic 6-spd) gets 29 mpg city and 40 mpg highway. Motor Trend states the average resale value of a 2008 GLS sedan is $12,749. Note: confident in their cars' ability to maintain their value, Hyundai offers a Trade-In Value Guarantee, in which the company determines the worth of your car 24 to 48 months after you've bought it, and guarantees you'll receive at least that amount when you trade it in.

  6. Volkswagen Golf

    Volkswagen's flagship car has been wildly successful all over the world because of its reliable German design and affordability. In the states, its evolution has corresponded with the evolution of the Rabbit, the name by which it was formerly known. Small and nimble, the Golf is surprisingly fun to drive, a major reason why it appeals to all demographics, from soccer moms to hip twenty-somethings. According to fueleconomy.gov, the 2012 model (5 cyl, 2.5 L, Automatic) gets 24 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, while the diesel version gets 30 mpg city and 42 mpg highway. Motor Trend states the average resale value of a 2008 Rabbit (previous name) base hatchback is $15,573.

  7. Mazda 3

    Like the Golf, the Mazda 3 doesn't sacrifice performance and sportiness for practicality — the car has it all. Perhaps most surprising about the Mazda 3 is its deceptively large amount of passenger and cargo space, making it more than just a car for young bachelors and bachelorettes. Not short on power, it features a new fuel efficient Skyactiv engine with enough horses to get you from Point A to Point B in a hurry. According to fueleconomy.gov, the 2012 model (4 cyl, 2.5 L, Automatic) gets 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. Motor Trend states the average resale value of a 2008 I Sport Sedan is $14,926.

  8. Lexus IS 250

    Car shoppers with a little more money to spend and more refined sensibilities may enjoy the IS 250, though the entry-level luxury sedan leaves a little bit to be desired when it comes to handling and acceleration, especially when compared to the IS 350. As with most luxury vehicles, it features an assortment of devices that are designed to enhance the driving experience. The extra money spent on those items, of course, is compensated for by higher-than-average fuel economy and general reliability. According to fueleconomy.gov, the 2012 model (6 cyl, 2.5 L Automatic) gets 21 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. Motor Trend states the average resale value of a 2008 sedan is $28,669.

  9. Audi A5

    With a four-cylinder turbocharged engine comparable to that of BMW's 328i, the A5 is perfect for practical-minded drivers who also have a need for speed. The car's best attribute, though, is undoubtedly its sleek appearance, which sets it apart from other cars in its class. If you merely want to be seen, then you can opt for the soft-top convertible so you can cruise through town and let the wind massage your scalp. According to fueleconomy.gov, the 2012 A5 Cabriolet (4 cyl, 2.0 L, Automatic) gets 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. Motor Trend states the average resale value of a 2008 base coupe is $36,179.

  10. Kia Sportage

    Another Korean car that has made immense improvements over its lifespan, the Sportage is now considered one of the better compact crossover SUVs on the market. It's almost unrecognizable with its new design compared to previous models, and its interior is surprisingly luxurious. Although the engine isn't exactly powerful, the transmission shifts smoothly, allowing for a pleasant drive regardless of location and conditions. According to fueleconomy.gov, the 2012 2WD Sportage (4 cyl, 2.0 L, Automatic 6-spd) gets 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. Motor Trend states the average resale value of a 2008 LX I4 Sport Utility is $15,956.

Leave a comment