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One of the best ways to save money when buying a small SUV is to pick one that retains its value. While nearly all vehicles lose value as they age and gain mileage, some small SUVs lose more value after five years than others in the segment. 

What are the worst small SUVs for resale?

According to data provided by iSeeCars, the average small SUV loses about 29 percent of its value over the first five years. Depreciation stems from normal wear and tear, mileage accumulation, and the absence of that “new car” excitement that comes with every five-year-old vehicle. However, the five small SUVs we’ll review lose more value than average in the same period. 

1. Volkswagen Tiguan (42.1%)

A five-year-old Volkswagen Tiguan loses about 42 percent of its new sticker price, which ranged from around $26,000 to over $37,000. While the Tiguan’s turbocharged 200-horsepower engine and sporty handling make it run to drive, it falls behind its rivals in fuel economy, driver assistance safety tech, and interior space. However, 2017 saw the introduction of a three-row seating option. 

2. GMC Terrain (39.9%)

Losing about 40 percent of its roughly $25,000 to $35,000 new sticker price, a five-year-old GMC Terrain is in second place on iSeeCars’ list of high-depreciation small SUVs. One of the stronger members of the small SUV segment, the Terrain boasts an available 301 horsepower V6 engine and towing capacities of up to 3,500 pounds with the proper equipment. 

Inside the Terrain, you’ll find one of the nicer interiors of the class. However, despite its heft, it’s smaller inside and less off-road capable than the Subaru Forester. And it doesn’t offer some of the typical advanced driver-assist safety features that the competition does. 

3. Chevrolet Equinox (39.95%)

Like the GMC Terrain, the Chevrolet Equinox carries a similar new-car price range, loses almost 40 percent of its new-car value, and features an available 301 horsepower V6 and 3,500-pound towing capacity. It also presents a large exterior but less cargo and passenger space than some of its smaller competitors. 

Kelley Blue Book describes the 2017 Equinox as utilitarian with its “roomy back seat and comfortable driving dynamics,” but that’s the only positive thing they have to say about it. 

4. Ford Escape (39.3%)

Although the Ford Escape loses 39 percent of its value in the first five years, it’s still one of Ford’s most popular SUV models. The Ford Escape, priced new in the $4,000 to $37,000 range, enjoyed a refresh for 2017 that included an interior overhaul and an update for Ford’s Sync infotainment package. 

Engine choices included two turbocharged four-cylinder options or the standard naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline-four-cylinder. When equipped with the optional 245-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter, the Escape’s tow rating increases to 3,500 pounds. 

5. Mitsubishi Outlander (35.9%)

A silver 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander small SUV parked
2017 Mitsubishi Outlander | Mitsubishi

The 5 SUVs With the Highest Resale Value

When new, the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander started at around $24,000 and topped out at close to $40,000, but it lost nearly 36 percent of its value in five years despite its impressive 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. 

Do all small SUVs suffer from high depreciation?

No, they don’t. As a whole, the small SUV segment retains its five-year value better than average for all vehicles. In particular, the Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Wrangler Unlimited only lost about seven and nine percent, respectively, while small SUV models from Subaru, Honda, and Toyota lost around 21 to 23 percent.