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When it comes to car buying, resale value matters more now than ever before. People are hanging on to their sweet rides much longer. Additionally, car-buying consumers are savvier about spotting long-term value for their hard-earned buck. 

Taking a look at the last two tumultuous years of automotive launches, retirements, and new technology, you might be surprised to learn which models hold the best resale value. The data is in, and as we head into the new year, these cars rank the highest.

Why consumers should care about a vehicle’s resale value

Auto dealership sales incentives on new and old resale vehicles
Auto dealership sales incentives | Tim Boyle/Getty Images

In general, a car that is more expensive to buy will tend to have a higher resale value than its economically priced counterparts. However, other value factors come into play, like the vehicle’s rarity in question and market forces. Ultimately though, at least according to J.D. Power and its Sales Satisfaction Index, cars that retain higher values and bring better trade-in numbers translate to higher customer satisfaction. 

Top cars for resale heading into 2022

It’s been far from an average year in terms of vehicle production, and that’s undoubtedly changed up some of those factors that contribute to a car’s resale value. J.D. Power evaluated the data across 284 used models through a lens of product competitiveness, brand outlook, and vehicle performance. The Residual Value Awards top contenders might surprise you.

The website Cars sifted through the award data and the numbers to compile some of the best cars for retaining resale value in 2022. These models should be on your car buying shortlist based on design, quality, the brand’s desirability, mileage, and vehicle condition, as they contribute to overall retained value.

Honda earns its spot at the top of the podium for mass-market brands with top resale value cars. The Honda Civic (both sedan and hatchback,) the Honda Odyssey minivan, and the Honda Passport present the best-retained value in their respective classes. 

Lexus also deserves attention, as it was honored with the distinction of being the best premium brand for overall residual values. However, the Lexus NX SUV was the most notable category winner.

There were a few upsets in this resale value competition, too. The Lexus LS sedan gave up its former highest resale value title to the Mercedes-AMG GT four-door. Additionally, the all-new Ford Bronco beat out prior segment winners, the Jeep Wrangler and the Toyota 4Runner.

Hyundai and Honda were the only other automaker brand to earn resale value recognition in three categories, with the Hyundai Accent, the Hyundai Kona, and the Hyundai Kona Electric. Additionally, a few other brands won in two classes, including Kia with the Kia K5 and the Telluride, Subaru with its WRX and Forester models, Land Rover with the Range Rover Velar and Discovery, and Audi with its A6 Allroad and Q3 models.

Highly anticipated new car releases to watch in 2022


Don’t Wait! Here are the Best Year-End New Car Deals

In addition to some of these highest resale value models, there are plenty of other new vehicle releases to get excited about in the new year. Before making your car buying decision, these models are highly anticipated and certainly deserve a look.

U.S. News sifted through all the press releases and put together a roster of new cars on the horizon. Given the microchip shortages, the pandemic, and supply chain hiccups, consumers have some great rides to look forward to in 2022. The 2022 Audi e-Tron GT and the 2022 BMW i4 are at the top of this highly anticipated list. Additionally, be on the lookout for the 2022 Lucid Air, the 2023 Acura Integra, and the 2022 Genesis G70. With sleek new designs and improved technology, consumers can get excited about these up-and-coming models. 

Savvy car-buying consumers will have plenty of refreshing models and selections in the new year. However, if resale value matters to you, you might want to stick with the Honda and Lexus lineups in 2022.