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Cars depreciate the minute they roll off the dealer’s lot. It’s an indisputable law like gravity or controversy on a reality TV show. Yet the law of depreciation affects some cars more than others. There are many reasons for this phenomenon, but it mainly comes down to the model’s popularity. According to iSeeCars, the three small cars on this list depreciated the least in five years. All three are popular vehicles that offer a combination of features and reliability that make them stand out. 

Nissan Versa

Five-Year Depreciation: 19.8%

Nissan’s Versa is a surprisingly roomy subcompact car. It offers a comfortable ride and many advanced safety and tech features normally found on more premium cars. Performance is adequate, but nothing to write home about. Instead, the Versa is all about premium levels of space and value in a small package.  

Honda Civic 

Five-Year Depreciation: 16.3%

The Honda Civic is one of the best small cars you can buy, not just because of its low depreciation. Few are as satisfying to drive, whether it’s the base Civic, a mid-level Civic sedan, or the hardcore performance Type R.

In addition to performance, the Civic offers excellent fuel economy and a load of standard features. The interior room is generous with a comfortable cabin and decent-sized trunk. As a car, it offers something for everyone in a package that not only offers value but maintains its value. 

Toyota Corolla 

Shown is the 2018 Toyota Corolla, one of the small cars that depreciated the least
2018 Toyota Corolla | Toyota

Five-Year Depreciation: 19.8%

Like the Honda Civic, the Toyota Corolla offers something for everyone and is one of the best small cars you can buy. It’s the number-one-selling nameplate of all time and it’s easy to see why. The Corolla is all about value with excellent fuel economy, dependability, and low cost of ownership. It may not be as fun to drive as the Civic, but it more than makes up for it with features, and a quiet, comfortable cabin. 

Should you buy one of these small cars based on its resale value? 

While resale value is one of the factors to consider when buying a car, it shouldn’t be the primary reason to get a particular model. It’s more important to find a car that fits your needs and meets your budget. 

The iSeeCars list of Nissan Versa, Honda Civic, and Toyota Corolla all have high resale values and the lowest depreciation rates because they are excellent cars. They have earned a reputation for providing the features, value, and reliability owners want. All three cars get good reviews and ratings from consumer magazines and buyer’s guides which in turn makes them more popular and improves resale value. 

The primary reason to consider resale value is if you are the kind of person who doesn’t keep a car for more than a few years. Higher resale value equals a higher trade-in value and less of a chance of being “upside down” on your car, or owing more on it than it’s worth. 

However, if you keep your cars for a long time, resale value isn’t as important. It’s more of an added bonus and an affirmation that you own a good car.   


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