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When it comes time for you to buy a new compact SUV, you consider all the options. You’ll want fuel efficiency, plenty of room, and enough capability to go where you want to go. A big part of your decision will be based on the price and overall cost of ownership. Some SUVs retain their resale value better than others. There may be one compact SUV, at least according to Kelly Blue Book, that has the best resale value. It’s a fun ride with a great line of defense to combat depreciation.

Why resale value and depreciation matters

Sometimes, when you’re on the hunt for a new car, the last thing you’re thinking about is trading it in or selling it later. But the savviest consumers know thinking about long term plans can help them make the most cost-effective decision now.

Cars can depreciate as much as 20-30% in the first year. A vehicle’s age, mileage, and general wear and tear are primary depreciation factors. Market conditions can also impact a car’s depreciation rate. As an example, SUVs and trucks are in higher demand when gas prices are low, allowing them to better retain value.

Resale value will affect your wallet, especially if you use financing to buy. You don’t want to be upside down on your loan when it’s time to sell or trade. Choosing the compact SUV with the best resale value now can keep you from owing more than it’s worth later.

Which SUV Kelley Blue Book says has the best resale value

There are a few resources available to consumers, including Kelley Blue Book, that offer great comparison tools for vehicle resale values. Recently, KBB named its top three compact SUVs based on predicted resale value after five years of ownership.

The Subaru Forester comes out ahead with a 45.5% resale value. They go on to call it one of the freshest on the market, with an adventurous spirit. Subarus are typically higher on the resale value lists, so it’s no surprise that the Subaru Forester tops this study.

The features that make the Subaru Forester a solid choice

The new Subaru Forester is roomier, safer and offers more tech than previous model years. It has a ground clearance that others don’t offer and standard AWD.

Safety is a priority as well, and there is a roster of tech tools, including EyeSight Driver Assist. This suite of driver assistance features bundles forward-collision warning, adaptive cruise, emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist.

Smart and savvy engine configurations

Under the hood, you’ll enjoy a configuration that will allow you to have the best of both worlds — adventurous capability and strong fuel economy. The 2.5L flat 4-cylinder is married to a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Meaning, you’ll harness 182 horses and have plenty of gusto to take the road less traveled. When you need a little more juice, you’ll also have the ability to switch the standard drive mode selector to sport mode. All this fun, and you’ll still enjoy an average of 33 mpg.

How the Subaru Forester measures up to the competition

The compact SUV segment is full of top-notch competitors. You may also be looking at the Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4 as an example. Both of these models made Kelley Blue Book’s list of best resale value, albeit behind the top-rated Subaru Forester.

While these second and third place options have plenty to offer, they don’t bring some of the standards you’ll expect from Subaru, including safety tech, standard AWD, and fuel economy. The entry-level price points are higher too.

  • Buy a base Subaru Forester for $24,495 (Premium level $27,395).
  • A base Honda CR-V pricing starts at $26,145 (Premium level $35,845).
  • The base Toyota RAV4 is $25,898 (Premium level $36,911)

Based on this recent resale value study and a closer look at the overall cost of ownership, there’s one clear, compact SUV winner. Buying a new Subaru Forester means more features at a lower purchasing price and a better chance of preserving your investment when it comes time to sell or trade-in. If anything, this study shows the Subaru Forester is definitely worth a look.