Which Pickup and SUV Features Raise Trade-In Value?

When it finally comes time to trade-in your truck or SUV, you want to get as much for your wheels as possible. Some models, like the Toyota 4Runner and Mercedes G-Class, hold out well against depreciation. Others, though, don’t. But making sure your specific vehicle has a high trade-in value can be tricky where features and options are concerned. Some colors add value, some don’t. And just because your truck is a ‘limited-edition’ doesn’t mean it’ll automatically command a premium. However, there are some pickup and SUV features that can raise trade-in values.

Diesel engines

Both Car and Driver and Autotrader report that trucks and SUVs with diesel engines have higher resale values than gasoline-powered ones. Diesel engines have more torque, which lets trucks and SUVs tow larger loads. Although diesel trucks and SUVs have their own special maintenance schedules, their engines last longer and are more fuel-efficient.

1994 Toyota Land Cruiser 70-Series diesel
1994 Toyota Land Cruiser 70-Series diesel | Japanese Classics

Diesel durability and fuel-efficiency is also a boon for off-roaders and overlanders. Certain popular off-road SUVs and trucks, like Toyota’s Land Cruiser and Hilux, weren’t sold in the US with diesels. But both are popular import choices precisely because of those diesels.

Off-road tech

2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel | FCA
2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel | FCA

The vehicle that sees the least depreciation is the Jeep Wrangler. Part of that is due to the SUV’s relatively-unchanged design and genuine off-road reputation. But that reputation, and ability, is enhanced because of the modifications that Jeep owners perform on their Wranglers. And these mods also keep trade-in values high. Adding Fox shocks, larger wheels, and tougher axles, while expensive upfront, can also save you money come trade-in time, reports Autotrader.

1993 Mitsubishi Montero
1993 Mitsubishi Montero | Mitsubishi

And this doesn’t just happen with the Wrangler. Toyota’s 4Runner and Mercedes’ G-Wagen resist depreciation well because of their off-road designs. It’s also why people are buying 90s Mitsubishi SUVs: features like locking differentials, suspension seats, and AWD/4WD systems not unlike today’s.

Safety features

IIHS developing new crash test
IIHS developing new crash test | IIHS

When it comes to used trucks and SUVs, safety tech isn’t necessarily a slam-dunk for improved resale values. For example, Autotrader suggests that not every buyer will necessarily care if a truck has side airbags. However, Car and Driver reports that consumers are increasingly expecting newer vehicles to offer improved safety features. Part of the reason why some people buy SUVs is the perception of better safety, even if that doesn’t necessarily play out in reality.

Things like blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, and automatic emergency braking can raise trade-in value, especially if the truck or SUV they’re installed on isn’t a luxury vehicle. And with the IIHS about to introduce a more rigorous crash test, it’s possible consumers may value these features even more.

Sunroof and leather

2020 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn interior
2020 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn interior | FCA

Pickup trucks, even more so than SUVs, have become increasingly luxurious over the years. Ram’s 1500 and heavy-duty trucks have all earned accolades due in no small part to the quality of their interiors. And with the rise in luxury touches comes a rise in trade-in values.

2020 Ram 2500HD Limited interior
2020 Ram 2500HD Limited interior | Ram

Both Autotrader and U.S. News report that vehicles with sunroofs and leather interiors sell for more than ones without them. Even if buyers rarely use the sunroof, having one reportedly makes the truck or SUV feel more luxurious. And while leather isn’t necessarily the best material for every environment, as Toyota’s Century shows, it’s been long-associated with high-end vehicles. And depending on what region you’re selling in, having heated leather seats could raise your trade-in value even higher.