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Some vehicles retain resale value better than others

Cars are interesting things. Besides your house and “Star Wars” memorabilia, they are the only items we purchase with an eye toward selling them somewhere down the road.

That’s why it’s important to know what your car’s resale value might be even before you buy it (or lease it). Resale value is an important factor in determining how much vehicle you can afford and how long you might want to finance it for.

For example, say you want to buy a $30,000 car but might only be able to afford a $20,000 car. You could buy the more expensive model if you knew you were selling it after a few years and it had a high resale value to pay off your loan. That’s not always the best financial strategy, but it can help you get into a more expensive car with all the bells and whistles you want.

Kelley Blue Book has done the heavy lifting and awarded its 2016 Best Resale Value awards. There’s no need to go over the entire list but it’s going to be worthwhile to take a look at some of the highlights.

Best overall brand

Sure, for a long time people didn’t think there was any need for a Subaru outside of snowy climates. Fortunately, that has changed as the company has become white hot in its sales the last few years for its well-made all-wheel drive vehicles.

As Kelley Blue Book points out, “Subaru makes high-value, long-lasting cars and SUVs that appeal to a range of car shoppers looking for quality, safety and comfort.”

Have you driven a Subaru Legacy? It’s probably one of the top three midsize sedans on the market right now.

According to Burton Hughes, general manager at Subaru of Las Vegas, the company hasn’t been able to keep up with demand for the vehicles for at least the last five years.

“Many of our models have waiting lists and as we keep introducing refreshed or new models that resonate with the buying public, we can’t crank them out fast enough,” he said. “This makes them sought after on the used car market for the fact that they’re built so well and last so long.”

Hughes added that Subaru was the first company to introduce an all-wheel-drive passenger car in the mid-1970s.

“Adventure seekers and outdoors people who live in climates where they constantly use all-wheel drive gravitate towards a Subaru,” he said. “We made a name for ourselves by being focused on building safe, reliable and responsible vehicles.”

Best overall luxury brand

Until it managed to get its stereo controls in order, Lexus made great cars that were annoying for listening to music and punching in addresses in the navigation system. Once it made the realization that old fashion knobs work great, Lexus started to make some pretty perfect vehicles.

Apparently, Kelley Blue Book thinks so, too. “The entire Lexus brand is built on a foundation of quality, durability and reliability that fortifies every facet of its appeal,” it said.

Paul Hunter, public relations and sales development manager at Lexus of Las Vegas, said the Kelley Blue Book affirmation serves as validation for the company.

“For quite some time we’ve been telling all who would listen that we possess the highest resale value in the industry,” he said. “It’s great to finally get confirmation from a revered industry source like Kelley Blue Book.”

According to Hunter, Lexus’ assembly process is unique and thus causes a flawless finish and fit.

“Our attention to detail makes our products the most reliable and trouble-free,” he said. “On the dealership level, we’re committed to delivering the ultimate ownership experience and develop lifelong relationships.”

Individual winners

There are other winners on the list, if you’re not in the mood for a Subaru or a Lexus. One surprising top 10 winner would be the Jeep Wrangler. This off-road vehicle has finally developed some on-road sophistication, making it the most comfortable Wrangler probably ever.

The Chevrolet Camaro is another top 10 vehicle. I recently spent some time co-piloting one from Dallas to Albuquerque, N.M. It’s a winner. It’s the best, affordable sports car on the market right now (which is going to make Ford Mustang owners very unhappy).

OK, maybe the Toyota 4Runner isn’t such a surprise. After all, Toyota is the parent company of Lexus. This SUV is as tough as they come. Feel you need a Range Rover? Unless you’re in it for the bling, the vehicle you really want is a 4Runner. It makes a lot more financial sense, too, with its strong resale value.

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