Since every new car buyer wants to think that they’ve gotten a great deal for their money, it is always worthwhile to carefully consider how new vehicles will keep their value over time. The usual benchmark is how well your car holds up, in terms of perceived value, after five years of ownership. Here we take a look at the list of cars with the best retained value for 2012 from Edmunds.com.

Retained value, for Edmunds.com, is the projected residual value after five years, expressed as a percentage of Edmunds’ True Market Value (TMV) when sold new. The following represents the list of mainstream and upscale vehicles, by category, with the highest (best) retained value for 2012.

Sedans

Coupes

Convertibles

  • Under $35,000: 2012 MINI Cooper, 48.9%
  • $35K-$45K: 2012 Lexus IS 250C, 46.8%
  • Over $45,000: 2012 Ford Shelby GT500, 46.5%

Wagons

  • Under $25,000: 2012 Scion xB, 47.3%
  • $25K-$35K: 2012 Mini Cooper Countryman, 48.5%
  • Over $35,000: 2012 BMW 3 Series, 42.7%

SUVs

Vans

Hybrid

Trucks

  • Compact Truck: 2012 Toyota Tacoma, 57.3%
  • Large Light-Duty Truck: 2012 Ford F-150, 48.4%
  • Large Heavy-Duty Truck: 2012 Ford F-350 Super Duty, 48.6%

Edmunds.com also awarded Honda the title of top mainstream brand, with an average retained value of 49.9 percent after five years. This is the second consecutive top mainstream brand win for Honda.

The top premium brand for 2012 was Acura – which is the luxury arm of Honda. Acura won for its average retained value of 44.6 percent after a five-year period.

Of course, there are honorable mentions in each of the categories and they’re also worth a look.  These include brands and models such as the 2012 Mazda Mazda3 and Honda Fit in the Sedans under $20,000; 2012 Ford Fusion and Volkswagen Jetta in the Sedans $20K-$30K category; the 2012 Acura TL and Acura TSX in the Sedans $30K-$40K category, and the 2012 Porsche Panamera and Lexus LS 460 in the Sedans over $45,000 category. To see more, check out the full list of honorable mentions at Edmunds.com.

Keep in mind that buying a new car with a projected high retained value will help you maximize its worth when it comes time to trade it in or sell it. And, if leasing is the way you decide to go, again, choosing a car with strong resale value is important. Why? Resale value is a key factor in determining the vehicle’s monthly lease payment.

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