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Compact Cars With The Best Resale Value

Compact Cars With The Best Resale Value

When shopping for a new compact car, it’s important to consider more than just the purchase price. The resale value is a major factor that impacts the overall cost of ownership over time. Resale value refers to how well a particular model retains its value compared to its original sticker price. Vehicles with higher resale values depreciate less over time, allowing owners to recoup more money when they eventually sell or trade-in.

For compact cars, resale value depends on a variety of factors including reliability, fuel economy, demand, brand reputation and availability of desirable features. Models that rate well in these areas tend to hold their value better on the used car market. By choosing a compact car with strong resale value, you can minimize depreciation expenses down the road.

This guide examines the compact cars with the best resale value in the Canadian market. We’ll highlight the top models that retain their value exceptionally well after several years of ownership. Understanding which compact cars have the highest resale value can help buyers make a smart purchasing decision.

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What Impacts Compact Car Resale Value

When shopping for a compact car, it’s important to consider resale value. After all, most car buyers don’t keep their vehicle forever. The resale value greatly impacts how much money you can recoup when it comes time to sell or trade-in your compact car.

Many factors determine how well a compact car retains its value over time. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind:


Reliability and Durability

A compact car’s reputation for reliability and durability has a major influence on resale value. Models with a track record for dependability, fewer repairs, and extended engine life will typically have much stronger resale values.


Fuel Efficiency

With gas prices fluctuating, fuel efficiency is top of mind for used car buyers. Compact cars that achieve better MPG tend to hold their value better as buyers are willing to pay more for the long-term savings.


Popularity and Demand

Simple supply and demand impacts resale value. Compact cars that are in high demand compared to supply tend to retain more value. Unpopular models can plummet in value.


Brand Reputation

Well-known brands inspire confidence in used buyers. Mainstream brands like Toyota and Honda enjoy strong resale values thanks to their reputation for quality and reliability.


Available Features

Compact cars with more available features and options often retain stronger value. Things like upgraded trim levels, advanced safety tech, infotainment systems, and AWD capabilities help resale value if still desirable to buyers.


Ownership Costs

Compact cars with lower ownership costs and affordable maintenance help retain value. New buyers are willing to pay more for a used compact car that won’t drain their wallet with repairs and upkeep.


#1 Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla has long been considered one of the most reliable and sought-after compact cars. Its reputation for durability, quality engineering and strong resale value make it a smart choice for budget-conscious buyers focused on long-term value retention.

According to Kelley Blue Book, the Toyota Corolla retains its value better than any other vehicle in its class. After five years of ownership, it maintains over 60 percent of its original sticker price. This is several percentage points higher than competitors like the Honda Civic and Hyundai Elantra.

The Corolla saw a full redesign in 2020 that brought more modern styling, upgraded interior materials and new technology features. Key model years to consider are 2020 and newer, which offer the latest generation. Popular trim levels are the LE, SE and XLE which provide the best blend of features and value retention.

With Toyota’s reputation for rock-solid dependability and affordable maintenance, drivers can expect to rack up high mileage without excessive repairs. Given its strong projected resale value, the Corolla remains the best option for both new and used compact car shoppers focused on minimizing depreciation costs.


#2 Honda Civic

The Honda Civic is one of the most popular compact cars in Canada and has consistently been a top choice for Canadians looking for reliability, fuel efficiency, and resale value retention. Honda has built a strong reputation for building high-quality and durable vehicles that hold their value exceptionally well over time.

According to data from Canadian Black Book, the Honda Civic retains an average of 45-60% of its original value after 5 years of ownership. This puts it near the top of the compact car segment for resale value.

Specific model years and trim levels like the 2016-2018 Honda Civic Touring and higher-end EX trims tend to retain their value the best. These models offer extra features and options that buyers are willing to pay more for even after several years of ownership.

With its proven track record of reliability, appealing styling, and strong brand image, the Honda Civic is likely to continue being one of the compact cars with the highest resale values in the coming years.


#3 Subaru Impreza

The Subaru Impreza is one of the most popular compact cars in Canada, thanks in large part to its renowned all-wheel drive capability. All Impreza models come standard with Subaru’s highly capable Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, making the Impreza a great choice for drivers in snowy or icy conditions.

In addition to its traction advantages, the Impreza also retains its value very well. According to auto research firms, the Impreza has among the highest resale value retention rates in the compact segment, retaining around 50-60% of its value after 5 years of ownership.

When shopping for a used Subaru Impreza, key model years to look for are 2014 and newer, which mark the transition to the fourth generation Impreza. Well-equipped Sport and Limited trim levels from these model years are most coveted on the used market.

With its standard all-wheel drive, fun driving dynamics, hatchback practicality and excellent resale value retention, the Subaru Impreza is easily one of the best compact cars for shoppers focused on long-term value and winter weather performance.


#4 Mazda 3

The Mazda 3 is one of the top compact cars for retaining its value in the Canadian used car market. Its combination of sporty driving dynamics, attractive styling, and excellent fuel efficiency make it a popular choice for budget-conscious buyers.

When it comes to fuel efficiency, the Mazda 3 really shines. Models equipped with the SKYACTIV-G 2.0L or 2.5L 4-cylinder engines deliver outstanding mpg ratings. For example, FWD models with the 2.5L engine and automatic transmission are rated for up to 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway. This level of efficiency rivals hybrid models, allowing Mazda 3 owners to save significantly on gas costs.

In terms of resale value retention, the Mazda 3 holds its own against segment leaders like the Civic and Corolla. According to Canadian Black Book data, the Mazda 3 retains around 50% of its value after 5 years on average. Certain model years and trim levels, like the 2014-2018 s Grand Touring, fare even better by retaining over 50% of their original MSRP.

When shopping for a used Mazda 3, it’s worth targeting the 2014-2018 model years, as these offer the best blend of value, features, and efficiency. Popular trim lines like the GS, GT, and s Grand Touring provide extra features and amenities while still retaining value well. With its engaging driving experience, attractive design, and excellent resale value, the Mazda 3 is a smart choice for budget-focused compact car shoppers.


#5 Hyundai Elantra

The Hyundai Elantra is one of the most popular compact cars in Canada and offers excellent value, helping it retain resale value nicely. Hyundai is well known for offering generous warranty coverage, with a 5 year/100,000 km comprehensive warranty and a 10 year/200,000 km powertrain warranty. This provides peace of mind to buyers and boosts resale value. According to data from ALG, the Elantra retains around 50% of its value after 5 years. The key model years and trim levels to target for the best resale value are:


  • 2019-2021 Preferred trim
  • 2018 Limited trim
  • 2017-2018 Sport trim


The mid-level Preferred trim strikes the optimal balance of features and value retention in recent model years. Going for the Limited trim in 2018 also holds appeal, while the Sport trim from 2017-2018 offers a nice blend of styling and performance.


Research Before Buying

Doing thorough research before purchasing a compact car for resale value is critical. There are many factors to weigh and models to compare. Here are some key things to focus on during your research process:


Compare Models and Trim Levels

Not all compact cars hold their value equally. Even within the same make and model, different trim levels and option packages can impact resale value. Compare the projected residual values across various models and configurations. Opt for the specific make, model and trim with data showing the strongest resale value.


Check Projected Depreciation Rates

Use resources like Kelley Blue Book to find expected depreciation rates for the vehicles you’re considering. Some lose only 40-50% of value in the first 5 years, while others depreciate 60% or more. Understanding the projected depreciation can guide you to a model that will retain more future value.


Weigh Features vs. Value

While fancy features are nice to have, they don’t always equate to better resale value. Run comparisons to see which features impact value retention and which simply add cost. Prioritize features that buyers are willing to pay extra for down the road.


Getting the Best Deal on a Resale Value Compact Car

Buying a compact car with strong resale value doesn’t have to break the bank if you follow some smart shopping strategies.


Shop End of Model Year Sales

Look for leftover previous model year vehicles that dealerships are eager to move off the lot. You can often score huge discounts of $2,000 or more as dealers clear out inventory to make room for new models.


Look for Factory Rebates and Incentives

Manufacturers will frequently offer cash rebates, low APR financing deals, and lease specials on compact cars at certain times of the year. Check automaker websites for current offers and stack them on top of dealership discounts for maximum savings.


Negotiate a Fair Purchase Price

Do your homework on fair purchase prices using third-party car buying sites. Come armed with this information and be prepared to negotiate with the dealer to get the best possible out-the-door price.


Finance at the Lowest Rates

Secure pre-approved financing at your bank or credit union before visiting dealers. This allows you to shop around for the lowest rates. Dealers will often try to beat your pre-approval rate to win your business.


Maintaining Resale Value

If you want your compact car to retain the highest resale value possible, following proper maintenance and care is crucial. Here are some tips to keep in mind:


Follow maintenance schedules

Be diligent about following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. This includes regular oil changes, fluid flushes, tire rotations, brake pad replacements, and more based on mileage intervals. Staying on top of maintenance prevents major issues down the road.


Keep mileage reasonable

Try not to put too many miles on your compact car each year. Excessive mileage will greatly reduce resale value. Aim to keep annual mileage under 20,000 km/year if possible. Going easy on miles will help retain more value.


Maintain condition

Keep the interior and exterior of your compact car in pristine shape. Clean it regularly, make minor repairs quickly, and store it in a garage when possible. A vehicle that has been well cared for will fetch a much higher resale price.


Keep service records

Maintain detailed service records for all maintenance and repairs performed on your compact car. This documentation shows prospective buyers the vehicle has been properly cared for. Having a complete service history available will maximize resale value.

Following these simple maintenance and care tips will help ensure your compact car retains the highest resale value possible when it comes time to sell or trade it in.


Toyota Corolla Overview

The Toyota Corolla is one of the most popular and best-selling compact cars in Canada for good reason. Its reputation for rock-solid reliability, great fuel economy, and strong resale value make it a smart choice. The Corolla consistently receives high praise from owners thanks to its proven durability.

Even with over 50 years of production, Toyota continues to refine and improve the Corolla. Recent models boast more technology, safety features, and interior upgrades while maintaining the Corolla’s core values. Whether you choose a base CE trim or higher XSE model, you’ll get a lot of car for your money.

Key features available on the Corolla include a 7-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration, heated front seats, adaptive cruise control, and Toyota Safety Sense suite of advanced driver aids. The Corolla offers an impressive list of equipment even on lower trim levels.

By focusing on quality, practicality and value, the Corolla has earned a stellar reputation that directly translates into strong resale value. The typical Corolla can easily rack up over 200,000 kms without major issues, and you’ll have no problem finding buyers down the road. Its sheer popularity and trusted Toyota badge ensure used Corollas are in high demand.


Honda Civic Overview

The Honda Civic is one of the most popular and well-regarded compact cars in Canada. Ever since its introduction in 1973, the Civic has built up a reputation for reliability, practicality, and strong resale value. This reputation is a key factor in the Civic’s excellent retention of its original value.

The Civic consistently ranks at or near the top of resale value studies by organizations like Canadian Black Book and ALG. Much of this can be attributed to the Civic’s sterling reputation, which creates steady demand in the used car market. Even base model Civics tend to hold their value very well thanks to the Honda name.

Higher trim Civic models with extra features and options also retain their value nicely. For example, the EX and Touring trims add amenities like a moonroof, leather upholstery, navigation, and premium audio. These features help justify slightly higher resale prices for these trims. The sporty Civic Si and Civic Type R performance models also hold value well thanks to their more powerful engines and sport-tuned suspensions.

Overall, the combination of Honda’s reputation for quality, the Civic’s perennial popularity, and the wide range of available features and trims all contribute to excellent resale value retention across the Civic lineup. For compact car buyers focused on value retention, the Civic is clearly one of the best options on the Canadian market today.


Subaru Impreza Overview

The Subaru Impreza is one of the top compact cars for retaining resale value in Canada thanks to its renowned all-wheel drive capability, practical features, and loyal following. Here’s a closer look at what makes the Impreza a smart buy for long-term value retention.

The Impreza comes standard with Subaru’s highly regarded symmetrical all-wheel drive system. This provides enhanced traction and control in all weather conditions, which is a key selling point for Canadian drivers dealing with snow and ice. The Impreza handles beautifully thanks to its low center of gravity and near perfect front/rear weight distribution enabled by the flat “boxer” engine. Handling is further enhanced by the standard active torque vectoring system which applies braking to the inside front wheel to sharpen turn-in response.

In terms of features, even the base Impreza Convenience trim comes well equipped with a 6.5″ touchscreen, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, keyless access and push button start, heated front seats, and advanced safety tech like automatic emergency braking. Stepping up to the Sport and Sport-Tech trims adds amenities like dual-zone climate control, leather trimmed seats,Harmon-Kardon sound system, and driver assist features such as adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist.

With a reputation for reliability, practicality and retaining value, the Subaru Impreza continues to have strong demand among Canadian compact car buyers. This steady popularity year after year is a key factor that helps the Impreza hold its value so well in the used car market.


Mazda 3 Overview

The Mazda 3 is another popular compact car in Canada that retains its value quite well. There are several reasons for this:


More on fuel efficiency – The Mazda 3 offers excellent fuel economy for its class, with ratings up to 8.7L/100km city and 6.6L/100km highway. This makes it affordable to operate even with rising gas prices. Available Skyactiv technology further enhances efficiency.


Available features by trim – Higher trims of the Mazda 3 like the GT and Signature come loaded with desirable features like a heads-up display, premium Bose audio, leather seats, adaptive cruise control, and more. These keep resale values strong.


Why it retains value well – Mazda has built a reputation for reliable, fun-to-drive vehicles. The Mazda 3 follows suit with its sporty handling and upscale interior. Owners report few issues even after high mileage use. Strong predicted reliability ratings also help resale value.


Hyundai Elantra Overview

The Hyundai Elantra is another compact sedan that retains value well thanks to its combination of value, warranty coverage, and available features. As a brand, Hyundai is known for offering a lot for your money. The Elantra follows suit with lower upfront pricing than rivals, yet still providing a well-equipped vehicle.

Hyundai also backs the Elantra with one of the best new car warranties in the industry. There is a 5 year/60,000 mile basic warranty and a 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty. This provides significant peace of mind to buyers.

Even base models of the Elantra come decently equipped, but moving up through the trim levels adds nice upgrades. The SEL model gains keyless entry, heated front seats, and blind spot collision warning. The Limited nets leather seats, navigation, and parking sensors. The sporty N Line has a turbo engine, sport-tuned suspension, and 18″ wheels.

With its reputation for value, lengthy warranty protection, and available features even on lower trims, the Hyundai Elantra hits a sweet spot for retaining resale value. Buyers feel they get a lot for their initial investment and subsequent owners benefit from that perception when it comes time to sell or trade-in.



When it comes to finding a compact car with strong resale value, there are some clear front-runners to consider. The Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Subaru Impreza, Mazda 3, and Hyundai Elantra consistently rank among the top compact cars for retaining their value over time. These models all have reputations for reliability, fuel efficiency, practicality and long-term owner satisfaction.

If you’re shopping for a compact car, be sure to research projected resale values and factor this into your decision. Opting for a car that holds its value better can save you thousands down the road when it comes time to sell or trade it in. At the same time, don’t just look at resale value alone – also make sure the compact car aligns with your needs in areas like performance, cargo space, tech features and more.

When you’ve selected a model, negotiate the best deal possible by comparing prices across dealers and looking for discounts. Maintain the vehicle properly and keep mileage reasonable to help optimize future resale value. By picking the right compact car and caring for it over time, you can enjoy years of happy and economical driving.

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Questions About Compact Cars With The Best Resale Value

The Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla typically have the best resale values among compact cars in Canada. Both models are known for their reliability, low ownership costs, and strong demand in the used car market. After 5 years, the Civic retains about 50-60% of its original value while the Corolla retains about 55-65% on average.

Toyota compact cars consistently earn the highest resale values in Canada. Models like the Corolla, Matrix, Yaris, and Prius all hold their value very well compared to other brands. Toyota has built a reputation for reliability and durability, making their compact cars desirable in the used market. Honda also produces compact cars with excellent resale values.

The Nissan Micra is typically the most affordable compact car to insure in Canada. Thanks to its small 1.6L 4-cylinder engine, the Micra falls into the lowest insurance rate classes in every province. Other inexpensive compact cars to insure include the Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Chevrolet Spark, and Mitsubishi Mirage.

The Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic (particularly 2006-2015 models) are considered the most reliable used compact cars in Canada. Both have proven reputations for durability, longevity, and lower-than-average maintenance costs, even at high mileages. Other reliable options include the Subaru Impreza, Mazda 3, and Hyundai Elantra.

The Toyota Prius has the lowest maintenance costs of any compact car over the first 10 years of ownership, according to studies. The Prius requires fewer oil changes, has regenerative brakes that last longer, needs no belt replacements, and has lower repair costs overall thanks to the hybrid drivetrain’s simplicity and reliability.

The most fuel-efficient compact car in Canada is the Toyota Prius. The iconic hybrid achieves a 4.5 Le/100 km combined city/highway rating, allowing it to travel over 1,000 km on a single tank of gas. Other compact cars with excellent fuel economy ratings include the Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid, Kia Niro Hybrid, and Toyota Corolla Hybrid.

The Toyota Prius is widely considered the best hybrid compact car in Canada thanks to its impressive fuel efficiency, proven hybrid technology, high reliability ratings, lower lifetime ownership costs, and strong resale value. The Prius offers ample cargo room despite its hatchback design and has more rear legroom than most other compacts.

The Honda Fit offers exceptional passenger and cargo space for a compact hatchback. The Fit provides more rear legroom and headroom than rivals, while its Magic Seat system allows numerous configurations for hauling cargo. With the rear seats folded, it provides a very generous 1,665 litres of cargo capacity.

The Subaru Impreza is arguably the best compact car for winter driving in Canada. Its standard all-wheel drive system provides exceptional traction and control on snow and ice. Subaru’s advanced stability control and available winter tires also give the Impreza a significant advantage over rival compacts in cold, slippery conditions.

The Subaru Impreza and XV Crosstrek, Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen 4Motion, Volvo V40, BMW 2 Series, Mercedes Benz GLA, Buick Verano, Dodge Dart, and Chrysler 200 all offer optional all-wheel drive systems in Canada. Having AWD improves traction and control in inclement weather. Among compacts, the Subarus specifically engineer their AWD systems for winter performance.

The Buick Verano is renowned for having the quietest cabin in its compact car class. By using extensive sound insulation, sealing all body panel gaps, tuning suspension dampers to prevent noise transfer, and installing acoustic laminated glass, Buick engineers created a luxury-car quiet interior environment.

The Volvo V40 offers the most high-tech standard safety features among compact cars. These include forward collision warning with auto braking, lane departure warning, road sign information displays, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, and seven airbags.

The Honda Fit provides customers with the most interior storage options among compact cars. There are over 10 unique storage configurations throughout the cabin, including an adjustable center console, dashboard compartments, door pockets, rear Magic Seats that flip up, and under floor storage in the rear cargo area.

Kia and Hyundai both offer 5-year/100,000 comprehensive warranties on new compact car purchases, including models like the Forte, Rio, Elantra GT, Accent, and Kona. This provides significant long-term protection on the engine, transmission, electronics, paint, and corrosion perforation. Toyota and Honda have 3-year/60,000 km basic warranties.

The Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte have the most front headroom and legroom among compact cars, making them good choices for taller drivers. Those over 6 feet tall can still find a comfortable seating position. The Honda Civic and Mazda 3 also earn praise for their spacious driver ergonomics.

Many 2024 compact cars offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, including the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Mazda 3, Nissan Sentra, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Golf and Jetta. These systems enable intuitive hands-free smartphone integration and navigation.

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