Top 10 Diesel Cars and Trucks for Resale Value

From Steve at

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While the price of fuel vacillates with current events, the economy of diesel engines remains a constant. Any diesel owner will tell you about the love they have for the engine. The unmistakable audio signature of the incredibly high compression piston chambers exploding with mathematical precision is captivating for such aficionados.

Having a great car or light-duty truck with a diesel engine can be an incredible and irresistible delight. If you are among the chosen few who find fascination with diesel-powered vehicles, then you might possibly have such a vehicle right now, or are considering purchasing one.

The question often asked from current and potential diesel owners is “What diesels have the best resale value?” There is a bit of irony here because if drivers take proper care of their cars, diesel vehicles can last, virtually, for a lifetime. People have been known to wear out the upholstery in the car before they wear out the engine.

An overview

Here is our list of top ten diesel cars and trucks that hold their resale value best:

Light Trucks Cars
1. Dodge Ram 1500 Audi A3
2. GMC Canyon BMW 3 Series
3. Chevrolet Colorado Chevy Cruz
4. Dodge Ram 2500 Jeep Grand Cherokee
5. Nissan Titan XD Mercedes Benz GLK
6. Dodge Ram 3500 Volkswagen Jetta
7. Ford F-150 Volkswagen Passat
8. Ford F-250 BMW X-5
9. Toyota Tacoma Mazda 6
10. Ford F-350 Land Rover Range Rover

Now let’s look at the reasons behind our list.

Current popularity

The current popularity of any model of truck or vehicle closely follows the historic value it will have a few years down the road.

This means, for example, that one of Detroit’s greatest success stories, the Ford F-150, when acquired with a diesel engine, could accrue in value. The Ford F-150 comes in at number seven on our truck list. The same would go for Ford’s F-250, F-350 and so on, with those models coming in on our list as numbers eight and ten, respectively.

Another car manufacturer who has seen similar success with its diesel models is the Dodge Ram. The Dodge Ram 1500 (number one), Ram 2500 (number four) and Ram 3500 (number six) all come with diesel engine options.

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Both Detroit and foreign auto manufacturers recognize the popularity of diesel power plants and adjust their models accordingly. As far as cars are concerned, this would include Audi, with the Audi A3, number one on our list, the BMW 3 series, number two and the Chevy Cruz, number three. The Jeep Grand Cherokee, number four. The Mercedes Benz GLK, number five. The Volkswagen Jetta is number six and the Volkswagen Passat model weighs in at number seven in our car category.

It is notable that Volkswagen has been phasing out diesel production given the precipitous drop in gasoline prices.

Not surprisingly, the diesel models Jetta and Passat will likely hold their prices for the foreseeable future given the phasing out of the diesel production. These cars are at the top of the list in terms of popularity so you can expect their value to remain high should you seek to sell or trade-in your car. The same goes for light trucks as we look at the most popular Ford F-150, it’s cousins the F-250 and F-350.

All available in diesel and sporting the modern interiors that current vehicles afford, these models, particularly in diesel over gasoline, can retain their value.

Not to be excluded are Dodge Ram 1500s along with their cousins, the 2500 and 3500 series. All available in diesel, these light trucks boast a luxurious interior, and with the proper care and maintenance schedule, they can be expected to run easily for over 100,000 miles!

The Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon belong in this class of vehicle. We couldn’t properly finish off this list without mentioning the Nissan Titan XD.  All these vehicles are readily available with a diesel power plant and ready to work hard.

Custom packages

The accessory package sold by the original equipment manufacturer can add plenty to the MSRP of the vehicle and so too will it help the resale value down the line. While this has pretty much always been the case with cars, the recent explosion of light truck sales and the proclivity that owners have for customizing them has just made the market go wild.

While it was in part the relaxing of gasoline prices that revived interest in the purchase of gas-guzzling light trucks, the diesel models also derived a benefit from it because they too could be purchased with special packages. This further fortifies their resale value.

What is a good truck without a good tow package to go with it? If you’re going to be towing, you’re going to want a suspension upgrade, right? Now, is that truck the right height? You may need a lift kit, particularly if you are seeking to use oversized tires. Speaking of which, you’re going to need to expand the wheel well fairings for those tires.

These would just be some of the thoughts that can add madness to any effort to calculate the intrinsic value any given vehicle will retain. You’ll have to keep those x-factors in mind as you peruse our lists.

What’s the takeaway?

Buying a new car or a new truck is an option for many. Credit ratings, bank accounts and the like may have an influence on how you purchase vehicles.

If you are buying a diesel-powered car or light truck, you must know that the vehicle, with proper maintenance will live on practically forever, and it will retain an intrinsic value beyond. That value, in the long term, will be greatly dependent on the long-term popularity of that model.

The long-term popularity is tricky to predict. Today’s most popular cars and trucks equipped with diesel engines are in a class of their own and will certainly retain their value beyond their gasoline-fueled models.

The cars and trucks mentioned here are without a doubt, the most likely to retain value through the years and when resold, get a very good price.


About dontgetwrenched

Elayne Kling, was the owner of a downtown Manhattan auto repair shop for 25 years and recently in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Elayne knows the particular ins and outs of the auto repair world and keeps up her blog because people will always need help navigating the potential pitfalls of that world. Due to the crazy NYC real estate market she has since closed down her shop and started a new business called Projects Unlimited Inc., helping other small businesses.
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