Buying a brand new car is an expensive business, and when you consider the fact that a vehicle's value drops massively immediately after purchase, it seems even more so.
And after three years, it’s fairly likely that your car will only retain around 40% (or less) of its original value.
Buying a second-hand car would be the easiest way to save money, but if you’re dead set on a new one, CAP Automative has some useful advice for you. It has shared the ‘best’ depreciators with us – the cars that lose the least (in terms of pounds) over three years.
Note that these aren’t the cars which hold the highest percentage of their value, which tend to be very expensive cars. If it’s of interest to you, the car that held the most of its value is the Porsche Cayenne five-door diesel model which retains 68.4% of its intial £46,338 price after three years, meaning that it would then be worth around £31,700.
Since the Porsche is (sadly) rather more expensive than most people could afford, here are the top ten affordable cars that lost the least cash. Note that prices and losses are average values.
1. PERODUA MYVI 1.3 SXi 5DR (2006-)
This compact car is produced by Malaysian manufacturer Perodua and sells for £6,880 new (models from 2011 onwards). After three years, it retains around 33% of that value (£2,275), a loss of about £4,605. While that’s a lot of money to lose, it was actually the best cash saver around.
It’s worth noting that there are several versions of the Myvi around – the value and depreciation vary fairly widely. The 1.3 SXi 5dr (2006 onwards) is the model that depreciates the least, though the other versions are relatively decent performers too, mostly losing values of £5,000-£5,500.
2. KIA PICANTO 5DR 1.0 1 (2011-)
Another compact run-around, the Picanto is sold first-hand at about £7,940, and you can expect its value to fall by around 58.4% (£4,640) to £3,300. So it only lost £35 more than the Perodua Myvi, and retained more total value. What's more Kia is probably a more recognised name in the UK, and this model is exempt from road tax.
However, it does cost over £1,000 more than the Myvi to start with, and has a smaller engine.
3. FORD KA STUDIO 3DR 1.2 (2009-)
CAP says that the Ford KA sells for £8,490 on average, and loses £5,240 over the given period. That’s quite a step up from the losses on the Picanto or the Myvi. Indeed the KA was worth only £3,250 after three years – less than the Picanto!
What's more, the KA is a three-door model, while the Picanto and Perodua are five-door models.
4. FIAT 500 POP 3DR 1.2 (2008-)
Sold for £9,845 on average new, the Fiat 500 is worth £4,550 after three years, retaining a reasonable 46.2% of its original price. Billed as a fuel-efficient city car, it’s probably a decent bet if you need to slip into small urban parking spaces.
5. SUZUKI ALTO SZ3 5DR 1.0 (2009-)
On the list for an average of £8,290 first-hand, the Suzuki Alto stood to lose around £5,565 over the course of three years, meaning that you could expect it to fetch about £2,725 afterwards. That’s not particularly impressive, although its small 1.0 litre engine means you’ll pay less on insurance than some of the other cars named here. It’s also exempt from road tax due to its very low CO2 emission rate.
6. AUDI A1 TFSI SE 3DR 1.2 (2010-)
An outlier in terms of average price on the sales lot, the Audi A1 1.2 (3dr) is almost double the price of a Perodua Myvi but retains more than half its price after three years. It sells for £13,365, and will lose just 42.4% of its value (£5,665) to be worth £7,700.
That isn’t too shabby when you consider that most other cars on this list are losing up to almost 70% of their value in the same period of time, though you do have to spend a lot more in the first place. Despite the 1.2l engine, you’ll only pay £30 per year in road tax.
7. SUZUKI SPLASH SZ3 5DR 1.0 (2008-)
Another ‘city’ car, the Suzuki Splash sells for £9,440 and offers the same 1.0 litre engine size as the Alto. Unfortunately, by year three it has lost £5,690 so it’ll be worth just £3,750. There is a plus though – you’ll pay just £20 a year in road tax because of the low carbon emissions.
8. VAUXHALL AGILA 12V ecoFLEX EXPRESSION 5DR 1.0 (2008-2013)
The Vauxhall Agila has a retail price of £8,440 but loses £5,740 by the third year of ownership to be worth £3,100.
While it will only be worth £2,700, the ’08 onwards version of the Agila is a step up from the 2000-07 version in terms of looks and has a good amount of storage space because of its high roof. The road tax is just £20 a year.
9. SMART FORTWO COUPE PULSE MHD AUTO 2DR 1.0 (2010)
This Smart Coupe is sold for £9490 new and was found to lose a massive 63.6% of its value to clock in at an underwhelming £3,325 after three years. It can only seat two people and has an automatic transmission, which won’t be popular among many UK drivers. However, you won’t have to pay road tax.
10. ABARTH 500 1.4 16V T-Jet 3DR 1.4 (2009-)
Priced at a pretty costly £14,242, the Abarth 500 is a supermini with a stylish look. Abarth’s parent company is Fiat – so you wouldn't be far off imagining the Abarth 500 as the sportier cousin of the Fiat 500.
Over three years, the Abarth 500 loses £6,392, meaning that it will be worth £7,850 at the end of the period. It retains a very impressive 55.1% of its original price, but on the other hand, you will pay £180 in road tax per year, as it’s not the most eco-friendly car listed here. You might also have to pay a fair bit more for your car insurance because of the 1.4 litre engine.