Cars with the lowest depreciation

Don't let depreciation get you down; these are the ten cars with the lowest depreciation

Jun 28, 2018

Depreciation – the amount of value a car loses over time – is one of the most significant costs of the car ownership experience.

And yet it often feels like an ‘invisible’ cost as you’ll never have to stump up for it as a ‘lump sum’.

If you’re paying for your car using PCP finance, then your monthly instalments cover the car’s depreciation over the course of the agreement (you pay the remainder of the cost at the end if you want to own it). For cash buyers, the depreciation is the difference between the price you pay for the car and the price you eventually sell it for.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of the top 10 best depreciation-beaters, with the help of cap-hpi, which specialises in car valuations. Whether you’re looking for a new or used car, you’ll reduce the cost of ownership or finance payments by choosing one of these model ranges that hold on to their value the best over the course of three years or 30,000 miles of use.


1 Jeep Wrangler

Average value after three years 62.8% Average new price £29,601
Average depreciation £11,041

There are few more capable vehicles for off-road driving than a Jeep Wrangler. In fact, with the recent demise of the Land Rover Defender, the Wrangler sits in a class of its own. And although it’s only undergone four major redesigns in more than seven decades, the latest versions allow occupants to enjoy at least some of the conveniences of modern cars – climate control, cruise control, automatic headlights and Bluetooth connectivity are all available.

This is not a modern, convenient, easy car to live with though. Its unflappable off-roading ability means it’s noisy, thirsty, uncomfortable and slow on the road. Yet to its fans there is nothing to match the Wrangler – which is why it sparks such loyalty in its owners. And why it holds on to almost two thirds of its new car value over three years.

2 BMW Alpina

Average value after three years 61.2% Average new price £55,585
Average depreciation £21,635

Alpina has been developing high-performance versions of BMW cars for more than 50 years. But the Bavarian company’s products are far more than just aftermarket tuning kits. In fact, Alpina works closely with the manufacturer to create its own unique and luxurious versions of BMW’s high-performance saloons, coupés, estates and SUVs. So much so that the German government considers Alpina to be an automobile manufacturer in its own right.

That’s why cap-hpi’s data rates Alpina models (it takes the whole range of cars as one due to Alpina’s low sales volumes) as among the best on the market at holding their value. For those who know about them, Alpinas are seriously appealing cars.

3 Lotus Elise

Average value after three years 59.4% Average new price £30,320
Average depreciation £12,320

The latest Lotus Elise continues in the tradition of lightweight, agile sports cars that the British sports car maker is famed for. And even though its basic design is now more than 20 years old, the Elise is still one of the most fun cars to drive on a quiet country road – at any price.

It’s true that it’s not the most practical of cars, its interior design is dated and its build quality is best described as flimsy, but its Toyota-sourced engine and low weight mean it is both reasonably dependable and offers excellent fuel economy. The fact that early Elises are already becoming modern classics ensures that this is one sports car that really keeps hold of its value.

4 Audi Q5

Average value after three years 58.3% Average new price £33,448
Average depreciation £13,915

Audi’s Q5 is a favourite among those looking for a mid-sized SUV with a high-quality feel. Big enough to offer a commanding driving position and plenty of interior space, yet compact enough to easily handle tight parking spaces and busy cities, the Audi Q5 is pretty much as versatile as family cars come.

It’s not all that cheap – the average new Q5 buyer spends more than £33,000 on their new car – but the fact that it holds on to 58.3% of its new price over the course of three years and 30,000 miles means it could well be worth the initial outlay over a rival that’s cheaper to buy in the first place but lose you more money over the course of your time with it.

5 Mazda CX-5

Average value after three years 52.8% Average new price £25,720
Average depreciation £12,155

The Mazda CX-5 is another medium-sized SUV that makes it onto the list. Buyers – both those looking for a new purchase and ones seeking a used buy – love the CX-5 for its reliability, practicality and generally polished performance.

The figures listed are for the first generation of Mazda CX-5, but there’s every reason to assume that the current model (launched in 2017) should resist depreciation too. After all, it takes the original’s recipe of practicality, nimble and fun handling, and impressive fuel efficiency, then adds an extra dash of style and a more upmarket feel to the interior.

6 Dacia Sandero Stepway

Average value after three years 52.2% Average new price £10,140
Average depreciation £4,853

If your budget is on the tighter side but you still want that new-car feel, a Dacia Sandero Stepway might be hard to beat as a depreciation-buster. Especially since the average new price of a Sandero Stepway at the time of cap-hpi’s most recent survey was just £10,140. This means that the average owner only has to stomach a loss of £4,853.

And even though it’s built to a budget, the Sandero Stepway is a perfectly pleasant car. With a raised ride height and rugged pseudo-off-roader looks (it’s really just a taller version of the small Sandero and doesn’t come with four-wheel drive), it’s easier to get into, more comfortable and better to look at than the standard Sandero. It’s even pretty well equipped.

7 Audi A5

Average value after three years 52.0% Average new price £43,140
Average depreciation £20,690

As a sporty premium coupé, the Audi A5 cuts a dash on the road and on your driveway. Good looks are combined with plenty of luggage space and room for four adults, and a wide range of trim and engine choices.

The previous-generation car, which was replaced in 2016 is the one with the lowest depreciation, which is good news for used car buyers. However, anyone opting for the current Audi A5 should also benefit from low depreciation, as it displays just as broad a spread of talents as its predecessor.

8 Nissan 370Z

Average value after three years 51.8% Average new price £31,463
Average depreciation £15,188

The Nissan 370Z follows a simple recipe: a big-engined, two-seat sports car, with a sporty rear-wheel-drive set-up. As a result, it’s won legions of fans and has been a continuously popular choice since it was introduced back in 2009.

It’s also a good-value proposition; even though the average buyer spends more than £30,000 on their car, they can expect to keep hold of almost 52% of that over the course of three years of ownership.

9 Toyota GT86

Average value after three years 49.8% Average new price £26,610
Average depreciation £13,366

If you’re after an affordable sports coupe that won’t break the bank and will prove as dependable and reliable as the most sensible family car, the Toyota GT86 is a fine choice.

This fun little performance car manages the double whammy of a reasonable new price and decent used values – on average you’ll lose £13,366 over three years of ownership. That’s just about half of the car’s original value.

Toyota GT86 deals

10 Subaru Forester

Average value after three years 47.0% Average new price £27,732
Average depreciation £14,704

Long before Subaru became a name associated with the world of rallying, the Japanese manufacturer had forged a reputation for creating dependable, no-nonsense cars that lasted almost forever and certainly didn’t break down.

This, and the fact that they were all fitted with four-wheel drive made them popular with the nation’s farmers. And the Subaru Forester fits that mould. It’s an honest, unpretentious rugged car and buyers love it because of that. Which is why it holds on to its value so well.

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