Depreciation is usually the biggest cost of running a car. We reveal the models on sale today which lose their value the fastest
Depreciation is often overlooked when people are deciding what car to buy. But while other running costs, such as fuel consumption, servicing and road tax, are worth considering, they rarely add up to as much as the amount a car loses in value over the first few years of ownership.
Here we’ve used our residual value data to reveal the models which will cost you most in depreciation, with all figures based on an annual mileage of 12,000.
*** Note : £1 = $1.39 (correct at time of post)
10. Fiat Panda 0.9 TwinAir 85 Easy
List price: £11,245
Depreciation after year 1: £6470 (57.5%) Year 2: £7520 (66.9%) Year 3: £8245 (73.3%)
Like most city cars, the Fiat Panda is aimed primarily at people on a tight budget, making the fact it will lose almost three quarters of its value over three years all the more painful.
Don’t go thinking that the Panda is a terrible car: it has endearing looks, a supple low-speed ride and low insurance groupings on its side. But rival models from Hyundai, Kia, Skoda and Volkswagen all do more for less.
9. Fiat Punto 1.4 Pop+
List price: £11,735
Depreciation after year 1: £6985 (59.5%) Year 2: £7885 (67.2%) Year 3: £8660 (73.8%)
The current Punto was introduced way back in 2005, and a couple of updates since then haven’t stopped it feeling its age. Whichever version you go for you’ll have to put up with lots of body roll and a choppy ride, plus it’s noisy and has an awkward driving position.
To make matters worse, the Punto was given a zero-star safety rating when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP in 2017. So, given the huge number of brilliant small cars on sale today, the only surprise is that it’s not even further down this list.
8. Peugeot 308 1.6 Blue HDi 100 Active
List price: £19,650
Depreciation after year 1: £11,400 (48.0%) Year 2: £12,975 (66.0%) Year 3: £14,525 (73.9%)
There are better family hatchbacks than the Peugeot 308, because it suffers from poor rear leg room and a fiddly infotainment system. However, it also has strengths, including frugal engines, a smart interior and a huge boot.
Just make sure you negotiate a big discount if you’re interested in the 308, because you’ll need it to help offset the heavy depreciation.
7. Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0 JTM-2
List price: £22,060
Depreciation after year 1: £12,510 (56.7%) Year 2: £14,610 (66.2%) Year 3: £16,310 (73.9%)
The Giulietta is Alfa Romeo‘s answer to the Audi A3 Sportback and BMW 1 Series, and we can see why you might be tempted because it’s a good looking thing.
Unfortunately, the Giulietta suffers from a cramped interior and stodgy handling, so it will be worth a lot less than rivals when you come to sell it.
6. Skoda Rapid 1.4 TDI CR 90 SE
List price: £18,185
Depreciation after year 1: £10,610 (58.3%) Year 2: £12,160 (66.9%) Year 3: £13,460 (74.0%)
Skoda makes some excellent cars, but the Rapid isn’t one of them. Its ride is jarring and you have to put up with a lot of wind, road and suspension noise, while the poorly weighted steering inspires little confidence.
Add in unsupportive seats that can quickly leave you with back ache, and an interior that’s the epitome of drab, and it’s easy to see why the Rapid has to be very cheap to attract used car buyers.
5. Seat Toledo 1.6 TDI 115 Xcellence
List price: £21,970
Depreciation after year 1: £13,295 (60.5%) Year 2: £14,920 (67.9%) Year 3: £16,295 (74.2%)
The Seat Toledo is very closely related to the Skoda Rapid – it’s basically the same car with different badges – so it suffers from all the same problems, including heavy depreciation.
The Toledo isn’t even particularly cheap to buy new, with the fastest depreciating version costing almost £22,000 and losing £16,295 of that in the first three years.
4. Vauxhall Cascada 2.0 CDTi 170 Elite
List price: £32,990
Depreciation after year 1: £20,065 (60.8%) Year 2: £22,540 (68.3%) Year 3: £24,640 (74.7%)
Vauxhall’s Cascada is a surprisingly comfortable and solid feeling convertible that’s spacious enough to seat four, but it’s saddled with a price tag that’s best described as optimistic.
Vauxhall argues that the Cascada is actually well priced compared with something like an Audi A5 Cabriolet, but the sales figures suggest that buyers disagree.
3. Fiat Doblo 1.6 Multijet 120 Active (Eco Pack)
List price: £24,487
Depreciation after year 1: £15,737 (64.3%) Year 2: £17,637 (72.0%) Year 3: £18,937 (77.3%)
This van-based people carrier has loads of space for five and sliding rear doors that make it easy to get children in and out even in tight parking spaces. But its seats aren’t as clever as those in the best MPVs, and it’s nowhere near as refined.
Active versions of the Doblo also come quite basically equipped, yet they’re still not particularly cheap to buy new.
2. Alfa Romeo Mito 1.3 JTDM-2
List price: £15,980
Depreciation after year 1: £10,655 (66.7%) Year 2: £11,605 (72.6%) Year 3: £12,480 (78.1%)
Like the bigger Giulietta, the Mito primarily sells on style. The trouble is you also get that from the Audi A1 and Mini hatchback, two cars that better it in all other areas.
The A1 and Mini also retain more than twice as much of their value as the Mito during a typical ownership period, so it’s very hard to make a case for the Alfa.
1. Renault Zoe I-Dynamique Nav Quick Charge
List price: £29,020
Depreciation after year 1: £21,770 (75.0%) Year 2: £22,845 (78.7%) Year 3: £23,920 (82.4%)
At the 2018 What Car? Awards, the Zoe was named best electric car for less than £20,000, because it can realistically travel more than 170 miles between charges, and combines a practical interior with tidy handling and a long list of standard equipment.
In spite of all its stengths, though, the Zoe depreciates faster than than any other car on sale today; you’ll lose almost £22,000 on the I-Dynamique Quick Charge version in the first year alone.