What’s the biggest cost when it comes to running a car? Fuel? Insurance? Maintenance? Depending on what you drive, depreciation could be costing you more in the long run than all those other running costs combined. Depreciation is how much value a car loses as you own it – in other words, how much it’ll be worth when you sell it on. How much or little a car depreciates depends on a variety of factors including how desirable the car is, how old it is, how many miles it’s covered and whether it’s petrol or diesel. The good news is there are a few things you can do to affect how much of a loss you make, so check out this article on how to beat depreciation and get the best price for your old motor.
As a rough and ready rule, prestige German cars typically hold their value well (apart from the really expensive top-end models), especially if they’re diesel. And cars from lower-volume, less-mainstream manufacturers tend to fare worse. It’s difficult to predict how the market is going to respond to a new car when it’s released so we asked car-buying comparison service carwow.co.uk to put together this guide to show you the models to treat with extreme caution if you want to get the most of your money back when you come to sell it. It’s by no means exhaustive, but covers the majority of sectors in the UK car market. Carwow calculated depreciation using data from Fleet News, and depreciation is expressed as ‘pence per mile lost’. All values are based on a three-year projection covering 10,000 miles per year (30,000 miles in total).
City car: Fiat 500 Abarth 695 Biposto – List price £32,990
Fiat’s in-house motor maniacs – Abarth – may have produced one of the most unhinged and dramatic hot hatches of recent memory with the Abarth 695 Biposto – essentially a 500 racing car with number plates. But, with all its race gear, it’s astronomically expensive, meaning it loses a whopping 84.72 pence per mile – that’s over £25,000.
Supermini: Vauxhall Corsa VXR Clubsport – List price £22,390
The replacement Corsa has arrived and VXR versions can’t be too far behind – until then, this is the only fast Corsa you can buy. It’s entered into a fiercely competitive sector with the likes of the Ford Fiesta ST and Volkswagen Polo GTI – both of which are more accomplished cars. Its youthful image might put some buyers off, meaning it loses 53.38 pence per mile. That means you’ll be £16,014 lighter after three years.
Family hatchback: Renault Megane Renaultsport 275 Trophy-R – List price £36,430
It may have taken the Nurburgring lap record for front-wheel drive cars, but the Megane Renaultsport 275 Trophy-R won’t be setting any record come resale time. It’s a niche product made in limited numbers and is predicted to lose 96.72 pence per mile over three years and 30,000 miles. Its limited edition status might reverse this trend in a few years, though. That potentially leaves you with a very fast hatchback worth £29,000 less than you paid for it after three years, at just £7,069.
Small saloon: Subaru WRX STI – List price £28,995
Originally called the Impreza, Subaru’s super saloon is steeped in rallying heritage. Unfortunately, the brand’s position as a niche manufacturer combined with stiff competition from the likes of the Volkswagen Golf R and the Audi S3 means UK buyers simply aren’t as enamoured with the ‘Scooby’ as they once were. Owners will lose 68.56 pence per mile, and your WRX STI will only be worth £11,583 after three years.
Compact executive: Mercedes C63 AMG – List price £59,795
It’s only just been teased to buyers but experts are already predicting fairly steep depreciation for the new Mercedes C63 AMG. Small production numbers and high initial prices mean that by the time the car appears on the used market it’ll have lost a fair amount of value. Expect to lose 150.09 pence per mile (or £45,000) – and that’s before you’ve turned the engine on!
Mid-size executive: BMW M6 Gran Coupe – List price £98,145
This ludicrously-quick leviathan packs a 560hp 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 and twin-clutch transmission into the swoopy good looks of the 6 Series Gran Coupe. As with many small volume, offensively fast saloons, it suffers a lot of depreciation once it leaves the factory and over three years you’ll lose 229.75 pence per mile, the equivalent to £69,000.
Luxury: Rolls-Royce Phantom Saloon Extended Wheelbase – List price £363,768
One of the most exclusive and expensive cars in the world – the Rolls-Royce Phantom – is known for its almost unparalleled ability for losing money. Owners can expect to lose a whopping 832.16 pence per mile, or nearly £250,000, over three years, We suspect, though, that not many of them will be particularly concerned – as the saying goes: ‘If you have to ask how much it is, you can’t afford it.’
Compact SUV: Nissan Qashqai 1.6dCi 130 Tekna – List price £27,200
The Carwow 2014 Car of the Year might be a surprising addition to this list but those who plump for top-spec Qashqais are liable to lose more money on their cars as the market tends to prefer the mid-range engines and trim levels. Top-of-the-range Qashqais lose 56.28 pence per mile, or £16,900 over three years.
Large SUV: Range Rover Long Wheelbase 5.0 V8 Autobiography – List price £100,350
Opulent, ostentatious, outrageously expensive – the top-spec Range Rover is a long wheelbase away from being the shy and retiring type. Many may hanker after one but be sure you’ve got the cash to swallow 324.78 pence per mile, or over £90,000, being wiped off the value. Its top-spec status, vast petrol engine and even larger purchase price fuel its depreciation.
MPV: Mercedes Viano Long 3.0CDi Grand Edition – List price £44,115
It may be based on a Mercedes can, but the Viano has been thoroughly re-engineered to accommodate seating for six in full Mercedes-style comfort. Its high purchase price and niche position in the market mean it’ll lose 93.59 pence per mile, or £28,077 over 30,000 miles and three years. If you need the space, it might be a better bet to buy one used.
Coupe: Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe – List price £341,761
Its second appearance on this list, Rolls-Royce’s position as a low-volume, high-purchase price manufacturer means its cars are subject to some pretty severe depreciation. The Phantom Coupe loses an enormous 790.26 pence per mile, or £238,000 over three years.
Supercar: Nissan GT-R Nismo – List price £125,000
The Nissan GT-R may have cultivated a huge cult following and an indomitable reputation for being one of the fastest machines with number plates. Despite this, its limited production run – especially in its full Spinal Tap ‘up-to-11’ Nismo guise – means owners will lose 274.89 pence per mile on the GT-R Nismo, or £72,467 over three years.