Britain’s best (and worst) cars at holding their value

James Foxall
Written by: James Foxall
Posted on: 2 June 2016

There’s no getting away from it; motoring is an expensive business.

Fuel, insurance and maintenance all eat into the bank account like hungry teenagers at the family fridge. But the biggest motoring expenditure is actually a hidden cost. And it’s hitting drivers in the pocket even when the car isn’t being used.

Depreciation is the way cars lose money. Nearly every new car falls in value the moment it’s driven off the forecourt. Trouble is, some models do it more than others. So which are the best to sink your hard earned cash into, and which could end up costing you the most in unseen depreciation?

We’ve asked used car value experts CAP Automotive to crunch the numbers. The figures given are for the percentage of the car’s original retail price that it loses over the first three years of its life. So the higher the percentage, the more money it sheds relative to its new price.

Let’s start at the bottom…

The worst cars for losing value


Nissan Leaf: 83.8% loss

Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf

The trouble with electric cars like the Nissan Leaf is that there’s a very small second-hand market for them. Some buyers suspect they’re not practical in all situations, others worry they have the same battery life as a five-year old laptop computer. The result, according to CAP, is the highest depreciating car in Britain.

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer: 83.2% loss

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

There’s nothing really wrong with the big Zafira seven-seater. But its rivals just tend do everything better. They’re more stylish, cheaper to buy and run, more practical and wear desirable badges. And because Vauxhall discounts the Zafira heavily to keep it moving out of showrooms, you have a car that loses a hefty amount of money over the first three years of its life.

MG6: 80.71% loss

MG6

MG6

The MG badge is a classic. But the current range of MG cars are not. Yes, they’re cheap. But as soon as you sit in one, you’ll realise there’s nothing cheerful about the scratchy plastics, old-fashioned driving experience and inefficient engines. The result? Testers at What Car? awarded the MG6 just one star out of five.

Other shockers:

Fiat Doblo: 80.3% loss
Chevrolet Cruze: 80.1% loss
Renault Megane: 79.6% loss
Renault Zoe: 79.4% loss
Chevrolet Spark: 78.9% loss
Fiat Qubo: 78.4% loss

The best cars at holding value


Porsche Macan Diesel: 30.1% loss

Porsche Macan Diesel

Porsche Macan Diesel

Good looks, a sporting heritage most carmakers envy, decent performance and strong reviews make the Macan highly desirable. Throw in that it competes in the highly praised SUV segment and you have a car that’s the best in Britain at holding its value.

Range Rover Sport SDV6: 38.9% loss

Range Rover Sport SDV6

Range Rover Sport SDV6

Although it can’t match the Porsche, according to CAP’s figures the Range Rover Sport is still brilliant at keeping its value. And just like the Porsche, it’s got the status, the body shape and the lust factor to ensure people are falling over themselves to buy them second hand.

Lexus NX200: 41% loss

Lexus NX200

Lexus NX200

The NX is the smallest Lexus SUV and it’s been very well received. As a petrol-electric hybrid SUV, it’s unusual. But it’s more than competent and comes with the legendary Lexus reliability and dealer customer service. The result is an attractive used buy, meaning it holds its value remarkably well.

Other stars:

Porsche Cayenne Diesel: 42.4% loss
BMW X4: 42.7% loss
Range Rover TDV6: 43.3% loss
Alfa Romeo 4C: 43.4% loss
Audi Q5: 43.8% loss
Subaru WRX STi: 44.5% loss

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