Value loss is almost always the biggest cost involved in running a car. Here are the champion value-losers on sale today
Not many one-year-old cars are worth half what they cost when they were new.
This scary fact highlights the biggest expense in running a car: depreciation. This inconvenient truth is usually overlooked when someone is keen on a car. They want it and they will have it, and hang the consequences.
But add up all your other ‘normal’ running costs, like fuel consumption, servicing and road tax, and you’ll find they hardly ever match the amount of money you’ll lose in your first few years of ownership.
Of course, as a buyer you could look at it quite differently. You may think you’re doing pretty well to be paying as little as 15% of a car’s new price for something that’s only three years old.
Whichever way you see it, here’s our list of the ten worst – or best – depreciators. All the numbers given here assume an annual mileage of 12,000.
10. Skoda Rapid 1.4 TDI CR 90 SE L
List price: £18,975
Value loss after year 1: £11,900 (62.7%)
Value loss after year 2: £12,950 (68.2%)
Value loss after year 3: £14,050 (74.0%)
The Rapid is one of Skoda’s few duds. It has a knobbly ride, plenty of wind, road and suspension noise, oddly-weighted steering, less than comfy seats and a cheap-feeling cabin. Buyers shun it in favour of the Focus and Astra.
9. Citroën C4 1.2 Puretech Edition
List price: £18,160
Value loss after year 1: £11,260 (62.0%)
Value loss after year 2: £12,360 (68.1%)
Value loss after year 3: £13,435 (74.0%)
Another less than successful Focus rival, the C4 disappoints with its dynamics and interior drabness.
8. Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0 JTDM-2
List price: £22,200
Value loss after year 1: £13,725 (61.8%)
Value loss after year 2: £15,125 (68.1%)
Value loss after year 3: £14,450 (74.1%)
Alfa went for premium targets like the Audi A3 Sportback and BMW 1 Series with its Giulietta, and it certainly looks the part, but it’s not up to scratch on cabin space or handling.
7. Peugeot 508 2.0 BlueHDi 150 GT Line
List price: £29,365
Value loss after year 1: £18,415 (62.7%)
Value loss after year 2: £20.290 (69.1%)
Value loss after year 3: £21,840 (74.4%)
Buyers are turning away from big family saloons and downsizing to smaller premium cars like the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series, so the £30,000 2.0-litre diesel GT Line 508 was always going to be up against it.
6. Peugeot 308 1.6 Blue HDi 100 Active
List price: £19,770
Value loss after year 1: £12,670 (64.1%)
Value loss after year 2: £13,670 (69.1%)
Value loss after year 3: £14,770 (74.7%)
The 308 is a decent enough car, with efficient engines, a neat interior and a massive boot, but tight rear leg room and an unintuitive infotainment system count against it. Big discounts are available, and necessary.
5. Fiat Punto 1.4 Pop+
List price: £12,275
Value loss after year 1: £8150 (66.4%)
Value loss after year 2: £8825 (71.9%)
Value loss after year 3: £9425 (76.8%)
Fiat’s Punto has been around for 12 years, and despite some refreshes it still loses out against the class best in terms of body roll, ride quality, noise and driving position. It stands out (in a bad way) in a field of excellent small cars.
4. Vauxhall Astra GTC 1.6 CDTi 16V ecoTEC SRi
List price: £24,465
Value loss after year 1: £16,390 (67.0%)
Value loss after year 2: £17,590 (71.9%)
Value loss after year 3: £18,765 (76.7%)
Today’s Astra combines sharp handling and good space with a generous specification, but this 3-door GTC version is based on the previous (and not so good) model.
3. Alfa Romeo Mito 1.3 JTDM-2
List price: £16,080
Value loss after year 1: £11,555 (71.9%)
Value loss after year 2: £12,180 (75.7%)
Value loss after year 3: £12,755 (79.3%)
No shortage of style with the Mito, but the Audi A1 and Mini hatchback also provide style along with superior abilities in other areas, including that of much slower depreciation.
2. Nissan Leaf Visia
List price: £26,180
Value loss after year 1: £18,880 (72.1%)
Value loss after year 2: £19,955 (76.2%)
Value loss after year 3: £21,105 (80.6%)
More Leafs are sold than any other electric car, but the numbers are still relatively small and potential buyers worry about the pace of change in EV technology, adding to the problem of obsolescence.
1. Renault Zoe i-Dynamique Nav Quick Charge
List price: £29,020
Value loss after year 1: £22,520 (77.6%)
Value loss after year 2: £23,545 (81.1%)
Value loss after year 3: £24,370 (84.0%)
A super electric car, the Zoe, especially now that it can cover the best part of 170 miles between charges. The interior is practical, it handles well, it has plenty of standard equipment – and it loses value quicker than any other car on sale today. Go figure.