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Revealed: the top 10 least depreciating cars

01_depreciationDepreciation is an important consideration when buying a new car, as some vehicles can lose over 80% of their value within the first three years.

You might think you’re getting a bargain at the dealership, but is it such a good deal if you lose most of your money the second you drive it onto the road?

You might be better off investing more in a car which, although it has a higher purchase price, will lose less as it’s more desirable a few years down the line. The SUV trend shows no sign of waning, for example, meaning they tend to hold onto their value well, and cars sold in smaller numbers generally hold onto their value better than those that flood the market as company cars.

We’ve compiled a list of the 10 cars that lose the least, percentage-wise, over the first three years. The data has been sourced from experts CAP Automotive, assuming an average yearly mileage of 20,000 miles.

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10: Jeep Wrangler

Model: Jeep Wrangler 2.8 CRD Overland 2dr auto

Price new: £27,560

Retained after three years/60,000 miles: 53.7%

Depreciation: £12,760

The Jeep Wrangler might not be the most competent car on the market, but as a depreciation-beater, it’s got it all. SUV: check. Desirable badge: check. Rarity… well, when did you last see one on the road?

The best model to beat depreciation, according to CAP, is the two-door Overland model powered by the 2.8-litre diesel. Its rival, the Land Rover Defender, doesn’t make this list – but we reckon, with production ending this year, it must also be a pretty safe bet when it comes to getting your money back at resale time.

9: Porsche 911

Model: Porsche 911 Carrera PDK

Price new: £73,836

Retained after three years/60,000 miles: 54.2%

Depreciation: £33,836

If you need convincing that a Porsche 911 could be a sensible purchase, this could be it. Spec a Porsche 911 Carrera with the optional PDK ’box and it could hold onto 54.2% of its value after three years.

That means you’ll lose only £33,836 in depreciation. And we’re not factoring in servicing costs here. Er. Let’s move on, shall we?

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8: Toyota Prius

Model: Toyota Prius 1.8 VVTi T3 5dr CVT auto

Price new: £21,545

Retained after three years/60,000 miles: 54.2%

Depreciation: £12,760

Not only does driving a Toyota Prius make you a better person than everyone else in society, it’ll also save you money on fuel and even on depreciation.

The downside? You have to spend three years driving a Toyota Prius. We’d take the Porsche.

7: Ferrari 458 Italia

Model: Ferrari 458 Italia 2dr auto

Price new: £172,127

Retained after three years/60,000 miles: 55.3%

Depreciation: £76,927

Ferrari limits the amount of cars it builds at its Maranello factory to around 7,000 a year in a bid to maintain exclusivity. It’s not about chasing numbers (apart from where prices are concerned).

This results in a case of demand exceeding supply – meaning rare models can make many times what they were worth new, and even the more everyday stuff such as the 458 holds onto its value strongly.

As the last naturally-aspirated V8 Ferrari ever produced (the 458 is about to be replaced by the twin-turbocharged 488 GTB), the 458 is set to become a very desirable car in the future. Buy one now, look after it, and you’ll find that eventually it will start to appreciate.

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6: Toyota Land Cruiser

Model: Toyota Land Cruiser 4.5 D-4D V8 5dr auto

Price new: £63,040

Retained after three years/60,000 miles: 56.9%

Depreciation: £27,140

“If you want to go into the outback,” the Aussies say, “take a Land Rover. If you want to come back alive, take a Land Cruiser.”

It might not be the strongest in its class, nor has the Land Cruiser got the most desirable image, but it is a big, solid, practical four-wheel drive that can go off-road and is astonishingly reliable. They’re also pretty rare, meaning they prove popular on the used market, and hold onto their value well. It’s an underrated car, the Land Cruiser…

5: Mazda CX-5

Model: Mazda CX-5 2.2d Sport Nav 5dr

Price new: £25,540

Retained after three years/60,000 miles: 57.0%

Depreciation: £10,990

Talking of underrated, the Mazda CX-5 provides tough competition to the likes of the popular Nissan Qashqai. It drives well, has a wide-range of economical engines and looks great.

With Mazda’s legendary reliability it should make for a wise used purchase, too. This, combined with the demand that all SUVs encounter, means the CX-5 clings onto its value well. Opt for the 2.2-litre diesel to combine economy with resale value a few years down the line.

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4: Porsche Boxster

Model: Porsche Boxster 2.7 2dr PDK

Price new: £39,511

Retained after three years/60,000 miles: 58.0%

Depreciation: £16,611

Why spend nearly £800,000 on a Porsche 918, when a Boxster will do much the same for around a 20th of the price? It looks great, handles well, goes (pretty) quick, and you can even soak up the sun’s rays.

The experts at CAP even think it’ll prove a wise investment when it comes to resale time – holding up to 58% of its value after three years if you opt for the 2.7-litre. The more powerful 3.4-litre would only lose a smidgen more, retaining 57.8% of its value after three years.

Essentially, we see little reason not to buy a Porsche Boxster. Unless you have kids. Or require a modicum of efficiency. Or haven’t got £40,000 to spend on a car.

3: Audi A1

Model: Audi A1 1.4 TFSI S Line 5dr

Price new: £17,720

Retained after three years/60,000 miles: 60.9%

Depreciation: £6,920

Starting at £14,355, the Audi A1 isn’t the cheapest supermini on the market. But there’s little else to criticise – it looks good, has a premium interior, and its engines are efficient yet capable.

As a result, three years down the line it’ll hold onto over 60% of its value. That’s if you opt for the four-cylinder turbocharged 1.4-litre engine. Suddenly it starts to make sense on paper, too.

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2: Audi Q3

Model: Audi Q3 2.0T FSI [170] Quattro S Line 5dr S Tronic

Price new: £30,100

Retained after three years/60,000 miles: 61.6%

Depreciation: £11,550

What’s even more desirable than a stylish, premium, German supermini? A stylish, premium, German crossover, of course.

The mid-range S-Line trim is the one to go for to lose the least in depreciation. If you want low running costs you might be better off looking at a diesel, but to lose the least in depreciation, CAP recommends opting for the 2.0-litre petrol.

Usually diesels hold their value better as they’re more desirable on the used market. In this case, we reckon it’s simply the petrol’s relative rarity that helps second-hand values.

1: Range Rover Evoque

Model: Range Rover Evoque 2.2 eD4 Pure 5dr [Tech Pack] 2WD

Price new: £29,685

Retained after three years/60,000 miles: 67.7%

Depreciation: £9,585

A two-wheel-drive crossover with a Range Rover badge? Land Rover knew exactly what it was doing when it launched the Evoque in 2011, selling nearly 88,000 examples in its first year of production.

Despite this success, there’s still high demand for the Evoque on the used market. Buy wisely and CAP says it’ll retain over 67% of its original value. The eD4 diesel engine shouldn’t cost a fortune to run, either. It returns 56.5mpg when combined with two-wheel drive.

New Renault Kadjar and the five crossovers it needs to beat

01_CrossoversThe crossover conundrum

Not to be confused with cross dressers, crossovers combine the affordable running costs of a hatchback with the pumped-up, steroidal styling of an SUV. The phenomenon was kick-started by the original Nissan Qashqai in 2006 and has proved irresistible to buyers. Crossovers now account for nearly a third of medium-sized car sales in Europe.

Unsurprisingly, other car manufacturers have been quick to follow Nissan’s lead, meaning an ever-growing degree of choice. There really is something for everyone here. We start our round-up with the latest contender for the crossover crown, the new Renault Kadjar. Then we look at five key rivals it needs to beat – including, of course, the ubiquitous Nissan Qashqai.

02_CrossoversRenault Kadjar

Best for: latest crossover on the block

The Qashqai proved that having an odd name is no barrier to sales sucess. That bodes well for the Kadjar, which is apparently named after the French terms for ‘quad’ and ‘agility’. So now you know. Renault’s new crossover shares its platform and engines with the Nissan, so it’s an oddly familiar package – albeit one wrapped in distinctive and rather handsome styling.

Inside, the Kadjar is spacious and very practical, with a larger boot than its Japanese cousin. The efficient 110hp 1.5 diesel engine is likely to be the bestseller. It emits just 99g/km of CO2 (low enough for free car tax), even if you opt for the automatic gearbox. There’s also a 130hp 1.6 diesel – available with four-wheel drive – and a 130hp 1.2 turbo petrol. The latter is much cheaper to buy than the diesels, and probably the best option unless you cover a high annual mileage. The Kadjar goes on sale in July, priced from £17,995.

03_CrossoversNissan Qashqai

Best for: all-round crossover competence

On paper, the concept of a crossover doesn’t make much sense. They’re heavier, slower, less efficient and probably don’t handle as well as a hatchback with the same engine. Yet spend a few hours – or indeed a few years – with the sector-defining Qashqai and it’s easy to see its appeal. For starters, it looks great, with just enough SUV attitude to get your neighbours talking. That boxy body also means plenty of interior space, plus the high seating position provides a better view of the road.

The Qashqai is easy to drive and very refined. Its engines are almost inaudible when cruising and the suspension smoothes out potholes and speed humps. The 115hp 1.2 petrol is competent and good value, but the gutsier 110hp 1.5 diesel is the best all-rounder. It returns a claimed 74.3mpg and tax-dodging CO2 emissions of 99g/km. Nissan no longer sells a seven-seat Qashqai+2. You’ll have to trade up to the larger X-Trail if you have more than three children.

04_CrossoversSkoda Yeti

Best for: driver appeal

It isn’t just the Top Gear boys who rave about the Skoda Yeti. This rugged crossover always scores well for owner satisfaction in the Which? Car Survey, and has finished first in the Auto Express Driver Power survey on two occassions. That’s partly because the Yeti is great to drive, with nimble handling that’s definitely more ‘car’ than ‘SUV’. It’s also due to the Skoda’s superb practicality; despite being smaller than many rivals, its slab-sided lines mean a useful, box-shaped boot. You can even remove the rear seats altogether.

We’re big fans of the 110hp 1.2 TSI petrol engine, which revs eagerly and is cheaper to buy than the 1.6 and 2.0 diesels. Fuel economy is a respectable 51.4mpg, with CO2 emissions of 128g/km – and those figures are identical if you choose Skoda’s excellent DSG semi-automatic gearbox. Like its mythical namesake, four-wheel-drive versions of the Yeti are surprisingly capable off-road. Outdoor versions look the part, too, thanks to skid plates and chunkier bumpers.

05_CrossoversSuzuki SX4 S-Cross

Best for: value for money

Suzuki is a small player in the UK market and its cars can be hit or miss. The SX4 S-Cross, though, is definitely the former – especially when you take price into account. It starts from a whisker under £14,000, which buys you a 120hp 1.6 petrol in entry-level SZ3 spec. A well-equipped 120hp 1.6 diesel SZ5 is much pricier – at nearly £23,000 – but that’s still at least £3,000 less than a similar-spec Qashqai. Allgrip four-wheel drive is a £1,800 option.

If you want a crossover to stand out from the crowd, the Suzuki probably isn’t for you.  It’s blander than the other cars here, with fewer SUV styling cues. The interior won’t win any design awards either, but it is roomy and practical. The S-Cross also drives pretty well, with direct steering and a lively diesel engine.

06_CrossoversCitroen C4 Cactus

Best for: head-turning style

Whether you find its space-age style beguiling or bemusing, there’s no denying the Citroen C4 Cactus looks like nothing else on the road. Its most distinctive feature is the Airbumps on the doors, which protect from parking dings and come in a range of contrasting colours. The Cactus is just a radical inside, with a minimalist dashboard and optional sofa-style seats. It is on the small side for a family car, though, and it has obviously been built to a budget (the rear seat only folds in one piece, for example).

On the road, the Cactus is set up for ride comfort rather than sporty handling. This isn’t a car that likes to be rushed. Fuel economy is impressive – the BlueHDi diesel promises a remarkable 91.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 82g/km. And it’s hard to argue with the Citroen’s starting price of just £12,990.

07_CrossoversHonda CR-V

Best for: space and reliability

When does a crossover become an SUV? We’re not sure, but Honda’s ‘Compact Recreational Vehicle’ is certainly one of the larger cars in its class. That brings great benefits in terms of interior space and versatility – the boot is simply huge – but CR-V isn’t cheap to buy (prices start at £22,345). It is reliable, though. The petrol-engined CR-V was rated the most reliable 4×4 in the latest Which? Car Survey.

That said, we’d opt for the excellent 1.6-litre diesel, which comes in 120hp and 160hp outputs. Fuel economy for the 110hp version with two-wheel drive is 64.2mpg, with 115g/km CO2. The CR-V isn’t sporty to drive and its light steering offers little feedback. However, it’s comfortable, stable and safe. All versions come with city emergency braking, which can prevent low-speed shunts by slamming on the brakes if it detects a collision is imminent.