There are so many details to take into account when buying a new car, including: is it practical enough for your daily needs? How efficient is it? What’s its reliability track record like?
One of the most important things to consider is how rapidly it will depreciate, because a significant drop in value could be costlier than poor fuel economy and a stack of repair bills.
This could also mean higher monthly payments if you’re taking out finance, because charges are based on the depreciation of the car during the period you have it.
These are the 10 new mainstream cars that top the list of models with estimated to lose their value the quickest after three years of ownership and 36,000 miles, according to What Car?’s own data.
The Citroen C3 loses almost 73% of its value after 3 years and average annual mileage, says What Car?
10. Citroen C3 – 72.6% depreciation
Model: 1.5 Blue HDi 100 Feel
Value after 3yrs/36k miles: £5,100
Citroen’s C3 has some very popular rivals. It goes up against the might of the supermini class, which includes the UK’s most popular car – the Ford Fiesta – as well as the Vauxhall Corsa and VW Polo.
While it wins over fans with quirky looks, limited driving performance and practicality make it less attractive than the examples previously mentioned.
After three years, expect to see almost three quarters of the original value wiped from a C3.
The Fiat Panda is getting long in the tooth, having been launched in this guise in 2011. No wonder they lose value so quickly
9. Fiat Panda – 72.7% deprecation
Model: 1.2 Pop
Value after 3yrs/36k miles: 2,800
The Panda is by no means new. Fiat has barely updated the third generation model since it was first launched to the market in 2011, meaning it has been on sale for the best part of a decade.
In 2018 it became the first car on sale as new to score zero stars in Euro NCAP’s crash test ratings due to it failing to have any modern safety technology as standard.
This poor reputation means depreciation hits hard, with it retaining just 27.3 per cent of its original value after 36 months of ownership.
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet might be stylish but if you do pay the high price for one don’t expect to get much of it back by the time you want to sell it
8. Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet – 72.3% depreciation
Model: S560 Grand Edition
Value after 3yrs/36k miles: £33,400
The Mercedes S-Class isn’t like the cars already featured here – certainly not the S460 Cabriolet in question. Priced at £125,000, it costs the same as 12 new Fiat Pandas.
While it might be packed with performance and elegance, it still suffers from catastrophic depreciation.
The value lost over three years is the same as it costs to buy a new Porsche 911 Carrera 4.
Another hot Mercedes is the AMG E53. While it might be fast, it depreciates almost as quickly as it accelerates
7. Mercedes-AMG E53 – 73.4% depreciation
Model: Premium Plus 4dr
Value after 3yrs/36k miles: £68,250
Another high-power Mercedes you’re warned will lose value at at alarming rate is the AMG E53 saloon.
It’s no slouch, using a 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine and a milt hybrid system to produce 435bhp, good for a 4.4 second sprint from zero to 62mph and a limited top speed of 155mph.
Unfortunately it depreciates almost as quickly as it accelerates, shedding over 74 per cent of its original value – £50,000 – in the first three years.
Far from the world of fast Mercedes-Benz is the Citroen C1 – a budget-friendly city car that’s ideal for new drivers. It might be at the lower end of the price standings but still loses value
6. Citroen C1 – 73.7% depreciation
Model: 1.0 VTi 72 Feel 3dr
Value after 3yrs/36k miles: £3,250
If there was ever proof that bruising depreciation can impact all types of cars, the budget-friendly Citroen C1 following a couple of pricey Mercedes is a great example.
It might be small and cheap to run, but it will still shed loads of its value in the first 36 months of ownership.
Almost three quarters of the relatively low purchase price (compared to the Mercedes examples before it) will disappear, meaning an owner will get just over £3,000 when it comes time to sell.
Another Fiat that’s been around for some time is the 500. A Cabriolet city car isn’t high on many drivers’ wish lists, especially in the UK. Hence why the 500C is high on this list
5. Fiat 500C – 74% depreciation
Model: 1.0 Mild Hybrid Pop
Value after 3yrs/36k miles: £3,975
Like the Panda, Fiat’s efforts to update the 500 have been minimal. Bar a small tweak here and there, it remains almost unchanged since 2007. The same can be said for the 500C cabriolet, which comes in at number five in this list.
What Car? puts the chronic depreciation down to the fact there are so many available on the used market, though it can also be argued that not many people are hunting for convertible city cars.
After three years, buyers of the 1.0-litre Mild Hybrid Pop will be left with a car that’s worth just 26 per cent of what they paid for it.
Badge kudos suggests the Citroen C1 is slightly more in demand than the Peugeot 108, despite the two cars being mechanically the same
4. Peugeot 108 – 74.9% depreciation
Model: 1.0 72 Allure 3dr
Value after 3yrs/36k miles: £3,425
The 108 is the sister car to the Citroen C1 that is at number 6 in this list. It suggests badge power has put the Peugeot low down the pecking order despite being mechanically identical.
Cheap and cheerful to run it might be, but three quarters of the original value goes missing after three years averaging 12,000 miles annually.
That means a car costing just over £13,000 new loses over £10,000 in just three years.
The Quattroporte is Maserati’s answer to a BMW 5 Series or Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The question is, does there need to be an answer to two such dominant models in a class?
3. Maserati Quattroporte – 76.4% depreciation
Value after 3yrs/36k miles: £17,875
We’re back up to the other end of the market now with a pricey and stylish luxury saloon from Maserati – a brand that’s pretty synonymous with depreciation.
The Quattroporte is an alternative to the German might of the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which might explain why it’s often overlooked.
Horrific depreciation hammers this diesel example, which has a fairly poor ride and feels very dated against the slick competition. It’s easy to see why it loses value at an alarming pace.
The Fiat Tipo was launched to take on the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra. It hasn’t proved popular or capable of holding its value
2. Fiat Tipo – 77.3% depreciation
Model: 1.6 Multijet Mirror
Value after 3yrs/36k miles: £4,625
Fiat’s attempt to relaunch the Tipo name and go up against the might of the Ford Focus, Kia Ceed and Vauxhall Astra has backfired in a big way, with dealers having to offer huge discounts to move stock of the family hatchback.
While it might be well kitted out with standard equipment, it severely lacks when it comes to driving performance – and value retention.
More than three quarters of a Tipo’s price is lost in three years.
The fastest-depreciating mainstream new model, according to What Car?, is the Peugeot 308. It does away with almost four fifths of its value after 3 years
1. Peugeot 308 – 78.1% depreciation
Model: 1.5 Blue HDi 100 Active
Value after 3yrs/36k miles: £4,775
The Tipo has been edged out in the standings by one of its rivals in the same family hatchback class, the Peugeot 308.
Anyone who has been inside a 308 might be surprised, given the interior is classy and it has a decent size boot.
However, a lack of driving performance and cramped back seats have seen it fall down the pecking order of car magazine recommendations lists, and the lack of badge kudos against a VW Golf for instance means they’re not in demand.
Buy the 1.5 Blue HDi 100 Active diesel new and it will hold around 80 per cent of its value.
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