Top 10 depreciation busters

  • Find out which cars hold their value the best
  • Top buying tips included
  • Best performing versions highlighted

Meet the cars that hold on to your cash better than any others on the dealers’ forecourts.

These wheels are the slowest depreciators money can buy and make great used purchases. Our list highlights the cars that deliver real value for money, including which version is the ultimate depreciation buster.

Audi A1 (2010-)

Pros: High quality, efficient, stylish and well equipped
Cons: Expensive options list and an unforgiving ride

The smallest Audi takes aim at the BMW Mini, and with a premium grown-up appeal, it hits the bull’s eye. Despite boasting the underpinnings from the Volkswagen Polo, a bog standard hatchback this is not. The interior oozes class, featuring a raft of high-end fixtures and fittings, typical of Audi. There’s a lot of tech including Bluetooth hands-free, multi-function steering wheel and air-con as standard on the Sport trim. A1s might have been further personalised with other options too.

A turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol kicks o_ the line-up and is perfectly adequate, offering brisk around town performance. Petrol offerings peak with the 180bhp

1.4-litre TFSI when combined with a low kerbweight result in a 0-62mph time of 6.7 seconds, but the best depreciating is the 1.6-litre TDI. This packs an efficient punch with plenty of low-rev pulling power. The A1 is the premium hatchback, and with low depreciation makes a strong investment.

Parkers rating: 4 stars
Used price range: £6,020 – £22,385
Best for depreciation: 1.6 TDI S Line Style Edition
Depreciation over 3 years/36,000 miles: 57% 

View the latest Audi A1 used car deals

Fiat 500 (2008-)

Fiat 500 - top 10 depreciation busters

Pros: Stylish, customisable and easy to drive
Cons: Out of depth on the motorway and has a small boot

Unashamedly harking back to the original 500, this retro Fiat oozes city chic unlike any other. Despite the Italian manufacturer encouraging customisation, the 500 has strong residuals and a devoted following.

Decals, wheels, 1970’s-style paint jobs; you name it, every 500 has seen it. So chances are you’ll find a used example to your liking. Engine performance is typical of many city cars, yet it is still easy to drive and has plenty of character. The entry-level 1.2-litre petrol is adequate around town, but lacks the required pulling power on the motorway.

To be honest, realistically, the car is not at home on faster roads; being buffeted by larger traffic and struggling up hills in top gear. Yet, in the city its light steering makes it nimble enough for a quick dart through rush-hour traffic or parking in tight spots. Overall the 500 is an engaging city car with plenty of appeal and peppy around town performance.

Parkers rating: 4 stars
Used price range: £2,335 – £11,030
Best for depreciation: Abarth 1.4 T-jet Competizione
Depreciation of over 3 years/36,000 miles: 52%

View the latest Fiat 500 used car deals

Kia Sportage (2010-2016)

Pros: Spacious, well equipped and great value
Cons: Noisy engines and high emissions

In the hotly contested crossover sector, the Kia Sportage impresses with high levels of customer satisfaction since its launch in 2010. The high approval rating comes as no surprise given the great value for money the Sportage offers, with equipment aplenty and a seven-year transferrable warranty.

A spacious interior and commodious boot of 564 litres complete a very family-friendly package. In 2014, the Sportage received a modest facelift that also piled on the tech with a new touchscreen infotainment system available on selected models – ideal for nearly new buyers. Standard kit includes Bluetooth, rain sensing wipers, air-con and LED running lights. Despite the refined cabin, noisy diesel engines do put the Kia slightly behind rivals. This does detract from the package, but overall the Sportage is a well-equipped and functional investment.

Parkers rating: 3.5 stars
Used price range: £12,350 – £27,665
Best for depreciation: 1.6 GDi White Edition
Depreciation over 3 years/36,000 miles: 51%

View the latest Kia Sportage used car deals

Nissan Juke (2010-)

Nissan Juke - top 10 depreciation busters

Pros: Good value, stylish and spacious
Cons: Most engines underpowered and cheap plastic interior

The British-built, uniquely styled Juke is a competitively priced package featuring plenty of equipment and an elevated driving position for a commanding view of the road. The Juke comes loaded with reversing cameras, integrated ‘go-to’ Google maps, Bluetooth, keyless entry and rain-sensing wipers all available as standard depending on trim. For top performance go for the 1.6-litre DiG-T petrol, and for lowest running costs try the 1.5 dCi diesel. Regardless, it’s an exciting car to look at that will hold its value reasonably well.

Parkers rating: 3.5 stars
Used price range: £4,320 – £17,525
Best for depreciation: 1.6 DIG-T Acenta Premium or Tekna, 1.5dCi Acenta
Depreciation over 3 years/36,000 miles: 48%

View the latest Nissan Juke used car deals

Citroen DS3 (2010-2015)

Citroen DS3 - top 10 depreciation busters

Pros: Great to drive, high quality and stylish
Cons: Lacks retro appeal of the Mini or the Fiat 500

The Citroen DS3 puts the emphasis on customisation, which when combined with the premium cabin makes it an enticing package. The turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine is the one to choose for its lively power delivery but the diesel engines hold their value better and are still great fun to drive. Equipment levels are average though, featuring the usual range of tech depending on the trim selected.

Parkers rating: 4 stars
Used price range: £5,468 – £15,510
Best for depreciation:  1.6 Blue HDi DSport Plus

Depreciation over 3 years/36,000 miles: 46%

View the latest Citroen DS3 used car deals

Kia Picanto (2011-2017)

Kia Picanto - top 10 depreciation busters

Pros: Great value, reasonable performance and handling
Cons: Boot is small, steering light at high speed

The second of three Kias in this top ten, the Picanto is a budget runabout that for once doesn’t feel out of place on a motorway.

Now in its second generation, the Picanto has received a modern facelift and a longer wheelbase giving a larger boot along with a more spacious interior. Running costs are the key selling point of the Korean motor, as the Picanto is very cheap to tax and fuel. Power comes from 1-litre or 1.25-litre petrol engines, mated with five-speed manual gearboxes.

The 1.2 is the one to pick for maximum resale value – plus its performance is adequate and handling as good as its rivals. Overall the Picanto is a very sensible bargain that holds its value well.

Parkers rating: 4 stars
Used price range: £2,395 – £10,140
Best for depreciation: 1.25 4 EcoDynamics
Depreciation over 3 years/36,000 miles: 43%

View the latest Kia Picanto used car deals

Mazda 2 (2007-2015)

Mazda 2 - top 10 depreciation busters

Pros: Fun to drive, good value and air con standard
Cons: Awkward boot shape, noisy at high speeds

The Mazda 2 is one of the best handling superminis money can buy. Sharp steering, a reasonable ride and nippy performance make it ample competition for the car it’s based on: the Ford Fiesta. Power comes from 1.3-litre or 1.5-litre petrol engines, or a 1.6-diesel powerplant. The 83bhp 1.3S is the most rounded, and also holds its value best. Air con is standard across the range, as is low running costs.

Parkers rating: 4 stars
Used price range: £1,270 – £9,000
Best for depreciation: 1.3 Sport Colour Edition
Depreciation of best model over 3 years/36,000 miles: 41%

View the latest Mazda 2 used car deals

Honda Jazz (2008-2015)

Honda Jazz - top 10 depreciation busters

Pros: Practical, spacious
Cons: Comfort isn’t great

The Jazz packs class-leading practicality, versatility and reliability. It’s impressive around-town and on motorway courtesy of lively 1.2-litre or 1.4-litre petrol engines. Equipment across the trim range equals that of competitors, but inside the Jazz is let down by the use of cheap plastics that can scratch easily. Overall, the popularity of the Jazz is likely to continue despite this, and hold its value better than other in the class.

Parkers rating: 4.5 stars
Used price range: £3,617 – £15,120
Best for depreciation: 1.3 IMA HX-T Hybrid CVT
Depreciation over 3 years/36,000 miles: 40%

View the latest Honda Jazz used car deals 

Kia Rio (2011-2017)

Kia Rio - top 10 depreciation busters

Pros: Attractive, well equipped and competitively priced
Cons: Lacking performance and handling

The Rio has striking looks and there’s the choice of four engines: two petrols and two diesels varying from 1.1 litres to 1.4 litres (all with six-speed manuals). The Rio lacks punchy acceleration and handling also leaves a little to be desired. Rios are well equipped as standard, have transferable seven-year warranties and low CO2 emissions to delay the inevitability of depreciation making the Rio a strong used buy.

Parkers rating: 4 stars
Used price range: £2,960 – £12,305
Best for depreciation: 1. 1.25 1, 1.25 2, 1.1 CRDi 2 EcoDynamics, 1.1 CRDi VR7 EcoDynamics
Depreciation over 3 years/36,000 miles: 39%

View the latest Kia Rio used car deals

Citroen Berlingo Multispace (08-)

Citroen Berlingo Multispace - top 10 depreciation busters

Pros: Huge load space, frugal diesels
Cons: Sparse kit and poor performance

No longer featuring underpinnings from a van, the Berlingo Multispace is more comfortable and better to drive than ever. Taking family-friendliness to the extreme, the Citroen features removable rear seats for a whopping 3,000-litre space with an optional split rear tailgate.

Three trim levels are available, with air con only standard on the range topping XTR. The base VT model lacks kit. Choose from either a 1.6-litre petrol or diesel, none offering particularly inspiring performance but the diesels hold their value better. There’s plenty of pulling power, but the diesel does take 17 seconds to get from 0-62mph. Regardless, it’s very practical and is extremely good value as a family wagon.

Parkers rating: 3.5 stars
Used price range: £2,020 – £13,340
Best for depreciation: 1.6 HDi 90 VTR Family Pack
Depreciation over 3 years/36,000 miles: 37%

View the latest Citroen Berlingo Multispace used car deals


Top buying tips for low depreciation

Right wheels
The key trend is to downsize running costs but up levels of luxury. Look for cars that have a well packed kit list but are class leaders in low running costs

Right trim
It always pays to go for a popular trim and engine.These tend to be the middle to upper trims but not the range topper. No point paying a lot more for a well spec’d city car when the same money gets you a bigger car with the same kit.

Value added extras
The same applies to optional kit. Some extras are worth seeking out, others just pander to the whim of the first owner. Executive cars do benefit from having leather and automatics, family cars from panoramic glass roofs and city cars with aux or USB connections.

Colouring in
Colour can be another key driver of value with silver, white, blue and red proving to be popular. While pink or tangerine may be a personal favourite, very few buyers will share the same love.

Service schedules
A used car with a lot of paperwork, stamped service books and correct MoTs are all vital ‘buy me’ signals. They provide reassurance to a potential buyer and they know it is something they can pass on should they decide to sell it at a later date.

Key master
Keep hold of the second (or even third in some cases) key. While it isn’t expensive to replace it provides a potential buyer with some reassurance that someone hasn’t made off with the other key and could potentially steal the car.