Small cars that hold their value

by ChooseMyCar Staff Writer

There are a whole load of cost implications to take into account when buying a car. But depreciation, the loss - of value over time, is often - overlooked. And it can cost you a lot in the long run...

Small cars that hold their value

Which cars hold their value best?

Vauxhall Viva

The Viva is often overlooked due to the basic spec and average exterior, but it’s one of the top models in terms of slow depreciation. Over three years, a Viva can retain around 70% of its value.  This is in part due to the very basic specification (even the top models are limited here) and the low list price - a new model can cost around £5,000 with a used model around £3,500.

Audi A1

In 2016, RAC stated the Audi A1 was “probably the best of the super-minis for retaining value.” This could still be true, with three-year-old models being able to retain over 54% of their original value. However, the initial list prices are fairly high. A brand new model in 2016 could have cost you upwards of £20,000, but you could find one used now for less than £10,000. Both the high cost and low depreciation are due to the quality and performance of the cars. Audi notoriously produces top-performing, reliable cars with high-spec interiors and sleek exteriors - so with an Audi A1, you get what you pay for.

MINI Cooper hatchback

The MINI Cooper consistently fares well in terms of holding its value. Models can retain roughly 52% of their value after around three years - 2016 models originally had list prices beginning at £15,000, but you could now easily buy one used for around £8,000. MINIs are notably well-made and reliable so retain value well. On top of that, they’re a sought-after model and so are always in high-demand - again bumping up value.

Honda Jazz

Thanks to a combination of a low purchase price and decent depreciation, the Honda Jazz is a good model for saving money overall. The car retains around 50% of its value after three years - you could reasonably buy a used model for just short of £7,000. It's not to everyone's taste, but the Jazz is reliable, practical, and rivals competitors on specification levels.

Fiat 500

Just short of £10,000 when new, Fiat 500s can retain around 46% of their list price after three years. This is dependant on the model, however - the Fiat 500 is known for being customisable but the versions with more muted and subdued exteriors retain their value better. The Fiat 500 is in high demand, particularly among younger drivers, as they’re notably fuel-efficient and cheap to insure. This helps keep the value up.

Which manufacturers hold value best?

According to research done by Autocar in 2017, MINI and Audi are the best at holding their value across the board. They assessed depreciation by working out the average percentage of money lost from list value after 34,700 miles.

MINI came out on top, losing just over 46% of average value. Audi followed closely behind, losing just 47.33% of average value. Other manufacturers faring well include Volkswagen, Lexus, Ford, and Vauxhall. More results are shown in the table below.

Top tips to maintain your car’s value

  • Keep aesthetic modifications to a minimum - an ‘out-there’ car may not appeal to everyone, so won’t sell for as much in the future.
  • Keep or add useful equipment eg, a sat nav or in-car entertainment
  • Maintain a clear and regular service history
  • Don’t lose the keys! Replacement keys can cost up to £200 so keeping them with the car could bump up the value.

Author

ChooseMyCar Staff Writer

ChooseMyCar Staff Writer

Model reviews, buying guides, service tips, and auto news - straight from our team of car experts.

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