Slowest depreciating cars: the cars that hold their value best

Car depreciation is a fact of life with car ownership. But these are the cars that lose the least over time

​When you buy a new car, you don't need a calculator to know that depreciation will set in as soon as you drive it off a dealer's forecourt. Even if you're buying a car on finance, depreciation data is vital because the amount of money the car is predicted to be worth at the end of the finance agreement impacts how much you pay per month. 

In simple terms, depreciation is the difference between what a buyer paid for the car and what it’s currently worth, otherwise known as its residual value. Place a new car’s depreciation in a graph, and the line will start at a high point and fall over time. Cars that depreciate slowly will be worth more than fast depreciating cars and will work out cheaper to own overall, so knowing which are the slowest depreciating cars is very useful information for car buyers, and that’s where we come in.

Unless you're buying a highly sought after limited-run performance car, then the new car you buy will probably suffer from depreciation at some level. It's just a fact of life, as a car that has been used by a previous owner isn't as attractive as a brand-new one. There are obviously older classic cars that appreciate in value as they become rare and more desirable over time, but with most modern vehicles the residual value is only going one way. There are cars out there, however, that can limit your losses.

We've listed the best depreciation performers on the market below using the latest depreciation data based on models three-years old with 36,000 miles on the clock. This irons out any initial spikes in desirability as a new car comes to market, and gives a good indication of how much a car will be worth over the lifetime of a typical finance deal. 

The 10 slowest depreciating cars in the UK

Our expert data shows that these are the models that hold their value best, read on to find them listed below. 

10. Audi RS 3

  • Variant: Saloon Quattro 2.5 TFSI Comfort Sound Pack
  • Retained value: 61.95%
  • Average new price: £57,750.00
  • Average retained value: £35,775.00

The hot hatch market is a fiercely competitive one, but Audi’s RS 3 certainly has the performance to compete. Perhaps the best news, though, is that the rate of depreciation doesn’t match its rapid acceleration. Pay £57,750 for a brand-new RS 3 and you’ll only stand to lose around 38.05 per cent of its initial value over three years. Of course, this equates to over £20,000, but this is still much less than a number of the Audi’s rivals. 

9. Mercedes G-Class

  • Variant: G400 2.9d AMG Line Premium Plus 
  • Retained value: 62.26%
  • Average new price: £131,335.00
  • Average retained value: £81,775.00

Few cars blend old-school styling with modern technology as well as the Mercedes G-Class and, although its roots can be traced back to the military, this bulky SUV is a firm favourite of the rich and famous. The price reflects this status, too, but if you’ve got over £130,000 to spend on a car, you’re probably not too fussed about residual values. That being said, opting for a diesel-powered G-Class should see it hold on to around 62.26 per cent of its initial value when you come to sell it on. 

8. Toyota bZ4X

  • Variant: 71.4kWh Pure
  • Retained value: 63.00%
  • Average new price: £42,860.00
  • Average retained value: £27,000.00

As you may have expected, this list is mostly populated with high-end luxury and sports cars. However, Toyota’s fully-electric bZ4X is here to prove that everyday cars can also be a shrewd investment. Toyota has long held onto a solid reputation for build quality and reliability, so demand for its cars tends to remain steadily high on the used market. It would appear that this popularity is benefitting Toyota’s first fully-electric car, too.

7. Porsche 911

  • Variant: Coupe 4.0 GT3
  • Retained value: 63.31%
  • Average new price: £149,060.00
  • Average retained value: £94,375.00

A veritable institution of the sports car world, the Porsche 911 is a predictable inclusion on this list. Its wide model range varies substantially in price but the hardcore GT3 variant is the top performer. This hardcore track car will hold on to 63.31 per cent of its initial value, while the roofless Targa variant is the worst performer of the line-up at a rate of 47.7 per cent. The Targa does have a lower average new price, though, at £128,275.

6. Land Rover Discovery Sport

  • Variant: 1.5 P300e PHEV Dynamic SE 
  • Retained value: 63.43%
  • Average new price: £52,700.00
  • Average retained value: £33,425.00

With seven-seats, genuine off-road capability and a stylish appearance, the Land Rover Discovery Sport is able to appeal to quite a wide range of buyers. Whether they intend to use it for the school run or to tackle the toughest terrain, customers on the used market are clearly willing to pay decent money for three-year-old examples. The plug-in hybrid p300e is the best performer, and this should retain over 63 per cent of its initial value. Limited supply of some new Land Rover models in recent times has done a lot to prop-up residual values.

5. Porsche Panamera

  • Variant: Sport Turismo 4WD 2.9 V6 PDK
  • Retained value: 63.49%
  • Average new price: £80,170.00
  • Average retained value: £50,900.00

The Porsche Panamera aims to appeal to those who seek luxury but still crave driver engagement. It’s already a pretty strong package, but those in need of a reasonably practical family car will be even more pleased to hear that the Sport Turismo is the best performer when it comes to depreciation. This shooting-brake estate car offers over 500 litres of boot space and room for up to five passengers, but don’t worry, it still drives exactly like a Porsche should.

4. Range Rover

  • Variant: 3.0 MHEV 400 SE 
  • Retained value: 63.76%
  • Average new price: £107,320.00
  • Average retained value: £68,425.00

It’s been plagued with numerous horror stories of breakdowns, thefts and insurance issues, but the Range Rover is still a pinnacle of the luxury SUV world. Plenty of buyers desire these stately off-roaders, and you should find yourself in a strong position when selling after three years and 36,000 miles. Even the weakest performer in terms of depreciation, the V8-powered long-wheelbase model, will still retain over 50 per cent of its initial value.

3. Range Rover Sport

  • Variant: 3.0 P460e PHEV Dynamic SE 
  • Retained value: 64.4%
  • Average new price: £92,980.00
  • Average retained value: £59,875.00

The Range Rover Sport takes many of the standard model’s luxurious qualities and adds in driving characteristics that bring it closer in line with performance-oriented competitors such as the Porsche Cayenne. Much like its larger sibling, the Range Rover Sport also holds its own when it comes to residual values, only this time it’s the plug-in hybrid p460e that’s the best performer. This model should retain over 64 per cent.

2. Land Rover Defender

  • Variant: 90 2.0 SE
  • Retained value: 64.78%
  • Average new price: £57,540.00
  • Average retained value: £37,275.00

Land Rover took a long time to bring us a new Defender and the market was certainly ready when the car finally arrived in 2020. Today, it’s the slowest depreciating new car in the UK market thanks to that pent up demand, the iconic Defender name and the manufacturer’s skill in mixing the hardcore off-road attributes of the original with modern luxury SUV sensibilities.

Buy a Defender 90 for £57,540 and it will still be worth around £37,725 after three years of use - as long as you’re reasonably careful with it. The larger 110 and 130 versions aren’t too far behind, either, retaining up to 59.66 and 58.84 per cent respectively.

1. Volkswagen ID.Buzz

  • Variant: Pro 77kWh Life 
  • Retained value: 65.05%
  • Average new price: £58,915.00
  • Average retained value: £38,325.00

There aren’t many cool MPVs out there, but the Volkswagen ID.Buzz is the spiritual successor to the Type 2 bus of the 1950s. This retro electric people carrier was extremely hotly anticipated by the market, its arrival teased by a series of concept cars over the years, and the production model certainly lives up to expectations.

It’s hardly surprising that a £58,915 ID.Buzz is still going to be worth £38,325 once you’ve used it for three years, particularly when you consider the demand Volkswagen managed to build up for the car. 

Top 10 10 slowest depreciating new cars in the UK 

  1. Volkswagen ID.Buzz
  2. Land Rover Defender
  3. Range Rover Sport
  4. Range Rover
  5. Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo
  6. Land Rover Discovery Sport
  7. Porsche 911 
  8. Toyota bZ4X
  9. Mercedes G-Class
  10. Audi RS 3

​Car depreciation: the best of the rest

With the top 10 covered off, let’s take a look at some of the models that just missed the cut. The table below shows the top 20 slowest depreciating cars in the UK. If you’re looking for a new car, these are currently the safest places to put your cash.

 ModelAverage new priceAverage part-ex value (3 years/36,000 miles)Average retained value (3 years/36,000 miles)
1Volkswagen ID.Buzz Pro 77kWh Life£58,915.00£38,325.0065.05%
2Land Rover Defender 90 2.0 SE£57,540.00£37,275.0064.78%
3Range Rover Sport 3.0 P460e PHEV Dynamic SE£92,980.00£59,875.0064.40%
4Range Rover 3.0 MHEV 400 SE£107,320.00£68,425.0063.76%
5Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo 4WD 2.9 V6 PDK£80,170.00£50,900.0063.49%
6Land Rover Discovert Sport 1.5 P300e PHEV Dynamic SE£52,700.00£33,425.0063.43%
7Porsche 911 Coupe 4.0 GT3£149,060.00£94,375.0063.31%
8Toyota bZ4X 71.4kWh Pure£42,860.00£27,000.0063.00%
9Mercedes G-Class G400 2.9d AMG Line Premium Plus£131,335.00£81,775.0062.26%
10Audi RS 3 Saloon Quattro 2.5 TFSI Comfort Sound Pack£57,750.00£35,775.0061.95%
11Aston Martin DBX 4.0 V8 550£158,000.00£97,000.0061.39%
12Audi RS Q3 Quattro 2.5 TFSI Sport Edition£61,410.00£37,700.0061.39%
13Tesla Model X Plaid£110,980.00£67,675.0060.98%
14Morgan Plus Six£86,759.80£52,575.0060.60%
15Mercedes V-Class V220 Extra Long 2.0d AMG Line£71,605.00£43,000.0060.05%
16Lotus Eletre 112kWh£90,805.00£54,450.0059.96%
17Porsche Macan 2.0T PDK£55,675.00£33,100.0059.45%
18Citroen C5 Aircross 1.2 PureTech PLUS£23,670.00£14,050.0059.36%
19Toyota Land Cruiser 2.8D Invincible£64,355.00£38,175.0059.32%
20Lexus LM 350h 2.5h E-CVT£89,995.00£53,250.0059.17%

That’s the models that hold their value best, now let’s take a look at the fastest depreciating cars

Shane is responsible for looking after the day-to-day running of the Auto Express website and social media channels. Prior to joining Auto Express in 2021, he worked as a radio producer and presenter for outlets such as the BBC.

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