For many, part of buying a new car is taking into consideration how much the car will be worth once you want something different. Companies like Toyota, Subaru, and Honda are renowned for commanding impressive resale values, and other premium brands join their ranks. However, when it comes to the cars that depreciate the fastest, it’s not the ones you’d expect, like Jeep Wranglers, Honda Odysseys, or Toyota FJs.
After five years pass, many models will lose more than half their value — as much as 60% or 70% in some instances. But the fastest depreciating models are usually high-end luxury cars, discontinued nameplates, and late-model vehicles. They still won’t be “cheap,” but if you’ve ever dreamed of owning a Bentley, it’s definitely worth looking into the used market.
So if a new econobox isn’t fulfilling your need for prestige, or you have some money but not that much money to blow on a luxury label, check out the 10 vehicles (identified by our friends at iSeeCars.com) that have been hit especially hard by the cruel passage of time — and by time, we mean one year of ownership.
10. Jaguar XK
Back around 2005, the Jaguar XK was the best grand tourer the struggling Jaguar brand could muster. By 2015, the company was stronger than ever, and the XK was replaced by the world-beating F-Type. 2015 models left showrooms for $84,500. One year later, they were worth 29.2% less than that, a difference of $28,000.
9. Mini Cooper
The Mini Cooper offers go kart handling, a BMW designed three-cylinder engine, and plenty of style. But they also depreciate more than anything else in their class. A 2015 Mini Cooper would’ve set you back at least $20,000 in 2014. In 2016, the same car was worth 29.3% less.
8. Lincoln MKS
2016 was the end of the line for the Lincoln MKS, a slow-selling model that got the ax to make room for the 2017 Lincoln Continental. But while the Ford Taurus-based Lincoln was never really that popular, it offered a reasonable dose of luxury for under $40,000. Because of its lame duck status, a 2015 model was selling for 30.4% less one year after it left the lot new. New MKS buyers would have saved $14,600 on average if they waited for a preowned model.
7. Mercedes-Benz S-Class
There’s a saying about the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (and we’re paraphrasing here): The technology you find in an S-Class is a preview of what you’ll find in an average car in 10 years. As a result, Mercedes-Benz’s $95,000-plus flagship was the most popular car in America starting at over $70,000 as recently as 2014. But depreciation hits these cars hard, and after just a year on the road, 2015 models are worth 32.4% less. In dollar terms, that’s a cool $37,600. But S-Class buyers don’t strike us as being the preowned type.
6. Volvo S80
Volvo’s flagship S80 did its job admirably for 18 years, but it finally reached its end with the introduction of a newer model. The first generation car’s styling dated back to 1992, and since its last major update in 2006, sales have been on the wane. So it made sense when the S80 was scrapped to make room for the S90. As a result, Swedish car fans looking for safety, reliability, and luxury could grab a used S80 for a great price. The 2014 model that started at $40,000 was worth 32.6% ($15,700) less one year later.
5. GMC Yukon
When General Motors was prepping the release of the face-lifted GMC Yukon for 2015, it left its predecessor in a bind. Those 2014 models that started at just over $47,000, they plummeted in value a year later. In fact, they dropped by a stunning 32.8% in a single year. Anyone interested in this behemoth might have waited 12 months and saved themselves $21,000 in the used market.
4. Chevrolet Impala
The current generation Chevrolet Impala is a good-looking traditional sedan. But like its predecessor, it’s a darling of Chevy’s fleet sales department, meaning that thousands of the cars wind up as company cars and rentals. With so many Impalas on the market, and the demand for midsize sedans shrinking, the value of the big Chevy fell fast. A 2014 model that started at $27,000 was worth 33.5% less just one year later. We’re guessing Chevy buyers would prefer to have that $11,000 back.
3. Cadillac CTS
The CTS has largely been the cornerstone of Cadillac’s grand reinvention, and the current model (introduced in 2014) can compete with the best that the Germans have to offer. But as Cadillac returns to the luxury market, it has to reckon with an astonishingly deep depreciation curve. A year after rolling off the lot, a 2014 CTS that started at just over $45,000 was worth 36.9% less. Preowned buyers saved an average of $20,000 by waiting those extra 12 months.
2. Smart Fortwo
Despite its reputation for being a green car, the Smart’s combined 36 miles per gallon is mediocre. A quick look at fueleconomy.gov reveals dozens of larger, more practical cars that achieve over 40 miles per gallon. Meanwhile, Smart’s cramped inside and awful transmission make driving a serious pain. The new Smart from 2016 tried to patch some of these wounds, but it only made the previous generation’s cars seem worse. An entry-level 2014 model would’ve set you back around $15,000. By 2015, it was worth 36.9% less than that. If you must buy this car, please buy it used.
1. Hyundai Genesis
Hyundai has officially gone all-in by spinning-off the Genesis into its own luxury brand, but it wasn’t an easy road for the big flagship. Despite its attempt to run with titans like the Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5 Series, and Audi A6, blue bloods haven’t quite taken to Genesis. As a result, a new model that would’ve set you back $52,000 in 2014 was worth 38.2% ($16,600) less a year later. If you want luxury car but couldn’t care less about the badge on the grille, Genesis is the used car for you.
Additional reporting by James Derek Sapienza
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