Slowest-depreciating cars for less than £50,000

Depreciation is usually the biggest cost of running a car. But these are the models which retain their value best – and which won't cost you a fortune to buy in the first place...

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by
Darren Moss
Published18 May 2024

The second you drive your new car away from the dealership, it begins to shed pounds and pence in value. And with every mile you drive and hour you keep it, the amount lost in depreciation increases. However, the gap between the cars that hold their value well and the models that haemorrhage it is wide indeed.

Here, we reveal the safest bets if depreciation is your top concern – as well as the models that will cost you the most. We’ve set a price cap of £50,000 for buying new, and our depreciation data is based on three years and 36,000 miles of ownership.

Honda Civic Type R with depreciation graph

In each case we've highlighted the model which performs best in terms of depreciation, and you can find out more about the specific version we've noted, or the car's range as a whole, by following the links through to our in-depth reviews. You can also see how much you can expect to pay using our free New Car Deals service.

*All prices correct at the time of writing

Our pick: 2.0 TDI Life 5dr DSG

0-62mph: 11.6 sec
MPG/range: 43.5mpg
CO2 emissions: 170g/km
Seats: 7
Boot: 469 litres
Insurance group: 26E
Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Exceptionally good predicted residual values
  • Good value against van-based MPV rivals
  • Lots of safety tech

Weaknesses

  • Infotainment not the best
  • No rear air-con as standard

Model 2.0 TDI Life DSG List price £48,340 36k/3yr resale value £29,975 Price drop £18,365 Retained value 62.0%

The Volkswagen Multivan is the model that is worth the biggest proportion of its original price after three years and 36,000 miles; it’s as rock-solid an investment as sub-£50k new cars get.

It’s also the model to choose if your family trips usually require more than one car; the Multivan can seat seven people in comfort, with space left over for luggage.

Indeed, the Multivan beats all of its rivals for rear space, with the rearmost and middle rows being perfectly fine for adults, even over longer journeys. With all the seats in place, luggage has to be stacked in a shallow but tall boot, but you can remove the third row to turn the Multivan into, well, a van, if you choose. The 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine pulls strongly from low revs, and while its 0-62mph sprint time of 11.6sec isn’t especially fast, it feels quick enough.

Your passengers will thank you for not planting your foot too often, because the Multivan leans in corners more than smaller MPVs such as the Ford Galaxy and Volkswagen Touran. The ride is decent, though, and the steering is accurate and well weighted.

Read our full Volkswagen Multivan review

Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Smart and spacious interior
  • More powerful option has plenty of performance
  • Good value against most rivals

Weaknesses

  • Rear seat versatility could be better
  • Spongy brake pedal feel
  • Steering response takes time to get used to

Model Long Range Techno List price £40,995 36k/3yr resale value £24,875 Price drop £16,120 Retained value 60.7%

In its earlier life, the Renault Scenic was a fairly frumpy family MPV, but now it’s been reborn as a fashionable electric SUV – and one that’s predicted to hold onto its value better than any other car of its kind.

To go with its up-to-the-minute exterior styling, the Scenic is tech-heavy inside, with a crisp and super-responsive infotainment touchscreen, and a sunroof that can be darkened in sections.

This version has an 87kWh (usable capacity) battery and a 217bhp motor, offering a 0-62mph sprint time of 8.4sec and an official range of 388 miles – beating most rivals, including the Tesla Model Y.

The Scenic jostles you around over road surface imperfections, but it doesn’t thud over them like the Model Y. The Skoda Enyaq is a more engaging drive, though; its steering is more naturally weighted and there’s less body lean through corners.

Inside, rear seat occupants get acres of space and the boot should have no trouble accommodating a buggy or a family’s holiday luggage.

Read our full Renault Scenic E-Tech review

Our pick: 2.0 eHEV Sport 5dr CVT

0-62mph: 7.9 sec
MPG/range: 56.5mpg
CO2 emissions: 113g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 415 litres
Insurance group: 28E
Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Thrilling, highly capable handling
  • Awesome performance
  • Brilliant and engaging manual gearbox

Weaknesses

  • Ride not as supple as some rivals
  • Expensive price tag and limited availability
  • Not as frugal as the VW Golf R

Model 2.0 VTEC Turbo List price £49,995 36k/3yr resale value £30,250 Price drop £19,745 Retained value 60.5%

The way this hot hatch holds on to its value is sure to keep your bank manager happy, but – even better – the way it drives will have you grinning from ear to ear. For starters, it’s quick; with 325bhp from its 2.0-litre petrol engine, it’ll accelerate through the gears faster than the rival Ford Focus ST or Volkswagen Golf R.

What’s more, the Type R’s six-speed manual gearbox feels super-slick to use, its sweet steering is impossible to fault for accuracy, and its exhaust note, while raucous enough, hasn’t been diluted with digital overlays.

A non-electric hot hatch is never going to be cheap to run, but the Type R’s official 34.4mpg won’t be ruinous. It makes for decent family transport, too, with plenty of head and leg room for passengers and more space in the boot than you’d find in other hot hatches.

Elsewhere, the figure-hugging front sports seats keep you in place when cornering, while Honda’s infotainment system is easier to get along with than the systems you’d find in its Ford and Volkswagen rivals.

Read our full Honda Civic Type R review

Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Great driving position
  • Well-equipped
  • Slow depreciation

Weaknesses

  • Limited boot space
  • So-so fuel economy and emissions
  • Land Rover’s reliability record

Model D200 S List price £44,720 36k/3yr resale value £26,775 Price drop £17,945 Retained value 59.9%

Land rovers hold on to their value well, and the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport would be in the top 10 were it not for our £50,000 price cap. As it is, though, only the Range Rover Evoque makes the cut.

Still, the Evoque offers much of the same comfort that you’d get from its pricier siblings. In fact, its interior matches those of the very best small SUVs, with plush materials covering every surface you touch. Entry-level S trim represents the best value in the line-up, coming with heated front seats, leather upholstery and a heated windscreen and steering wheel.

While the Evoque’s petrol engines need to be revved hard to perform, the D200’s 2.0-litre diesel pulls well from low revs. Just be warned that no Evoque – barring the plug-in hybrid – will be especially cheap to run.

Ride comfort is generally impressive, though, and it handles assuredly through corners, with accurate, responsive steering and no shortage of grip. And should you wish to travel off the beaten track, the Evoque will take you farther than most rivals.

Read our full Range Rover Evoque review

Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Great practicality
  • Flexible 1.2 Puretech 110 petrol engine
  • Excellent value

Weaknesses

  • Fiddly infotainment system
  • Some storage solutions are optional
  • Mainstream MPV rivals are better to drive

Model 1.2 Puretech Plus M List price £22,890 36k/3yr resale value £13,550 Price drop £9340 Retained value 59.2%

If you need lots of space for people and their luggage, and you aren’t fussed about SUV styling, an MPV makes a lot of sense, and the Citroën Berlingo outperforms all rivals when it comes to depreciation.

Even a family of basketball players won’t complain about head or leg room in the Berlingo, because it’s simply massive inside. Its boot could probably host a match, too; with all five seats in place, there’s more luggage space than in a Volkswagen Touran – or in most large SUVs.

The 109bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine you get with this version is our favourite in the Berlingo range, pulling solidly from low revs and getting you up to motorway speeds without any stress – even if you’ve loaded the car to the gunwales. And with official fuel economy of 43.5mpg, it should be relatively cheap to run.

Of course, the Berlingo doesn’t handle like a sports car; there’s a lot of body lean through faster corners. It grips well enough, though, and its soft suspension takes the sting out of most road imperfections.

Read our full Citroën Berlingo review

Our pick: 220i M Sport 2dr Step Auto

0-62mph: 7.5 sec
MPG/range: 44.1mpg
CO2 emissions: 146g/km
Seats: 4
Boot: 390 litres
Insurance group: 28E
Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Brilliant engine in M240i
  • Great infotainment system
  • Sharp handling

Weaknesses

  • Firm ride without optional adaptive suspension
  • Road noise
  • Not as practical as the 4 Series

Model 220i M Sport List price £37,815 36k/3yr resale value £22,375 Price drop £15,440 Retained value 59.1%

Think of the BMW 2 Series Coupé as being a shrunken-down version of the larger and more luxurious BMW 4 Series. And because it’s based on the same underpinnings as that car, it’s similarly enjoyable to drive.

The 220i is the most popular 2 Series Coupé, and it’s our pick of the range. Its 181bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine yields strong acceleration, with the 0-62mph sprint taking 7.5sec. The 220i should also be reasonably frugal if you keep your right foot in check, returning up to 44mpg, according to official figures.

M Sport is the only trim level offered in the UK, and it ticks most boxes in terms of standard equipment. You have to fork out extra if you want luxuries such as leather seats or adaptive cruise control, though.

The 2 Series’ interior is a highlight, with classier materials than in the rival Mercedes CLA, plus its infotainment system sets the standard for usability. Only the Audi TT outshines the BMW inside, but that rival is very cramped in the back seats and is about to be discontinued.

Read our full BMW 2 Series Coupé review

Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Really tidy handling
  • Frugal 1.0 MPi petrol engine
  • Excellent infotainment and equipment on 3 trim

Weaknesses

  • 1.0 MPi petrol engine isn't very quick
  • Firm(ish) low-speed ride
  • A Dacia Sandero is much roomier

Model 1.0 X-Line S List price £17,700 36k/3yr resale value £10,425 Price drop £7275 Retained value 58.9%

It might seem like everyone is buying an SUV these days, but small cars like the Kia Picanto seem a more natural fit in the city, where space is at a premium. Despite its diminutive proportions, it’s usefully spacious; a tall party of four will be happy enough to travel together, as long as the journey isn’t too long. What’s more, you can fit more luggage into its boot than those of the rival Toyota Aygo X and Volkswagen Up. This Picanto X-Line S joins the Aygo X in having rugged, SUV-like styling, too.

While the non-turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engine you get with this version of the Picanto isn’t the last word in power (the 0-60mph sprint takes a leisurely 14.9sec), it should be fine for pootling around town. Plus, it should be cheap to run; it averaged 46.8mpg in our tests.

The Picanto doesn’t ride as well as some rival small cars; both the Dacia Sandero and Hyundai i10 are comfier overall. However, the Picanto counters with agile handling and more accurate steering than the Sandero. Plus, it holds on to its value better than either of those models.

Read our full Kia Picanto review

Our pick: 1.6T GDi 157 48V ISG 3 5dr

0-62mph: 9.9 sec
MPG/range: 42.8mpg
CO2 emissions: 149g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 562 litres
Insurance group: 20E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Lower-spec models are great value
  • Smart interior
  • Generous rear leg room and boot space

Weaknesses

  • Hybrid petrol engine sounds strained
  • Rear head room compromised with panoramic roof
  • No clever rear seat functions

Model 1.6T GDi HEV GT-Line List price £35,475 36k/3yr resale value £20,525 Price drop £14,950 Retained value 57.9%

In the cut-throat world of family SUVs, the Kia Sportage has an edge: it’ll keep its value better than any rival. But that’s only part of the story; in fact, it’s so good we named it our Family SUV of the Year.

Let’s start with the engine options. You can have the Sportage in pure petrol, mild hybrid, hybrid or plug-in hybrid forms, and it’s the regular hybrid that holds on to its value the best. It’s agreeably nippy, with the 1.6-litre petrol engine and electric motor working together to produce 226bhp, yet it’s also economical; we clocked up an average of 43.8mpg in our real-world fuel tests.

Your family will have more room to stretch out inside the Sportage than they would in most rival SUVs, and we managed to fit more luggage into its boot than those of the Honda ZR-V and Renault Austral.

GT-Line is the second rung on the Sportage trim level ladder and adds worthwhile features such as keyless entry and start, adaptive cruise control and leather trim to the entry-level Sportage 2’s kit list.

Read our full Kia Sportage review

Our pick: 1.6 GDi Hybrid Advance 5dr DCT

0-62mph: 11.2 sec
MPG/range: 60.1mpg
CO2 emissions: 106g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 466 litres
Insurance group: 16E
Reliability
Safety
Costs
Quality
Performance

Strengths

  • Low CO2 emissions (Hybrid)
  • Generous standard kit
  • Good infotainment system

Weaknesses

  • Low speed ride can be fidgety
  • Boot could be bigger
  • Depreciates faster than rivals

Model 1.6 Hybrid N Line DCT List price £31,825 36k/3yr resale value £17,700 Price drop £14,125 Retained value 55.6%

Some versions of the Kona depreciate faster than small SUV rivals such as the Ford Puma and Volkswagen T-Roc. However, in this hybrid form, it knocks those rivals into a cocked hat in terms of value retention.

It also just so happens that the hybrid version is our favourite. It should be cheap to run; officially, it’ll return 61mpg, because it can run for short distances on electric power alone, such as when in slow-moving traffic, with its 1.6-litre petrol engine coming to life only when needed.

The Kona is also a comfy choice for your commute, taking the sting out of potholes and other road imperfections even better than the Puma and T-Roc. Just bear in mind that it’s not especially dynamic to drive, due to a fair amount of body lean and vague steering.

The Kona gives you the kind of elevated driving position that most SUV buyers crave, so you get a good view ahead. As is the case with most rivals, seeing out of the rear is trickier, but this N Line version helps you out, displaying a 360-degree overhead view of the car when manoeuvring

Read our full Hyundai Kona review

Driving
Interior
Practicality
Buying & Owning

Strengths

  • Good to drive by electric SUV standards
  • Huge amounts of rear leg room
  • 4WD version has impressive off-road performance for an electric vehicle

Weaknesses

  • Range is average for the class
  • Kia EV6 and Tesla Model Y can be charged faster
  • No front boot

Model AWD Motion List price £47,810 36k/3yr resale value £26,575 Price drop £21,235 Retained value 55.5%

The bZ4X is one of only two fully electric models to make this list – and in mid-range AWD Motion form, it holds on to its value better than electric SUV rivals such as the Kia EV6 and Tesla Model Y.

Most drivers will find that the front-wheel-drive (FWD) bZ4X is quick enough for their needs, but the AWD version (with two motors and four-wheel drive) has a bit more oomph and stronger resale values.

We like the bZ4X’s smooth power delivery, which encourages you to drive in a relaxed manner. That, coupled with supple suspension, makes the bZ4X a comfortable car in which to while away the miles. And although it won’t take you as far between charges as some rivals – up to 317 miles (officially) in FWD form, or up to 286 miles in AWD form – that should still be plenty for most buyers.

The bZ4X’s high-set driving position makes you feel like you’re driving a proper SUV, with good visibility to the front and sides, but the quality of the materials used inside is a mixed bag.

Read our full Toyota bZ4X review

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