The reasons are many.
But the reality is that the UK used car market is booming right now, and prices for used cars are increasing accordingly. Why? Well, firstly, plenty of people need a new car to get around now that coronavirus restrictions are lifting – and some people remain wary of public transport. And many people who kept their jobs during the pandemic have more money in the bank because they didn’t spend it in the way they usually would on holidays, eating out and all the rest. Finally, the supply of new cars is restricted right now due to a global shortage of microchips – a vital ingredient of all modern cars.
We’ve teamed up with resale value experts cap hpi to drill down into the data to identify the cars in hottest-demand at present – and thus with prices rising the fastest in the past three months. "As a result of the retail market being unusually strong since mid-April, we have witnessed strong pricing being achieved within the wholesale market due to dealers having to restock in order to meet the high demand," said Jeremy Yea, Senior Valuations Editor at cap hpi. "Whilst we have witnessed strong demand for all types of vehicles, there has been a real surge for superfluous or extravagant vehicle purchases such as Convertibles/Coupe Cabriolets or even for Campervan type vehicles which have appreciated the most and dominate the top of this list."
We start at number 20, and work our way up to the hottest used car on the market right now. We express the rise in both percentage and cash terms.
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20: Jaguar F-Type Convertible (2013-2020) – 19% increase - £8353 increase
Open-top cars account for fully half of the 20 fastest appreciating cars. Not such a surprise; spring always boosts prices for this type of car as the weather turns better. But it does seem more pronounced this year – perhaps due to people wanting to exploit their freedoms to the max as the country emerges from the coronavirus nightmare.
In the case of the F-Type, it’s a decent enough car, though somewhat impractical, because it has a very small boot given its grand tourer aspirations. Sales have never been as strong for the model as Jaguar had hoped, and that means less supply on the used market – so prices have risen.
19: Mercedes SLC (2016-2021) – 19% increase - £4336
This small Mercedes roadster has always been a quintessential weekend and holiday car, so we’re not surprised to see prices on the up as people seek out a car they can take on their probably UK-based escape this summer.
The SLC is a refined car with good level of standard equipment, but it has an unsettled ride and isn’t much fun to drive.
18. Ford Kuga (2012-2020) – 19% increase - £3048 increase
SUV sales held up better than most other car classes in the upheavals of the past year, and the Kuga is now consistently in the list of the UK’s top 10 best-selling cars. It’s well priced as a new vehicle, and we really rate the plug-in hybrid version; only its humdrum interior and smallish boot let the side down.
17: Volvo S90/V90 diesel (2016-present) – 20% increase - £4581 increase
The V90 (pictured) is a super-smooth looking estate, even if the price you pay for those looks is that it’s not as practical as large Volvo wagons of the past. The S90 saloon is in the estate’s shadow sales-wise, as well as in the rather longer shadow of German rivals like the BMW 5 Series. But the diesel versions remain in demand, probably because being fairly new, none fall foul of the various Low Emission Zones being erected around the country, unlike older diesels.
16: Mini Cooper (2018-present) – 20% increase - £3024 increase
Modern Minis have always been desirable and this is feeding through to rising used prices. The current Mini has one of the classiest small car interiors available, and a super-slick infotainment system, even if it’s not as fun to drive as the brand’s reputation suggests.
15: Mercedes SL (2012-2020) – 20% increase - £8963 increase
With a comfortable ride, powerful engines, and a sense of occasion with every trip, we can think of few more classy ways to celebrate the end of Covid – and the market for these cars clearly agrees. Be warned though – a new SL will go on sale later this year, which will dent values for the current model.
14: Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet diesel (2017-present) – 21% increase - £6397 increase
While clearly not as showy as the SL, the E-Class open-top more than makes up for it with much lower prices (both used and new) and two decent rear-seats suitable even for adults. Sure, it’s no sports car, but it’s comfy and has a lovely interior.
13: BMW 4 Series Convertible diesel (2013-2020) – 21% increase - £4831 increase
An all-new version of the 4 Series has recently gone on sale, but that doesn’t seem to have dimmed the appetite for the outgoing model. And unlike the new car, the old one has a solid metal roof that is popular in urban areas where vandalism can be a problem. It’s also comfortable to ride in, fun to drive, and has plenty of kit. Be warned though – that roof gobbles up the boot when it’s down – and pre-2015 diesels will usually fall foul of emission zone rules.
12: Mercedes V-Class Marco Polo (2017-2019) – 21% increase - £9213 increase
This is the only motorhome in the Top 20, which slightly surprises us because stay-in-the-UK holidays are probably going be more-common-than-not this summer. The Marco Polo is super-practical, with seating for four, rear seats that fold down to make a double-bed, and a pop-up roof to make room for another double-bed upstairs. Kitchen kit includes a sink, a gas hob, a fridge and plenty of storage compartments.
11: BMW 4 Series Convertible petrol (2013-2020) – 21% increase - £5300 rise
As already said, the 4 Series Convertible is a great car, but petrol versions are rising in price even more than diesels. And with good reason – we reckon inherently smoother and quieter petrol power always makes more sense for a drop-top unless you do big miles.
10: Mazda MX-5 RF (2016-present)
The RF is an MX-5 – but perhaps not as you know it. RF stands for Retractable Fastback, and unlike the fabric roof of the standard MX-5, you get an electrically operated hard-top to give you better sound insulation and better protection against vandals. And it actually handles better than the standard MX-5 into the bargain, although it is more expensive.
9: Mini Cooper S (2018-present) – 23% increase - £3910 increase
We’ve already looked at the Mini Cooper, but the Cooper S version gives you significantly more power. Indeed, with 192bhp on tap, you get from 0-62 mph in less than seven seconds. It’s the model to go for, then, right? Actually, no, because, the Cooper S’s heavier engine makes it feel less nimble.
8: BMW 2 Series Convertible diesel (2014-2021) – 23% increase - £4100 increase
Smaller and more affordable than its 4 Series Convertible brother, the 2 Series still manages to cram in two rear seats, even though they’re on the small side. It’s fun to drive and rides nicely – but the diesel engines can certainly make themselves heard when you’re pressing on.
7: Audi A5 Cabriolet (2017-present)
The A5 drop-top isn’t as much fun to drive as its BMW 4 Series rival, but it more than compensates for this with a classy interior, excellent infotainment system and low running costs. A fabulous way to explore the country when we’re allowed to.
6: Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet (2016-present) – 24% increase - £5621 increase
With plenty of standard equipment, a comfy ride and low running costs, we reckon the C-Class Cabriolet is one of the best four-seat convertibles available. But watch out - the rear-seats are pretty cramped for taller occupants.
5: Mini Convertible (2018-present) – 26% increase - £4668 increase
We’ve already seen how in-demand the Mini 3-door has proved so far this year, but the Mini drop-top is proving even more popular. It does feel a bit wobbly over bumpy roads, but as the wind whistles through your hair on a summer’s day, you probably won’t care. The boot is small, though, and space in the back is tight.
4: Toyota GR Yaris (2020-present) – 27% increase - £6167 increase
Forget all the preconceptions that come to mind when you hear the Yaris name. The GR version has little in common with its shopping-car brethren, being closely related to a rally-car, complete with four-wheel drive and a 261bhp engine capable of 0-62mph in just 5.5sec. It’s an absolute joy to drive, and very positive media reviews since launch in 2020 has led to a long waiting list to buy it new – with used prices going up as a result.
3: BMW 2 Series Convertible petrol (2014-present) – 28% increase - £5153 increase
We’ve already said that the 2 Series Convertible has many virtues even in diesel form – but the petrol versions are the ones to go with for the authentic open-top experience, assuming you don’t have a monster commute.
2: Mazda MX-5 (2015-present) – 32% increase - £4996 increase
We’re not surprised that people want to embrace the MX-5 in the post-Covid world. It’s great to drive, but doesn’t cost a fortune to buy or own. With its free-revving engines, sweet gearbox and nimble handling, it’s a fine choice.
1: Suzuki Jimny (2018-2020) – 50% increase - £7967 increase
The latest Jimny is a proper billy-goat of a mini 4x4, capable of handling off-roading better than many SUVs several times more expensive. But be warned, it’s not much fun to drive on the road. Nonetheless, country-dwellers love it.
But that’s not the only reason for its remarkable rise in value in recent months; due to Suzuki needing to get its fleet average CO2 levels down, the relatively thirsty Jimny had to be discontinued after less than two years on sale, thus boosting demand for used examples at a stroke. You can still buy the Jimny new as a commercial vehicle, without the rear seat, because different rules apply to that part of the market.
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