6 Used Cars That Are Losing Value Surprisingly Fast

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

When buying a new car, fuel economy and price are two of the most common factors in customers’ buying decisions, but safety and features aren’t far behind. In the long term, one of the most important factors that’s easily overlooked is resale value. People want to buy cars with high resale value, but when a car has poor resale value, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It just means the car is a better value to buy used than new.

The car buying site Carlypso recently analyzed more than 333,000 transactions from December 2014 to March 2015 to look at how resale value changed. While as a whole, resale value increased 2.0% in those four months, there were six standouts that lost more value in that time period than any other cars. Wholesale values are not the exact prices customers will pay at dealerships, but they’re a strong predictor of the direction prices are headed and allow customers to negotiate better deals.

So which cars can you get the best deals on? These are 6 of the cars currently depreciating the fastest.

Honda Civic
Source: Honda

6. 2013 Honda Civic LX

The Honda Civic has historically held strong resale value, and as the update to an underwhelming redesign, you would expect the 2013 Honda Civic to be no different. For whatever reason, though, resale slipped 3.03% between December and March, knocking the wholesale price from $13,620 to $13,207. Already significantly improved over the 2012 model, the slide in resale value makes the 2013 Honda Civic LX a great used car buy.

2014 Nissan Rogue
Source: Nissan

5. 2013 Nissan Rogue SV

Introduced as a sporty alternative to the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4, the original Nissan Rogue was cute but unassuming. Nissan fixed that with the redesigned Rogue, but it also continues to sell the previous generation Rogue as the Nissan Rogue Select at a steep discount. Perhaps that’s why the 2013 Rogue SV’s value slipped 5.01% in the last four months from $17,672 to $16,786.

BMW 3 Series
Source: BMW

4. 2011 BMW 328i

Luxury cars tend to depreciate quickly, and luxury cars that are leased in large numbers depreciate even faster. The BMW 3 Series is one of those cars, but used versions also have to contend with the fact that the new 3 Series is quite desirable. The 2011 BMW 328i is still quite a fun small sports sedan, though, and buyers can take advantage of the fact that it lost 6.03% of its wholesale value. Instead of paying $20,170 in December, it went for $18,953 in March.

Source: Lexus

3. 2012 Lexus ES 350

Lexus has a serious reputation for reliability, and the ES is well-known for how comfortable it is. It is, however, not the most exciting car to drive, and compared to the rest of the Lexus lineup, it’s not nearly as exciting to look at either. The 2013 model, on the other hand, got a more aggressive look that perhaps contributed to the 2012’s 7.59% drop in wholesale value over the last four months – from $23,207 to $21,447. If you love the Toyota Camry but want something more luxurious, the 2012 Lexus ES 350 could be a great deal.

BMW 528i
Source: BMW

2. 2012 BMW 528i

Everything that was said about the BMW 3 Series is also true about the 5 Series. It’s a luxury car that gets hit hard by depreciation, and the aggressive lease deals mean it depreciates even faster than the 3 Series. It still looks essentially the same as a brand new 5 Series, but if you’re looking for a bargain on a used luxury sedan, you can’t do much better than the 2012 BMW 528i. It lost 8.95% of its value between December and March, dropping the wholesale price from $29,587 to $26,939.

2015 Nissan LEAF
Source: Nissan

1. 2012 Nissan Leaf SL

The Nissan Leaf might not be quite as cool as the Tesla Model S, but it’s still one of the most successful electric cars ever made. Part of that is thanks to aggressive lease deals that make it difficult for people with slow commutes to justify not leasing one. At around $200 per month, a lease on a Leaf can easily make it nearly free after savings on gas costs. Unfortunately, the abundance of leased Leafs and low lease prices seriously hurt resale value. Its $12,031 wholesale price in December dropped 9.45% to $10,894 in March. With resale value this low, why buy one new?

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