If you plan to keep a car for a decade or longer, you should probably approach the purchase process as you would any long-term investment. Try to project if the vehicle will meet your needs many years from now, and whether it is capable of doing so at a reasonable value.
Couples with young children might approach a minivan or SUV purchase this way, with the models ranked best for reliability at the top of the list. But not every auto purchase is forever.
Many consumers hope to upgrade cars every four or five years (or less). In these cases, finding a model that doesn’t depreciate quickly will serve you best. An iSeeCars study released October showed which cars were best at holding their value.
On the flip side, we have the models that lost the most value after five years in an owner’s hands. These 15 cars showed the highest depreciation over that time.
15. Ford C-Max
- 5-year depreciation: 64.9%
Production of the Ford C-Max hybrid ended earlier in 2018 as Ford shifted away from passenger cars and focused on revivals like the Bronco SUV and Ranger midsize pickup. That moment came at just about the right time for this model, which like so many hybrids suffered on the market after 2015.
It would be interesting to see how this model performed with gas prices rising again in 2018. If you find one on the used market, they’re coming cheap in 2018.
14. Audi A6
- 5-year depreciation: 65.3%
Luxury sedans are the most common models when you look for high depreciation in an automobile. iSeeCars CEO Phong Ly offered an explanation for this occurrence in his company’s studies.
“Luxury vehicles depreciate at a higher rate because they are often leased, which leads to a surplus of three-year-old off-lease versions, and that lowers the demand for the older models,” Ly said.
13. Cadillac XTS
- 5-year depreciation: 65.4%
Cadillac sedans share the same fate as so many other luxury models. After five years in the hands of an owner or lessee, sellers were only getting about 35% back from buyers on the used market. That’s quite a price drop for anyone looking for a luxury car at a discount.
12. Jaguar XF
- 5-year depreciation: 65.6%
If you’re looking for a sporty luxury sedan, you can hardly do worse than the Jaguar XF. The introduction of the new generation (for 2016) made the previous-gen XF quickly drop in value on the used market. After five years, iSeeCars data showed sellers getting just 34% of the original price.
11. BMW X5
- 5-year depreciation: 65.6%
The difference between two model years can be huge when a redesigned model is involved. You can see that in the way the price of a used BMW X5 dropped so severely after five years. As buyers looked for the most recent redesign, five-year-old X5s (from 2013) became two generations old, and their value fell accordingly.
10. Chevrolet Impala
- 5-year depreciation: 66.2%
The Chevrolet Impala was another car stuck in the last year before its redesign. As the new and improved Impala debuted for 2014, a ’13 model suddenly became nowhere near as valuable. Four years later, sellers were grappling with 66% depreciation on the used market.
9. Jaguar XJL
- 5-year depreciation: 66.4%
The long-wheelbase Jaguar XJ may be fit for a king (and the British royal family), but this model is not known for holding its value. When sellers turned it over to the used market after five years, they only got an average of 34% in return. At a starting price of $85,000, an XJL still won’t come in below $30,000 in 2018.
8. Mercedes-Benz E-Class
- 5-year depreciation: 67.2%
You won’t find a safer luxury sedan on the market in 2018, but can do much better if you’re concerned about resale value. Like so many other plush, tech-laden cars in this price point, you’re looking at depreciation near 70% after five years. But dealers who just got an E-Class back from a lease are probably the one dealing with these issues.
7. BMW 5 Series
- 5-year depreciation: 67.3%
The 2017 redesign made previous-generation BMW 5 Series sedans drop in price, and after five years a 2013 model had lost over 67% of its value on the used market. This model was known for its standout interior finish and larger proportions than 5 Series of the past. In the right condition, it would be a great buy in 2018.
6. BMW 6 Series
- 5-year depreciation: 68.3%
The list of Bimmers continues with the 6 Series hatch, convertible, and Gran Coupe models. There’s no shortage of power in this car (especially with the V8), and buyers who don’t mind a little age on a BMW would definitely get a worthwhile deal on one. On the other hand, repairs on an aging 6 Series will cost you.
5. Ford Fusion Energi
- 5-year depreciation: 69.4%
In the case of plug-in hybrids like the Ford Fusion Energi, you have to consider how electric vehicle tech changed in five years. Back in 2013, this model’s 19 EV miles in a midsize sedan package stood out from the pack. These days, you can get 47 electric miles and an overall better package in the Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid at the same price. Fusion Energi’s time has passed.
4. Mercedes-Benz S-Class
- 5-year depreciation: 69.9%
With a Mercedes S-Class sedan, you’re looking at the ultimate luxury cruiser, and there’s little need to worry about declining value. As soon as a lease ends, consumers will drop it back off at the Benz dealership and get the latest model. Dealers who go to sell a five-year-old S-Class have gotten about 30% of the original sticker after five years.
3. BMW 7 Series
- 5-year depreciation: 71.1%
The fourth BMW among the 15 fastest-depreciating cars is the 7 Series. It’s the Bimmer fan’s answer to the S-Class, and it shares that Benz’s penchant for depreciation after five years. iSeeCars data showed the 7 Series netting sellers just 29% of the original sticker price after that time.
2. Chevrolet Volt
- 5-year depreciation: 71.2%
In the growing EV industry, the difference between 2013 and 2018 models is rather severe. While there are still many happy Chevrolet Volt owners driving their plug-ins around town, the latest Volt offers a superior package in just about every way. As a result, the original model can be had for under $10,000.
1. Nissan Leaf
- 5-year depreciation: 71.7%
While the technology of old EVs has improved greatly, there’s another major factor at play with high depreciation in plug-ins: incentives. From the $7,500 tax credit to state incentives, the used EV market immediately assumes a huge drop off the sale price compared to the original MSRP. After five years, most EVs from the 2013 model year are bargains.