Worth The Wait: Highest Car Depreciation After 3 Years

A car that has steep depreciation is bad for its new owner. But, it can provide some sweet deals for those who purchase one that is used. So below is a summary of some of the vehicles with the highest depreciation after three years. This goes to show that if you can stand waiting then it’s worth the wait to get that vehicle you really want.

Three years is a good age for a used car because that’s when a lot of them come off-lease. But due to mileage restrictions, these cars aren’t going to have a gang of miles on them. With some leases allowing only 12,000 miles per year, these are fairly low mileage cars with under 36,000 on the ticker. 

The average depreciation after three years is just under 40%

Used cars at a dealerhip
Used cars at a dealership | Getty

The average depreciation after three years is just a tick under 40%. But the higher depreciating vehicles lose much more than that. According to iSeeCars it can be north of 50%. So it pays to hold off on the purchase of one of these higher depreciating vehicles until then.

All of these vehicles have depreciation above 50% so any one of these would be a good deal off-lease. At the top of the list is the Audi A6. With a depreciation of 55.8%, you can save over $35,000 from the original purchase price. Most off-lease A6s should sell for around $28,000. 

At number two is the Ford Fusion Hybrid. They were priced a fair amount above the typical gas-powered Fusion sedans when new. You can save over $16,000 with a typical 54.9% depreciation. That nets out to $13,500 for a typical Fusion Hybrid. Think of the gas you’ll save on top of the cost to purchase. 

The BMW 3 Series is a popular car with a value drop of 53.4% after three years

Toyota SUVs for sale at a dealership
A row of Toyota RAV4s are displayed on the sales lot at a Toyota dealership | Getty

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The BMW 3 Series is a popular car that sees its value drop by 53.4% after three years. Losing $26,000 off its original price means good used 3 Series sedans can be snagged for under $23,000. Right below the 3 Series is the Volvo S60. At 53.2% depreciation, it can be purchased for under $20,000 which is a loss of over $22,000 from its purchase price.

In the middle of the Mercedes line is the E-Class sedan. Losing 52.7% of its value after three years means you can slip into an E-Class for a bit over $31,000. That’s a loss of almost $35,000 from its new list price. 

The next five vehicles have all dropped at least 51% at three years old. Number six is the Lincoln MKZ followed by the Infiniti Q50, with the BMW 4 Series at number seven. Both lost around $28,000 and can be bought after three years for around $27,000. At number 10 is the Audi A4, the smaller sedan just under the A6. Losing over $23,000 in value it can be purchased for around $22,000 when three years old. 

Other than the Infiniti QX60 all of these high depreciation vehicles are cars

A line of cars at a used car dealership
Various cars sit in the lot for sale at a General Motors used car dealership at the Troy Motor Mall in Troy, Michigan. | Getty

Other than the lone Infiniti QX60 all of these high depreciation vehicles are cars, not the more popular SUVs or pickups. That shows most buyers favor everything but sedans. This should also guide those who need cheap, reliable transportation without the need for the latest and greatest SUV or pickup. 

Sedans will continue to see heavy depreciation as the years go on. Other than some of the Japanese and Korean manufacturers most all other automakers are dropping sedans for SUVs and pickups.