Car depreciation: 5 models that lose value

Depreciation: A major car-buying factor
Depreciation: A major car-buying factor © Minerva Studio/

For many of us, a new car is one of the biggest purchases of our lifetime, and one of the largest costs associated with that new car is depreciation.

Car depreciation is the amount of value an auto loses over time, and that figure can vary dramatically from car to car. For consumers who keep their car for five years or less, depreciation should be one of the main factors to consider. Those looking to hold on to their car for the long haul may benefit by paying less upfront because the resale value really won't matter five or 10 years later.

Buyers should keep in mind that just because a vehicle has a lousy depreciation value, it doesn't mean it's a bad car. It just means that, for varying reasons, people aren't willing to pay top dollar for that model as a used car.

According to IntelliChoice, the Campbell, Calif.-based research firm, cars in high demand tend to have a high resale value, as do sporty cars, compact cars and the base-line model of a lineup. Large vehicles, midsize cars and minivans tend to lose their value, IntelliChoice says. With that in mind, here are five vehicles that lose a lot of value and what may be better alternatives, along with mpg estimates and Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price, or MSRP. Some models are from 2012 because the 2013 depreciation values aren't out yet.

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