STEVE COLQUHOUN June 30, 2012
Five cars of all shapes and sizes that will keep their value better than the rivals.
The joy many people feel after buying a new car is often quickly tempered by the dark shadow of depreciation. It’s a sobering fact that you’ll probably never own another asset that plummets in value quite as much as a new car.
Depreciation is the single biggest cost of car ownership, with almost every new car dropping a minimum of one third of its value in the first three years, and a significant number shedding more than half.
But the car you choose can reduce the hit. Small cars and compact SUVs, for example, typically fare well on the second hand market, as do luxury SUVs.
Conversely, large cars typically haemorrhage money – the segment’s best, the Honda Accord, is worth a paltry 43 per cent of its purchase price after three years and family-size rivals from Ford, Nissan, Holden and Toyota fare even worse.
We asked industry resale expert Glass’s Guide to rate the top models in five popular segments according to their projected resale value after three years of ownership.
The Jazz has never been a big seller against rivals such as the Mazda2 and Toyota Yaris, but it brings a fresh perspective on the market dominated by size and space, or a lack thereof.
Priced from $14,990, its taller body opens into a clever interior with genuinely impressive space; two adults wouldn’t be disappointed with the headroom in the rear, although legroom is
While there’s evidence it’s been built to a price (there are some hard plastics) things such as the two-tone dash, futuristic instrument cluster and well positioned controls make it a classy city hatch. Less impressive is the standard Bluetooth system that has an afterthought of a controller right of the windscreen.
The Jazz also gets some clever storage options, including a double glovebox and rear seats that flip and fold independently, making it easy to carry larger items such as a mountain bike.
Combined with the full complement of safety features (six airbags, stability control) the Jazz also gets power windows and a USB input for phones or music players.
The 1.3-litre engine in the base GLi model struggles with only 73kW of power. But it’s worth the stretch to the $17,790 VTi, which also gets things such as alloy wheels, cruise control and buttons on the steering wheel. Not to mention a more hearty 88kW of power.
Top 5 for resale:
1.Honda Jazz (55 per cent retained value)
2. Mazda2 (54pc)
3. Hyundai i20/Accent/Volkswagen Polo (51pc)
5. Ford Fiesta (50pc)
A new model earlier this year heralds a new beginning for the Impreza, a traditionally strong contender in the small-car class that lost some favour with buyers.
Subaru doesn’t play at the bottom end of the market, instead kicking off from $23,990 for the base 2.0i model, while managing to retain its unique position in the small-car class as the sole all wheel-drive offering.
This, along with a full safety suite including six airbags, stability control and a five-star crash rating, resonates with buyers who are drawn to the brand’s promise of secure handling.
Less impressive is the new-generation 2.0-litre engine that brings notable improvements to fuel economy.
Making just 110kW and 196Nm, the engine struggles to match the car’s dynamic promise, although the optional continuously variable transmission (CVT) auto does a better job than the manual.
The engine stop-start system fitted across the range is easy to live with and includes a comprehensive trip computer providing excellent feedback about how to drive more economically.
The redesigned interior is a big improvement, though, and the Impreza continues to offer the choice of both the sedan and hatchback variants.
Top 5 for resale:
1. Subaru Impreza (57 per cent)
2. Volkswagen Golf (56pc)
3. Mazda3 (55pc)
4. Mitsubishi Lancer (54pc)
5. Ford Focus (53pc)
It may be due for replacement late this year, but the mid-size Mazda is still a strong favourite with private buyers and regarded as a great example of a driver’s car that is versatile enough for daily use.
It comes in sedan, hatch and wagon variants and offers the choice of two engines – a 2.5-litre, four cylinder petrol unit that makes 125kW and 226Nm, or a strong and flexible 2.2-litre, four-cylinder diesel powerplant that delivers 132kW and 400Nmin return for impressive official fuel use of 5.9 litres per 100 kilometres.
That the diesel is not available with an auto limits its appeal though, making the petrol engine the weapon of choice for most buyers. Mazda sharpened the 6’s value equation late last year and pricing now kicks off from $31,450 for the base-model Touring sedan.
For that you get a suite of safety gear that includes standard front and rear parking sensors across the range. Dual-zone climate-control airconditioning, Bluetooth with audio streaming, leather seats and auto headlights and wipers are also included across the 6 range.
Higher-spec Sports models add satnav, a Bose sound system, xenon headlights and a sports style body kit. Driving dynamics are a highlight for the 6, with precise steering and a sporty character that make even the daily commute more enjoyable, although there is a noticeable roar from the tyres at higher speeds.
The petrol engine does the job around town, too, although it doesn’t have the punch of some competitors.
Top 5 for resale
1.Mazda6 (51 per cent)
2.Honda Accord Euro, Volkswagen Passat/Jetta (50pc)
4. Subaru Liberty (46pc)
5. Ford Mondeo (44pc)
Land Rover’s two-pronged attack in the compact SUV segment juxtaposes the tough, practical Freelander 2 with the sharp, funky Range Rover Evoque.
The Evoque in particular is driving plenty of traffic into showrooms with its concept-car looks and Range Rover’s smallest price tag – $49,995 for the base manual-only eD4 model that drives the front wheels only.
An expansive range includes the choice of a 2.0-litre petrol engine or a 2.2-litre turbo diesel, three- or five-door styling, two- or four wheel-drive, and two specifications with three trim levels each. And that’s before you visit the long and expensive options list that can quickly beef up the price.
The Evoque is also a capable handler both on and off the road, but a relatively shallow boot puts paid to its family appeal.
The boxier, more rugged Freelander 2 kicks off from $44,990 for the TD4 base model and offers the same 2.2-litre diesel engine, or a 3.2-litre six-cylinder unit making 171kW/317Nm in a smaller range available only in 4WD.
Next to the edgy Evoque, though, the Freelander is beginning to look a little aged with its Bluetooth phone integration still an option. The Freelander’s interior, too, is more utilitarian rather than the futuristic functionality of the Evoque.
Top 5 for resale
1. Range Rover Evoque/Land Rover Freelander 2 (57 per cent);
2. Audi Q3, BMWX1 (56pc)
4. Subaru Forester (55pc); Volkswagen Tiguan (54pc).
A quartet of luxury SUVs are the joint duxes of the retained value class – Volkswagen Touareg, Audi Q5, Porsche Cayenne, Volvo XC60 – each expected to hold 62 per cent of their value over three years.
For this exercise, though, we’ve chosen the Touareg that scored two votes to find a place on the podium in our SUV over $40,000 category during Car of the Year testing in 2011.
The Volkswagen Touareg rises from a lower branch on the premium tree than its rivals and impresses with an enjoyable driving experience and longer list of standard equipment than a range kicking off from $62,990 would indicate.
It offers a choice of petrol or diesel engines, kicking off with a 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6 making 150kW and 400Nm mated to an excellent eight-speed auto.
There’s also a higher-powered version of the same engine (150kW/ 550Nm) although unless you’re towing or keen on some extra overtaking oomph, the 150 TDI version is more than acceptable.
Claimed fuel use is equally impressive at 7.2L/100km. Standard gear includes alloy wheels, nine airbags, dual-zone climate-control airconditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth, rain sensing
wipers, auto headlights and leather seats and a handy luggage net.
While there are front and rear parking sensors, disappointingly a reversing camera costs extra. But the Touareg is missing something many competitors have – a third row of seats. It’s strictly a five-seater, albeit a relatively spacious one.
Top 5 for resale:
1. Volkswagen Touareg, Audi Q5, Porsche Cayenne, Volvo XC60 (62 per cent);
5. Land Rover Discovery (58 pc).
with Toby Hagon