Get up to speed on which cars hold their value best over three years
ONE of the 'hidden costs' of owning a car is just how much it dips in value over a period of time.
The motor trade knows what's in demand second hand and what is not.
That is why some cars appear to be better priced than others. But the law of supply and demand dictates that those that give fewest problems and have a better 'reputation' retain more of their value.
Now, Irish car-history website Motorcheck.ie has carried out a comprehensive study of residual values in the industry.
The study looked at a wide range of cars in the major segments.
And it found -- some might say predictably -- that the most popular categories are dominated by a small number of marques.
As many as 12,530 of the top-selling cars here were sampled and the experts looked at what percentage of their original purchase price was retained by those vehicles over a three-year period.
It makes for some interesting reading.
For example, in the small petrol hatchback segment, the top-selling version of the Toyota Yaris retained 66pc of its original value after three years. That is really an outstanding level of value retention. So is that of the Peugeot 207 (65pc) and Hyundai i20 (64pc).
In the small diesel segment Skoda's Fabia 1.4 TDI retained 67pc of its original value ahead of the Ford Fiesta 1.4 TDCI (66pc) and Opel Corsa 1.3 CDTI (65pc). When you consider that some large cars lose 50pc or a lot more of their value over three years you can see how much of a mark these smaller cars have made.
In the small-family hatchback class, petrol versions of the Ford Focus retained 63pc of its value after three years. That was ahead of the Volkswagen Golf (60pc) and Toyota Auris (54pc).
For diesels in the same class, the Toyota Auris held on to the largest portion of its original purchase price (62pc) ahead of the Volkswagen Golf (60pc) and Hyundai i30 (59pc).
When it came to small-family petrol saloons, Toyota's Corolla kept 58pc of its value and, according to the study, is the car with the best residual value in its sector, ahead of the Ford Focus (49pc) and Nissan Tiida (47pc).
But diesels are the biggest sellers in this class and in this instance the Skoda Octavia was number one by retaining 62pc of its original value -- ahead of the Toyota Corolla (60pc) and Ford Focus (60pc).
In the large-family/fleet petrol the Opel Insignia was found to hold 49pc of its original value.
That is the same figure as obtained by the Toyota Avensis (49pc) and ahead of the Mazda6 (43pc).
Of the diesels in the same section, the Skoda Superb comes first with 61pc of its original value compared with the Ford Mondeo (52pc) and the Opel Insignia (52pc).
So if you were to draw some conclusion from the results, then the shrewd buy is a small diesel-powered hatchback. In general these hold on to an average of 62pc of their new value after three years.
Next up is the small petrol hatchback segment with 61pc and then the mid-range diesel hatch.
According to the Motorcheck.ie report, diesels hold their value better than petrols in every category.
The biggest difference, again on average, was between large diesel saloons, which retained 50pc of their value after three years, and large petrol saloons, which retained just 43pc over the same timeframe.
Motorcheck.ie chief Shane Teskey said: "Today's savvy car buyers are always looking for ways to reduce their TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). Understanding which car will depreciate the least before you buy it new could save you thousands when it comes to trading it in or selling privately later."