Aside from buying a house, a new car will likely be the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. But while property values typically increase over time, the value of most cars drops with every passing year.
Unless it’s a collector’s item, your car will start to depreciate in value the minute you drive it off the lot. And new research shows just how much faster some vehicles lose value than others.
The study by iSeeCars.com found that although certain models hold their value surprisingly well over a five-year period, others depreciate more than twice as quickly. The study analyzed more than 8.2 million cars from the model year 2015, noting the difference between the original sticker price and the price each model was selling for used in 2020.
Here are the 15 cars that depreciated the most, counting down to the fastest value-loser.
15. BMW X1 (-64.6%)
Original price: $42,610
After five years: $15,100
BMW’s luxury subcompact SUV offers robust engine power and above-average fuel economy, but reviewers note that its fuel-conserving start-stop system can feel sluggish when accelerating after a stop.
This was the last model year for the X1’s second generation, which may help explain its high level of depreciation.
14. Infiniti QX60 (-64.7%)
Original price: $56,453
After five years: $19,954
Infiniti’s QX60 boasts solid safety ratings, decent driving dynamics and a roomy interior, but some critics find the powertrain to be lacking, and J.D. Power handed it a subpar reliability rating.
13. BMW X5 (-65.4%)
Original price: $70,278
After five years: $24,307
The X5 is BMW’s luxury midsize SUV, and this particular model year came with three available engine options and a large touch-screen infotainment system.
However, its reliability rating is below average and reviewers say it has less cargo space than other vehicles in its class.
12. Volvo XC60 (-65.6%)
Original price: $48,426
After five years: $16,662
Volvo’s luxury compact SUV offers a spacious interior, peppy engine and world-class safety features, but critics cite a clunky infotainment system as the reason this version of the S60 doesn’t hold up as well as some of its competitors.
11. BMW 3-Series (-65.7%)
Original price: $49,017
After five years: $16,791
The previous four models were all SUVs, but luxury sedans are about to take over the list — starting with the BMW 3-Series.
“The popularity of sedans has declined, so the price has to significantly drop to make these vehicles desirable in the secondary marketplace to compensate for their high operating costs and outdated technology,” explains Karl Brauer, iSeeCars’ executive analyst.
This model year of the 3-Series offers solid driving dynamics and a smooth ride, but reviews note that the steering feedback is mediocre and that other cars in its class offer better reliability.
10. BMW X3 (-66.5%)
Original price: $53,617
After five years: $17,936
BMW’s X3 comes with several engine options and a spacious interior full of features, but some critics find this particular model year’s ride to be too stiff.
9. Lincoln MKZ (-67.1%)
Original price: $45,784
After five years: $15,068
Although Lincoln’s luxury midsize sedan has an above-average reliability rating, reviews note that its handling is mediocre, its cabin is cramped and its infotainment system is outdated.
Even worse than buying a car that depreciates quickly is buying a rapidly depreciating car by taking out an expensive auto loan. Before you borrow, compare car loans from multiple lenders to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.
8. Mercedes-Benz S-Class (-67.1%)
Original price: $119,892
After five years: $39,452
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class offers a smooth ride, classy interior and a plethora of high-tech features. However, it’s the priciest model on this list (by a lot), and its high ownership costs may be prohibitive to many buyers.
“Buying a high-depreciating luxury car may seem like a steal, but these cars likely have high repair and ownership costs that buyers need to factor in,” says Brauer.
It may be easier to find savings elsewhere — like on your car insurance, for example.
7. Volvo S60 (-67.8%)
Original price: $44,864
After five years: $14,430
Volvo’s S60 has a luxurious interior and decent engine options, along with the brand’s renowned safety features. However, critics find the infotainment system to be unintuitive and the rear seats to be cramped.
6. Mercedes-Benz E-Class (-69.0%)
Original price: $70,261
After five years: $21,804
The E-Class comes with a variety of powertrain options and features an upscale cabin, but several reviews have noted that its reliability and safety ratings are below-average and its ownership costs are extremely steep.
5. Maserati Ghibli (-69.0%)
Original price: $88,790
After five years: $27,501
The Ghibli is Maserati’s most affordable luxury midsize sedan and it offers a stylish interior and a turbocharged V6 engine designed by Ferrari.
Unfortunately, this model year of the Ghibli is lacking in a number of features that you can find in many of its competitors, including adaptive cruise control and multi-adjustable front seats.
4. Audi A6 (-69.0%)
Original price: $62,959
After five years: $19,490
Audi’s luxury midsize sedan boasts perfect safety scores from the federal government, a high-end interior with numerous tech features and a variety of powerful engines.
However, it loses points in reliability, with a below-average rating despite the price.
3. Nissan Leaf (-70.1%)
Original price: $33,499
After five years: $10,029
The Nissan Leaf is the first and only hybrid vehicle on this list. Despite its impressive reliability and performance ratings, some critics find that this version of the leaf has a mediocre powertrain that makes it hard to pass on the highway.
“Government incentives play a role in the Leaf’s steep depreciation, as its resale value is based on its lower effective post-incentive sticker price,” says Brauer. “Electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf also become outdated quickly due to the rapid advancements in range and battery life.”
2. BMW 5-Series (-70.1%)
Original price: $67,053
After five years: $20,015
The 5-Series is BMW’s luxury midsize sedan, and this model year offers exceptional engine power, smooth handling and a number of high-tech features.
However, reviewers note that its ownership costs are higher than average and that several competitors offer a similar driving experience at a more affordable price.
1. BMW 7-Series (-72.6%)
Original price: $101,546
After five years: $27,860
Coming in at the top of the iSeeCars list is the BMW 7-Series, BMW’s super luxury sedan.
Although it boasts a spacious interior and comfortable ride, the 7-Series’ ownership costs are exorbitant by most critics’ standards.
“Expensive luxury vehicles like the BMW 7 Series depreciate steeply because they include expensive features and technology that aren’t valued among used car buyers,” says Brauer.