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30 Cars That Are Plummeting in Value

That sweet-smelling new car starts losing value the moment you drive it off the dealer's lot. According to, "the average car depreciates in value by 35 percent in three years." Here are 30 cars that take the steepest plunge.

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PRAGUE - APRIL 10: BMW 540i in Prague, Czech republic, April 10, 2017.yakub88/Shutterstock

BMW 5 Series

This handsome ride loses a staggering 52.6 percent of its value after three years, making it the worst car for depreciation over that period, according to Auto Trader’s reporting on a 2018 study of more than four million car sales to determine which cars depreciate the fastest over three years (the average lease term). Find out if the 5 Series ranks as one of the best used cars to buy.

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MINSK, BELARUS - APRIL 21, 2016: 2016 model year Mercedes-Benz E220d. The new E-Class is engineered to deliver more comfort, more efficiency and a more connected drive than ever before.Yauhen_D/Shutterstock

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

This stately, sleek Benz drops in value by half over three years mostly because of the bulk of E-Class purchases are actually three-year leases, so there is always a supply of pre-owned Mercedes-Benz on dealer lots. Also, a factor in why many people only want to drive luxury cars for three years at a time is the high cost of maintaining them as they get older. Dare to keep an E-Class for five years and see your fancy ride shed $35,000 in value!

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Volkswagen Passat CC. SYKTYVKAR, RUSSIA - JULY 15, 2015: Parked the car in the center city open by owner and specially prepared for taking pictures.Yuri Kabantsev/Shutterstock

Volkswagen Passat

According to Auto Remarketing, “The Passat underwent a significant redesign in 2016, its first overhaul since it was introduced to the American market in 2011, to include upgrades in its safety features and infotainment technology.” The predictable result of the remodel has been a reduced demand for older Passats and that has lead to high depreciation. There are secrets to buying new and used cars—here are 34 car buying tips to read before driving to the dealer.

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BRUSSELS - JAN 18, 2019: New BMW 3 Series Berline car at the 97th Brussels Motor Show 2019 AutosalonVanderWolf Images/Shutterstock

BMW 3 Series

What is it about BMWs? The Series 3 loses nearly half of its value after only three years! Here’s one of the main reasons why the BMW Series 3, like other luxury cars, lose so much value so quickly: leases. The majority of high-end vehicles are leased and the three-year lease is the most popular, meaning there is a flood of pre-owned BMWs and Mercedes-Benz sedans on lots making this a supply and demand issue more than a long-standing quality one.

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MANILA, PH - OCT. 27: Nissan Leaf electric car at Philippine International Motor Show on October 27, 2018 in Manila, Philippines. Philippine International Motor Show is a showcase of latest cars.walterericsy/Shutterstock

Nissan Leaf

This electric vehicle was once an auto industry disrupter but with the EV range expanding, the first generation Leaf’s 107-mile range is closer to a dinosaur of the past than a vision of the future. As a result, the Nissan Leaf is depreciating at a rapid rate, the highest of any car on the road over a five-year period per, losing nearly three-quarters of its value not long after you’d have spent the generous tax credits awarded for the initial purchase.

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CHICAGO - FEBRUARY 7 : A Chevy Impala on display at the Chicago Auto Show media preview February 7, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.Darren Brode/Shutterstock

Chevrolet Impala

A massive remodel of a popular automotive nameplate is another cause of quick depreciation in cars. According to The Drive, the Impala was overhauled in 2014 which put downward pressure on previous models that suddenly weren’t as sexy to drive. Whether you want an affordable used Impala or a new Toyota, here are simple tricks for outsmarting car salespeople.

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GENEVA, MAR 4: Hyundai Genesis displayed at the 84th International Motor Show International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland on March 4, 2014.Max Earey/Shutterstock

Hyundai Genesis

The Korean manufacturer’s luxury brand loses over a third of its value after just 12 months which isn’t good for your resale or trade-in prospects but is a boon for those shopping in the pre-owned car market. In fact, according to a new study, the Genesis G90 is one of the fastest selling used cars sitting on the market for only, on average, 56 days.

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DETROIT, MI, USA - JANUARY 12, 2015: GMC Yukon on display during the 2015 Detroit International Auto Show at the COBO Center in downtown Detroit.Ed Aldridge/Shutterstock

GMC Yukon

Gas prices can have a dramatic impact on long term car value. As prices at the pump rise, hulking SUVs like the Yukon depreciate in value because buyers start doing the math to see how much it will cost to fill up the tank and how little MPG they will be getting in exchange for the thrill of being at the helm of this V8 beast.

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NEW YORK, USA - MARCH 23, 2016: Kia Cadenza on display during the New York International Auto Show at the Jacob Javits Center.Ed Aldridge/Shutterstock

Kia Cadenza

While the brand has proven to consumers that it represents true class on the road, the Cadenza is a model that hasn’t quite caught on. This unfamiliarity leads to a rapid depreciation of value as consumers looking for a used car will not be rushing out to buy a vehicle they’ve likely never heard of. Conversely, this means there is value for used car shoppers who’ve done their research and know that Cadenza is a very fine ride indeed. The Kia brand is racking up dependability awards; find out which other cars will last you 250,000 miles.

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Geneva, Switzerland, March 06, 2018: metallic white BMW X1 at 88th Geneva International Motor Show GIMS, manufactured and marketed by BMWGrzegorz Czapski/Shutterstock

BMW X1, X3, X5, X6

In a five-year period, these luxurious BMW SUVs plummeted in value at a rate of more than 60 percent, according to a 2018 study of depreciation. Compare that to Toyota models like the Rav4, 4Runner, and Highlander, all of which have a lower sticker price and retain on average 17 percent more of their original cost. If you must own a BMW, don’t count on resale or trade-in value down the road—such is the price of luxury.

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CHICAGO, IL/USA - FEBRUARY 6: A 2014 Lincoln MKS car at the Chicago Auto Show (CAS) on February 6, 2014, in Chicago, Illinois.Steve Lagreca/Shutterstock

Lincoln MKS

Luxury cars already depreciate at a staggeringly high rate. When you add in the discontinuation of a model, you are left with a vehicle that may have lost more than half of its original value before your lease is finished. This Lincoln is no longer being produced and its no longer worth nearly what the sticker price read while on the dealer’s lot.

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GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - MARCH 3 : A Chevrolet VOLT car on display at 81th International Motor Show Palexpo-Geneva on March 3, 2010 in Geneva, Switzerland.Dong liu/Shutterstock

Chevrolet Volt

Thanks to rapidly evolving technology, high cost of replacing the EV battery, and range anxiety among its drivers, the Volt sees over a 70 percent drop in value after five years of ownership. You’ll feel great rarely having to stop at a gas station, but that smile may turn to a frown when trying to trade-in or sell a Volt. A reliable car will hold on to more of its value; here are the most reliable cars on the road today.

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Belgrade, Serbia - March 23, 2017: New BMW 6 Series presented at Belgrade 53th International Motor Show - MSA (OICA).Milos Vucicevic/Shutterstock

BMW 6 Series

Yet another BMW makes the list—and for similar reasons: High turnover after three-year leases expiring and no shortage of supply on BMW dealer’s pre-owned lots. This model BMW depreciates at a rate of 68 percent over five years.

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CHARLOTTE, NC, USA - NOVEMBER 17, 2016: Jaguar XJL Portfolio on display during the 2016 Charlotte International Auto Show at the Charlotte Convention Center in downtown Charlotte.Ed Aldridge/Shutterstock

Jaguar XJL

Of course, this car looks amazing, but expect to lose nearly two-thirds of the value of your luxury Jaguar over a three-year period. If you’re looking for a ride that will retain the most value, check out the premium trim of a Subaru Impreza, the sports car that depreciates the least, according to

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VALENCIA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 7 - A White 2012 Toyota Prius Hybrid Vehicle at the Valencia Car Show on December 7, 2012 in Valencia, Spain.Rob Wilson/Shutterstock

Toyota Prius

Once again a high-tech, eco-friendly ride lands on the list of fast-depreciating cars because of the year-over-year advancements in fuel efficiency and technology. The Prius and the Prius C have an average five-year depreciation of more than 50 percent. Want to keep more of your car’s value? Get rid of the smoke smell inside!

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TORONTO-FEBRUARY 16: The new Ford Fusion Energy on display at the 2012 Canadian International Auto Show on February 16, 2012 in Toronto, Canada.Zoran Karapancev/Shutterstock

Ford Fusion Energi

In the world of hybrids, this model isn’t nearly as well known. But like others of its kind, the Fusion Energi depreciates rapidly; add to that the lack of familiarity among consumers, and you have a car that loses more than 69 percent of its value over five years, according to

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Frankfurt, Germany, September 13, 2017: metallic red Audi S4 Limousine at 67th International Motor Show (IAA)Grzegorz Czapski/Shutterstock

Audi S4, S5, S6, S7

These four Audi luxury sports cars rank with the worst vehicles when it comes to plummeting values. Maintaining an Audi can get expensive, and that leads to depreciation as consumers looking for pre-owned cars are hoping to avoid large repair bills. As Consumer Reports once said, “Audis are a sinkhole of service problems.”

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CHARLOTTE, NC, USA - November 11, 2015: Kia K900 sports sedan on display during the 2015 Charlotte International Auto Show at the Charlotte Convention Center in downtown Charlotte.Ed Aldridge/Shutterstock

Kia K900

Kia’s second car on this list of plummeting resale values is nothing short of glamorous; even Lebron James got behind the wheel as the pitchman for Kia’s first and finest high-end sedan. But to this day not many car consumers have ever heard of it, meaning you can find a two-year-old K900 for about half its original sticker price.

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Vancouver, Canada - March 2019 : Nissan Maxima, taken at 2019 Vancouver Auto ShowRickDeacon/Shutterstock

Nissan Maxima

Phong Ly, the CEO of, attributes the Maxima’s 34 percent drop in value to a recent makeover. “The 2014 Maxima was the last model of its generation, and the redesign had been delayed a full model year. As a result, the 2014 model lagged beyond the competition in terms of technology and styling, decreasing consumer interest.”

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Los Angeles, USA - November 19, 2015: Chrysler 300 S on display during the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.betto rodrigues/Shutterstock

Chrysler 300

After just a single year of ownership, this luxury sedan from Chrysler loses nearly 32 percent of its value, reports Forbes. In real terms, that’s a whopping average net loss of $13,351. If you want a 300, there may be supreme value in the pre-owned market on Chrysler dealer lots. Find out what happens to your car after you trade it in.

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ISTANBUL, TURKEY - MAY 21, 2015: Fiat 500 in Istanbul Autoshow 2015EvrenKalinbacak/Shutterstock

Fiat 500

While luxury cars typically take a hit, smaller sporty cars aren’t immune to depreciation: The Fiat 500 gives back almost a third of its value thanks to an eye-popping depreciation rate after only one year. Turns out the Fiat’s size, as well as its long-term value, are equally tiny.

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GENEVA - MARCH 8: A mercedes benz Classe S car on display at 82th International Motor Show Palexpo-Geneva on March 8, 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland.Dong liu/Shutterstock

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

The S-Class is “one of the best new luxury cars you can buy, but that hasn’t stopped it from depreciating 69.9 percent on average,” reports Road and Track. That staggeringly high percentage of depreciation equates to roughly $62,840 of original value lost over a five-year period. A luxury car may be one of the things you should never pay full price for.

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GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - MARCH 7, 2018: New BMW 7-series car showcased at the 88th Geneva International Motor Show.VanderWolf Images/Shutterstock

BMW 7 Series

The flagship of BMW’s impressive sedan has no shortage of luxurious appointments—and it raises (lowers?) the bar on depreciation rate. You can expect your 7 Series to lose 71 percent of its original value which amounts to just under $60,000. Of course, that’s good news if you want a pre-owned BMW—but bad news if you have designs on selling or trading in after a half-decade of ownership. Many people end up selling their BMWs after just one year.

Jeff Bogle
Jeff Bogle is an Iris Award-winning photographer, avid traveler, and English football fanatic who regularly covers travel, culture, cars, health, business, the environment, and more for Reader's Digest. Jeff has also written for Parents Magazine, Esquire, PBS, and Good Housekeeping, among other publications. He is the proud dad of teen daughters. You can follow his adventures on Instagram and Twitter @OWTK.