Which are the most important factors to take into account when choosing a new or used car?
With the price of fuel hitting all-time highs, you should check a vehicle's fuel economy, as well as deciding whether you want a petrol or diesel engine. Be sure to read: Diesels are cheaper than petrol cars...for some of us.
Also, when doing your sums, you'll need to add on the cost of car insurance, so check to see which of the 50 insurance groups your new vehicle falls into. Likewise, your Vehicle Excise Duty (VED, or 'road tax') could be anything from zero to over £1,000 a year, depending on the car's CO2 emissions.
And then there's the service, maintenance and MoT costs, plus interest charges and fees if you buy using a personal loan or other finance.
The biggest cost of ownership
However, the above list excludes what is often the biggest cost of owning a car: depreciation.
Depreciation is the tendency for vehicles -- both new and old -- to lose value over time. As cars age, they become less valuable, largely because of wear and tear. Generally, the biggest loss of value comes in the first year of a new car's life, when depreciation is at its steepest.
Obviously, this loss of resale value really does matter, because the steeper a vehicle's depreciation, the less you'll get for it when you come to sell and replace it. Depreciation varies widely between makes and models, but typically ranges between 15% and 35% in the first year and can reach 40% or more over three years. Then again, depreciation can be even higher for cars with high mileages and those that haven't been well looked after.
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Slowing depreciation down
However, it's not all doom and gloom if you want to buy a new or used car, as some depreciate slower than others and hold onto their value for longer.
On the whole, cars that are well-built, reliable and popular tend to hold their values much better than cars seen to be unpopular, unreliable or at the lower end of the quality scale.
CAP Automotive, the car pricing experts, have found the cars that have held their value best over three years and 30,000 miles. So if you want to recover a large percentage of what you pay for a motor at resale here are the top ten cars that will deliver in the gallery below.
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