Compare Cars to Maximise Resale Value

By Luke Caesar - General Manager - July 23, 2017

Compare Cars to Maximise Resale Value

Are you looking for a car that’s going to retain its resale value?

It’s one thing that you’ll often forget to take into consideration when you start shopping for your next car. But it’s definitely worth considering, especially if you’re in a transitional phase of your life and you may need to change your car within 2-5 years.

Reduce your depreciation

Depreciation is the largest cost of owning a car, even a used car, so you want to find a model that’s bankable on the used car market. This means choosing a car that’s going to hold it’s value.

With extensive experience buying and selling used cars, we’ve put together some of the things that we’ve learned to help you to minimise depreciation on the next car you buy.

How to compare cars for resale

Some cars lose value fast, while others you'll be able to sell for just a bit less than you bought them for, depending on how well you care for the car and the mileage that you'll do. Here's what you should look for to maximise the resale value of your next car:


A car that will go a long way without much maintenance is high desirable.

Japanese brands Toyota and Honda have proven to hold their resale value, with strong reliability being one of the important factors.

The Mitsubishi Lancer was also rated as the most reliable by Warranty Direct’s reliability index.


Choosing a car with a classic design, in silver, white or black, will generally ensure to minimise your loss when you sell the vehicle.

Australian car buyers really go for neutral colours, with over 60% of all news cars being white, silver or black.

HSV is another Australian brand that will hold its value due to its unique appeal, even though the newer models will be manufactured offshore. But the base model Holden or similar Ford Falcon will generally depreciate quicker than other overseas models.

Luxury Cars

Mercedes Benz, Audi and even the Lotus are models of car that tend to hold their value over time. With a luxurious interior and a smooth ride, you should be able to resell a prestige vehicle to someone who appreciates quality.

Small Cars

Honda and Toyota stand out here, but the Hyundai i30 is another small, reliable and efficient car that you’ll be easily able to sell once you’ve had it for a couple of years.

A sports car or a coupe may hold value better than a standard hatch. If you want to stick to a cheaper model, than your best bet is to stick with the most reliable makes, like Mazda, Toyota or Hyundai.


Large ‘grunt’ cars like the Toyota Landcruiser actually hold their value really well, they’re pretty much unbreakable outside and inside.

The Suburu Forester is a popular model, often handed down within a single family.

Car Features

If you find a used car with modern features such as bluetooth, USB ports, satellite navigation, a rearview camera, and a high safety rating, it’s not going to lose too much value during the time you’ll own it.

You can add things like an up to date sound system if it only has an AM radio without spending too much though. New cars come with a lot of tech and features, so used car buyers now expect these to be appearing in second hand cars too.

Depreciation of cars will continue to decrease as used cars with more safety and tech features fill the market.

Buy a car that’s been well-cared for:

If you find a used car with just one owner, and little wear and tear, you’re definitely onto a great deal. Buying the right brand is important, but that won’t make up for the effect of the previous owner’s driving style. It’s a good sign if the car has floor mats, the windscreen wipers and lights are in good condition, and the car is generally looked after.

A well-cared for car with a few more km on the clock is probably going to hold its value better than one that’s been thrashed but done fewer kilometres.

Check for a Full Service History

If you can buy a car that’s still under the factory warranty, this will really help the vehicle to hold its value during your ownership.

At the least, check for a full service history and be sure to keep the records up to date each time you go to the mechanic. A full service history provides hard evidence that the car has been properly looked after.

Conclusion: Buy What Others Want

When you’ve decided to buy a used car you might find you have a bit less choice over the features you can get on the exact car you want.

If you can buy a car that’s still under the factory warranty, it might just be out of warranty when you resell it, and this will help the resale value too.

If you know for sure that you’ll be keeping the car for a shorter period of time, look for features like automatic transmission, air conditioning - especially with the heat waves Australia’s seen lately, alloy wheels, and a sunroof or leather seats.

What not to Buy

Things to stay away from in a car you’ll have short-term include:

  • any vehicle without air-conditioning
  • manual transmission
  • expensive modifications or add ons like dark window tint, or a bull bar (if you’re not doing a lot of country driving).

If you ever have any questions about buying a car that you can resell in a few years, don't hestitate to get in touch for a chat about some options to maximise your cars resale value.