James Ruppert: what will today’s used bargains be worth in 2023?

I’m sometimes asked to take a peek into the future, put my neck on the line and make some daft predictions. It doesn’t involve lottery numbers or anything remotely science fiction, just used car values. Only an idiot would do that, so when a reader asks nicely, I will have a go for a bit of fun.

Most recently, I’ve given a steer on just what a mint, low-mile 2015 Range Rover Sport could fetch in a couple of years’ time. I reckon it could make around £20,000. I could and probably will be proven wrong, but this is a bit of fun. So let’s see if we can predict which cars you can buy now to take advantage of low, rising or crashing prices. Values are all over the place at present but rising for nearly new offerings, while other factors are making a big difference.

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Where should we start? Yes, with tiddlers. These are an endangered species, as manufacturers are struggling to make a profit on them. The Volkswagen Up is the perfect example. A 2013 1.0 example with a relatively substantial 70,000 miles is yours for £3500. It has a full service history, two owners and that’s a reasonable dealer price. In a couple of years’ time, I see it at a solid £2000 or so. The VW badge helps hugely with desirability and saleability.

There are some models that will barely depreciate. In picking some of the prime bangers that have always done this, you will almost have a money-back guarantee.

The Honda Civic is one of life’s sure things. A two-owner 2004 1.4i SE with 70,000 miles is a simple little shopper car being sold privately for

£800, and you should be able to get a price cut. It’s never going to be worth less than £500, and if you dial inflation into the mix, this is a consistent grand banger. Mainly because it’s a Honda and it won’t break down 20 years from now.

This isn’t all about cheap dead certs that are easy to predict, though. There are plenty of sporty cars to be had, and there are so many Mazda MX-5s to choose from. I found a latest-shape 2018 2.0 SE with 12,000 miles for £17,999. In a couple of years’ time, I reckon it will be worth £12,995.

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