When you buy a brand new car, the simple act of driving it out of the showroom can cost about pounds 3,000. Depreciation is a black hole into which your car's actual value rapidly disappears. Any model which can retain anything like 50 per cent of its new value in three years' time and after covering about 40,000 miles is doing very well indeed.

At the very worst, some Ladas struggle to retain 26 per cent of their admittedly low values. At best, certain marques such as Ferrari, Porsche and Mercedes seem to depreciate relatively slowly, possibly losing no more than a third of their value. Depreciation figures are not simply plucked out of thin air, they are based on demand, availability, running costs and image. So which models in each sector fight depreciation the best?

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