These 11 Cars Embarrassingly Lose Half Their Value in Three Years

Don't be the sucker who pays full price now for a vehicle that will be half-price later.

According to vehicle pricing site iSeeCars.com, the average vehicle loses 34.5% of its value once it leaves the dealership. However, as the recession made cars seem a lot more costly to buy but ideal for leasing, depreciation on some model's during that three-year span rose to 45% to 51%. "Certified Pre-Owned" or not, their prices lose a whole lot of momentum three years in.

"Whether you call them 'almost new,' 'gently used' or 'lightly used,' the fact that auto leases have risen 91% in the last five years means a boon for shoppers who want a late-model car at a bargain price," said Phong Ly, CEO of iSeeCars.com. "While some of the best bargains we identified are leased more than others, they all have the most depreciation after three years and they're great buying opportunities when you look at the data."

iSeeCars.com analyzed more than 5.8 million car sales to identify models with the greatest loss in value after three years, when most leased vehicles come back for sale. Those "certified pre-owned" luxury brands tend to lose more value than their downmarket competitors. Ly says that leases account for more than 50% of BMW, Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz sales, which creates a constant influx of three-year-old vehicles into the used car market and drives costs down.

Watch: 5 Cars Likely To Be Resold Within The First Year

Along with the highest three-year depreciation, most of cars atop this list have average or better reliability ratings from Consumer Reports. The Mercedes-Benz models, BMW 3 Series and Nissan Maxima all received above average ratings. However, because all of the vehicles on the list are only three years old, they're most likely still covered under the manufacturers' new vehicle warranties. Typically, those range between 3 to 4 years/36,000 to 50,000 miles for basic coverage and 4 to 6 years/50,000 to 70,000 miles for power train coverage.

Only one car among the Top 20 sellers in the U.S., the Ford F Fusion, made the depreciation list, though 12 out of 20 see their prices deflate faster than average over five years. In the case of the Hyundai Elantra and Nissan Sentra, that drives average prices to a far more affordable $12,931 and $12,322, respectively.

"Continuing demand for the country's top 20 cars in both new and used models, combined with good reputations for being reliable may help keep depreciation rates lower," said Ly. "One-third of America's 20 most popular vehicles are also SUVs - the hottest segment in the market right now - so that high demand that may be another contributing factor to better resale values."

SUVs depreciate at only a slightly higher rate than average (35.4%), but pickup trucks all do a fine job of retaining their value. The average pickup depreciates just 28.5% each year, making it the only vehicle segment where all models depreciate less than the national average. That's unsurprising, considering that pickup owners hang onto their vehicles far longer than the average owner.

We went through iSeeCars.com's numbers and found 11 vehicles that not only lose their value quickly once they leave the lot, but become a far better value for consumers three years later.

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11. Ford Focus

Average price after three years: $11,853

Depreciation: 45%

Depreciation compared to average: 1.3 x

The combined 35 miles per gallon of the standard model, the cooler perks including Microsoft's SYNC system, its bevy of available apps, touchscreens, backup camera, parking assist and other technology and the high-quality material in the cabin separate it from the small-sedan pack. However, the big-ticket options including heated leather seats, an all-electric model and a sport-tuned ST make the Focus from Ford (F) far more exciting than its value-focused competitors.

10. Ford Fusion

Average price after three years: $15,140

Depreciation: 45.1%

Depreciation compared to average: 1.31 x

No, it isn't the "Ford Camry." Sure it has the available hybrid like the Camry and is similarly utilitarian. But it's designed to look like a more frugal Aston Martin and handle like one as well. It's a practical midsize sedan that looks more sporty than it should, but that 28.5 miles per gallon is a little pokey and it rides a bit too much like a vehicle built for your local municipal fleet.

9. Volkswagen Jetta

Average price after three years: $13,033

Depreciation: 46.4%

Depreciation compared to average: 1.34 x

The last time the Volkswagen (VLKAY) Jetta a cool car, people were setting coloring themselves badd and investing in jeans that got their "wash" from either stones or acid. Donna Martin graduated almost two full decades ago, but her car made the leap from Beverly Hills 90210 nostalgia past the short-lived CW 90210 with its efficiency and reliability

The Jetta's nearly 30 combined miles per gallon, 200-horsepower engine, keyless access, push-button start, 15.5 cubic feet of trunk space, heated front seats, three feet of rear legroom, tech-laden steering wheel and touchscreen entertainment and information console with Bluetooth, HD Radio, navigation and MP3 player hookups makes for a much more cushy ride than its Clinton Administration predecessor. With stability control, anti-lock brakes and a crash response system that unlocks the doors, cuts power to the fuel pump and throws on the hazard lights, it's also grown up right along with its Gen X fans. ABC's "TGIF" Friday night lineup wasn't this safe.

8. Infiniti Q50

Average price after three years: $24,956

Depreciation: 46.9%

Depreciation compared to average: 1.36 x

Introduced four years ago to replace the Infiniti G sedan, this is basically a more plush version of the tuner favorite Nissan Skyline. The top-of-the-line 3-liter V6 engine cranks out 399 horsepower, while even the hybrid version produces 359. Yet surrounding paddle shifters and sport gauges with a leather interior, wood-and-chrome trim, touchscreen apps systems, navigation and other baubles seem to distract this vehicle from its intended purpose: laying rubber and taking names. At full price, it's a bit of a reach for the average enthusiast. At this price, it'll do just fine.

7. BMW 3 Series

Average price after three years: $24,812

Depreciation: 46.9%

Depreciation compared to average: 1.36 x

Entry-level luxury doesn't often exceed high-level offerings from non-luxury brands enough for a buyer not to have a little remorse. Packed with a head-up display projected onto the windshield, blind-spot detectors in the rearview mirrors and a freestanding iDrive screen for communication, navigation, entertainment and apps, the 3 series is just teeming with perks. But are they more perks than, say, a tricked-out Buick LaCrosse or Toyota Avalon?

Is a 180-horsepower engine -- which is less powerful than that of a base-model Honda Accord -- really what you had in mind when you opted to pay BMW-level money for a vehicle? If your answer is no, prepare to take an 18% hit by selling it back a year later.

6. Nissan Maxima

Average price after three years: $18,867

Depreciation: 47.9%

Depreciation compared to average: 1.39 x

Man, Nissan and Infiniti are really overestimating the market for large performance-luxury cars. The Maxima is a 16-foot boat of a vehicle that can crank out up to 300 horsepower, but still gets only about 25.5 miles per gallon... in 2017. Manufactured in Smyrna, Tenn., the Maxima's chrome exhaust pipes, heated and cooled seats, cockpit-style gauges and available sport-tuned suspension are clearly what Nissan thinks the American driver wants. But throwing in a panoramic sunroof, Apple CarPlay apps, speed alerts and leather throughout makes this car either too loaded-down for a high-end sedan, or not sporty enough to be the attainable sports car of Nissan's dreams.

5. BMW 5 series

Average price after three years: $33,474

Depreciation: 48%

Depreciation compared to average: 1.39 x

The 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and its 248 horsepower are underpowered for a BMW, which makes it more efficient, but not a whole lot more luxurious.

The hybrid-style brake energy regeneration system powering Xenon headlights, LED accent and fog lights, LCD displays, automatic dual-zone climate control, ten-speaker stereo system and moonroof are your selling points. The leather steering wheel, dark wood trim, BMW Navigation and iDrive system with touchpad controller just make it a bit more plush. Along with that emblem on the hood, that's what most 5 Series drivers are looking for. If you just expect more out of it, there's a reason that this car loses 18% of its value in a year.

4. Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Average price after three years: $23,212

Depreciation: 48.3%

Depreciation compared to average: 1.4 x

We'd say there was a time when this was the starter Benz, but it's pretty clear that both dealers and buyers still view it as that.

The C-Class was the entry-level model that was supposed to yield to an E-Class executive future and sporty S-Class retirement. But the economy makes fools of us all and Mercedes brought in the downmarket CLA-Class just to get a lower-priced option into U.S. drivers' hands.

That puts the C-Class firmly in the middle class, but even that move and a recent revamp of the entire vehicle haven't dislodged it from its lowly position as loaner of choice. However, when you look at the C300, it's clear that a bunch of the features you'd want -- COMAND telematics system, Burmester sound system, heated and ventilated seats, enhanced suspension, LED lights, blind-spot assistance -- are all optional and unlikely to be found in a loaner or base model.

3. Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Average price after three years: $33,727

Depreciation: 48.4%

Depreciation compared to average: 1.4 x

There are a lot of tech toys in this higher-end Benz, and that's part of the problem. The $2,800 ventilated front seats, $4,000 optional AirScarf neck-level heating system, an emergency monitoring service, a driver-fatigue monitor, pre-collision automatic braking, blind-spot detection and a lane-departure warning system, COMAND entertainment, navigation and communication system, dual-zone automatic climate control, ventilated seats and rear DVD entertainment system are advanced, but not bug-proof. The fact that the E-Class drops 19% of its value within a year suggests that not only do buyers not want to pay full price for a dealer's loaner, but they aren't always enamored of E-Class features.

2. Cadillac ATS

Average price after three years: $21,173

Depreciation: 50.4%

Depreciation compared to average: 1.46 x

The entry-level Caddy from General Motors (GM) doesn't believe in sacrifice. The 2.5-liter version gets little more than 200 horsepower, but makes up for it with very un-Cadillac mileage. The 3.6-liter V6 doesn't break 28 miles per gallon, but it produces 335 horsepower and provides the muscle that a good Cadillac should -- complete with limited rear slip differential, magnetic ride control and magnesium paddle shifters. Technologically, the ATS is off to a good start with 4G Wi-Fi. With keyless entry and remote start via smartphone, a Bose sound system and the Cadillac CUE touchscreen console with voice feedback and wireless phone charging, it's loaded.

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1. Cadillac CTS

Average price after three years: $27,537

Depreciation: 51.4%

Depreciation compared to average: 1.49 x

The third generation of this car hasn't been kind. A big favorite on pre-recession U.S. roads, the CTS saw its sales shrink from 61,000 in 2005 to an all-time low of 15,911 in 2016.

As a result, Cadillac ditched the wagon option, and trimmed a 3.0-liter base engine to a 2.0-liter 272-horsepower four-cylinder. However, General Motors's symbol of American luxury also includes headlights that adapt to your speed and turning angle, rear backup camera, leather seating, wood trim and a pop-up eight-inch GPS screen that connects to voice control and a 10-speaker Bose stereo system.

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