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3 Used Cars We Would Buy In Singapore At S$12,000 Depreciation Per Year

Singapore was named the joint top most expensive city to live in, making this headline an easier pill to swallow…
Gerald Yuen
Gerald Yuen
02 Feb 2023

If you’ve had the chance to travel overseas during the holiday season, the likelihood of comparing costs and standards of living back home is almost inevitable. While we can still consume relatively affordable hawker fares in our hood, other aspects of living make us wonder if we’re chasing goals that seem more likely to remain as distant dreams.

A locally assembled car across the border - a decent example in fact like a Proton X70 SUV with performance specs that rival a warm hatch - costs less than half of a Category A COE in Singapore. Venture further north and a top spec 1.8-litre Toyota Corolla Altis Hybrid can be yours for similar money in the Land of Smiles.

Although these amplify the exorbitant prices of cars in Singapore, they aren’t apple to apple comparisons. If we flip the equation and assess this with more positivity, this sets the stage for a handful of cars in Singapore to shine. We’ve recently covered cars we’d snap up at $10,000 depreciation per year. What can we discover this time if budgets are stretched to a couple more grand per annum?

Skoda Octavia 2.0 VRS

It’s becoming a habit for us to include at least one Skoda in the bang for buck department, and it’s showing no signs of subsiding. The 2nd-gen Skoda Octavia landed in Singapore and taxi companies acquired fleets of diesel-powered Octavias. Its brand appeal to some could have been strained by authorities in charge of public transport, but that could only deliver good news for those seeking a bargain in more “niche” segments of the Octavia range. In VRS-spec you’re basically getting a Mk5 VW GTI with more rear legroom and boot space at a lower depreciation - significant enough savings to receive 10 full petrol tanks worth of fuel per year. With private-hire companies retiring aging fleets, we wouldn’t be surprised if less common cars like this Octavia on steroids can hold steady on the depreciation front. This, we reckon, is reserved only for buyers with foresight who might soon be the envy of many…

Lexus GS300 3.0 Luxury

Purchasing a 3.0-litre car in existence for more than a decade might sound like finding needles in a haystack, but you can be extracting a diamond in the rough when the subject involves a Lexus. In the late 2000s, a quarter of a million bucks could get you a new GS300 - a pretty hefty figure even when pitched against current car prices. To consider its current depreciation that’s on par with a Suzuki Swift (albeit a much newer one) makes the deal even sweeter. 3rd-gen GS variants sold in Singapore were not offered in an uprated 3.5-litre V6 or a big, burly V8, but 3 litres of naturally aspirated goodness is still quite a statement piece in today’s world. OneShift’s buyers’ guide for the GS can make your homework less rigorous.

Mazda MX-5 1.6 (NA Miata)

Spending S$12,000 per year solely on depreciation on a 30 year old 2-door roadster will not rank as the best financial advice, but take a look at JDM car values now and some might even appraise the first-gen MX-5 as a straight up bargain. Those shopping for a Mitsubishi Evo 9 will have to cough up four times the depreciation of the Miata in Singapore. While we acknowledge that the comparison is as objective as me using an abacus to challenge a Mathematical Olympiad champ, both command similar 90s nostalgia - an unbounded attribute if that tickles your fancy. The Miata wasn’t built to be hard-edged from the get go. Let the agility of the chassis amplify its weight advantage round the bends and at this price point, we’d be hard-pressed to find another that yields pure, simple driving pleasure.


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