Market Watch: What Used Cars Can We Buy At S$750 Depreciation Per Month?

Market Watch: What Used Cars Can We Buy At S$750 Depreciation Per Month?

Gerald Yuen
Gerald Yuen
25 May 2023

With base prices of new cars lifted no thanks to sky-rocketing COE premiums, the barrier has been set that much higher, till a point where locally-specced “budget” models have spec sheets reassessed to squeeze themselves within the “cheaper” Cat A COE category. Volkswagen’s Golf is now Cat A-friendly, there’s a “less potent” tune for the BYD ATTO 3 and even the Hyundai Ioniq 5 has fallen victim to COE regulations. But even then, the most affordable variant will set you back S$189,800. While the Golf and ATTO 3 are slightly more attainable, the reality of forking out chunky deposits for brand new sheetmetal can throw a spanner in the works.

Granted, the inevitability of prepping cars to suit market regulations is a survival technique. But that doesn't mean we need to get into the thick of every action. Given the ever-imposing tax restrictions layered as time progress, used cars of yesteryear might be less complex to own from a financial standpoint. More importantly, their relative attainability can be matched according to your situation - number of years left in the COE cycle, loan tenure and interest rates are arguably more “customisable”, depending on which range of car(s) pique your interest.

The elephant in the room as with most big ticket item purchases will be loan repayments, and in this scenario, depreciation of cars. Apportioning depreciation on a per monthly basis can sound like an easier pill to swallow, and we’re delighted to shortlist a couple that falls in the not-too-extravagant S$750 monthly depreciation category. Get your calculator ready…

Toyota Vios (2007)

Depreciation: S$740 per month

If decent examples of the Toyota Corolla Altis (E140) are hard to come by, the 2nd-gen Vios (XP90) can be a good alternative. This example in E Sports trim falls in the mid-spec category when the facelift XP90 was introduced in early 2010. It was equipped with one more airbag than the base J Sports trim, but lacked a multi-function steering wheel and rain sensing wipers found in the G Sports variant. Interestingly, only the E Sports trim can be optioned with a 5-speed manual, so keep your eyes peeled on classifieds if you find the 4-speed automatic too pedestrian.

Honda Stream (2007)

Depreciation: S$580 per month

You’d expect a car reaching 16 years old to have changed hands at least a couple of times. Not for this one-owner Honda Stream that has proudly covered 370,000km, or around 23,000km annually. This definition of a workhorse has been through so much till it’s almost too heavy a responsibility to bear, once the baton is passed. You can be assured that the 2nd-gen (RN6) Stream’s foundations cater for family needs. The cabin is spacious even for 3rd row occupants, and with the gear lever deployed high up next to the steering column, it leaves the centre column with bags of space to plonk groceries with ease. That’s a steal, given that the arguably less practical Honda Jade successor depreciates twice as much!

MINI Cooper (2011)

Depreciation: S$740 per month

While some might prefer the matured looks and slightly more practical interior of the current-gen MINI, the R56 MINI produced from 2006 onwards arguably appealed to both sides of the fence. Design was led by Italdesign and the platform featured many engineering changes, including a drivetrain architecture shared with PSA Group. The latter made headlines for the wrong reasons - reliability was a major headache for some customers. But if luck is on your side and you secure a clean example, one cannot deny the amount of fun to be had right from the get-go. With a chassis that encourages you to push the tyres to its limit of adhesion, you’ll find yourself eager to punt it down a twisty stretch at a pace well within legal speed limits.

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