The Time Is Ripe To Buy These 5 Year Old Cars Now

The Time Is Ripe To Buy These 5 Year Old Cars Now

Gerald Yuen
Gerald Yuen
02 Sep 2023

Finding good car deals in Singapore sounds like an oxymoron statement - sky-rocketing COE premiums and taxes on the sidelines lasered at luxury cars have pushed price tiers way higher than we can stomach. Shifting benchmarks are already a given - we just have to look at what cars qualify for the million dollar club to have a clue.

But while it seems like these policies have left slim pickings for those hunting for decent deals, some theories based on global practices still exist. If your new car is running out of warranty, there’s always a chance of toying with the idea of switching cars, ideally one still covered by warranty for that peace of mind.

That leaves the used car market sort of “flooded” with cars that have warranties about to expire, or have already expired. Calling it a “fire sale” exercise would be a stretch, but this is still a good bet to claim deals that defy mathematical logic. Emotion-led decisions could be swayed by arrival of new car variants, which could mean that possibilities of the five year old cars being well maintained, have a lower mileage and preferably from a single owner is higher.

Further digging also reveals scenarios that favour the used car buyer. A 5 year old car still has 5 years worth of COE on its first cycle, and parts sourcing will not prove a major issue. And if we adopt a more functional stance, there’s a higher chance you’ll be buying a generation with a more tactile interior, before the tech onslaught to switch every possible button to touchpads.

Sure, some dealers offer a 3 year warranty too. But for the sake of this exercise we’ll prove if it’s that hard to shrug off that 5 year itch!

Opel Insignia Grandsport Diesel 1.6 Turbo

Depreciation: S$12,732 per year

The stigma tagged to lesser known brands in Singapore could mean that buyers steer clear of them. For this Opel Insignia Grandsport, it makes a strong case for itself - a practical 1 owner example, optioned in a clean navy blue hue, and the most polarising detail of the lot, it’s powered by a 1.6-litre turbo diesel. We take that as an advantage - more than 300Nm of torque in liftback form factor indicates its commitment to please both ends of the spectrum. This dealer will throw in 3 years of engine and gearbox warranty, along with free servicing. All yours for a depreciation lower than a Honda Jazz.

Mazda 6 Sedan 2.5

Depreciation: S$16,318 per year

Days seem to be numbered for the sedan form factor - turn our attention towards the Camry only to realise that Toyota’s future budgets will be spent on higher-riding family compacts (of electrified nature of course). Popularity for mid-sized Japanese sedans were at its peak more than a decade ago, which means 2018 was more of an exercise of restraint - placing proven, tried-and-tested bits on countless factlifts. But this strategy works in favour of those eyeing at 5 year old sedans, especially the Mazda6.

Technology from this 2.5-litre naturally aspirated example was far from groundbreaking, but like a pair of kitchen scissors, it’s nothing fancy but made to last way beyond your expectations. This 1 owner example works for those not sold on gadget-laden cars yet. They’ll be in for a treat still - a spacious interior, silky smooth engine and a low slung, confidence-inspiring ride only SUVs can dream of makes it a compelling alternative to a 2018 Camry, at a lower depreciation.

Volkswagen Golf GTI (Mk7.5)

Depreciation: S$20,802

Your peak Golf GTI moment might differ from ours, but we might be able to reach a common consensus - the latest generation GTI could do with a more usable cabin with more tactile switches. It’s a GTI after all - some focus should be placed on driving, instead of fiddling with haptic buttons on the steering wheel. Which is why it’s hard to argue against the appeal of the Mk7.5 GTI.

Physical buttons on the steering wheel do not distort its interior appeal - far from it even, it still looks up to date (and something new VW Tiguan designers will concur!). It still handles like a Golf, relatively light on its feet, with a suspension that absorbs impacts and limits travel in a way that’s controllable. This example is no spare change, and the depreciation reflects that. But it’s a 1 owner, unmodified example, and being relatively new it’ll not rack up unnecessary bills in the workshop.


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