The argument of ‘new vs used’ is a perpetual one. Car enthusiasts will argue over the merits of each kind of buying for the rest of time. There are pros and cons to either method of buying but, when it comes to depreciation, used cars are the way to go. New cars face massive depreciation hits as soon as they leave the dealer lot. So it makes sense to let the first owner take that depreciation hit and buy a few years later for a significantly lower cost. Luxury cars face this sort of depreciation the most, which is why you can find really nice cars that are only a few years old for a fraction of the price they were new. Take these three wagons, for instance. The Evening Standard recently compared the 2012 BMW 5 Series Touring, Audi A6 Avant and Jaguar XF Sportbrake to see which used luxury wagon as the best value.

Each of these three cars cost around £35,000 ($45,000) when new. Now, though, all three of them can be hard for around £17,000 ($22,000). That’s a huge dropoff and quite cheap for such cars. So which one of them is the best buy?

According to the Evening Standard, the Jaguar XF Sportbrake is the worst option of the three. It’s a great looking car, has the best dynamics of the bunch and has the sportiest looking interior. However, it lacks interior and cargo space compared to the other two cars, suffers from a rough engine and poor interior quality. This makes it a good car, one that’s desirable for the enthusiast, but also the worst value of the three cars here.

In second place came the Audi A6 Avant. While also a good looking car, the Audi A6 Avant beats out the Jaguar XF for a much better cabin, far smoother engine and better gearbox. This is to be expected, though, as Audis have always had silky smooth engines and superb cabins. The Audi A6 Avant also has more cargo and interior space, making it the more practical car of the two. Where the A6 Avant falls down is in its ride and handling, as its low-speed ride can be choppy and the handling is a bit numb. So it’s a better overall car than the Jaguar and a better value but it’s just not quite as good as the best car in the test.

That leaves the BMW 5 Series Touring as the best car in the test. Its cabin is on par with the Audi A6 Avant for build quality and luxury and it’s also the most practical car of the test.The 5er’s engine is also the smoothest and punchiest of the group, also sporting the best transmission. The only real complaint about the 5 Series Touring was that it can be a bit dull to drive without the optional variable dampers, which firm things up and can make it more fun to drive. But if you’re looking for something more luxurious, you can look for ones without it. But the BMW 5 Series Touring is the best overall value in the bunch, with the best overall driving experience, quality cabin, impressive practicality and good price.

[Source: Evening Standard]