7 November 2003

The news is still grim for anyone hoping to pick up one of the latest breed of Japanese family cars on the cheap. Prices for the nearly-new Mazda 6, Toyota Avensis and latest Honda Accord are still sky high.

Out of this trio the Mazda 6 is currently fetching the most realistic prices. One of the best deals we spotted was £10,995 for an 03-plate 1.8S five-door with 10k on the clock, on sale at a main dealer. Even so, this only shows a modest £2500 drop from new.

Bigger-engined versions and estates are showing even less of a tendency to shed their value. Used-car supersites are currently advertising 03-plate 2.3 Sports for around £16,000.

The Toyota Avensis has yet to leave the main dealer network and prices are stiff as a result. Going for an 03-plate 2.0 T Spirit five-door with a few miles on the clock still means spending close on £16,995 with salesmen difficult to beat down. We also spotted a 53-plate 1.8 T4 auto with delivery miles for £15,995 – again, painfully close to list price.

No dice with the Honda Accord either – potentially the slowest-depreciating one of the lot. If you do find a rare used example, chances are that it will still be going for list: we spied a 52-plate 2.0 SE with 6k on the clock up for £16,495. Just a fiver shy of the new price.

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