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How Do New Cars Fare Against Inflation?

By raccars Published

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Cars in the UK seem to have been getting cheaper to buy, both new and used. While buying and owning a car swallows up a large chunk of cash, how has the price of new cars performed against inflation over the past couple of decades?

Take a look at these inflation adjusted prices of a number of popular models in entry level specification, from 25 years ago compared to today:

Porsche 911

1990 Carrera 2 3.2 Coupe vs 2015 Carrera Coupe. In 1990 Porsche updated the 911 and the rear wheel drive Carrera 2 became the best selling model in the range. It cost £45,821 to buy new. Apply inflation figures over the last 25 years to that price and the Carrera 2 would cost £101,899 today, but, in fact, the equivalent model, the 2015 Carrera Coupe, costs only £73,509 - bargain! You could quite easily use these statistics to make a very good case for buying a 911 Carrera Coupe, as if its gorgeous looks and fabulous performance weren't a good enough excuse...


1990 1.0 City vs 2015 One Admittedly the modern, BMW made Mini bears very little relation to the Rover version of 1990. Released in 1959 as a practical and affordable small car to help drivers combat the rising cost of petrol, the original Mini was technically very advanced but offered little in the way of comfort and convenience features. However, it became an icon of the British auto industry. Costing £4,899 in 1990 it should, inflation adjusted, cost £10,895 today.

However BMW's premium re-imagining of the Mini has seen its list price rise to £13,955. It's still cool, fun to drive and economical on fuel but is far more sophisticated than its predecessor and looks very expensive by comparison.

Suzuki Vitara

19990 1.6 soft top 4WD 3Dr vs 2015 1.6 SZ4 The market in 1988 was not crammed with small SUVs or crossovers so the Vitara really stood out next to the small hatchbacks and large family saloons of the day. It was an immediate success but the vagaries of international currency exchange meant it was quite expensive at the time. Nonetheless, image conscious consumers were not deterred by the £9,250 price tag which, if the Vitara followed inflation, would be £20,570 today.

A new version of the quirky off roader is out this year but the explosion of the SUV market means it has some serious competition. Fortunately, a decline in the Japanese yen has made the modern Vitara a far more affordable prospect, with a list price of £13,999.

Ford Fiesta

1990 1.0 Popular 3Dr vs 2015 1.25 Studio The Fiesta was onto its third generation by 1990, a curvy little supermini with brilliant handling and a comprehensive model range, including both the entry level Popular at £6,180 and the RS Turbo hot hatch at £11,950. Apply inflation to those figures and you'd pay £13,743 for the Popular today, but in fact, the current entry level 1.25 Studio model costs an inflation beating £10,145. If you wanted to buy an inflation adjusted RS Turbo today, you'd be looking at £26,574, but the Fiesta ST, the sportiest model in the current line up, costs from £17,395.

Land Rover Defender

1990 90 2.5 TD vs 2015 Defender 90 This year sees production of the much loved Defender come to a sad end after more than 50 years. This has seen sales of the last models boom and Land Rover having to curtail availability sooner than predicted. If you're lucky, you might have been able to get your hands on one of the final 90s at £23,100.

The 1990, Defender wasn't very different from what came later but cost only £15,336. Inflation adjusted, this comes to £34,105, today, so buyers of the final Defenders were lucky in more ways than one.

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