Anyone treating themselves to something special for Christmas or whatever would do well to listen to the experts on used and new car values.

With a keen eye for future classics, CAP's been tracking transaction prices on a variety of wheels and has distilled a list to watch. Here's our favourites:

Porsche Boxster Spyder (987) - The Spyder was introduced as the lightweight Boxster, with a manual fabric roof, fabric interior handles and several other weight-loss tricks. Both manual and PDK versions have performed well, but manual is top choice, with carbon fibre bucket seats, no stereo, and no air con.

The BMW 1M was introduced around the same time with just over 1,000 in right hand drive spec. Today, there are 279 on UK roads. Their rarity, combined with their fun factor, means that they are very sought after - they now fetch more than the original cost.

Vauxhall VX220 Turbo - built on the same line as the series two Lotus Elise, the VX220 represents a relatively inexpensive way into a lightweight, raw, RWD sports car. Values have been slowly increasing with the turbo being our choice over the naturally aspirated 2.2 litre.

Fiat Coupe Turbo - With an interior styled by Pininfarina, the Fiat Couple remains a timeless, design with enthusiast support. It's hard to beat the launch colour (broom yellow) in terms of impact...

But believe it or not, there are NEW wheels out there that can love you back just a year later. And top of that pile comes Volkswagen's California. Punishing to buy new, the 2.0 California TDI BlueMotion Tech Beach 150 five-door DSG might be stickered at £44,022, but with depreciation at a mere 3%, a one year-old model with 10,000 miles will sell for £42,750. So it would cost you £1,272 for the year's motoring, or just 12p per mile in depreciation. VW Transporter values elsewhere, are also robust.

In the meanwhile, keep your radar switched on for models most likely to bomb once they've reached your driveway. Researchers at Auto Express has assembled a rogue's gallery earlier this year for the priciest lessons, asking how much they're worth after 36 months. Here they are in ascending levels of pain, with the percentage of value you retain. Our only caveat is that, if you're seeking a cut-price new-used model, these are going for a song...

  • 10 Infiniti Q50 36.3%
  • 9 Ford Ka 36.2%
  • 8 Seat Mii 36.1%
  • 7 Alfa Romeo Mito 35.3%
  • 6 Vauxhall Cascada 35%
  • 5 Maserati Quattroporte 34.3%
  • 4 Vauxhall Meriva 34.1%
  • 3 Fiat 500L 33.3%
  • 2 Fiat Qubo 29.9%