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Resale values: We name best and worst

Perceptions tend to create their own reality, and when it comes to cars, opinions can get very vociferous.

How many times have you heard someone say they’ll never buy “Brand A” because of its poor resale value? And the more times you hear it repeated the more firmly entrenched the perception takes hold, even though you might have never owned a car from that particular brand.

2010 Porsche 911 Carrera retained 84.3 percent of its value in the last year.

In many cases the perceptions are right on the mark, but not always. Would it surprise you to hear, for instance, that there are certain Alfa Romeos and Renaults that have better resale values than certain Toyotas? Scandalous, you might shout ... unthinkable! But true, according to the TransUnion Auto Dealers’ Guide, that little book car dealers always flip through before gravely pronouncing what trade-in they’ll offer on your used car.

To separate fact from perception, here is a random sampling, taken from the latest Auto Dealers’ Guide, of the value-retention of a list of new 2010-model cars after one year.

Although most people hang onto their cars for at least four years, we decided not to do the exercise over this period because many a car that was on the market in 2007 has since been replaced by a new-generation model.

We wanted to focus on cars that you can buy new today, and in any case it’s in the first year that a vehicle’s value goes through its steepest decline.

The general trend is for cars to drop between 20 and 25 percent of their value in the first year, which means they’re worth between 75-80 percent of their original value.

Porsche is the brand with the highest value retention, particularly the 911 which is still worth nearly 85 percent of its original value after a year. Less successful value retainers are in the low seventieth percentile, while some cars even dip into the sixties.

As you can see by the list, trade-in values aren’t always brand-specific but can vary greatly according to model (Alfa Romeo being a prime example).

Our list is a random sampling of 2010 models, their original purchase price, their current trade-in value and what percentage of their original value this represents. Bear in mind that the trade-in values listed here are basic guidelines, and will vary according to the car’s mileage, condition, and regional popularity among other factors.

(Original price) Current trade-in - % of original value

Alfa Romeo Mito 1.4: (R248 022) R193 100 - 77.9%

Alfa Romeo 159 1.9 JTS: (R303 500) R195 300 - 64.3%

Audi A3 1.8TFSI: (R283 675) R223 100 - 78.6%

Audi A4 1.8 T: (R328 180) R260 900 - 79.5%

BMW 320i: (R313 899) R248 500 - 79.2%

BMW X5 3.0D: (R657 500) R537 300 - 81.7%

Chana Benni 1.3: (R79 900) R58 400 - 73.1%

Chevrolet Spark 1.0: (R106 550) R79 000 - 74.1%

Chevrolet Cruze 1.8: (R214 600) R165 400 - 77.1%

Chery QQ3 0.8: (R69 900) R53 700 - 76.8%

Chrysler 300C 3.5 (R431 015) R312 300 - 72.5%

Citroen C3 1.6: (R148 500) R94 700 - 63.8%

Citroen C4 1.6: (R185 000) R130 300 - 70.4%

Daihatsu Sirion 1.3: (R139 995) R106 500 - 76.1%

Dodge Caliber 1.8: (R206 900) R154 800 - 74.8%

Fiat Bravo 1.4 T-Jet: (R252 100) R192 500 - 76.4%

Ford Fiesta 1.6i: (R201 600) R159 500 - 79.1%

Ford Focus 1.8: (R196 910) R148 400 - 75.4%

Honda Jazz 1.5i: (R198 550) R158 300 - 79.7%

Honda Accord 2.4: (R346 766) R275 300 - 79.4%

Hyundai Getz 1.4: (R147 400) R117 400 - 79.6%

Hyundai Elantra 2.0: (R201 900) R153 200 - 75.9%

Jaguar XF 3.0: (R565 000) R455 100 - 80.5%

Jeep Cherokee 2.8 CRD: (R382 900) R304 900 - 79.6%

Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD: (R517 126) R393 500 - 76.1%

Kia Picanto 1.1: (R102 995) R81 700 - 79.3%

Kia Cerato 2.0: (R205 995) R159 800 - 77.6%

Land Rover Freelander 2.2 TD4: (R489 995) R357 800 - 73%

Land Rover Discovery TDV6: (R750 995) R596 700 - 79.5%

Lexus IS250: (R395 800) R307 100 - 77.6%

Lexus RX450H: (R785 400) R598 700 - 76.2%

Mazda3 1.6: (R236 440) R180 100 - 76.2%

Mazda5 2.0: (R251 430) R195 300 - 77.7%

Mercedes A180 CDI: (R274 523) R214 400 - 78.1%

Mercedes C200K: (R354 400) R277 400 - 78.3%

Mercedes E350 CDI: (R632 000) R504 500 - 79.8%

Mitsubishi Lancer 2.0: (R241 413) R179 700 - 74.4%

Mitsubishi Pajero 3.2 Di-D: (R594 000) R453 400 - 76.3%

Mini Cooper 1.6S: (R290 723) R221 900 - 76.3%

Nissan Micra 1.4: (R163 500) R107 300 - 65.6%

Nissan Tiida 1.6: (R186 700) R138 300 - 74.1%

Nissan Xtrail 2.0 4x2: (R288 900) R218 800 - 75.7%

Opel Corsa 1.4: (R162 350) R126 200 - 77.7%

Peugeot 207 1.6: (R200 000) R149 100 - 74.6%

Peugeot 308 1.6: (R197 500) R145 900 - 73.9%

Porsche Boxster 2.9: (R565 000) R461 600 - 81.7%

Porsche 911 Carrera: (R955 000) R804 600 - 84.3%

Renault Sandero 1.6: (R119 900) R93 500 - 78%

Renault Clio 1.2 Va Va Voom: (R117 000) R86 800 - 74.2%

Ssangyong Actyon XDi 4x4: (R259 995) R185 500 - 71.3%

Subaru Impreza 2.5 WRX: (R331 000) R257 900 - 77.9%

Subaru Forester 2.5: (R314 000) R243 000 - 77.4%

Suzuki Swift 1.5: (R144 900) R112 900 - 77.9%

Suzuki Grand Vitara 2.4: (R322 900) R246 500 - 76.3%

Tata Indica 1.4: (R89 995) R66 900 - 74.3%

Toyota Yaris T3: (R171 500) R130 600 - 76.2%

Toyota Corolla 1.6: (R204 200) R159 900 - 78.3%

Toyota Fortuner D-4D 4x4: (R417 300) R338 100 - 81%

Volkswagen Golf GTi: (R322 050) R254 100 - 78.9%

Volvo C30 T5: R308 000 (R234 700) - 76.2%

Volvo XC90 D5: (R568 900) R442 300 - 77.7%

Source: TransUnion Auto Dealers' Guide

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