Polo vs Corolla vs Elantra - which sedan has the best resale value?

By Motoring Staff Time of article published Oct 8, 2019

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JOHANNESBURG - The sedan market as a whole might be shrinking, but a few of the more affordable four-doors are still selling up a storm as there remains a strong demand for this type of vehicle among Uber drivers, company car fleets and even private buyers seeking a family car with a secure boot.

On the new car sales charts, the Toyota Corolla Quest is still South Africa’s most popular compact sedan, with Toyota having sold 1353 of them in September, while and Polo Sedan followed in a distant second place with 546 units. 

However, the roles are reversed when it comes to resale value, says True Price managing director Daryl Jacobson, whose company recently crunched the resale numbers of a batch of compact sedans that also included the Hyundai Elantra and Suzuki Ciaz. 

It’s worth noting, however, that this data comes from repossession auctions only, so it’s not necessarily a reflection of prices paid at dealer level, but in fairness it is still a strong indication of what people are prepared to pay for these vehicles.

True Price found that its sample of Volkswagen Polo Sedans, which were registered between 2016 and 2019 and with a maximum of 140 000km on the clock, on average retained 70.55 percent of their value, while the Toyota Corolla Quest models came a close second, retaining 68.78 percent.

The Hyundai Elantra followed in third at 64.95 percent, while the newer-generation Toyota Corolla was fourth at 64.15 percent. True Price saw a similar scenario unfold with Volkswagen’s Polo and Polo Vivo hatchbacks in a previous survey (read more here), where the older-generation car held its value better, likely because its far-lower price as a new car gave it a lower base to depreciate from.

The final sedan surveyed, Suzuki’s Ciaz, ended up a distant fifth, retaining only 56.44 percent of its value. While the Ciaz is in our opinion an underrated vehicle on the new market, this unfortunately reflects in its used selling prices at auction, but if you’re looking for a second hand steal then a Ciaz might well be worth considering.


Volkswagen Polo Sedan 70.55%
Toyota Corolla Quest 68.78%
Hyundai Elantra 64.95%
Toyota Corolla 64.15%
Suzuki Ciaz 56.44%

Jacobson noted that Polos were in high demand at auctions, particularly among the younger generation:

“The Polo is a really good-looking vehicle. It is a very refined package, offering Golf-like ride quality, a comfortable and surprisingly spacious interior and great road manners. In fact, the Polo really doesn’t put a foot wrong. It is extremely popular on auctions, with many younger buyers wanting a Polo at any cost”.

True Price is a start-up that provides South Africans with free vehicle evaluations. Its staff members attend auctions every week in order to document actual selling prices, which are then added to an extensive database.

IOL Motoring

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