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The H2 retained 71.14 per cent of its original MSRP value over four years, compared to 50 to 65 per cent for most vehicles.

Kiichiro Sato/AP Photo

It was a shock pick that no one saw coming – the Hummer H2 was named the vehicle with the best resale value at an awards ceremony prior to the opening of the Canadian International AutoShow (CIAS).

"I have to confess, we checked the numbers a few times on that one," said Josh Bailey, vice-president of research for Canadian Black Book, the largest publisher of wholesale used vehicle prices in Canada. In all, 19 vehicles were honoured for their segment resale values by the organization, with Toyota brands winning the most.

The Hummer brand sold poorly and was axed by General Motors after the auto maker's fall into bankruptcy protection in 2009. The H2 was Hummer's highest selling vehicle, best known for its hulking size, anti-enviro ethos and outrageous thirst for fuel.

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Bailey admits he was surprised to see that the H2 retained 71.14 per cent of its original MSRP value over four years, compared to the 50 to 65 per cent that's more typical after four years in the other 18 Best Retained Value award winners. The awards compared the wholesale used car values of 2010 models, many of which were sold in 2009.

"I have some anecdotal info that a fair number of [H2 models] are being exported to other countries, where there's more demand on it … [but] there are still people who want that type of image, even with a really butch reputation."

Toyota brand vehicles bagged six awards, as well as one for the Lexus GS. Even in categories they didn't win, Toyota and Lexus vehicles often came in second or third-place.

The Prius was a notable repeat winner in the compact car class, Bailey said, because last year it became the first hybrid to ever win a retained value award. "I had sometimes questioned whether hybrids would make a name for themselves in terms of holding value," said Bailey in an interview. "When you look at hybrid versions of gas cars, like the Camry Hybrid, they don't tend to do as well."

Other alternative powertrain choices could also make a major difference on resale values, he said, adding that diesels in particular tend to hold their value well in Canada.

"Comparing gas and diesel versions of the [Volkswagen] Jetta and last Grand Cherokee, this is fairly clear, with the Grand Cherokee diesel especially holding even more value than the original value of the diesel option."

The powertrain popularity differences going forward are not always so stark, however. Comparing diesel and gas versions of the popular 2014 Chevrolet Cruze, the diesel is projected to retain 40 per cent of its MSRP after four years, compared with 36 per cent for the similarly equipped Cruze 2LT gas model, Bailey said.

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Switch that powertrain out for a plug-in, with the even more fuel-stingy Chevrolet Volt – which is based on the Cruze body architecture, but with a electric-mostly/gas-when-needed powertrain – and the Volt is also predicted to retain 40 per cent of its value after four years, said Bailey. That compares to an industry average of 44 per cent.

Residual values are especially important to buyers expecting to lease their next new vehicle, as higher retained value means less depreciation to cover, and therefore lower monthly payments.

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