Residual value forecaster CAP says the features most sought after by used car buyers varies significantly from car to car.
For example, buyers of a Volkswagen Golf 1.6 SE particularly look for leather upholstery, while Passat 2.0 SE buyers prize xenon headlights.
Leather is valued less than satellite navigation by the buyers of a Renault Megane 1.6 VVTi Privilege, while climate control adds most to the used value of a Renault Laguna 1.8 16v Dynamique.
CAP also warns that choosing expensive options from new, to maximise RVs, can send wholelife costs soaring.
Take, for example, the value of a Mercedes-Benz C180 K Elegance SE automatic after three years and 60,000 miles.
The total options bill for choosing sat-nav, leather, electric glass roof and Parktronic reversing alarm from new is £4,620. But in the used market those features retain about £850, adding £3,770 to the cost of ownership over a typical fleet cycle.
Colour also plays a significant role in used car value. On the BMW 3-series, eight of the 12 available colours reduced the car’s value after three years and 60,000 miles. Choosing a new car in alpine white knocked £650 off the used car’s worth.
However, picking sapphire black would add £40.
CAP database manager John Watts, said: ‘Our research shows that the values of option choices are not generic across the used market, but model-specific.
‘This demonstrates the value of greater depth of understanding than ever before when calculating true depreciation.’