We've all seen the ads in the newspaper or in commercials that say you can get a new car with zero money down and only $299 per month. Quick math tells you that even after taxes and destination, you're only paying about $4,400 the first year to own a brand new car. A recent study by consulting firm Runzheimer International shows that a new car will cost you considerably more in overall operating costs. At 15,000 miles per year, the cost of insurance, gasoline, fees, depreciation, and maintenance can drive the overall cost near $20,000 per year.

The 2008 Cadillac STS was tops in this year's test, costing buyers $19,537. The Lexus LS460 was close behind at $19,372. Big vehicles cost quite a bit also, with Ford's E-350 XL SuperDuty tallying a $16,543 bill followed by the Chevy Tahoe LS 4x4 at $15,789. There were some relatively low cost vehicles as well, with the first year costs of a Toyota Corolla CE coming in lowest in the test at $7,933 and a Ford Ranger XL pickup that hits $9,929. If these numbers seem high, it's because the highest liability in a new car balance sheet is depreciation, and new cars can lose thousands the day they're driven off the lot. Every mile on the odometer brings the resale value lower, and if your new car carried lots of incentives or it's a rental car favorite, its residual plummets even further.

[Source: The Car Connection]