The Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in costs more than the Nissan Leaf battery-electric vehicle up front, but it's less expensive to own during the first five years of driving. So said Kelley Blue Book in its first-ever Total Cost of Ownership study.

A Volt will cost the driver $40,629 during the first five years of ownership, or almost $1,500 less than the $42,089 it will cost to own a Leaf. Kelley Blue Book calculated the costs by factoring in expected depreciation, fuel costs, financing, insurance, regulatory fees and repair costs. The Volt's lower maintenance and insurance costs will more than offset higher fuel costs and what's likely to be higher depreciation costs stemming from the Volt's pricetag, which is about $5,000 higher than the Leaf's.

As for subcompacts, Kelley Blue Book said it was almost a dead heat between the Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris and Hyundai Accent, all of which were within $400 of each other when it came to five-year costs.

The Kelley Blue Book results represent a bit of good news for General Motors and its efforts to sell the Volt, whose 2011 sales of 7,671 units was short of its 10,000-car target and about 2,000 vehicles less than the sales of the Leaf. Among other things, GM is looking to spur sales of the Volt by offering a special lease program in California in which customers can get 2011-produced Volts with no down payment, no security deposit, no first-month's payment and no cash due upon sale.


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