Cheapest Cars to Own: Introduction

Cheapest Cars to Own: Introduction

These costs can vary tremendously by model. For instance, drivers of the Toyota Yaris might pay out $4,927 over five years for fuel while Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 drivers will shell out almost three times more--$14,123. And over five years, while a Mini Cooper should be worth just over half of its $18,550 MSRP, the Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG could lose about $133,000 (66%) of its original value.
Cheapest Cars to Own: Introduction

Cheapest Cars to Own: Introduction

If you're looking to pinch pennies on your next new vehicle, a low sticker price is just one aspect. What some car buyers don't consider ahead of time are ownership costs. Over several years, you'll have to pay for insurance, fuel fill-ups, maintenance, and probably even a few repairs. And at the end when it's time to trade up, the vehicle will be worth just a fraction of what it was when new.
Cheapest Cars to Own: Introduction

Cheapest Cars to Own: Introduction

That's a sample of what can be gleaned from Vincentric LLC cost-of-ownership data, which is available to browse at AOL Autos. To arrive at the figures, Vincentric researches and anticipates these hidden costs to yield an estimate for several years of ownership. Here we list the 15 vehicle models with Vincentric's lowest five-year cost of ownership.

Continue to see the full list >>
#15 Cheapest: Pontiac Vibe

#15 Cheapest: Pontiac Vibe

Trim: Base 5-door hatchback
MSRP: $16,100
EPA fuel economy (City/Hwy): 26/32 mpg
Five-year cost of ownership: $28,725
The Vibe is closely related to the Toyota Matrix yet many prefer the Pontiac's styling. It also comes with electronic stability control (optional on the Matrix) and a longer GM warranty. Data shows that the Vibe will depreciate less in five years than the Matrix, too.
#14 Cheapest: Nissan Sentra

#14 Cheapest: Nissan Sentra

Trim: S 4-door sedan, manual
MSRP: $16,960
EPA fuel economy (City/Hwy): 21/29 mpg
Five-year cost of ownership: $28,698
Nissan's Sentra is especially roomy and refined for a small sedan. The Sentra will also hold its value better than most small cars and should be among the least expensive to repair and maintain over five years.
#13 Cheapest: Toyota Tacoma

#13 Cheapest: Toyota Tacoma

Trim: Reg. Cab 2WD, manual
MSRP: $15,170
EPA fuel economy (City/Hwy): 20/26 mpg
Five-year cost of ownership: $28,588
The Tacoma is the only pickup to make the list. That's because it has such strong resale value. It also has one of the lowest estimated repair costs in the first five years, and the economical four-cylinder engine keeps costs at the pump to a minimum.
#12 Cheapest: Kia Spectra

#12 Cheapest: Kia Spectra

Trim: LX 4-door sedan, manual
MSRP: $13,200
EPA fuel economy (City/Hwy): 23/30 mpg
Five-year cost of ownership: $28,300
The Spectra is a bit larger than the Kia Rio, though it's almost as cheap to own. The Spectra holds its value better than the Rio and costs less in terms of depreciation, though the higher initial price and slightly lower fuel economy offsets that.
#11 Cheapest: Scion xD

#11 Cheapest: Scion xD

Trim: 5-door hatchback, manual
MSRP: $14,650
EPA fuel economy (City/Hwy): 27/33 mpg
Five-year cost of ownership: $28,037
Frills like A/C, cruise, and keyless entry come standard on the xD, but it's still fiscally responsible. Like the small Toyotas on which it's based, the xD has top-notch reliability and it's inexpensive to insure. Dealerships offer plenty of accessories, too.
#10 Cheapest: Chevy Cobalt

#10 Cheapest: Chevy Cobalt

Trim: LS 4-door sedan
MSRP: $15,660
EPA fuel economy (City/Hwy): 25/35 mpg
Five-year cost of ownership: $27,957
Chevy's comfortable Cobalt has the lowest estimated maintenance cost of any other vehicle in the U.S. market. Plus, the Cobalt is very fuel-efficient, Chevy dealerships are everywhere (at least for now), and parts are easy to come by.
#9 Cheapest: Toyota Corolla

#9 Cheapest: Toyota Corolla

Trim: Base 4-door sedan, manual
MSRP: $15,350
EPA fuel economy (City/Hwy): 26/35 mpg
Five-year cost of ownership: $27,841
For decades, the Corolla has maintained a reputation for reliability, good fuel economy, and low running costs. The 2009 Corolla is no exception and appeals to a new generation of cheapskates the way few cars do--with manual, wind-up windows.
#8 Cheapest: Mitsubishi Lancer

#8 Cheapest: Mitsubishi Lancer

Trim: DE 4-door sedan, manual
MSRP: $14,340
EPA fuel economy (City/Hwy): 22/30 mpg
Five-year cost of ownership: $27,676
The Lancer has a more substantial feel than most other inexpensive small sedans, and it's more fun to drive. Would you expect any less from a vehicle that's sold in sporty GTS and Ralliart models, and the basis for the rally-tuned Evolution?
#7 Cheapest: Honda Fit

#7 Cheapest: Honda Fit

Trim: Base 5-door hatchback, manual
MSRP: $14,750
EPA fuel economy (City/Hwy): 27/33 mpg
Five-year cost of ownership: $27,291
The Honda Fit has a lot going for it. It's not only one of the best-rated small cars because of its perky driving feel, vast interior, and versatile interior; the Fit is also top-rated for safety, holds its value well, and is one of the cheapest cars to maintain and repair.
#6 Cheapest: Ford Focus

#6 Cheapest: Ford Focus

Trim: S 4-door sedan
MSRP: $14,995 ($15,520)
EPA fuel economy (City/Hwy): 24/35 mpg
Five-year cost of ownership: $26,894
The Focus has surprisingly good predicted resale value, which reduces the cost of ownership. Last year the Focus got a thoroughly upgraded interior and much-improved refinement; from the inside, it doesn't feel like you're driving one of the least-expensive cars.
#5 Cheapest: Chevy Aveo

#5 Cheapest: Chevy Aveo

Trim: LS 5-door hatchback, manual
MSRP: $11,495 ($11,965)
EPA fuel economy (City/Hwy): 27/34 mpg
Five-year cost of ownership: $26,732
The little Aveo has become a rental-car mainstay--probably for this reason; it's among the cheapest to own. The only exception? Vincentric estimates its maintenance cost to be nearly $3500 over five years--more than double that of the Honda Fit or Chevy Cobalt.
#4 Cheapest: Kia Rio

#4 Cheapest: Kia Rio

Trim: Base 4-door sedan, manual
MSRP: $11,495
EPA fuel economy (City/Hwy): 27/33 mpg
Five-year cost of ownership: $26,258
The Rio is surprisingly comfortable for such a cheap car. The bargain price of the base-model Rio might even help drivers forget that they have no A/C. Kia's ten-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty--along with its five/60,000 coverage for roadside assistance--is also very reassuring.
#3 Cheapest: Hyundai Accent

#3 Cheapest: Hyundai Accent

Trim: Base 5-door hatchback
MSRP: $9970
EPA fuel economy (City/Hwy): 27/33 mpg
Five-year cost of ownership: $26,237
The Accent holds the crown (for 2009) of being the lowest-priced car in the U.S. Even though it loses most of its value after five years, that doesn't keep it from being one of the cheapest to own. Having no A/C or power accessories also keeps down potential repair costs.
#2 Cheapest: Toyota Yaris

#2 Cheapest: Toyota Yaris

Trim: Base 3-door hatchback, manual
MSRP: $12,205
EPA fuel economy (City/Hwy): 29/36 mpg
Five-year cost of ownership: $24,915
Besides being one of the most fuel-efficient small cars in America, the Toyota Yaris is one of the lowest to repair. As a three-door hatchback, the Yaris is an especially stylish yet cost-conscious little runabout for the city.
#1 Cheapest: Nissan Versa

#1 Cheapest: Nissan Versa

Trim: Base sedan, manual
MSRP: $9990
EPA fuel economy (City/Hwy): 26/31 mpg
Five-year cost of ownership: $23,540
For 2009, Nissan introduced an even cheaper, 1.6-liter version of its Versa subcompact. It has a four-figure MSRP, you don't have much to lose to depreciation, it's good on gas, and insurance is among the lowest of any vehicle. In these tough times, the Versa points the way to frugality.


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