The Cheapest-To-Own Cars And Trucks For 2017 – Forbes

Posted: Wednesday, February 08, 2017

According to Kelley Blue Book, the Chevrolet Spark is the cheapest car to own, in terms of long-term expenses, for 2017. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

All but the wealthiest car buyers compare sticker prices when shopping for a new ride, but we’d guess far fewer consider how much money a given vehicle will actually cost to own and operate over the course of several years.

The sharpest car shoppers work the bottom line like an accountant to determine which models under their consideration will prove to be the most financially advantageous in the long run. This includes comparing the costs of depreciation – how much the vehicle will have lost in value at trade-in time – fuel, insurance premiums, maintenance charges, state fees, and out-of-warranty repair bills.

“­­New-car shoppers typically give more consideration to the cost of a car upfront, but sometimes other factors, such as depreciation, maintenance and fuel costs, can significantly increase total ownership costs,” says Mike Sadowski, vice president of operations and general manager for Kelley Blue Book.

To help consumers find the best overall deals, KBB just announced its annual 5-Year Cost to Own Awards in 20 separate vehicle classes. The kbb.com website tracks new vehicles’ depreciation, fuel costs, insurance costs, financing, repairs, maintenance, and average state sales taxes and registration fees over a five-year ownership period, and even computes a per-mile expenditure for easy comparison. We’re featuring the 20 vehicles cited by KBB for low ownership costs in their respective classes in the accompanying slideshow.

The cheapest-to-own vehicle among all models for 2017 is the Chevrolet Spark microcar, which starts at around $15,000. It’s not for everybody, but in its base form (with an automatic transmission) KBB predicts the Spark will cost an average owner $27,577 over five years, which comes to $5,511 a year, $459 a month, or 36 cents a mile.

Among automakers, Subaru was cited as having the lowest overall ownership costs among mainstream makes for the second year in a row; KBB notes the brand’s low rate of depreciation and stalwart fuel economy as helping keep expenditures affordable across the model line. Meanwhile, Acura took top honors among luxury brands, placing its vehicles either first or second in better than half of the aforementioned ownership cost factors. Among individual models, the Chevrolet Impala was cited as having the lowest costs among large cars for the sixth year running and is the only car to fill that slot since KBB initiated the awards in 2012.

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