The Cheapest Cars to Own Over a 5-Year Period

Paul Ausick

The overall ownership costs of a new car can have a big impact on a consumer’s choice of what to buy. Obviously, a small, fuel-efficient car is less expensive to operate than a massive sport utility vehicle (SUV), but that’s an apples to oranges comparison. Most car buyers know what kind of vehicle they want and need to know how the vehicles in that category stack up against one another.

Researchers at Kelley Blue Book (KBB) released Wednesday morning their picks as the best 2017 model year vehicles based on their five-year cost of ownership. The awards in 20 categories are based on KBB’s data for the initial five-year ownership period.

KBB’s cost of ownership data includes depreciation and fuel costs, the two main contributors to ownership costs. The data also includes finance and insurance fees, maintenance and repair costs, and state fees.

In addition to rating individual 2017 models, KBB also awarded general awards. Subaru was named the Best Brand and Honda’s Acura was named the Best Luxury Brand.

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) placed more cars on the list than any of the Detroit Three with seven top picks. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) had two and Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) had one. Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) claimed five top picks, including its Lexus brand. Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMC) had two, Nissan’s Infiniti brand had two top picks and Subaru had one.

Here are KBB’s top picks, listed by category and manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP):

  • Subcompact car: Chevrolet Spark; $13,000
  • Compact car: Toyota Corolla; $18,500
  • Sporty compact car: Ford Fiesta ST; $21,140
  • Midsize car: Honda Accord; $22,455
  • Full-size car: Chevrolet Impala; $27,300
  • Entry-level luxury car: Buick Verano; $21,065
  • Luxury car: Lexus GS; $46,310
  • Sports car: Toyota 86; 26,255
  • Hybrid/alternative energy car: Toyota Prius; $24,685
  • Electric vehicle: Toyota Prius Prime; $27,100
  • Subcompact SUV/crossover: Honda HR-V; $19,465
  • Compact SUV/crossover: Subaru Crosstek; $21,695
  • Midsize SUV/crossover: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited; $27,895
  • Full-size SUV/crossover: Chevrolet Tahoe; $47,215
  • Luxury compact SUV/crossover: Buick Encore; $22,990
  • Luxury midsize SUV/crossover: Infiniti QX60; $43,100
  • Luxury full-size SUV/crossover: Infiniti QX80; $63,850
  • Midsize pickup: Chevrolet Colorado extended cab; $20,055
  • Full-size pickup: Chevrolet Silverado 1500 regular cab; $27,585
  • Minivan: Dodge Grand Caravan; $24,995