Kelly Blue Book projects ownership costs for new cars

February 5, 2013 12:00 AM

Most prospective drivers take the vehicle maintenance and care they will have to give a certain car in mind before they buy. Kelley Blue Book (KBB) tries to take the guesswork out of this for consumers by projecting the costs associated with the first five years of ownership, estimating the overall cost by taking into account expected fuel prices, insurance fees, scheduled maintenance, auto repair and depreciation.

"New car shoppers are often most concerned with the upfront cost of a vehicle - however, consumers would be wise to consider their purchase from a more holistic standpoint by examining the total cost to own a vehicle over the initial five-year ownership period," said Dan Ingle, vice president at KBB. "Kelley Blue Book's five-year Cost to Own information allows consumers to evaluate which brands and models make the most sense for their pocketbooks as they prepare for a major purchase decision in buying a new car."

KBB's findings for the 2013 model year encompass a wide variety of car types. Based on the data, the top brands for cost to own value were Mazda and Lexus, both of which overtook Kia, the 2012 winner. Despite having an initial price tag that is relatively higher than its competitors, Mazda has low depreciation and good fuel economy, which helps cut down on costs accrued throughout the first five years of ownership. Drivers of a Mazda3, Mazda2 and the CX-5 may find that their rides are easier and cheaper to care for over time. 

Lexus staked a claim to the title of top luxury brand, boasting the lowest costs for depreciation, fuel, and maintenance or repairs of any similar brand. Another notable winner was the Hyundai Sonata, which was recognized in years past for earlier models and continued the trend into 2013. The Sonata bested the Honda Accord and Nissan Altima thanks to better insurance costs, but the three vehicles were separated by less than $200 in total cost. 

Drivers who want to buy a car with the environment in mind may want to look into the Scion IQ. As the cheapest subcompact car to own over the five-year period, the Scion offers a low starting price as well as low car repair costs. According to Green Car Reports, even hybrids like the Honda Insight, which was praised for its quality and reliability, are more expensive to own in the long-term. 

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