KBB Predicts the Least Expensive 2013 Cars to Own

Here’s an article recapping the Kelly Blue Book picks for cars that will cost the least to own over the next 5 years. There are individual winners and brand winners. In case you’re looking for something to argue about, this list will surely generate some comments and questions:

Panamera cheap to own? I guess it’s all relative…

A ten year with warranty BATTERY Replacement for a hybrid might be worth consideration. or 10 years you may have a 3k$ battery replacement needed.

The first 5 years doesn’t interest me much. It is mostly the purchase price and then some routine maintenance that I do myself anyway. Now show me the numbers after 100K miles with all the bizarre things that could go wrong or the repairs that cost a lot just due to poor design, then I would listen.

When I look At some of these cars, I think, at some point I may have to drive it every day. I may just cut my losses and drive something else. I’m not talking about the Mustang.

Nothing too surprising. Good resale value is going to be the biggest factor in the first five years, at least between otherwise similar vehicles. I suspect insurance is also one of the other biggest variables. Different brands project different images and attract different kinds of drivers. Lexus drivers are a very sedate bunch, and despite the vroom-vroom ads, Mazda sells few performance cars and a lot of conservative family haulers. Even the Miata has modest power (and sells heavily to women.) Insurers know what you buy has a lot to do with how you drive and charge accordingly.

The first 5 years doesn't interest me much. It is mostly the purchase price and then some routine maintenance that I do myself anyway. Now show me the numbers after 100K miles with all the bizarre things that could go wrong or the repairs that cost a lot just due to poor design, then I would listen.

To ME…100k miles 2.5 years…But I agree…5 years means NOTHING…

I want to see overall costs for 200k - 250k miles.

My GMC pickup was fine for it’s first 90k miles…After that…repairs really started piling up. I think MOST vehicles no matter who makes it can go 150k miles with few repairs. It’s after 150k miles that there seems to be a gap.

And since KBB (Now owned by Auto Trader) is only looking at the first 5 years…the least expensive vehicles to buy - bubble to the top. If you went out 10 -15 years…the most reliable vehicles will bubble to the top.

I stopped buying brand new cars over 20 years ago. I wait until a vehicle is 5 years old anyway so the list is a moot point for me.

I suppose there are some accountants out there for whom the list would have meaning. For the vast majority of us, cost of ownership is just one in a list of criteria, and often not the most critical. For me the most critical by far is comfort. I have a bad back. Second is reliability and expected longevity (both based on experience and reputation). Cost of ownership is importantant, but third on the list.

A Camry lease is 300/month. A Mercedes 350e is 689/mo. Do the math. Both cars lose the same percent of value each yr but have widely different purchase price.

Five years means NOTHING…Virtually ANY new car you can buy today is going to be “cheap to own” for it’s first 5 years…Many have bumper to bumper warranties…

Any ownwership cost calculations have to be all costs for the total life cycle, and include depreciation to $0, insurance, fuel, maintenance and repairs. In Europe it also includes road tax which varies greatly with the weight and power of the vehicle.

I’m flattered that the Mazda 3 we own is called the lowest by KBB, but I think a lowly Hyundai Accent or Toyota Yaris would be less over its life.

Of course the lowest cost of driving is to buy a low mileage well depreciated, good car, like a 4 year old Mazda 3 and drive it till it expires.

" • Full-size car: Chevrolet Impala "


I’ve got 4 in the garage/driveway so far. They vary in age and miles to 12 years and over 250,000 miles. My next purchase will be an Impala.

They are comfortable and very reliable. They cost next to nothing to own/operate. Gasoline and oil changes every 5,000 miles is about it. Tires and brakes last a long time on these machines. With 3.5L, 3.6L, 3.8L, and 3.9L engines all with the same basic lay-out we get 30+mpg hwy.

After having owned several GM cars of the type that folks hold up as models of what’s wrong with American cars I left them for a decade or so, but now after needing a safe, economical, practical car for my son to use at college and buying one used, well-seasoned, 6 years ago, I’m hooked. That one is still going, driven daily by my daughter 50 to 100 miles/day.


My faith in various lists of anything is zero no matter if it’s cars, best cities to live in, best restaurants, or whatever. It changes every few weeks or months anyway.

Channel surfing the TV one night I see the onscreen guide shows VHI presenting the Top 100 Rock Bands of All Time. There was less than 10 minutes left so I left it there expecting the worst and was not disappointed. The best rock band of all time is The Ramones… :frowning:

" Ok4450, As Usual, I Basically Concur With What You’re Saying About Lists And Ratings From Magazines, Surveys, Studies, And Other Self-Appointed Authorities. "

The Ramones ? The Ramones ?

I thought Bubble Puppy (Remember Hot Smoke And Sassafras ?) would take the prize.


The Ramones? Ugh!

Generally speaking, cars that are the least expensive to own need a combinations of factors IMO, working in their behalf. None of which might include performance, handling, economy etc. If you ask a Corvette owner whether his car was less expensive to own, he might very well say no. Ask him if he was satisfied with his purchase, the answer might very well be yes. What is more important imo, is driver satisfaction.

My Brother has proven to me that his Ford Ranger pick ups, 4 of them over many years, were the cheapest trucks to own compared to other compact trucks. Being an acountant, I saw his meticulous records many times over. But, EVERYTIME we went some where in one, I had to listen to his litney of complaints about it’s performance and ride. When it came time to buy another, money always overoad his choice and he would buy another. The difference was, in the spring time, I had to pick him up in town to drive in through the mud with my Toyota to our house for dinner as he was so fearful his truck ouldn’t handle it…rightfully so. So, if your vehicle is inexpensive to own, you more often, get what you pay for !

For me, one of the cheapest cars to own was my Suzuki Sidekick. It performed well, but when it did need repairs, I got tired of waiting for parts. That factor was enough for me to leave the Suzuki brand in Other products, outboards included. Suzuki made cars that were inexpensive to own. Now where are they ? Soon, nowhere to be found in the US. Cars in general had better perform well and be enjoyed by their owners, or they will follow suit regardless of their cost.

The list was broken into categories because luxury or high performance cars are more expensive to repair than economy or family cars. The Porsche Panamera was only on the list because there was a high end luxury group.

The #1 expense for every new car is depreciation. Not surprisingly, luxury cars always cost more because they depreciate more in absolute dollars.

And the lesson here is, NEVER buy a new car if you’re really interested in lowering your transportation cost. And don’t think that keeping a car longer is going to cost you more money.

Cost of ownership is different for each owner. My S-15 was very expensive to me. Besides the cost of repairs…at the time I was doing consulting…and I lost many days of pay because of breakdowns.