How much does it really cost us to drive our car, and does the cost make sense if there are alternatives? Shouldn’t even small-town girls who grew up in rural areas be willing to end the single-driver/single car nonsense and use mass transit? These are questions that roll around in Gildshire‘s head when they roll out on an 8-lane freeway at a brisk 8 mph. Look at all the people driving alone! There has to be a better way! Well, first we need to calculate how much it costs us to drive. That’s what the good folks at Motor1 did. They calculated repair cost and frequency, folding in gas cost and insurance prices as part of the equation. The result was a list of the cheapest cars to own and drive.
What did we do with this list? Knowing that the cheapest cars would all be variations on the smallest cars on the road, we tweaked the list. So, these are the cheapest cars to drive up through the price and size spectrum. Not everyone wants to drive an econobox, and Gildshire knows that. However, everyone should want to make some sense of the dollars exiting their wallet as they drive. Here then, the cheapest rides, adjusted for taste and size.
Subcompact, Toyota Yaris iA. A car with an interesting naming history starts our list. This is the small sedan formerly called the Scion iA that also sells as the Mazda2. It’s surprisingly quick and treats its occupants to a well-finished interior that looks and feels like it belongs in a much costlier car. Five-year fuel, insurance, and maintenance cost: $16.35/day.
Compact, Hyundai Elantra. Redesigned in 2017, and further tweaked for 2018 the Elantra is among the most stylish smaller cars on the road. A generous warranty helps seal the deal. Five-year fuel, insurance, and maintenance cost: $16.39/day.
Midsize, Subaru Legacy. Low depreciation costs help make the Legacy sedan a solid deal, especially with the all-wheel-drive standard equipment for foul-weather prowess. (that last sentence was for those dealing with the bomb cyclone in the northeast.) Five-year fuel, insurance, and maintenance cost: $19.23/day.
Sports Car, Fiat 124 Spyder. Frugal fuel economy helps keep ownership costs low on Fiat’s Italian-Asian fusion version of the Mazda Miata. Five-year fuel, insurance, and maintenance cost: $19.88/day.
Full-Sized, Ford Taurus: The Taurus sedan delivers a big bang for the buck with lower long-term costs than its full-size competitors. The styling updates for 2018 help, as well. Five-year fuel, insurance, and maintenance cost: $20.69/day.
Luxury Coupe, Lexus RC 200t. While the base 200t version of Lexus’ expressive coupe is the least sporty in the line (Blame the 2.0 lite turbo-charged engine.) it’s a lot less expensive to own than the speedier RC F. There can be no doubt, though, it is a sharply dressed car. Five-year fuel, insurance, and maintenance cost: $24.30/day.
Luxury Convertible, Audi A3. Convertibles are usually exempt when it comes to lists like this, but the small A3 shares good fuel economy and otherwise relatively low ownership costs. Five-year fuel, insurance, and maintenance cost: $26.61/day.
That’s our list and there are some nice rides on there! Did your car make it? Could you get away with, “Honey, our car isn’t on the list I’m going to the Lexus dealership backsoonbyenow?” Um, yeah, good luck with that.