Tag Archive | "comparative costs of car ownership"

The True Cost of Driving America’s Most Popular Cars

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Sacrifices are made while justifying the price on a new car — one less meal out per month, cut the cable bill, switch to a different cell phone. We find all sorts of ways to convince ourselves the new ride we covet is affordable.

 

The problem is that we’re only looking at the price on the sticker.  Gas, maintenance, insurance, and other costs are withheld from our mental checking account until after we sign on the dotted line.  Some of America’s most popular cars might be within a small margin on the sale price, but end up costing vastly different amounts of money each year.

 

(Averages are based on owners who drive 20,000 miles per year)

 

2013 Honda Accord

 

 

Approximate Price: $21,955

Approximate Annual Fuel: $2,500

Approximate Annual Insurance: $1,200

 

The Honda Accord is one of the most popular cars in the nation.  It’s also one of the most commonly stolen cars each year.  The sticker price on an Accord is higher compared to domestic sedans, but Honda is known for being more reliable and durable on average (equally less costly to maintain).  The car averages between 27 and 36 mpg, bringing fuel costs to a reasonable annual cost.

 

2013 Toyota Prius

 

 

Approximate Price: $24,200

Approximate Annual Fuel: $1,200

Approximate Annual Insurance: $1,100

 

The Prius is America’s favorite hybrid and the best selling of its kind.  Its base model retails a bit higher than the Accord but the savings on fuel drives the total cost of ownership down.  Prius’s fuel efficiency runs at about 50 mpg — that’s almost twice as efficient as comparable non-hybrid cars in some cases.  And while maintenance on these vehicles can cost more because of more complex engines, average yearly car insurance quotes still run just above $1,000 per year.

 

2013 Chevrolet Cruz

 

 

Approximate Price: $19,755

Approximate Annual Fuel: $2,300

Approximate Annual Insurance: $1,050

 

Count on American auto for cheap sticker prices and cheap maintenance.  This sub-20k option from Chevy quickly made it as one of the most popular domestic sedans in the U.S.  Routine maintenance, repairs and body work are the some of the most affordable of its class — note that domestic cars are known to need more TLC as they get older.

 

2013 Nissan Altima

 

 

Approximate Price: $21,760

Approximate Annual Fuel: $2,600

Approximate Annual Insurance: $1,200

 

The Altima is sort of a sports car stepping stone because it resembles the G37, made by sister company Infinity.  The Altima has nowhere near the same power (2.5L 4-cylinder), but it does have a much sportier feel compared to the other cars in this list.  Sticker price and insurance costs are comparable to an Accord, but you might run steep on fuel if you plan to drive the Altima like a sports car.

 

2013 Ford F-150

 

 

Approximate Price: $24,070

Approximate Annual Fuel: $4,000

Approximate Annual Insurance: $1,100

 

Trucks are more expensive on average, but just how much?  The sticker price on an F-150 is no more than the Prius, and the insurance is the same as the others on this list, but the fuel costs can be absolutely devastating.  If you drive a lot of miles for a commute, an F-150 will deal a heavy blow to the wallet when filling up at the pump.

 

 

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