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Beyond the Sticker Price

When it comes to new car ownership, the cost of owning the car for the first few years is a significant factor worth considering before you hand over the money.  Running costs from one car to another can differ dramatically.  Costs like the replacement of parts, tyres, oil filters, fuel and even registration all factor into the equation that reveals how costly it’s going to be to run your dream car over time.  For 2013, Australia’s cheapest car to own and run is the new Suzuki Alto.  The car looks pretty cool and, for the second year running, has come out as the clear winner in a survey of Australia’s most economical vehicles.


Obviously, if you’ve seen a Suzuki Alto, you already know the car is small.  It looks cute and is powered by a zippy little 1.0-litre petrol engine.  No surprises then that the Suzuki Alto finished ahead of 109 other vehicles and was found in the Light Car class.

Owners of a Holden Cruze Equipe , Volkswagen Jetta  118 TSI, Audi A4  1.8-litre Turbo, Holden VF Evoke  LPG, Nissan Dualis ST , Hyundai Santa Fe  Active or Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo  should also be very pleased with their cars.  According to the survey, these cars came up as the least expensive cars in their class to own. Now, did I notice the Toyota’s  name in the list?  Australia’s top seller wasn’t a feature, I’m afraid!

Interestingly, LPGs, hybrids and EVs were also included in the car survey and all vehicles were checked for their affordability during the first five years of ownership.  Things like purchase price, fuel use, servicing and depreciation featured among the factors that added to the cost of owning the cars.

Now who reckons hybrids ought to be a cheap vehicle to run.  Rather amusingly, the Honda Jazz Hybrid  1.3-litre was the most expensive car to own in the light car class.  In the small car class, the Honda Civic Hybrid  1.5-litre was the most expensive car to own.  This survey made for some hard reading if you happened to be the owner of a Mazda6 Touring  (hey, that’s what my brother-in-law drives), Mercedes Benz C200 , Ford FG Falcon XT MK2  (my next-door neighbour’s latest new toy), Mazda CX-5 , Toyota Kluger  or the new Nissan Patrol .  These were the most expensive cars to own in their respective classes.

According to the RACQ Vehicle Running Costs survey, the hidden costs of vehicle ownership meant motorists were paying a lot more than they needed to when purchasing a brand new car.  RACQ’s safety policy executive manager, Steve Spalding, said that “The real cost of owning a car is much more than just the sticker price and the wrong choice could set you back thousands.  Servicing, fuel consumption, spare parts, insurance and depreciation play a major role in how much a financial burden your vehicle will be.”

Now that’s got you thinking!

Take a look at the RACQ website page if you want to know how they figured it all out: