Cheapest new cars to buy, own and operate revealed

Are you in the market for a new car but don’t want everything from the petrol costs to the insurance setting you back big time? Then check out the vehicles that were rated to have low operating and service costs by the team at car insurer RACV.

111 cars were compared across 13 categories by costs, such as depreciation, servicing, registration, fuel and insurance over a five year, 75,000km (15,000 km per year) period.

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Unsurprisingly the small car class offered the most budget friendly vehicles to run, with the Suzuki Celerio 5dr found to be the cheapest with a low upfront cost of $12,990 and a weekly running cost of $97.65. By comparison, at a whopping $443.60 per week, the Nissan Patrol ST-L was rated as the most expensive car to run.

In the medium category, the Skoda Octavia 103TSI Ambition was the cheapest car to run with a weekly running cost of $171.91. Whereas, the most expensive medium sized car analysed was the Mercedes Benz C200 with a weekly cost of $304.62.

When it came to electric cars, the Toyota Prius c was shown to have the lowest operating cost at $152.60 per week.

RACV’s Manager Vehicle Engineering, Michael Case, said that low interest rates and lower fuel prices compared to last year, mean 2015 is a more affordable year to buy and operate a vehicle.

Here are Case’s top tips for keeping car costs down:

- Before you hit the showroom, do your homework and most importantly don’t be swayed by emotion. Ask yourself: Am I buying the car I want or the car I need?

- Look beyond the purchase price and always be aware of the hidden costs, as things like depreciation are the biggest single cost in owning a car, even if you don’t see it until it’s time to sell. 

- Know how much it costs to have your car serviced, to fill the tank, replace tyres, pay insurance, rego, stamp duty, spare parts and RACV membership.

- Mainstream brands offer capped price servicing but it is important to do your research as they aren’t all the same.

- Always shop around when it comes to petrol, as considerable savings can be made at the bowser and when buying fuel, be aware of the fuel price cycle and fill up when it is cheap.

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Last updated 19 June 2024 Important disclosures and comparison rate warning*
  • Used Car Loan

    Fixed, Secured, No vehicle age limit

    Interest rate
    comparison rate
    Monthly repayment
    6.57% p.a.to 18.99% p.a.
    7.19% p.a.to 21.78% p.a.based on $30,000
    over 5 years

    Get a competitive fixed interest rate on a secured used car loan of up to $75,000 depending on your credit score. No vehicle age limits. Easy online application. Fast pre-approval. Pre-approved funds held for up to 3 months. No monthly account keeping fees, no exit fees and no early repayment fees. Flexible weekly, fortnightly or monthly repayments on terms from 1 to 7 years.

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  • New Car Loan - Special

    Home Owner Discount, Including Demo, Variable, Secured

    Interest rate
    comparison rate
    Monthly repayment
    6.24% p.a.
    7.36% p.a.based on $30,000
    over 5 years

    Low variable car loan rate for purchasing new and demo vehicles from dealers. Personalised loan amounts between $5,000 and $150,000. Flexible repayment options. Choose between the 3 to 7 year loan terms. Good credit history. Stable employment history and Australian citizenship or PR required.

    Repayment terms from 3 years to 7 years. Representative example: a 5 year $30,000 loan at 6.24% would cost $35,880.27 including fees.

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  • Car Loan

    Up to 7 years old, Fixed, Secured

    Interest rate
    comparison rate
    Monthly repayment
    6.49% p.a.
    6.84% p.a.based on $30,000
    over 5 years

    Purchase or refinance a new or used car, caravan or motorbike, up to 7 years old. Fixed rate with terms from 1 to 7 years. Make additional payments and free redraw. No early payout penalties. No monthly fees. Quick start application in less than 5 minutes online.

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  • Better Car Loan Special Offer

    Fixed, Secured

    Interest rate
    comparison rate
    Monthly repayment
    6.24% p.a.
    6.65% p.a.based on $30,000
    over 5 years

    Get a fixed rate car loan for amounts over $20,000 with Police Credit Union. Make additional repayments at any time without penalty. Free online redraw. Available for new and used cars. Can also be used for motorcycles, boats, caravans, trailers or any registrable vehicle.

    Repayment terms from 1 year to 5 years. Representative example: a 5 year $30,000 loan at 6.24% would cost $35,295.27 including fees.

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  • Green Car Loan

    Home Owner, Variable, Secured

    Interest rate
    comparison rate
    Monthly repayment
    6.09% p.a.
    7.21% p.a.based on $30,000
    over 5 years

    No monthly or ongoing fees. Get a 0.70% discount on your car loan interest rate if you buy a qualifying green car. Winner of Mozo's Experts Choice Green Car Loan 2021 award^. Good credit history. Stable employment history and Australian citizenship or PR required.

    Repayment terms from 3 years to 7 years. Representative example: a 5 year $30,000 loan at 6.09% would cost $35,754.42 including fees.

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* WARNING: The Comparison Rate combines the lender's interest rate, fees and charges into a single rate to show the true cost of a personal loan. The comparison rates displayed are calculated based on a loan of $30,000 for a term of 5 years or a loan of $10,000 for a term of 3 years as indicated, based on monthly principal and interest repayments, on a secured basis for secured loans and an unsecured basis for unsecured loans. This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan.

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Personal Loan Awards

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