Cheapest new cars to buy, own and operate revealed

By Rebeccah Elley ·

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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