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The Cheapest Cars to Own and Operate

Value is especially important when you're buying something that depreciates almost immediately. Namely, a vehicle. When you're considering how to get the most from your money, it's necessary to look at the overall cost of the car and how much money it will take to operate and maintain your purchase.

Edmunds.com is the expert on everything auto, and the website features a True Cost to Own calculator that estimates the total five-year cost of owning a particular vehicle and the cost per mile based on driving 15,000 miles per year. To see the top 10 cars currently on Edmunds' list of the most frugal cars to own and operate,

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  • Hyundai Accent GS: Starting price: $10,690; 5-year total cost: $25,958; Cost per mile: 35 cents
  • Nissan Versa Base: Starting price: $10,710; 5-year total cost: $27,196; Cost per mile: 36 cents
  • Chevrolet Aveo5 LS: Starting price: $12,685; 5-year total cost: $28,360; Cost per mile: 38 cents
  • Suzuki SX4 Sedan: Starting price: $13,994; 5-year total cost: $28,965; Cost per mile: 39 cents
  • Pontiac G3: Starting price: $15,055; 5-year total cost: $29,049; Cost per mile: 39 cents
  • Mazda3 iSport: Starting price: $15,360; 5-year total cost: $29,271; Cost per mile: 39 cents
  • Honda Fit: Starting price: $15,460; 5-year total cost: $29,420; Cost per mile: 39 cents
  • Pontiac Vibe: Starting price: $16,735; 5-year total cost: $29,512; Cost per mile: 39 cents
  • Toyota Yaris: Starting price: $12,955; 5-year total cost: $29,595; Cost per mile: 39 cents
  • Nissan Sentra: Starting price: $16,070; 5-year total cost: $29,623; Cost per mile: 39 cents
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bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 7 years
I have a Mazda3 iSport and I friggin' love it.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
Why do they assume people are only going to keep the cars for 5 years? We drive a 1994 S10 with 300,000 miles on it and a 2002 Saturn with 165,000 miles on it. We paid $5,500 or something like that for the Saturn and something like $4000 for the truck and neither have had any major problems...I'd say a good solid beater is the cheapest car to own, especially if you're good with cars and can do your own maintenance at home. Cars last a long time if you take care of them properly. I wish we lived somewhere where they didn't salt the roads so the cars would last even longer...no rust damage, lol.
tarabara1229 tarabara1229 7 years
I've had my Yaris for 2.5 years, and I'd say it's economical, safe, and fun to drive. Sure, it might not be as zippy as a Mini Cooper, but it costs half as much, so there you go. Not only do I get anywhere from 35-38 mpgs, I haven't had any mechanical problems. It's a cheap car to maintain, for sure! Gotta love those reliable Toyotas.
pearsbeary pearsbeary 7 years
i'm with skigurl...as great as cheap and efficiency are...safety is also a concern
skigurl skigurl 7 years
that makes pretty good sense some of those cars are really good, some are made of sheet metal and duct tape though (see top of list for examples)
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