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Mazda, Lexus among cheapest cars to run for 5 years

Annual survey from Kelley Blue Book looks at full ownership costs for new 2013 models, including depreciation and insurance.

By Clifford Atiyeh Feb 5, 2013 12:18PM
Mazda and Lexus vehicles may be the least expensive new cars to run, according to a report from Kelley Blue Book.

The annual report studies how much it costs to own 2013 models for the first five years, by taking into account fuel, insurance, repair, maintenance, state fees and financing costs in addition to purchase prices and depreciation. Mazda won the overall top spot, with Lexus as the No. 1 luxury brand, displacing Kia and Audi as last year's most affordable brands.

The Lexus GS ranked as the least expensive luxury car, at $58,153 over five years, while the Mazda5 was the least expensive minivan at $38,891 -- although it's much smaller and sparser than its competitors. To illustrate the spectrum of what KBB deems affordable, the Porsche Panamera rang in at $87,411 (best high-end luxury car) and the Scion iQ was $60,000 cheaper (best subcompact).

Other standouts doubled up in certain categories: Two Hyundai Veloster models took the compact classes, two Ford Mustang models were the cheapest among sports and high-performance cars, and two Lincoln crossovers beat out all competitors in the mid- and full-size luxury SUV/crossover segments. The Jeep Patriot, which is the cheapest SUV on sale in the U.S., scored highest for compact SUVs, while the Mitsubishi Outlander and Ford Explorer took honors in the larger sizes.

What's really weird is the 2013 Chevrolet Impala, which was ranked as the cheapest full-size new car on sale. But at $48,086 over five years, you would have to be an absolute fool to spend that kind of money on something so outdated and uncompetitive.

The final average prices of given models are weighted by the sales figures of each trim, so that more expensive and less popular trims -- say, a Mercedes E63 versus the E350 -- don't skew the results. Average prices are based on what Kelley Blue Book calls the "fair purchase price," which is often below a manufacturer's suggested retail price and is supposed to reflect what people are actually paying dealers. Many of the prices are based on Kelley's five-year residual estimates, which were released in November.

Just curious about insurance rates? Find out the cheapest and most expensive 2013 models to insure. Also, be sure to review Kiplinger's best car values sorted by segment.

[Source: KBB]
Feb 6, 2013 8:58AM
Any car manufacturer, domestic or foreign, occasionally produces a lemon, but by and large, cars hold up well if they are properly maintained and don't have the crap driven out of them.  Also, by far the cheapest car to own is the one you already have.  You are familiar with it and know its strengths and weakness.  If it needs repaired, repair it.  If it needs painted, get it painted.  It will continue to be much cheaper than ANY new car, at least until it's 20 years old and the engine blows up or it needs any major repair that costs many times what the car is worth.  Then, sell it to a salvage yard and buy another USED car.  Let someone else eat that new-car depreciation.
Feb 6, 2013 9:15AM
$58,000 for 5 years of transportation is considered cheap?  B.S.!

I believe cheaper alternatives are:

1. A clean low mileage used car or pickup.
2. A motorcycle.
3. A bicycle.
4. Public transportation.
5. Walking.
Feb 6, 2013 10:05AM

You won't see any BMWs on this list. The value of these cars drops faster than Kim K's panties at a rapper convention. As an owner of one of these over-hyped pieces of junk, I'm amazed at the depreciation. WOW!!! Run from this brand! I wish I had.

Feb 5, 2013 5:58PM
 I enjoy automobiles very much especially Fords. They are very sharp looking,long lasting and they 
did not require a government bailout from bankruptcy. I have a 1999 F-250 Superduty  V10 pickup
253,000 miles on it have pulled a lot of fifth wheel trailers and plowed a lot of snow with it
Endurance, quality and strength that is  what Ford  does best.

Also have a 2000 Ford Focus  2000 cc 4 cylinder 5 speed manual 123,000 no repairs to date had since brand new. Tell me all about your import cars how good they are . Where does the profit made on those cars go ? Please do not tell me it helps the homeless in Detroit,L.A. and Chicago. 

Is there a bad new car in the United States ? I do not think so ! They are all pretty darn good .

Ford the American car company that didn't take a bailout, the American car company that didn't
file bankruptcy on you and take all your money out of your retirement accounts .

Keep your money working in America; Buy American ; cars,trucks,food,lumber and anything else you can think of . Keep your friends working to.

Feb 6, 2013 8:24AM
  My bike hasn't cost me a cent to own , with the exception of one inner tube for my tire . It's eco-friendly , low maintenance , and a healthy alternative to driving a car . I know it's not for everyone , but it works for me .
Feb 6, 2013 8:44AM

About a year ago, I bought the Mustang in my avatar -- and I'm enjoying the heck out of it!  It's reliable, fun to drive, and turns heads everywhere I go!




It's a WIN - WIN deal.  Trust me on this -- go get a Mustang.  :)

Feb 6, 2013 9:09AM
This is really a senseless and stupid story.  Want to know what the cheapest cars are for 5 years - LOOK AT THE 2008 MODELS!  Now you have 5 years of costs, including those that are no longer on the road.  Otherwise, it's what manufacturer paid enough to get their car mentioned here.  Here's a novel idea, authors: USE ACTUAL DATA!  My 2006 Scion xB is REALLY cheap to operate, and it won't even make your list.  No payments, very minimal maintenance, 30++ MPG.  Get serious.
Feb 6, 2013 9:06AM
Riding a bike and walking are great examples put out there, but really?  Where I live it is very cold in the winter, and there is the my job requires a vehicle to get supplies to where I work.  We have a Chevy Impala that is 13 years old....ONLY vehicle for both of us.  We are preparing for the purchase of a new car and have been studying smaller models with good gas mileage, and not expensive.  Any suggestions?
Feb 6, 2013 9:08AM
I"m so disappointed in Ford for cancelling the Ford Ranger pickup right at thew time I needed a new truck.....Here comes Chevy, Toyota or???????
Feb 6, 2013 10:47AM
I used to own US manufactureres cars, but over the last 25 years I totally switch to japanese the last 10 years because of the amount of times I had to deal with broke down cars in 15 years of owning US built cars.  They have gotten better from what I've read , but I need reliability and my Honda Pilot0 04, Toyota Corolla 03 and Nissan Altima 07 have never broke down.....ever!  So, I go with what has been proven to me!
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