Results from the annual Vehicle Operating Costs survey - conducted by Australian motoring bodies including the RACV and RACT – have found the Mitsubishi Mirage and Suzuki Alto are the most affordable new cars to run.
As expected, the light and sub-light (city car) categories offer the cheapest new cars to buy and operate, with Victoria’s RACV ranking the Mirage ($112.81), Alto ($114.87) and Holden Barina Spark ($116.47) in the top three.
The survey considers everything from fuel to loan repayments and even the few cents in tyre degradation, and breaks it down into an average weekly cost.
An average annual distance of 15,000km was used by the RACV and 12,000km used by the RACT along with an average five-year ownership period to calculate the results.
The good news for motorists is that overall costs are falling, with a new car being cheaper to purchase and operate now than at any stage during the last five years.
The RACT’s Darren Moody attributed the good news to significant competition in the new car market, low interest rates, lower depreciation costs and greater availability of fixed price servicing.
“A vehicle’s ongoing decrease in value or depreciation is by far the biggest expense in owning a vehicle at around 39 percent of the total costs," Mr Moody said.
"Being able to sell or trade in your car for more means less impact on the hip pocket in the long run."
Mr Moody said that buyers should know what it costs to keep their car in good condition, including servicing and parts, fuel costs, new tyres, insurance, registration, interest, stamp duty, drivers' licence, and roadside assistance.
Despite the myth that hybrid cars are cheap to run, several of them rated poorly for overall running costs in the survey, with the Toyota Prius C ($164.89) and Honda Jazz Hybrid ($159.81) finishing last and second last respectively in the light / sub-light category.
Toyota’s Camry Hybrid bucked the trend for the RACV, being $15 per week cheaper to purchase and operate than a “regular” Camry.
Category Winners For The RACT ($/Week):
- Light - Alto GL 1.0L 5Sp Manual ($104.11)
- Small - Cruze Equipe 5d Hatch 1.8L 6Sp Auto ($150.33)
- Medium - Jetta 118 TSI 1.4L 7Sp DSG ($183.51)
- Large - Commodore Evoke VF 3.0L 6Sp Auto ($213.79)
- People Mover - Odyssey 2.4L 5Sp Auto ($215.88)
- SUV Compact - Sportage Si (FWD) 2.0L 6Sp Auto ($181.18)
- SUV Medium - Captiva 7 CX (AWD) 2.4L 6Sp Auto ($219.16)
- All Terrain - Grand Cherokee Laredo (4X4) V6 3.6L 5Sp auto ($256.07)
- 2WD Ute - Falcon (LPi) Fg Mk2 I6 4.0l 6sp Auto ($182.05)
- 4WD Ute - Hilux SR (4X4) KUN26R Dual Cab P/Up 3.0L 4Sp Auto ($243.60)
- Electric - i-MiEV 1Sp Auto ($240.35)