The Cheapest Cars to Maintain
See which cars will be easy and affordable to maintain over the long haul.
Published on September 22nd, 2021. Last Updated on .
When looking at a new or used vehicle to purchase, one of the most common factors to take into consideration is the cost of maintenance over the years. While the initial cost of the car will set you back a little bit, the cost of maintaining the vehicle can add up quickly if you purchase a vehicle that has more problems than most. If you are wanting to keep your annual repair costs down, you will want a vehicle with very little maintenance cost. Today, we are going to look at the cheapest car brands to maintain and the best vehicle to purchase for the lowest cost.
At the top of the list at no surprise is Toyota. Toyota has one of the best, if not the best, reputations for high-quality vehicles that outlast the competition. From their smallest passenger vehicles such as the Corolla and Camry up to their larger Tundra trucks, Toyota really puts the time in to make sure their vehicles pass their rigorous quality control check. This is one of the many reasons that you still see many older Toyota vehicles on the road today. One of the byproducts of Toyota's great quality and low maintenance cost is the value of your Toyota retains higher than most, giving you a great resale value.
When it comes to the Toyota lineup, many of their vehicles have a spot in most top 10 cheapest cars to maintain lists. For the sake of this article, we are going to look at one of their most popular vehicles, the Toyota Camry. The average cost of owning a Toyota Camry for 5 years is $30,199. This price takes into account depreciation, insurance premiums, maintenance/repairs, loan interest, and fuel costs. The Camry is a perfect passenger vehicle that can be used for commuting, road trips, business use, and much more. The Camry is also one of Toyota's longest-running vehicles in their lineup.
While Mitsubishi is not one of the most popular brands compared to most on this list, it shouldn't be counted out when it comes to the cost of ownership. Mitsubishi offers one of the lowest maintenance costs on average when looking at its lineup of passenger cars and SUVs. This is one of the reasons you still see older Lancer, Eclipse, Mirage, 3000GT, and Outlanders on the road today.
When looking at the lowest cost of maintenance for cars offered by Mitsubishi, the Mirage is going to take the cake. Coming in at only $24,658 after 5 years with all things included, it is actually going to be one of the cheapest cars to maintain on our list. While there is nothing sport or sexy about the Mitsubishi Mirage, if you are simply looking for a good little commuter car that is good on gas and will cost you very little to maintain, the Mirage should be on your list.
When talking about the low cost of maintenance, there are usually two manufacturers that come to mind: Toyota and Honda. Honda has always been known for its reliability not only in the car industry but in other industries as well. The Honda Civic is one of the Toyota Camry's biggest competitors in many different aspects making it very clear why the Civic is on our list. Honda's full lineup is well known for reliability and low cost of ownership and we anticipate that this will not be changing anytime soon. With the introduction of EV vehicles, we are eager to see if Honda can keep up their reputation with electric vehicles.
Since the early 70s, Honda has been improving the Honda Civic and making it one of their flagship vehicles for reliability, safety, and low cost of ownership. Fast forward to 2021, Honda is now on their eleventh generation Honda Civic with no signs of slowing down. Every year, the Civic gets safer, more technologically advanced, and cheaper to maintain. The advancements in technology have allowed the engineers at Honda to design a smarter and more efficient Civic, allowing the end-user to pay less over the years of ownership. The average 5-year cost of ownership on a Honda Civic is going to be $26,746.
Mazda vehicles are kind of the middle ground when it comes to popularity. They aren't as popular as Toyota or Honda, but they are purchased more than vehicles from Kia or Mitsubishi. The Mazda 3, Mazda 6, and MX-5 are all very popular Mazda vehicles with low cost of ownership. The average cost of ownership for Maza vehicles is going to be around $27,000 over a 5 year period with all costs taken into consideration, including depreciation. With Mazda switching up its lineup a little bit going into the 2022 year, it will be exciting to see how Mazda keeps up with its reputation.
While Mazda's lineup of vehicles is going to all give you a low cost of maintenance, the Mazda 6 is going to be the most popular vehicle on the road and offer a lower cost of maintenance. With the Mazda 6, you can expect an average ownership cost of $31,093 over 5 years. About 40% of this cost is going to come from depreciation as Mazda's does not have the best resale value. The good news is, if you plan on keeping your Mazda forever, only 5% of this cost comes from maintenance, so you can expect to worry less about repairs over your ownership.
Coming in at one of the lowest costs of ownership on the list, Nissan secures its spot as one of the cheapest cars to maintain. Nissan has banked on their flagship Altima as being one of their most popular vehicles over the past few decades, and while it has a low cost of ownership as well, the Nissan Versa is going to take the cake with the lowest cost of ownership. Let's take a closer look at the Nissan Versa and see just how much you can expect to pay in maintenance over a 5 year period.
Very much like the Mitsubishi Mirage, the Nissan Versa is not going to be the sportiest of vehicles, but it will be one of the cheapest cars to maintain. You can expect the Nissan Versa's yearly maintenance cost to come in at under $500. At this price point, this 4 door subcompact car is a great vehicle to get great gas mileage, low maintenance costs, and enough space to comfortably travel with a small family.
As the only British company on this list, Mini is going to offer low maintenance costs on their Mini Cooper vehicles. This one is a little bit surprising as MINI is owned by BMW, a car company known for their higher maintenance costs across their lineup. The MINI Cooper has been made quite popular thanks to pop culture and famous movies such as Austin Powers and the Italian Job. On average, a MINI owner is expected to pay around $850 per year in repairs and maintenance. This price will include unexpected repairs, expected repairs, and scheduled maintenance items.
MINI's flagship vehicle, the MINI Cooper, is going to be the most popular vehicle in their lineup. While it is not a very popular car that you see every day on the street, it is a very popular vehicle internationally. Looking at the yearly maintenance cost, you can expect to pay around $800-$900 for repairs and maintenance on the MINI Cooper. Being a German-owned vehicle and having specialized features, this cost of maintenance is surprisingly low. Some of the expected problems you may face while owning a MINI Cooper are VVT issues, front radiator support and coolant hose problems, timing chain noises, and transmission problems.
Volkswagen, a German vehicle manufacturer, makes the list with their very low maintenance costs. While some may think that due to the German manufacturing, costs would be higher, but it is a little more intriguing than that. While the parts for Volkswagens may cost a little more than you are used to seeing with domestic vehicles or more common imported vehicles such as Honda and Toyota, the engineering helps to prevent constant repair. German engineering is well-known for reliability, making repairs on Volkswagens less common than their competitors. The average cost of Volkswagen maintenance is going to be around $675/year.
The Volkswagen Passat is going to be VW's most popular vehicle as it provides the great room of a sedan with the reliability of the German-built engineering. The Passat has deep roots dating back to 1972 when the first Passat B1 was released. Since then, VW has designed this vehicle to become sleeker, more reliable, and larger for more family-oriented consumers. The Volkswagen Passat is going to come with an average repair and maintenance cost of right under $650 a year. This puts it right in line with most vehicles on this list and allows for you to easily budget for unexpected repairs.
As the only US-made car manufacturer on our list, GMC is going to offer the lowest cost of maintenance out of the large domestic car companies. GMC is owned by General Motors alongside popular manufacturers such as Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, and a few others. GMC stands for General Motors Truck Company and produces some of the highest-rated trucks in the industry. GMC is known for its reliability, safety, and low cost of maintenance. The average yearly cost of maintenance for a GMC vehicle is going to be in the neighborhood of $775.
When it comes to GMC trucks, the Sierra 1500 is going to be one of the most popular vehicles purchased off the lot. The Sierra has been in production since 1962, making it one of the oldest vehicles on our list. GMC did take a break from Sierra from 1999 to 2002, reentering with a bang and making the new Sierra one of the highest-selling vehicles for the brand. You can expect to spend around $700-$750 for yearly maintenance costs on a Sierra. Some of the more common problems you may face deal with the 4WD system, fuel level sensor failure, and heating/A/C systems.
Kia, another brand that is not as popular as many of the others, is a great vehicle to own if you are looking for a low annual cost of maintenance. The Kia lineup has always had a more Asian design that was not as popular in the US in its early days, but as time has gone on, Kia has adapted well to American vehicle designs. The Kia Optima, Sedona, Sorento, and the sporty Stinger are becoming quite popular as the years pass. As an average for the Kia brand, you can expect to pay around $650 a year for maintenance and repairs.
Kia's subcompact crossover SUV, the Soul, is a relatively new vehicle when comparing it to others on this list, making its debut in 2008 at the Paris Motor Show. The Kia Soul looks similar to a larger MINI Cooper with the passenger and cargo space of a smaller SUV. While its design is unique and not for everyone, the reliability and low cost of maintenance make this vehicle a great choice for those looking for a budget-friendly vehicle. The Kia Soul is going to have a very low cost of maintenance, coming in at a yearly average of about $440.
The last manufacturer on our list is going to be the South Korean auto manufacturer, Hyundai. Hyundai Motor Company is part of a larger conglomerate that includes several different Hyundai companies. Hyundai offers a wide selection of compacts, sedans, and SUVs that are a perfect blend of Asian and American influence in design. On average, you can expect to pay around $475 for yearly maintenance costs on Hyundai vehicles with one of the cheapest being the Hyundai Elantra. Let's take a closer look at the Elantra and what you can expect to pay in repairs and maintenance per year.
The Hyundai Elantra has been in production since 1990 and has gotten better year by year. In 2021, Hyundai is on its 7th generation of Elantras, offering the most technologically advanced, and lowest cost of maintenance Elantra in history. Comparing the previous years of Elantras, you can expect to pay around $450 for repairs and maintenance for your vehicle. With being a subcompact sedan, this cost of maintenance is relatively low compared to many of the other vehicles on our list.
Wrapping things up, it is safe to say that you can’t go wrong with an imported vehicle when it comes to maintenance cost. The high standard of quality control from foreign manufacturers provides you with cheaper yearly costs on repairs and maintenance. As always, it is important to keep up with your car’s maintenance to keep these repair costs low. The more you take care of your vehicle, the less you should have to pay in maintenance costs down the road.