Autos

Vehicles with the lowest cost-to-own statistics

The statistical eggheads at Kelley Blue Book (KBB) have examined a trove of data and declared a raft of vehicles that have the lowest cost of ownership over five years. The usual suspects abound, but there are also a few surprises.

It’s a common joke around the Driving (virtual) water cooler that there are plenty of cars most of us could afford to buy but not maintain. This helps explain the existence of lists such as this one from KBB, since they take into account items like maintenance costs, estimated fuel, and depreciation. The latter metric is often overlooked by shoppers, when the car is new and fresh sitting on a showroom floor.

How are the costs calculated? KBB’s projections come from data developed by their own analysts who calculate projected resale value while taking into consideration insurance costs, fuel, maintenance, and repair outlays. Underlying these projections are the vehicle’s initial cost. These data points are determined at the model level and are sales-weighted, with popular trims given greater influence so average buyers have a better idea of what to expect from an ownership experience.

To the winners, then. As a brand, Toyota and Lexus took top honours, with KBB citing a model lineup packed with machines that also dominate the group’s award list for best resale value. Since that is a key component of the Cost to Own awards, such a performance helps immensely in these measures. KBB also mentions that Toyota and Lexus offer hybrid variants of many models, raising the brand’s fuel economy score and lowering the out-of-pocket gas expenses.

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With this performance, it should surprise no one that several Toyota and Lexus models took individual awards as well. Pretty much the entire Lexus range of crossovers were tops in their respective classes – UX, NX, and RX models – along with the new Corolla Hybrid as best hybrid car. In terms of a full EV, though, KBB selected the Nissan Leaf as its winner.

Subaru also knocked it out of the park, victorious in a trio of SUV categories. Compact, two-row midsize, and three-row midsize categories belonged to the Forester, Outback, and Ascent, respectively. Fuel economy and a strong value-for-dollar proposition in terms of features were cited as attributes that helped those machines take home their trophies.

There were several other winners – 24 awards in total – ranging from stalwarts like the Hyundai Elantra to list newcomers like the Volvo S90. Pickup truck fans will find their winners at a Ford store. The whole list can be found on the KBB website. After all, it’s tough to argue with statistics.

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