Cheapest cars to buy and run

Riley Riley


Victoria’s RACV motoring group has revealed the most affordable cars to buy and run.

The MG3 hatchback takes the prize, with results detailed as part of RACV’s Annual Operating Costs Survey.

Runner up goes to the Kia Picanto S followed by another Kia — the Rio S hatch.

The wooden spoon goes to the $85,000, V8-powered Nissan Patrol Ti, which is the most expensive vehicle to own and run at $2337.33 a month.

Electric vehicles and plug-in petrol-electric hybrids cost an average of $1280.83, which the RACV points out is “pleasingly” about $100 less than last year.

The winning MG3 Core will cost owners $626.50 a month, Kia Picanto S $662.93 and Kia Rio S, $705.71.

The survey highlights the overall cost of ownership of more than 80 of Australia’s best-selling and emerging models, and has been running for more than 50 years.

It factors in the initial purchase price along with loan repayments, registration charges, insurance, auto club membership, fuel or electric vehicle charging costs, tyres, servicing and repairs, all averaged over a five-year period.

RACV’s calculations are based on a private vehicle with mileage of 15,000km a year — the average distance travelled by drivers.


RACV Head of Communications and Engagement, Andrew Scannell, said the most significant cost of a new car is the up-front purchase price.

“Registration, insurance, and club membership make up about 15 to 20 per cent, while fuel takes a 10 and 15 per cent slice,” he said.

“Servicing costs consume between three and seven per cent of the overall costs, and tyres just one to three per cent.

“Not surprisingly – and consistent with previous years’ results – light passenger cars are the most affordable vehicles.

“If you buy a light hatch, you can expect an average monthly cost of $738.43,” Scannell said.

“Small cars are the second most affordable category with a monthly spend of $903.44, closely followed by small SUVs on $917.60.”

All-terrain 4×4 SUVs are the priciest vehicles to own and run, the survey found, costing owners an average of $1634.29 per month.

They were followed closely by 4×4 dual-cab utes at $1533.62.

Large family SUVs were the third priciest at $1404.53.

The following table details the average monthly cost of each car category, as well as the cheapest model in each (for full results see here).

Private vehicle average running costs in Victoria

Vehicle category Average monthly cost Cheapest model in each category and monthly cost
 Light cars  $738.43  MG3 Core 1.5 4-sp auto hatch $625.50
 Small cars  $903.44  Kia Cerato S 2.0 hatch 6-sp auto $802.25
 Medium cars  $1189.84  Toyota Camry Ascent 2.5 8-sp auto sedan $1003.74
 People movers  $1363.42  Honda Odyssey Vi L7 2.4 CVT $1335.28
 Electric  $1280.83  MG ZS EV $1128.33
 SUV small  $917.60  Hyundai Venue (base) 1.6 2WD 6-sp auto $793.23
 SUV medium  $1200.01  Toyota RAV4 GXL 2.5 Hybrid FWD CVT $1117.64
 SUV large  $1404.53  Subaru Outback 2.5 AWD CVT $1224.78
 All terrain  $1634.29  Mitsubishi Pajero Sport GLX 2.4 TDi 8-sp auto $1367.32
 Light commercial   4×2  $1303.54  Mitsubishi Triton GLX 2.4 TDi 6-sp auto 4X2 Dual Cab Pickup $1190.76
 Light commercial   4×4  $1533.62  Mitsubishi Triton GLX 2.4 TDi 6-sp auto 4X4 Dual Cab Pickup $1269.34

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