Lean burn — the cheapest cars to buy and run

Riley Riley

The MG3 has been named for the third year in a row as the cheapest car to own and run by the Victorian-based RACV motoring organisation.

MG3 Core light Hatch costs just $746.01 a month to operate.

It is closely followed by the Kia Picanto S at $765.87 per month and Kia Rio S at $868.21.

Costs are calculated on private vehicle ownership and the average distance travelled by Victorian motorists, which is 15,000km per year.

Of note none of the cars are EVs.

The cheapest electric car is the MG ZS Excite Standard Range RWD Wagon at $1172.76.

Even the Honda CR-V is a cheaper option which means it might not be the time to swap just yet.

RACV has been running the survey for more than 50 years, providing an in-depth look at Australia’s newest and best-selling models.

The survey captures the overall cost of ownership that factors in costs such as purchase price, loan repayments, insurance, fuel or electric vehicle charging costs, tyres, servicing and repairs and auto club membership – all averaged out over five years.

RACV’s Jeff Ames said the survey came at a perfect time for Victorians who would be evaluating expenses given cost of living pressures, with price drops in seven car categories.

“People should be pleased to know that the cost of owning and operating a car has dropped across seven categories in 2023 including small and medium cars, medium and large SUVs, people movers and light commercial vehicles,” he said.

“The biggest difference is in the medium SUV car category with the Honda CRV Vi 2.0 CVT FWD Wagon taking out the top spot with an average monthly running cost of $1161.36 – which is $83.72 or almost seven per cent less per month in comparison to the car that took out the top spot in the same category in 2022 which cost an average of $1245.08 per month.

“The beauty of this survey is that it captures the total cost of owning and operating your car – not just the purchase price – so you can get a real sense of how the total cost of car ownership will fit into your household budget.”

Cheapest MG3
Cheapest MG3



Private vehicle average running costs in Victoria for 2023


Cheapest vehicle

Monthly running cost

Light cars

MG3 Core light 1.5spd Auto Hatch


Small cars

Mazda 3 Pure 2.0 6spd Auto Hatch


SUV small

Hyundai Venue (Base) 1.6 6sdp Auto FWD Wagon


SUV medium

Honda CRV Vi 2.0 CVT FWD Wagon



MG ZS Excite Standard Range RWD Wagon


Medium cars

Toyota Camry Ascent Hybrid 2.5 Hybrid CVT Sedan


Light commercial 4×2

Isuzu D-Max SX Dual Cab 1.9T Diesel 6spd Auto Utility


SUV large

Subaru Outback 2.5 Petrol CVT AWD Wagon


Light commercial 4×4

GWM Cannon L Dual Cab 2.0T Diesel 8spd Auto Utility


People movers

Hyundai Staria (Base) 3.5 V6 8spd Auto Van


All terrain

Mitsubishi Pajero Sport GLX 2.4T Diesel 4WD 8spd Auto Wagon



CHECKOUT: Cheapest cars to buy and run

CHECKOUT: MIrage cheapest car to own and run


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *