7 of the least expensive cars to own

  • Owning a car costs an average of $US8,500 a year in the US, so looking for a car that’s cheap to own can save you thousands of dollars.
  • The cheapest cars to own are not always the cheapest in terms of sales price, as you can make up the difference with savings on maintenance, repairs, and fuel.
  • Some of the cheapest cars to own come from manufacturers like Honda, Kia, and Ford.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

According to AAA, the true annual cost of car ownership in America averages out to about $US8,500 per year.

That includes car payments, insurance, gas, maintenance, and more, all of which works out to just over $US700 each and every month.

So seeking out a car that’s cheap to own can potentially save you hundreds of dollars each year and thousands of dollars over the entire period of vehicle ownership.

“If you really want to get the least expensive new car you have to look beyond purchase price,” the experts at Kelley Blue Book wrote earlier this year.

So if you’re looking for a new car to buy, don’t just look at the sticker price. Make sure you consider the overall cost of ownership as you deliberate, as cars that cost you more up front could save you money in the long run thanks to their lower ownership costs.

In other words, buying the cheapest new car might not leave you with the cheapest car after all. And it may leave you with a very poor asset when it comes time to sell that used ride later, as re-sale value is very much a factor here.

With that in mind, here are seven of the least expensive cars to own.

Kia Soul

The Kia Soul has an estimated $US29,012 five-year cost to own, which when added to the $US17,490 MSRP of the 2019 model, makes this an overall highly affordable car. Its modest 130 HP engine gets up to 30 mpg on the highway, and despite being a compact car, it can seat five adults with decent rear cargo storage.

Honda Accord

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The Honda Accord is affordable primarily thanks to the automaker’s legendary reliability: You are highly unlikely to see a new Accord requiring any major repairs for years, barring an accident. And as components for Accords are so readily available, repairs and maintenance are not that expensive, either. With a starting price of $US23,720 for a new model, the Accord is one of the cheapest cars out there in the long run.

Ford Fiesta

A 2019 Ford Fiesta costs just $US14,260 at MSRP, so its base price is among the lowest for a new car.

The fact that 2019 is the last model year for this car means you might even be able to negotiate a better deal. And the compact car’s excellent fuel efficiency will see you saving cash as you roll along in this last of the line.

Nissan Leaf

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The compact, all-electric Nissan Leaf costs nearly $US30,000 new, but its annual costs are very low, especially if you can charge the vehicle at work or at free charging stations. Recently improved and updated, a 2019 Nissan Leaf will require little to no repair work for the first half decade that you own it, with a five-year total repair bill estimated at just $US618.

Kia Rio


A 2019 Kia Rio handles well, has impressive technology given the $US15,300 starting price of the Rio LX sedan model, and gets up to 37 mpg on the highway. It is reliable enough to require minimal maintenance and repairs, and an autonomous emergency braking system, rare at this price point, may well help prevent the need for repairs in the first place.

Hyundai Accent


A Hyundai Accent gets 28 mpg in the city and 38 mpg out on the open road, so fuel cost for this $US15,880 base MSRP car are on the lower end. It’s a safe, reliable car that rarely needs maintenance and comes with an excellent warranty of five years and 60,000 miles bumper to bumper and 10 years, 100,000 miles on the powertrain.

Honda Fit


Both the experts from Kelley Blue Book and a large group of customers gave the Honda Fit a solid 4.6 out of five star rating, and that was largely thanks to its low cost of ownership. The $US17,100 base price is competitive and the 40 mpg it gets on the highway is hard to beat until you get into a hybrid.

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