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Look for More in the Most Economical Car

Updated on August 16, 2014

Are the Cheapest Cars Also the Cheapest to Drive?

Some of the first lists I found that were posted earlier this summer were on the Kelley Blue Book website regarding the “10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000” and the “10 Most Fuel Efficient Cars”. Needless to say none of these car titles overlapped, since almost all of the most fuel efficient cars were of the hybrid variety, and most of the economical cars were of the smaller size. The Volkswagen Jetta was on both lists, though one was the hybrid, and the Honda Civic was also on both lists, though the coupe was under $18,000 and the hybrid was listed as one of the most fuel efficient. Some of the same brand names are seen repeatedly, but apparently the most fuel efficient cars are definitely not the most economically sold cars on the lot. I cannot necessarily be surprised by that fact. So, I looked up some more articles regarding some important facts that I thought I should know before looking for a car myself.

More Than Just Initial Price

I know that personally I am on the road to purchasing another car in the near future and I have been thinking about all of the questions I will have to ask myself before I will have to make that final decision. I figure that only thinking of the type of care that I want along with the initial purchase price would be too hasty of a decision so I had to put together a list of all of the considerations that go along with owning another car and making sure that I decide correctly. I know that my initial concern is what the cost of the car itself will be and possibly the monthly payment, but then after thinking a little I wanted to dig a little further into the most fuel efficient cars out there, and some of the cars that have lowest maintenance costs as well as those with the longest life or highest mileage available, so that I would be able to keep my car the longest for the lowest out-of-pocket cost on my own.

One Car Was Both Cheap and Fuel Efficient

Always Consider Maintenance and Repairs Down the Road

One of the points that I question on my own concern the issues of maintenance costs and repairs when it comes to the next car I choose to purchase. There was a 2012 article from Business Insider, “These Are The 12 Cheapest Cars For Repairs.” Now, the article starts with the following statement: “The next time you purchase a car, you’ll want to compare prices to ensure you're getting the best upfront deal. But the real expense often comes further down the line, as the car ages.” This is definitely something that car manufacturers and dealerships never mention in their commercials and marketing mailers. I know that many dealerships promote a certain length of time in free oil changes and warranty for certain maintenance or repairs, but how much does that really cover? This article stated from 2011 to 2012 that Toyota was the manufacturer with the least out-pocket expense for “Check Engine”-related repairs, followed by Hyundai and BMW. On the other end of the list, Ford appeared to be the manufacturer that cost customers the most for repairs in that year.

Two Articles Reference Kelley Blue Book Awards for Ownership

Earlier in 2014 there were two articles published regarding the cars that cost the least to own for the first five years after purchase. Both of these articles, from USA Today and Forbes, referred to Kelley Blue Book and the annual ownership awards presented for vehicles in 22 different classes. These awards evaluate all different types of costs including rate of deprecation, fuel economy, financing, insurance rates, maintenance costs and repair costs. When Kelley Blue Book evaluates all makes and models of cars for these lists and awards they apparently go thoroughly through several details and even look at long-term ownership costs that even include potential out-of-pocket expenses that can occur over the first five years to the owner. Even though things like financing and insurance rates and costs can be variable and determined also by the owner’s individual details, the make and model of the car were used to determine averages for the award lists. The top manufacturers for the second year in a row for both luxury and mainstream ownership were Lexus and Mazda. Mazda was rated at the top for its premium reliability in low transaction prices and high residual values as well as having low fuel economy and usually low insurance costs. Lexus is cited for having among the lowest repair cost among the luxury brands while also having affordable fuel and insurance costs as well.

Mazda Takes It Two Years In a Row From KBB


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