The Most and Least Expensive Cars to Own

BMW i3 key fob

BMW i3 key fob | Justin Lloyd-Miller/Autos Cheat Sheet

Car commercials lie. They promise viewers that owning a vehicle is a series of romantic trips to the mountains, conveniently forgetting to mention that cars can be outrageously expensive, even after you’ve paid off the note.

To prove that point, the website YourMechanic, which arranges house calls for those in need of auto repair, looked at maintenance-related expenses for the cars that they’ve serviced. Those costs covered everything from replacing batteries and fuel pumps to fixing coolant leaks.

The site found that maintenance expenses creep up around $150 per year for the first 10 years of a vehicle’s life. Around 12 years of age, costs rise dramatically, peaking at around $2,000 per year (which is when many people either sell their car or simply stop fixing it).

The study reveals that luxury models and imports — particularly European imports — are the most costly to own. However, there are some notable exceptions. Here’s a rundown of the five most expensive auto brands and how much they cost to maintain over the course of 10 years:

1. BMW ($17,800)
2. Mercedes-Benz ($12,900)
3. Cadillac ($12,500)
4. Volvo ($12,500)
5. Audi ($12,400)

Interestingly, the other end of the scale is loaded with Asian marques:

26. Mitsubishi ($7,400)
27. Honda ($7,200)
28. Lexus ($7,000)
29. Scion ($6,400)
30. Toyota ($5,500)

2016 Lexus CT 200h

2016 Lexus CT 200h | Source: Lexus

Things don’t really get juicy, though, until the study digs down to individual models. It reveals that two Detroit cars are among the priciest on the road:

1. Chrysler Sebring ($17,100 over 10 years)
2. BMW 328i ($15,600)
3. Nissan Murano ($14,700)
4. Mercedes-Benz E-350 ($14,700)
5. Chevrolet Cobalt ($14,500)

Once again, though, the cheapest models come from Asian manufacturers:

1. Toyota Prius ($4,300 over 10 years)
2. Kia Soul ($4,700)
3. Toyota Camry ($5,200)
4. Honda Fit ($5,500)
5. Toyota Tacoma ($5,800)

Surprised? Or does this jibe with your personal experience? Check the study’s findings, then sound off in the comments at The Car Connection.

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