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June 08, 2021

Frugal rides: Least expensive cars to own

The car-buying universe can be divided into two camps: those who keep a car until it rots away, and those who think a new ride is something they just have to have – despite the fact that it will lose a big chunk of its value as soon as they drive it off the lot.

In a few cases, the deals on some new cars might be so generous that they actually make them less expensive than the one-year old used version of the same model -- but that's an anomaly. Expect to pay a premium to slip into a brand new vehicle.

If you’re not the used-car type, you must have at least wondered which new vehicles are the least expensive to own? Not necessarily the one with the lowest purchase price, but with the lowest total ownership cost, according to

Using multiple algorithms, Edmunds tried to estimate the five-year cost of owning each new vehicle currently on the market assuming:

* You'll drive 24,000 kilometres per year

* You’re financing the vehicle using traditional financing, not leasing

* You’re in the "Gold" credit tier when it comes to your finance rate

* You’re making a 10% down payment

* Your loan term is 60 months

* You represent the "average demographic" for insurance purposes

Buying one of the new vehicles listed still isn’t the best way to maximize your money but, if you’re stuck on that new car smell, they look like the least expensive bets right now, the study maintains.

Smaller car winners include the Chevrolet Aveo, the Honda Fit and the Toyota Yaris. The most economical among the smaller SUVs? The Honda Element, Edmunds suggests.

Despite the strong argument for going used, would you buy a brand new car today? When it come to value, do you agree with the Edmunds research?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...