Most Cost-Effective Cars to Own After Five Years

Analysts say picking the right vehicle can save more in the long run than negotiating for a better purchase price.

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Many consumers brace for the haggling involved in knocking a few hundred or even thousands of dollars off the price of a new car. But the purchase price is just one of the costs of owning a vehicle, and potentially more can be saved by choosing the right car to start with.

That's the logic behind annual five-year cost to own designations awarded by Kelley Blue Book, which factors in the ongoing costs of fuel, financing, insurance, and depreciation in projecting the vehicles with the lowest ownership costs. 

"Some people look at what the car cost is, some look at the fuel efficiency, some just want reliability and peace of mind that the car won't break down in a few years and they'll have to spend a lot in repairs," Tim Fleming, analyst at KBB, told The Drive.

"These awards can be a little confusing, but it's intended to be all encompassing as to what does it cost to own and operate a vehicle over a five-year period," he added.

For the 2018 model-year, the most cost-effective brand Is Hyundai and the most cost-effective luxury brand is Acura, the information provider said Wednesday in a news release.

"They've had a really good warranty program in place for years," said Fleming of Hyundai, adding: "It's one of the best, if not the best, warranty out there."

Acura is "not a Mercedes or Audi-level brand, but it offers luxury vehicles at affordable prices, which helps in their depreciation figures, so they always do well," said Fleming.

Here's KBB's rundown, by vehicle category: 

SUBCOMPACT CAR:  Chevrolet Spark

ELECTRIC VEHICLE:  Nissan LEAF

COMPACT CAR:  Toyota Corolla iM

SUBCOMPACT SUV/CROSSOVER:  Honda HR-V

SPORTY COMPACT CAR: Honda Civic Si

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COMPACT SUV/CROSSOVER:  Subaru Crosstrek

MID-SIZE CAR:  Hyundai Sonata

MID-SIZE SUV/CROSSOVER:  Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

FULL-SIZE CAR: Chevrolet Impala

FULL-SIZE SUV/CROSSOVER:  Chevrolet Tahoe

ENTRY-LEVEL LUXURY CAR:  Acura ILX

LUXURY COMPACT SUV/CROSSOVER:  Buick Encore

LUXURY CAR:  Lexus GS

LUXURY MID-SIZE SUV/CROSSOVER:  Infiniti QX60

HIGH-END LUXURY CAR:  Porsche Panamera

LUXURY FULL-SIZE SUV/CROSSOVER:  Infiniti QX80

SPORTS CAR:  Chevrolet Camaro

MID-SIZE PICKUP TRUCK:  Toyota Tacoma

HIGH-PERFORMANCE CAR:  Dodge Challenger SRT

HYBRID/ALTERNATIVE ENERGY CAR: Toyota Prius c

FULL-SIZE PICKUP TRUCK:  Ford F-150

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