Back in 2008, CR broke down those ownership costs into average percentages, and depreciation was by far the largest portion, at 46 percent of those total costs over five years. At that time the less impressive resale values of Kia and Hyundai models offset their low prices, long warranty coverage, and relatively good reliability records, for example, even though the Honda Fit is more expensive than the Hyundai Accent.
For this year, calculating these figures out and averaging them for a cost-per-mile estimate over five years, CR saw costs ranging from 42 cents per mile for the Honda Fit to $1.70 for the Mercedes S550. So if you keep them both for that long, the Benz costs about four times as much to own.
Buying a vehicle solely on buff-book performance-number bragging rights is silly. So is buying one based only upon ownership-cost numbers.
If you're setting out looking for a new car, and you're on a rather tight budget, you're quite simply better off to make a well-informed decision. Consider how the vehicle drives, how you feel behind the wheel, how your family fits, whether it has the features you need, whether it's good enough on gas, whether it'll cost too much to keep up, and whether you think it'll but not sweat these numbers.
Angular Rear Exterior View - 2010 MINI Cooper Hardtop 2-door CoupeEnlarge Photo