No way around it, cars have a way of nickling and diming you. When you shop for a new car, there's a lot more to budget, related to car ownership, than just your monthly payments. If it's not maintenance or repairs, there are fees, fuel costs, finance costs, and the cost of your annual insurance premium.
And that's before even considering depreciation or what you could have better invested in.
To help keep track of all these costs, a number of sources attempt to keep track of it all. As we've seen, even things that are seemingly trivial when a car is new, like the cost of replacement parts, can have a significant impact over even five years of ownership.
The shopping and pricing resource NADAguides has named the vehicles (two of each body style) with the lowest ownership costs. The data used was obtained through the site's Cost of Ownership tool, powered by data from ownership-cost authority Vincentric, which provides similar data to a number of different car-shopping platforms and editorial outlets.
The tool even factors in your location, driving experience, and miles covered annually.
Here, unabridged, are NADAguides' picks (based on an Orange County, California, zip code of 92626; six years driving experience; and 15,000 miles per year):
2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0
2011 Ford Mustang GT 5.0Enlarge Photo
2011 Ford Mustang 2 Door GT Premium: MSRP of $32,845 with a total cost of ownership of $54,281 over a 5-year period, averaging $10,856.20 per year.
2011 BMW 1 Series 2 Door Convertible 128i SULEV: MSRP of $34,200 with a total cost of ownership of $58,385 over a 5-year period, averaging $11,677.00 per year.
2010 Honda CR-V 4WD 5 Door EX-L w/ Navigation: MSRP of $29,745 with a total cost of ownership of $46,166 over a 5-year period, averaging $9,233.20 per year.
2011 Ford Edge 4 Door Limited: MSRP of $34,220 with a total cost of ownership of $54,048 over a 5-year period, averaging $10,809.60 per year.
2010 Audi A3 TDI
2010 Audi A3 TDIEnlarge Photo