2013 Nissan Versa SedanEnlarge Photo
Depreciation over five years: $7,199
Average annual insurance: $1,027
EPA fuel economy: 27 mpg city, 36 highway (manual)
Five-year total cost of ownership: $27,405
If you're looking for excitement, you sure won't find it here. What you will find in the 2013 Nissan Versa is a vehicle that's adequate as a commuter and comfortable enough for a modest weekend trip, but certainly no more. Even at the base Versa S level, you get standard air conditioning, although power windows and mirrors are out of the question—but as these numbers attest, the Versa is the best it gets in the U.S. market if low ownership costs are the priority. To echo the Bottom Line from our full review of the Versa, this model is at its best up against used cars.
2013 Chevrolet Spark minicarEnlarge Photo
Depreciation over five years: $8,614
Average annual insurance: $996
EPA fuel economy: 32 mpg city, 38 highway (manual)
Five-year total cost of ownership: $27,871
As Chevy's first minicar—a step down in size from the Sonic subcompact that replaced the Aveo—the little 84-horsepower Spark hones in on young Millennial buyers, and those who both live in an urban area and want a very small car at an affordable price. While that, and its color palette that includes hues like Techno Pink and lime-green Salsa, may shout out the wrong message for recent college grads who want to be taken seriously, the Spark's unified, almost sporty design inside and out, combined with a nimble, stable driving feel and a price that's lower than either the Scion iQ and the Smart Fortwo, add up to an interesting way to keep your driving costs low.