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--- news (5/19/2012)
A lot more goes into the cost of vehicle ownership than just the sticker price. Things like depreciation, maintenance and insurance must considered, with those factors sometimes more than doubling a vehicle’s purchase price.

But luckily for value-focused shoppers, Kelley Blue Book has just released a new study revealing the 20 cheapest 2012 model year vehicles to own, with Forbes contributing a break down of ownership costs. Covering 20 of the most popular vehicle segments, the study assumes five years of ownership (which is actually about a year less than the nation average) and takes into account virtually every financial consideration, including purchase price, depreciation, repairs, maintenance, taxes, insurance, financing and fuel costs.
We’ve chosen some of our favorites from that list, highlighting the very best and the very worst.

Subcompact car
After crunching all the numbers, KBB determined that the 2012 Nissan Versa is the most economical subcompact car on the market today. With a base MSRP of just $11,770, the Versa is not only cheap to buy, but also cheap to own for five years.

The Versa’s depreciation, repair and maintenance figures fall well below the industry averages, although the car is a little more expensive to insure with a five year total of nearly $4,600. However, its fuel efficient engine is enough to overcome that insurance short fall, with the five-year tab of Versa ownership coming to $25,868, or $0.34 per mile.

Compact car
The compact car segment has become increasingly competitive over the last few years, but the 2012 Kia Soul emerged as the most wallet-friendly to own in the segment.

Like the Versa, the Soul benefits from a low asking price of $14,650. The Soul’s value proposition takes a hit with $8,621 worth of depreciation, but the compact is extremely affordable to live with in all other categories – including $3,695 in insurance costs, the lowest in the survey — resulting in a five-year ownership cost of $28,451. On a per-mile basis, that comes out to $0.38.

Mid-size car
The Toyota Camry might be the most popular car in the mid-size segment, but the Hyundai Sonata is the cheapest to own. Despite its larger size and more well-equipped interior, the Sonata scored high marks for low maintenance and repair costs, besting its compact and subcompact rivals. The five-year cost of owning a $20,455 Sonata comes to $35,438, or $0.47 per mile.

Full-size car
If value is what you’re seeking, you might want to steer clear of the full-size car segment. KBB named the Chevrolet Impala the cheapest to own in the segment, but we’d hardly call its five-year ownership cost reasonable.

The Impala actually falls pretty much in line with industry average for most costs, but its whopping $19,034 in depreciation makes it one expensive car to own. You’ll need to shell out $46,228 to own an Impala for five years, which translates to a per-mile cost of $0.62.

High-performance car
High-performance cars rarely come cheap, but the 2012 Lexus IS F is one of the most economical to run. Thanks to Lexus’ pursuit of perfection, the 2012 IS F offsets its $62,175 base MSRP with five-year repair costs of just $2,016. That figure is about on par with the much cheaper Kia Soul and nearly $2,000 cheaper than the Audi A5, which was named the cheapest luxury car to own. The IS F’s five-year costs amount to $77,140, or a $1.03 per mile.

Midsize SUV
The Jeep Wrangler may not be the most practical SUV for everyday commuting, but KBB says it is the most economical to run. The Wrangler is relatively cheap to buy, cheap to run and actually holds its value quite well. The Wrangler does, however, guzzle gas, with its five-year fuel cost of $14,596 just $44 less than the high-performance Lexus IS F. A Wrangler owner can expect to spend $37,344 during five-years of ownership, translating to a per-mile cost of $0.50.

Luxury SUV
After all calculations are tallied, the Audi Q7 comes out as the most affordable luxury SUV for 2012.

Reliability has never been a strong suit for the Audi brand, and the Q7 is no exception. It’s estimated the Q7 will require $4,092 for repairs and $4,093 for maintenance during a five-year ownership term, but those costs are overcome by good resale values and a relatively fuel efficient drivetrain. Audi Q7 owners can expect to see 63,240 fewer dollars in their bank account after five-years of ownership, or $0.84 per mile.

Full-size pickup
Gas prices may be rising, but full-size pickups remain the most popular vehicles in America. Value shoppers in the pickup segment will want to check out the 2012 Chevy Silverado regular cab.

Just $8,858 of the Silverado’s $22,940 MSRP will remain after five-years of ownership, but the truck’s reliability is its saving grace. The Silverado has some of the lowest five-year repair and maintenance costs of the 20 segments included in the survey.

The Silverado’s $16,058 fuel bill is only topped buy the Ford Expedition full-size SUV, but the truck comes out with a total ownership cost of $44,126. For those counting by the mile, that’s $0.59 per 5,280 feet.

Class.......Winner.....MSRP.....Total Cost of Ownership
Best Brand .Kia - -
Best Luxury Brand Audi - -
Subcompact Car Nissan Versa $11,770 $29,252
Compact Car Kia Soul $14,650 $31,417
Mid Size Car Hyundai Sonata $20,570 $38,476
Full Size Car Chevrolet Impala $26,585 $47,957
Sports Car Mazda MX-5 Miata $24,265 $42,602
Entry Level Luxury Car Volvo C30 $25,825 $42,367
Luxury Car Audi A5 $37,975 $56,908
High End Luxury Car Lexus LS 460 $68,505 $90,234
High Performance Car Lexus IS F $61,535 $77,140
Compact Crossover Nissan Juke $20,770 $36,627
Crossover Hyundai Santa Fe $24,050 $42,628
Luxury Crossover Lexus RX 350 $39,950 $52,217
Mid Size Sport Utility Jeep Wrangler $22,945 $41,764
Full Size Sport Utility Ford Expedition $38,595 $63,562
Luxury Sport Utility Audi Q7 $47,125 $67,630
Mid Size Pickup Truck Toyota Tacoma Regular Cab $17,685 $36,655
Full Size Pickup Truck Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Regular $31,315 $49,371
Minivan Mazda Mazda5 $20,420 $37,480
Hybrid Car Honda Insight $19,290 $32,884
Hybrid Utility Ford Escape Hybrid $31,395 $45,051
Electric Car Chevrolet Volt $39,995 $40,629

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