Top 5 Cheapest-to-Own Cars | Car Buying Tips

Top 5 Cheapest-to-Own Cars

When buying a car, remember to look beyond the sticker price. Owning a car is much more than simply purchasing it. Consider maintenance cost, insurance, taxes, registration fees, fuel economy, and standard features. If you are looking for a car that is cheap to own, paying a bit higher initial price may be worth it in the long run.

Kelly Blue Book (KBB) researches and keeps track of all vehicle ownership costs and publishes its 5-Year Cost to Own Awards annually. They calculate how much it costs to own a given car over a period of five years in 22 different categories. Based on this research, we present you the top 5 cheapest-to-own vehicles for 2018.

1. Chevrolet Spark

Top 5 Cheapest-to-Own Cars | Car Buying Tips

Chevrolet Spark was ranked number one by KBB in the category: Subcompact Car with KBB 5-year cost to own: $21,819. Its initial price ranges from $13,050 to $17,475. Some of its main advantages include:

  • A well-equipped information and entertainment system that comes with the basic model
  • Great power and handling for a city car

It has a few drawbacks, such as the small cargo area and the lack of sufficient power on the highway.

2. Toyota Corolla iM

Toyota Corolla iM won in the category: Compact Car with KBB 5-year cost to own: $30,856. It has an initial price that starts at $18,850 up to $19,590. The car is praised for:

Top 5 Cheapest-to-Own Cars | Car Buying Tips

  • The abundance of standard features that come even with the base model, and
  • The excellent cargo capacity.

Some of its disadvantages include a loud engine with not so much power and fewer comfort and entertainment features compared to other vehicles in the same class.

3. Honda HR-V

Honda HR-V takes the first place in the category: Subcompact SUV with KBB 5-year cost to own: $32,874. The price tag on a new car is between 19,670 and $26,540. The vehicle has many advantages that make it a good choice:

Top 5 Cheapest-to-Own Cars | Car Buying Tips

  • Adult-friendly back seat
  • Sufficient cargo area
  • High quality of the build
  • Above-average reliability

There are a few drawbacks though, like the awkward touch screen and the firm front seat cushions, which are minor for an SUV of this class. The biggest disadvantage is perhaps that it takes some time to reach highway speed.

4. Toyota Prius c

Toyota Prius c is at the head in the category: Hybrid/Alternative-Energy Car with KBB 5-year cost to own: $33,454. Its initial price starts at $20,630 and is the least expensive Toyota hybrid. The things that you will like in this car are:

Top 5 Cheapest-to-Own Cars | Car Buying Tips

  • The clean lines
  • The spacious interior
  • The direct steering

Some of its disadvantages are that the engine gets quite noisy when pushed and the budget materials used for the interior. Otherwise, it is a great vehicle compared to its rivals.

5. Honda Civic Si

Honda Civic Si was chosen as the top performer in category: Sporty Compact Car with KBB 5-year cost to own: $33,484. Its price ranges from $18,840 to $34,100 depending on the extras it offers. The car is loved for many reasons that include:

Top 5 Cheapest-to-Own Cars | Car Buying Tips

  • High-grade cabin
  • A lot of cargo room
  • Spacious and comfortable seats
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Very comfortable ride and great agility

As for the negatives, the available infotainment system is a bit tricky to use.

It is worth noting that according to KBB Hyundai is the Best Brand winner since the cars it offers come at an affordable price and is also cost-efficient in the long run. The Best Luxury Brand winner for 2018 is Acura. They manage to make vehicles that are both luxurious and great value and are worth investing in them.

Making the Most of a Test Drive

Making the Most of a Test Drive

A test drive is a crucial part of buying a new car. It allows you to get a feel for the car and see if it’s a good fit for you. You will be able to test how the vehicle behaves on the road and if the extras it offers meet your expectations.

The test drive is an excellent opportunity but since you get a limited time to try out the vehicle, you need to make sure that you make the most of it.

Making the Most of a Test Drive

Before the test drive

It is good to do some planning before the actual test drive. First and foremost, you need to decide on the type of vehicle you want to buy. Do some online research and make a decision on a certain make and model or narrow down to several vehicles that you are interested in. Make a list of must haves and nice-to-haves so you can compromise if need be.

Contact your local dealer and schedule the test drive. Be prepared to ask questions. Take a pen and paper and write down your questions right after the test drive.

Take a friend on the test drive

If possible, ask a friend or a relative to accompany you on the test drive. It’s good to choose someone who has more knowledge about cars as they may notice something that you can miss. In any case, having company is good since that person can be in the passenger seat or in the back and tell you how it feels. They may also have questions that for the dealer or see some things around the car that you have missed.

Use the test drive to simulate a real day drive

The best way to utilize the test drive is to simulate an ordinary day from your routine. If you need to drive on a highway or through a busy traffic in the city, make sure to do that during the test drive. See how the vehicle behaves with different speed and on different roads. This way you can get a real feel for the car. Check how it feels and brakes on winding and sloping roads, especially if you live in a hilly area.

Try some other things that you do daily – like parking. Parallel park on a street or in a crowded place. Check how easy it is to get in and out of the car, to open the trunk, see if it will fit your usual grocery shopping, for example.

It is also good to drive the vehicle over some bumps to see how it absorbs the shock. In other words, try to test all the things that may happen on an ordinary day of driving your car.

Check the interior features

It is also important to check and try the different interior features and extras of the car. Adjust your seat, turn on and off the air conditioner, check how the power windows open and shut, turn the radio on. If the car is equipped with a sunroof and/or navigation system, check how they perform as well. Enter an address in the GPS and see how it responds. Make sure that the car actually has the extras listed as offered.

At the end of the test drive take your notes and ask the dealer any questions you may have. Based on the car performance and your feeling, you need to decide whether this is the right vehicle for you.



Benefits of Alternative-fuel Cars

Alternative-fuel cars – what are the benefits?

Being environmentally-friendly is becoming more popular among young people and the good news is that the alternatives in many industries are becoming better and more accessible. Alternative-fuel vehicles can be just as luxurious and comfortable as their traditional counterparts, look good and suit ambitious people, and what is even better, they become more and more affordable.

Generally, an alternative-fuel car is any vehicle that uses power different than the conventional fuels like petrol and diesel. This can be solar power, electricity, biofuels or the modern hybrids. These vehicles are cleaner, produce fewer emissions and are much safer for the environment. They are also referred to as green vehicles and have a lot of benefits that can make you consider buying one.

Benefits of Alternative-fuel Cars

Alternative-fuel cars are the future for all drivers who want to enjoy the latest technology and comfort while saving money and keeping the environment clean.

Alternative fuels are here to stay

While conventional fuels are limited and are going to run out, the alternative options are here to stay. They are easier to get and come from renewable sources. Solar energy is one such example. The oil fields, most of which are located in the Middle East, will sooner or later run dry and the time will come when the demand will be greater than the supply. Not to mention, the cost of conventional fuel is increasing. This makes alternative-fuel cars even more attractive for people with a vision for the future.

Alternative-fuel cars offer more options

Automakers now have more options to offer to the potential consumers. The end user has the opportunity to choose between the different type of cars and different types of fuels. While in the past it was rather exotic to drive an electric vehicle and difficult to find where to charge it, this is changing as we speak and the option is becoming more and more affordable. Besides, the different alternative-fuel cars offer various options in terms of looks, accessories and safety to fit different lifestyles.

Alternative-fuel cars are environmentally-friendly

Since this is one of the main benefits of vehicles running on alternative fuels, we have to mention that they are environmentally-friendly. Driving a green car means that you generate less pollution which relates to several health benefits as a result of breathing clean air.

Higher competition and improved standards

The creation of alternative-fuel vehicles leads to increased competition among automakers, which is to the benefit of the end user. The companies are trying to make their cars more attractive their competitors’ vehicles. They do it by increasing the standards, adding more extras, improving safety and ultimately lowering the price. Not to mention the mere feeling of being the proud owner of the latest Tesla model – you inevitably get the idea of being better, doing better, deserving better. In other words, modern and green go hand in hand when it comes to alternative-fuel vehicles.

Alternative-fuel cars are cost-efficient

The actual price of alternative-fuel cars is falling and they are no longer a privilege of the wealthy. Besides, alternative fuels are often less expensive than the conventional ones and have alonger service life. Often, alternative fuels can also be produced domestically at a lower cost, while stimulating the local economy. Fuel economy is also a factor to consider. Vehicles using hydrogen fuel cells and even diesel are more economical in fuel, which means spending less money day-to-day. In a nutshell, green cars are a cost-efficient investment in the long-term.

Substantial improvements and innovation

Alternative-fuel vehicles offer much more than simply a substitute for conventional cars. They utilize the newest technology, which allows for faster acceleration and better behavior on the road. Electrification of the engine and using metals such as lithium gives more power to your car. Electrical interfaces replace the typical hydraulic and mechanical linkages making the vehicle much easier to maneuver. Besides, you can program your car with many pre-sets, such as the time you usually go to work in the morning, so that the car awaits you with a warmed coupe. The advanced GPS-navigation or the different sensors that help you navigate in the traffic or park successfully are just a few of the extras that most of the alternative-fuel cars offer.


Ultimately, alternative-fuel cars are convenient. Wireless charging is one of the emblematic examples of how convenient these cars can be. You no longer need to go to the gas station or deal with plug-ins for your hybrid. You just press a button and the car navigates to its docking station, where you leave it to charge and go about your business. All the new technologies reduce the stress that may be associated with driving such as time spent navigating through heavy traffic or preventing road accidents while providing better connectivity with internet or more onboard conveniences for the passengers.

If you are thinking that it is high time to upgrade your vehicle, consider getting a green car and enjoy the many benefits that come with it.

8 Best Cars for California

California is the third largest and the most populous state in the USA. It is the beautiful scenery which makes driving through it a pleasure.

If you are moving or recently moved to California, you’ll want to make sure you find a vehicle that fits the local climate and follows local fashion trends, especially in Long Beach area where the image is of great importance.  Here are 8 great cars for California that are not only convenient but will also help you to fit right in.


The most popular brands in California

Californians do have a good taste for cars, which may differ slightly from the rest of the Americans. The evidence from different surveys such as preferred car brand in California or the top best-selling cars reveals that they are five makes that dominate the market in this state: Honda, Toyota, Ford, Nissan and Chevrolet.

  • Chevrolet Silverado – this is the preferred pickup truck for Californians. It is imperative for those who take care of big houses and yards and those who live in the suburbs and drive a lot. In a nutshell, this is a full-sized V8-powered pickup that is light on the wallet at the pump. It is a do-it-all vehicle that has been part of top 10 best-sellers for California for quite a while.
  • Honda Accord – this vehicle comes packed with lots of extras at a very reasonable price to make driving round Long Beach, LA and other busy areas a pleasure. It is perfect for the tech savvy who has to spend a lot of time in the car, and comes equipped with Bluetooth audio streaming, hands-free calling and other features at a lower cost than expected. No wonder Honda Accord was the best selling vehicle for California just three years ago.
  • Chevrolet Corvette – an iconic car that combines image with power and brilliant handling. If you are an experienced driver, you surely deserve to drive around Long Beach in this vehicle.
  • Toyota Camry – the vehicle is perfect for those who need to use it just to get from point A to point B. It can be used both by young singles and families and you can trust that it will behave well on the roads of California, especially in areas with high traffic.
  • Ford F-150 – yet another bestselling truck for the entire USA and one of the top 10 vehicles for California. It is a great choice for commuters who take care of houses with yards in the suburbs. It is the best when it comes to heavy-duty work.
  • Fiat 500 Cabriolet – the best small car for Long Beach area with an old-school roll-back top that opens up almost the entire roof. You can enjoy a scenic ride and the fair weather, without worrying about the cost, since the car is fuel-efficient. It also comes at quite affordable price – just over $20K, which makes this compact quite attractive.
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata – this is another small car that is easy on the eyes and easy to park. It is relatively inexpensive and fuel efficient and is fun to drive. It can be compared to the Fiat 500 but it has a less retro-look and moves faster (even its roof opens quicker). If you love spending time driving on scenic roads around California, then this is the car you need to own.

What to look for this year when driving in California

Taking into account the heavy traffic in Long Beach area and in other parts of California, we recommend two types of cars that you should be looking for in general:

  • Any hybrid – if you want to save gas (and money) the hybrid is the perfect car for you. Despite the initially higher investment, this type of vehicle is truly the answer for anyone who drives a lot around California. The battery comes with a ten-year warranty, so you can even save money by buying a used hybrid. You will enjoy a comfortable ride and take pride in protecting the environment at the same time.
  • Anything with start/stop button – in a densely populated state as California traffic jams are quite common especially in large metropolitan areas such as Long Beach. When you are stuck and moving just a few inches per hour, you are wasting gas and playing bad on your engine. A start/stop system, however, can solve this problem for you. It has been introduced in the United States fairly recently, so you need to consider cars manufactured after 2010.

The ultimate car to drive in California

Whether you live in Long Beach area or elsewhere in California, there is this one car that you simply need to drive – the Tesla Model S. This is the ultimate car for the Golden State as it has it all – from the ultimate in gas savings to the perfection in both image and comfort. It is true that Tesla launched newer and more expensive models recently, but the Model S is still the one you want to own if you want to make a statement. The ultimate sports car, loved by all Americans, the Tesla Model S deserves to top the list of the cars you should drive in California.

We know that choosing a car can be overwhelming. Hopefully, our list of the best 8 cars to drive in California has given you some useful insights. Already drive one of the cars we recommended? Let us know in the comments!

7 Best Family SUVs 2017-2018

It’s been a long time since SUVs were frowned upon as being cumbersome, heavy-cargo vehicles, designed for off-road. They’ve proven themselves as the car of choice for families with kids and car manufacturers have been trying to make them even more appealing to those customers.

This year brought us some really nice models from Toyota, Jeep, and Ranger Rover, as well as brands which – until recently – were hardly associated with “family” cars like Bentley and Porsche. Now 2018 promises even broader range of SUV models to be presented to the market. Their features are already announced and it is clear what we can expect. It is going to be hard to pick one that’s best, but perhaps our list will help you choose the one that’s best for you.

1.     2017 Toyota 4Runner

7 BEST FAMILY SUVS 2017-2018This old-school SUV will get your vote if you are a fan of tough-looking vehicles. The 2017 TRD Pro comes with the impressive 270 horsepower and 5-speed transmission. With its greater ground clearance, under-body protection, and electronically controlled suspension that adapts to different types of terrain, we could say that its main purpose is to get you wherever you’re going. If you plan to get off the beaten path, that’s the car for you.  Toyota is known for their reliable vehicles and you can be confident that this SUV won’t let you down.

2.     2018 Volkswagen Atlas

7 BEST FAMILY SUVS 2017-2018When we talk about Atlas, it comes down to three things – it’s big, it’s functional, and it looks good. The inside space is more than plenty, with room for 7 passengers and/or lots of cargo. The 280-horsepower going out to all four wheels is just enough to make it more agile than one would expect by looking at it. And the curvy design adds a distinguishable modern feel to it, so you can drive in the city with confidence and pride.


 3.     2017 Tesla Model X

7 BEST FAMILY SUVS 2017-2018 You may be tired of hearing about Tesla, but we feel that our list wouldn’t be complete without their large Model X. Its standard model comes with seats for six, but it is possible to opt in for 7 seats. It is mostly known for its electric motor, making it extremely cost-efficient, compared to its gasoline and diesel engine rivals. And don’t get us started on its futuristic Falcon Wing doors. But there is a lot more to it that could make you want to make it yours. It is definitely built with families in mind, focusing on comfort and safety.

4.     2017 Hyundai Santa Fe

7 BEST FAMILY SUVS 2017-2018

Santa Fe has long been a top selling SUV and has a well-deserved place in every “Best SUV” list. It is popular mostly thanks to the competitive price – quality ratio with a very low base price which makes it perfect for families. Even though its V6 engine is far from being astonishing, Hyundai achieved great results when it comes to safety, comfort and overall performance on the road. They also made sure to include quite a few of the latest technology features – some of them being AndroidAuto and Apple CarPlay – as available options. Overall, Hyundai Santa Fe is a great family SUV.

5.     2018 Ford Expedition MAX

7 BEST FAMILY SUVS 2017-2018 Yes, the Ford Expedition that we know will now be called Ford Expedition MAX. As you probably imagine, the change in name is because this SUV is getting bigger in size. It will be almost a foot longer while – fortunately – losing on its weight. The engine has the staggering 450 horsepower and you can opt for a 10-speed automatic transmission, making it a real pleasure to drive. It will also come with a much-needed facelift, and a modern look, as you can see on the images. With a price of about $47k, it is worth thinking about taking this wonderful family vehicle to your garage.

6.     2017 Nissan Pathfinder

7 BEST FAMILY SUVS 2017-2018

2017’s Pathfinder was a pleasant surprise with several tasteful design tweaks, making it stand out of the crowd. In addition, it got some important technical enhancements, a safety boost, and more power (which was a major downfall in previous models.) The 284 horsepower V6 engine is great, but if that’s not impressive enough, think about the Forward Emergency Braking, the Intelligent Cruise Control, and other driver assist features which granted it a 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The base model comes with a price of just above $31000, which is an excellent price, considering the features included.

7.     2017 Honda Pilot

7 BEST FAMILY SUVS 2017-2018This is probably the most practical SUV in our list. With Pilot, Honda managed to combine everything that makes for a perfect family vehicle. With lots of inner space, fun to drive both in the city and on the highway, safe and beautiful Honda Pilot is a top pick for a family SUV. Its three rows of seats allow for a very comfortable trip for not 7 but 8 passengers. All rows can be folded, and the SUV easily turns into a spacious cargo-truck. To no surprise, this SUV has a Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS, and we all know this is an important factor when choosing a family car. The price of about $34000 positions the model in the mid-range, but looking at the interior you could easily think that it is on the edge of luxury.

There are many more family SUV models on the market, each of them with their advantages and downfalls. The best SUV for your family might not be on our list, but there is definitely one out there that would meet – and surpass – all your requirements. Before you start looking, our advice is to decide whether you need a low-, mid-, or luxury range model to limit the options. And even after you’ve compared all the numbers, make sure to go to your local dealer and actually try before you buy. Often the difference between two is the way they make you feel.