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.

Car Manufacturer’s Warranty: Coverage & Limitations

Manufacturer’s Warranty: Coverage and Limitations

Buying a new car is exciting but remember that it is an investment. Aside from insuring your investment, you need to consider the warranty coverage. Although the car may be brand new, there is no certainty that its condition will remain as perfect as it is at the time of purchase or that you won’t require repair.

Manufacturer warranties are available with most car producers to cover the costs of a number of repairs, but they include specific limitations. Here is what you can expect from your manufacturer warranty!

Car Manufacturer’s Warranty: Coverage & Limitations

Manufacturer Warranty Coverage

The standard manufacturer warranty (aka the powertrain warranty) will guarantee that the manufacturer will cover expenses related to repairs or defects on major components (like the engine and transmission) over an allocated time period.

Usually, the coverage will be documented with a time and mileage limit. For most manufacturers, the warranty will be active for 3 years/36000 miles, up to 5 years/60,000 miles but these numbers will vary depending on the producer and the vehicle model.

Car Manufacturer’s Warranty: Coverage & Limitations

Under the manufacturer warranty, the car producer is bound to make up for any faulty car parts installed during the manufacturing process. In addition, any electronic issues will usually be repaired for free by the manufacturer.

Ask your car dealer about the available warranty levels as their coverage will vary. Some manufacturer warranties include coverage on general repairs, rusting car parts or even required repairs for the reduction of harmful emissions if your vehicle is not authorized by environmental organizations as safe.

Components covered under the Powertrain warranty

The powertrain warranty (which is the basic manufacturer warranty) covers all components that make a car run.


  • Crankshaft
  • intake and exhaust valves
  • pistons
  • the oil pump
  • timing belt and gears


Typically, all internal transmission components are covered, but cables and electrical items are often excluded.

Drive Axle

Most powertrain warranties cover axle shafts, axle housing, and other internal parts.

Seals and Gaskets

Your seals, gaskets, sprockets, chains, and gears will likely be covered if they are defective.

Limitations to Consider

The basic manufacturer warranty has some limitations, which may be difficult to spot, especially at the time of purchase when your adrenaline levels are high because of the new, amazing car you are about to have!

The restriction that comes into play with basic manufacturer warranty is the mileage. Since you can run up your miles before your warranty expires, ask your manufacturer or car dealer at which point you will actually not have any coverage. Also, double check if the mileage limit is for the whole warranty period or per year.

Not all parts of your car will be covered by the manufacturer warranty and even the parts that are initially covered may not be replaced if the damage is due to a car accident. Furthermore, if the damaged parts fail to function properly as a result of poor maintenance or climate conditions, it is likely that the manufacturer will refuse to cover the repair costs.

Finally, it is possible that different components will have different warranty periods, after which they will not be covered.

You can also buy an extended warranty direct from the manufacturer or through a 3rd party. 3rd party warranties can be added after the initial vehicle purchase.

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.

Investing in a Budget-friendly Cars

Budget-friendly Cars that deserve a look

If you are considering investing in a new car, make sure prioritize what is important to you in a vehicle. Price should not be the only consideration. You need a vehicle that gives you the maximum comfort and suits your needs.

Six budget-friendly cars to buy new

Investing in a Budget-friendly CarsPurchasing a new car is a good investment, especially if you get a quality vehicle packed with extras at a reasonable price. Here are a few great options:

  • Approximately $16,000
  • 138 horsepower
  • Turbocharged 1.4L ecotec engine

This car which comes in 10 different colors offers a lot of amenities: it has 10 airbags, forward collision alert, rear park assistance, OnStar automatic crash response system, air conditioning, infotainment display, keyless entry, 7-inch diagonal color touch-screen display, Wi-Fi connectivity, tilting and telescoping steering wheel. This car is small and compact, which makes it the best car for singles or young couples. In addition, the rear 60/40 split-folding seats make a lot of space in the back for those who travel.

  • Approximately $15,500
  • 6-liter four-cylinder engine
  • 137 horsepower

This car not only looks good on the road but also provides you with a lot of comfort, utility and good performance. It has both manual and automatic six-speed transmissions, it is quiet, has a lot of back space, and drives smoothly on the road, which makes it an excellent choice for people who commute or take road trips.

  • Approximately $15,000
  • 6-liter four-cylinder engine
  • 138 horsepower

This car has long warranty coverage, quick acceleration, LX non-telescoping steering wheel, and big seats for more comfort. It is a great choice for people who need a ride that is going to take them from point A to point B with comfort. Kia Rio Sedan comes with a stellar list of extras that feature 15-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, fog lights, dual illuminated vanity mirrors, four-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, a USB port. It guarantees both security and good time while on the road.

  • Approximately $13,800
  • 4-liter four-cylinder engine
  • 98 horsepower and 94 pound-feet of torque

     This is a great and inexpensive car for people who need a daily driver. This car comes equipped with a rearview camera, 7-inch touchscreen, 4G LTE hotspot, 15-inch steel wheel, air-conditioning, 60/40-split folding rear seat, trip computer, OnStar telematics system, Bluetooth connectivity, and USB port. Furthermore, Chevrolet Spark is a really safe car thanks to the four-wheel antilock brakes, hill-hold assist, front and rear side airbags, front-seat knee airbags, stability and traction control, automatic crash notification, and forward collision alert. Chevrolet Spark makes the best choice for people who have just started driving because it is easy to maneuver, offers smooth drive, and is easy to park because of its compact size.

  • Approximately $13,800
  • 74 to 78 horsepower
  • 2-liter three-cylinder engine

This model also makes a perfect daily driver. It has 14-inch steel wheels, rear view, LED taillights, a tilt-only steering wheel, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, four-speaker sound system, USB connectivity, fog lights, key-less ignition, cruise control, 6.5- inch touchscreen. Mitsubishi Mirage is a very safe car thanks to its four-wheel anti-lock brakes, front-seat airbags, a driver knee airbag, front rear parking sensors, and traction and stability control. It is surely a good choice at a great price and deserves to make it to your list of potential options.

  • Approximately 12,800
  • 6-liter four-cylinder
  • 109 horsepower
  • 107 pound-feet of torque

This car provides safety, smooth ride, class, a lot of room inside for a more comfortable ride, and a large trunk. The model comes with four trim levels: S, SL, SV, and S Plus. It offers 15-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, tilt-only steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, trip computer, sound system, keyless entry, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, USB port, satellite radio, audio system, and more. Nissan Versa S provides excellent safety measures like antilock brakes, traction and stability control, airbags, cruise control, and rearview camera. Moreover, this model has passed a lot of crash tests with excellent results, which makes it an excellent choice in terms of road safety.

Two suggestions for affordable used cars

If you are thinking about a budget-friendly vehicle, you should also consider buying a used car. There are many good models that will meet your needs without stripping you out of cash. Here are two suggestions:

1982 – 1992 BMW 3-SERIES

These are, indeed, older models. However, they are classics and are a great choice for new drivers. Prices can be as low as $2000 and you will have paid for a car that looks good, drives well and is budget-friendly. If you are wondering which car to buy for your son who just got a driver’s license, the BMW 3 Series are the right choice and are made to last for years ahead.

2001 – 2007 VOLVO S60

These are, once again, classic cars which are made to last years! The prices start from $2000. You will have peace of mind driving these models because they have passed a lot of collision test with great results. Besides, we all know that Volvo engines are made to outlive their owners, so you can trust in the reliability of the make.

The list above is far from exhaustive, but hopefully it will help you decide on the best option for you.