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.



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.