On the road

SUV fans face higher costs

SUVs now outsell passenger cars in Australia, but owners are paying the price, according to our latest vehicle operating costs survey.

If you compare a Hyundai Kona, the leading vehicle in the small SUV category, with the small car class-leading Kia Cerato, motorists will pay more than $6500 extra over a five-year ownership period.

The survey uses Tasmanian data, with all expenses associated with normal car ownership (purchase price, interest, fuel, electricity, servicing, new tyres, insurance and depreciation) taken into account.

This year’s cheapest car to own and run is the Kia Rio S in the light car category, which at $107.97 a week is cheaper than all the vehicles in the micro class and more than $17 per week when compared to the Fiat 500 in the micro category.

In the volume selling small car class, the Kia Cerato is cheapest to run with a weekly cost of $130.90 – more than $15 per week cheaper than the next cheapest car in that category.

If you want to stick with an SUV, the recently released Toyota RAV4 GXL is the cheapest vehicle to keep on the road at $188.81, despite the new vehicle getting a price increase.

Good depreciation predictions, leading fuel economy and fixed price servicing contribute to the RAV4’s low overall cost.

The Mitsubishi Triton was the cheapest vehicle for a fifth year in a row in the popular dual-cab 4WD drive category at $223.23 per week, even though the release of a new model and a price increase during the year influenced the final calculation.

Taking the crown of most expensive non-electric vehicle was the BMW X5 in the large SUV category, which will cost the owner $434.32 a week.

The Model X Tesla topped the charts as most expensive vehicle, costing $495.76 per week largely due to its $153,123 on-road price.

Electric vehicles are on the rise in terms of ownership, with the Hyundai IONIQ being the cheapest electric vehicle to run at $194.92 per week.

This is the first time running costs for an electric vehicle have been under $200 per week.

This year’s survey found reductions in interest rates and servicing costs over last year; fuel and tyre costs remained at similar levels, while depreciation costs increased slightly.

Calculations are based on private ownership for five years, driving an average 12,000km per year.

This year our Vehicle Operating Costs survey studied 140 popular vehicles over 14 categories.