Anyone who owns a vehicle is well aware that the total cost of ownership goes far beyond the sticker price. Taxes, fuel, depreciation, insurance, financing, maintenance and repair costs can strain your budget throughout the life of the vehicle. This week, with data provided by Vincentric, LLC, U.S. News Best Cars has launched a new scoring component for our used car rankings that encompasses all of these costs in a single score on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best possible score. On the scorecard, this new component, called “Cost to Own,” replaces “Operating Cost,” which included only fuel, repair and maintenance expenses.
Cost to own gives shoppers a more comprehensive picture of the costs associated with owning and operating a used vehicle for five years. Used affordable midsize cars have a relatively low projected five-year ownership cost relative to other vehicle classes, but there are a few midsize cars that manage to stand out thanks to their combination of critical acclaim and excellent cost to own score.
The 2009 Toyota Camry, the 2009 U.S. News Best Midsize Car for the Money, has a five-year ownership cost that is nearly $1,300 less than the class average for 2009 affordable midsize cars. When it was new, test drivers were impressed with the 2009 Camry’s comfortable and quiet ride, as well as its spacious and upscale interior.
If having fun behind the wheel is important to you, consider the 2012 Mazda Mazda6, which critics said is one of the sportiest midsize sedans on the market when it was new. Reviewers also liked its spacious cabin and large trunk. In terms of ownership expenses, over five years, the 2012 Mazda6 will cost you about $1,500 less than the average 2012 midsize car.
The 2013 Nissan Altima is also fun to drive, critics said when it was new, and they appreciated the cabin’s quietness and high-quality materials. With a five-year ownership cost that is over $1,300 less than the 2013 class average, the 2013 Altima is good for your budget as well.
The 2011 Chevrolet Malibu’s ownership cost is over $2,500 below the class average for 2011, and it drew praise from critics for its stylish interior, easy-to-use audio and climate controls and spacious seating when it was new. It was also named the 2011 U.S. News Best Midsize Car for the Money for its combination of quality and value.
The 2010 Hyundai Sonata is another good choice for a used midsize car thanks to its agreeable ride, large trunk and upscale interior materials, reviewers said when it was new. The 2010 Sonata is also a smart buy from a value perspective, as its ownership cost over five years is nearly $1,500 below the 2010 class average.
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