Total Car Costs

How much is that new car really going to cost you? It's not just the sticker price, or the deal you negotiate. There's gasoline, maintenance, and repairs, plus sales tax, interest, and insurance. And don't forget depreciation.

Rik Paul, Consumer Reports, says "Consumer Reports has come up with a way to compare the real cost of owning a car based on assumptions such as fuel cost, your car usage, repairs, and the like. It turns out that a cheaper car can cost you a lot more to own over the long run than a more expensive alternative."

Take a Mitsubishi Lancer. It costs about $5,000 less to buy than a Mini Cooper. But if you traded it in after five years, you could actually have paid about $3,000 more to own the Lancer.

"Our assumptions may not apply precisely to you. But our calculations show that car buyers should really consider the long-term cost of owning a car, not just the purchase price."

Consumer Reports calculated that the least expensive car to own over a five-year period is the Toyota Yaris with the manual transmission. The most expensive? The Mercedes-Benz SI550.

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