You might be surprised to see some otherwise ordinary vehicles that are costly to keep over a 10-year period.

When is a bargain not a bargain? The answer is when something looks like a great deal at the time you buy it, but the longer you own it, the less of a deal it becomes. Such is the case with the 20 vehicles on this list – they may look like bargains up front, but become less so the longer you drive them.

To rank the cars with the worst maintenance costs, the car-buyer advocacy site, CarEdge.com, looked at the observed and expected maintenance and repair costs of passenger cars, SUVs, and light-duty pick-ups over a 10-year period, and compared the total of those costs to the original purchase price of the vehicle. As you’ll see, repairs and maintenance can amount to a significant percentage of the original purchase price, and end up being a big expense as the vehicle ages.

Two major themes became apparent in their analysis, the first of which is that smaller, less expensive models of a vehicle brand are disadvantaged versus some of their bigger stablemates. So, if you want a luxury car like a BMW or Mercedes-Benz and are looking at an entry-level model within that brand, you need to remember that every customer at that dealership pays the same for parts and labor rates.

The second theme is that some manufacturers have frequent and costly recommendations for routine maintenance, and if customers are to follow that guidance precisely, then there is a significant cost associated with adhering to their guidelines. While you may feel you can get an extra few thousand miles between oil changes, or that your cabin air filter doesn’t need to be changed every year, our analysis assumes that you follow the rules in the owners’ manual, and do as the manufacturer suggests.

We won’t tell anyone you've skipped a service or two, but these days, you want to be careful not to have the “check engine” light illuminate before you start thinking about getting your first oil change. You’ll also want to make certain you don’t void your warranty by skipping that which is required by the rules of the warranty, and that you’re not violating the terms of your lease, which could carry costly penalties.

Here are the vehicles that will cost you more the more you drive them, even though you thought they looked like a good deal at the time.

Chevrolet Trax

Chevrolet Trax

The Chevrolet Trax is a small crossover SUV that has been in production since 2015, and not much has changed since then. While the entry-level price is reasonable, Chevrolet has done little to invest in new technologies in the Trax, and has even introduced the rival Trailblazer aimed at the same market segment. It is pretty clear that Chevrolet is moving away from the Trax, and so consumers should make "Trax" to head in a different direction as well. See Chevrolet Trax Maintenance Costs here.

Average Price When New: $26,753
10-Year Maintenance/Repair Costs: $8,595
Maintenance/Repair Costs As Percent Of New Price: 32.1 Percent

Chevrolet Trax
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Audi Q3

2020 Audi Q3

The Audi Q3 is a sharp and nimble compact crossover that gets good reviews, and is now in its second generation. However, for those shopping in this vehicle class, you have to remember that the Audi nameplate commands a premium when it comes to parts costs and labor rates (see theme one above). Just because it’s half the size of the Q7, don’t expect to pay half as much for an oil change or 15,000 mile service. Also, despite Q3s being made in China, don’t expect to pay China-like prices for your Audi parts, as anything with a German logo gets German pricing.  The Q3 is a great little car, but those service bills will come with a bite. See Audi Q3 Maintenance Costs here.

Average Price When New: $37,070
10-Year Maintenance/Repair Costs: $11,957
Maintenance/Repair Costs As Percent Of New Price: 32.3 Percent

Audi Q3
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Kia Soul

Kia Soul

Kia’s advertising campaign with the hamsters was downright brilliant — perhaps some of the best commercials ever made. But just like in real life, buying a hamster is fun and exciting, but somebody has to feed it and clean its cage. So is the case with the Kia Soul. It is definitely a hip little machine that gets you where you want to go with a swagger, but cars have to be cared for too, and the Soul’s maintenance costs are some of the highest in its price range. See Kia Soul Maintenance Costs here.

Average Price When New: $21,020
10-Year Maintenance/Repair Costs: $6,840
Maintenance/Repair Costs As Percent Of New Price: 32.5 Percent

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Hyundai Accent

Hyundai Accent

The Hyundai Accent is an inexpensive car to purchase new, with an average purchase price around $17,000. However, ongoing maintenance and repairs will cost you about one-third of that over a 10-year period, making the Accent one of the more expensive entry-level cars to keep on the road. That, coupled with the average Accent losing over 50 percent of its value in the first 5 years of use, suggests to us that the low entry price is not enough to compensate for high depreciation and maintenance costs. Perhaps the Accent isn’t inexpensive after all. See Hyundai Accent Maintenance Costs here.

Average Price When New: $17,348
10-Year Maintenance/Repair Costs: $5,786
Maintenance/Repair Costs As Percent Of New Price: 33.4 Percent

Hyundai Accent
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Nissan Kicks

2021 Nissan Kicks Exterior

We get no kicks driving a Kicks. While the entry-level price may look enticing, we calculate that it will cost you over $7,000 to maintain over a 10-year period, and it will only be worth just over $6,000 at the end of that period. So, the question to ask, is… "how much do you want to spend upkeeping a vehicle that will only be worth $6,000 if you take care of it, or $5,000 if you don’t."  While we would never suggest that you not maintain your vehicle, you may want to think twice about the need to change the cabin air filter at 15,000 miles. See Nissan Kicks Maintenance Costs here.

Average Price When New: $21,428
10-Year Maintenance/Repair Costs: $7,304
Maintenance/Repair Costs As Percent Of New Price: 34.1 Percent

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Ford EcoSport

Ford Ecosport Titanium EcoBoost

When it comes to maintenance costs, Ford may want to rename their entry-level compact the "Eek-o-Sport," as maintenance and repairs will take a big bite out of any costs savings you get when you buy it. Similar to the Nissan Kicks above, the EcoSport will cost you almost $9,000 to maintain over 10 years, but be worth less than $6,000 at the end of those 10 years. That’s not a good return on your automotive investment, so you may want to consider other options in this price range. See Ford EcoSport Maintenance Costs here.

Average Price When New: $25,531
10-Year Maintenance/Repair Costs: $8,743
Maintenance/Repair Costs As Percent of New Price: 34.2 Percent

Ford EcoSport
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Land Rover Discovery Sport

2021 Land Rover Discovery Sport Front

After buying a Land Rover Discovery, you discover that Land Rovers are brutally expensive to repair and maintain. While visiting a Land Rover dealer for service, you are escorted to a waiting room that looks like you are in a lodge up in the mountains, just waiting for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres to be served. In reality, however, you’re spending a lot of money as your Discovery sits on a lift next to a $150,000 Range Rover Autobiography, where the same parts costs and service rates apply to both vehicles. Plan to spend $1,600 each year, just to keep your Discovery Sport on the road. See Land Rover Discovery Sport Maintenance Costs here.

Average Price When New: $47,504
10-Year Maintenance/Repair Costs: $16,303
Maintenance/Repair Costs As Percent Of New Price: 34.3 Percent

Land Rover Discovery Sport
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Chrysler Voyager

Chrysler Voyager

This Chrysler minivan has been around for eons, is now on its 6th generation, and has had multiple name changes over the decades. This popular-selling nameplate carries an attractive sticker price, but don’t let the initial cost pull you in too far. Despite having a lower price than many of its rivals, the cost of upkeep and repairs makes the Voyager a lot less attractive over the long run. If overall cost of ownership is important to you, check out a Voyager, but check out some of its competition too. See Chrysler Voyager Maintenance Costs here.

Average Price When New: $30,550
10-Year Maintenance/Repair Costs: $10,598
Maintenance/Repair Costs As Percent Of New Price: 34.7 Percent

Chrysler Voyager
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Dodge Grand Caravan

Dodge Grand Caravan

Dodge has packed up its Caravan, and has stopped production of its long-running minivan. Instead, the Voyager is essentially taking its place, and will be Chrysler’s go-to family trickster of choice. Like the comments on the Voyager above, the Grand Caravan is not stellar when it comes to maintenance costs, and compared to other offerings in the minivan space, it does not compete well. The Honda Odyssey costs almost 30 percent less to maintain, while the Toyota Sienna is almost 45 percent less expensive to keep on the road. See Dodge Grand Caravan Maintenance Costs here.

Average Price When New: $30,342
10-Year Maintenance/Repair Costs: $10,595
Maintenance/Repair Costs As Percent Of New Price: 34.9 Percent

Dodge Grand Caravan
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Nissan Versa

2021 Nissan Versa Three Quarters

Should you buy a Nissan Versa? Well, it depends, Versa what? If you are just looking at initial purchase price, it’s hard to find anything less expensive than a Versa. But, if you look at resale values and the cost to maintain a vehicle, the Versa does not rate as well as a Honda Fit, or a Toyota Yaris — and those are the Versa’s vices. See Nissan Versa Maintenance Costs here.

Average Price When New: $14,990
10-Year Maintenance/Repair Costs: $5,340
Maintenance/Repair Costs As Percent Of New Price: 35.6 Percent

Nissan Versa
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BMW X3

BMW X3

For the BMW X3, I refer back to our original theme in our intro, which states that if you want an entry model of a luxury brand, it’s going to cost you. Now, the X3 is a perfectly fine vehicle, and we don’t have any issues with its design, performance or reliability. However, if you buy an X3, be prepared for some sizable service bills, expensive repairs, and some steep depreciation. If you think you’re saving money by purchasing something smaller, think again — the long-term financial costs of an X3 will Xcite you, but not in a good way. See BMW X3 Maintenance Costs here.

Average Price When New: $49,154
10-Year Maintenance/Repair Costs: $17,878
Maintenance/Repair Costs As Percent Of New Price: 36.4 Percent

BMW X3
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Chevrolet Spark

Chevrolet Spark

If you’re going to spend $16,000 on a new Spark, you’d like to think that it won’t cost you $600 per year, just to maintain it – but it likely will. When considering subcompacts or other entry-level vehicles, remember, it takes just as long to change the oil and rotate the tires on a small car, as it does on a bigger car, so consider what you are sacrificing in terms of size, comfort and safety. For comparison, a Toyota RAV4 or Subaru Impreza have lower expected maintenance costs – that may put a damper on your Spark purchase decision. See Chevrolet Spark Maintenance Costs here.

Average Price When New: $16,426
10-Year Maintenance/Repair Costs: $6,038
Maintenance/Repair Costs As Percent Of New Price: 36.8 Percent

Chevrolet Spark
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Dodge Journey

Dodge Journey

Put simply, our recommendation is to look at something other than a Journey. While the Dodge crossover offers an attractive purchase price, one will likely spend $1,000 per year just to keep it on the road. To pile on further, the Dodge Journey has one of the worst resale values of any vehicle out there, losing a whopping 60 percent of its value in the first five years. After 10 years, the average Journey is worth $5,423, or about 20 percent of its original value. Not much good news here, so better to Journey elsewhere. See Dodge Journey Maintenance Costs here.

Average Price When New: $27,222
10-Year Maintenance/Repair Costs: $10,133
Maintenance/Repair Costs As Percent Of New Price: 37.2 Percent

Dodge Journey
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Jeep Renegade

Jeep Renegade

The Renegade really isn’t a Jeep, except that it has a Jeep logo, Jeep grille, and you buy them – and get them serviced by – Jeep dealers. Besides all that, the Renegade is an expensive vehicle to maintain and repair, expecting to cost over $10,000 in a 10-year period. To put that into perspective, a Ford Expedition is expected to cost roughly $600-700 less over the same period. So, the Renegade packs a lot of service and maintenance cost into a tiny SUV, and that’s no bargain. See Jeep Renegade Maintenance Costs here.

Average Price When New: $27,256
10-Year Maintenance/Repair Costs: $10,177
Maintenance/Repair Costs As Percent Of New Price: 37.3 Percent

Jeep Renegade
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Hyundai Venue

2020 Hyundai Venue

The Venue is new for 2020, but given its recommended maintenance schedule, as well as service and repair results from some of its Hyundai brothers, it appears that the Venue is going to be a relatively expensive vehicle to maintain. To put it into perspective, the much larger – and twice as expensive to purchase – GMC Acadia is expected to cost virtually the same to keep on the road over a 10-year period. Make sure you do your homework here, and look at other options in the same vehicle class. See Hyundai Venue Maintenance Costs here.

Average Price When New: $20,861
10-Year Maintenance/Repair Costs: $7,834
Maintenance/Repair Costs As Percent Of New Price: 37.6 Percent

Hyundai Venue
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Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

Mercedes-Benz GLA 35 AMG (2020)

As we’ve said with others on this list, if you want to drive a luxury brand, be prepared to pay luxury prices for service and repairs. Mercedes-Benz parts aren’t cheap, and their service techs’ labor rates are well over $100 per hour. That being said, the GLA gets great reviews and appears to be a quality ride. Remember, however, that to keep that Mercedes in luxury form, it will cost you close to $1,400 per year for routine service and repairs – and that’s a lot of money for a $35,000 subcompact SUV. See Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Maintenance Costs here.

Average Price When New: $35,294
10-Year Maintenance/Repair Costs: $13,911
Maintenance/Repair Costs As Percent Of New Price: 39.4 Percent

Mercedes-Benz GLA
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Ram 1500

Ram 1500

Light-duty pick-ups traditionally have relatively low maintenance costs, but not so with the Ram 1500. Deviating from the half-ton pick-up pack, the Ram 1500 is significantly more costly to maintain and repair versus its domestic peers – and noticeably so. While the Ram is expected to cost $18,000 to maintain and repair over a 10-year period, a Ford F-150 comes in around $10,500, and the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 are estimated to be at $10,200 and $9,100 respectively. This suggests that it will cost you almost double to keep a Ram 1500 on the road as compared to a GMC Sierra – that’s a big difference, and real money. See Ram 1500 Maintenance Costs here.

Average Price When New: $44,555
10-Year Maintenance/Repair Costs: $18,072
Maintenance/Repair Costs As Percent Of New Price: 40.6 Percent

Ram 1500
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Jeep Compass

Jeep Compass

While the Jeep Compass is roughly $2,500 less expensive that it’s bigger brother, the Jeep Renegade, expect to pay virtually the same amount to keep it on the road over a 10-year period – and the Renegade is no repair/maintenance bargain either. Most compact SUVs fall in the 20-25 percent of purchase price range, so the Compass seems to have lost its direction when it comes to navigating maintenance costs. See Jeep Compass Maintenance Costs here.

Average Price When New: $24,889
10-Year Maintenance/Repair Costs: $10,127
Maintenance/Repair Costs As Percent Of New Price: 40.7 Percent

Jeep Compass
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BMW X2

BMW X2

The X2 is a sporty and attractive subcompact SUV, which displays the chic BMW logo. If you’ve always wanted a BMW, the X2 may be just the thing for you. However, as we’ve stated many times in this article, getting in the BMW family carries a cost associated with it. Like Porsche and Mercedes-Benz, parts costs and service rates are high – very high. This is so much the case with the X2, that for every year that you own it, you have to pay another $1,700-plus to keep it serviced, or to repair that which breaks. This gives the X2 the honor of being the 2nd-most costly car to keep on the road, relative to its initial cost – only to be outdone by… its twin. See BMW X2 Maintenance Costs here.

Average Price When New: $43,486
10-Year Maintenance/Repair Costs: $17,764
Maintenance/Repair Costs As Pervent Of New Price: 40.8 Percent

BMW X2
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BMW X1

BMW X1

If money is no object, then why not? The X1 is sharp, responsive, and packs a lot of punch into a little body. If you do care about money, consider this… The BMW X1 is the most expensive vehicle to keep on the road, relative to its purchase price. With such, it will cost you almost have of what you pay initially as new to keep it in conformance with BMW maintenance schedules and unforeseen repairs. Over a 10-year period, a Porsche 911 and Range Rover Sport – both of which are not inexpensive vehicles – will cost you about the same as an X2 in maintenance and repairs. Maybe this is why X1 sales were down 42 percent from their 2017 peak, and seem to be losing their BMW mojo. See BMW X1 Maintenance Costs here.

Average Price When New: $39,675
10-Year Maintenance/Repair Costs: $17,691
Maintenance/Repair Costs As Percent Of New Price: 44.6 Percent

BMW X1
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FAQs

What vehicle brand is the most expensive to maintain?

With its truck-only offering and significant presence of potentially costly diesel engines, Ram is the most expensive popular vehicle brand to maintain. Ram is at a disadvantage in this ranking, however, as we measure the average costs across the brand’s entire vehicle line-up, and Ram lacks inexpensive sedans and hatchbacks to bring down its average maintenance costs. Among luxury brands (excluding exotics), Porsche is the most expensive luxury vehicle brand to maintain. Although Porsches may not need repair as often as BMWs, at $400 for an oil and filter change, it doesn’t take long for Porsche maintenance costs to add up quickly. See the most expensive vehicle brand maintenance rankings.  

What vehicle brand is the least expensive to maintain?

Toyota owns the road when it comes to low maintenance costs, and is ranked the lowest cost vehicle brand. Toyota even goes so far as to have the Top 5 least expensive vehicles to maintain, giving them a sweep of the top spots. On the luxury side, Toyota’s fancier cousin, Lexus, is the least expensive luxury brand to maintain, and holds 7 of the Top 10 slots in this category.  Quality construction, long-lasting model lines, and inexpensive parts allows Toyota to keep its maintenance and repair costs down, and their owners have benefitted as a result. See Toyota and Lexus maintenance cost estimates.

What is the lowest maintenance cost vehicle?

If you’re looking for economical driving around town, the Toyota Yaris is the least expensive vehicle to maintain. Over 10 years, the Yaris averages just over $400 per year, including tires, brakes, oil changes and everything else. If you’re thinking of an inexpensive vehicle to get your errands done, or just zipping through city streets on your way to and from work, the economical Yaris is tough to beat. See the least expensive vehicles to maintain.  

What vehicle has highest probability of a major repair (over $500)

If you own a Porsche, it won’t take much to get a repair bill greater than $500. As we mention above, an oil change alone will set you back $400. But it is the Porsche Cayenne that will give you the greatest likelihood that your repair bill will be $500+ among over 250 vehicle models. If you happen to own one for 10 years, you stand a 61% probability that you too are going to face a big repair bill. But then again, if you buy a Porsche, you’re probably not looking for the cheapest set of wheels. See Porsche annual repair estimates.

What vehicle has lowest probability of a major repair (over $500) 

The ever-so-economical Toyota Prius is the vehicle that has the lowest probability of needing a major repair, or putting a big dent in your bank account. Over a 10-year period, a Prius owner has only an 11% likelihood of having to spend over $500 to get their vehicle fixed. That’s basically a 1% chance every year, and that’s pretty darned good. If you’re a proud Prius owner who likes to save in every way possible, mission accomplished! See Toyota annual repair estimates.  

Most Expensive Cars To Maintain

  • Chevrolet Trax - $8,595 (% Of New Price: 32.1%)
  • Audi Q3 - $11,957 (% Of New Price: 32.3%)
  • Kia Soul - $6,840 (% Of New Price: 32.5%)
  • Hyundai Accent - $5,786 (% Of New Price: 33.4%)
  • Nissan Kicks - $7,304 (% Of New Price: 34.1%)
  • Ford EcoSport - $8,743 (% of New Price: 34.2%)
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport - $16,303 (% Of New Price: 34.3%)
  • Chrysler Voyager - $10,598 (% Of New Price: 34.7%)
  • Dodge Grand Caravan - $10,595 (% Of New Price: 34.9%)
  • Nissan Versa - $5,340 (% Of New Price: 35.6%)
  • BMW X3 - $17,878 (% Of New Price: 36.4%)
  • Chevrolet Spark - $6,038 (% Of New Price: 36.8%)
  • Dodge Journey - $10,133 (% Of New Price: 37.2%)
  • Jeep Renegade - $10,177 (% Of New Price: 37.3%)
  • Hyundai Venue - $7,834 (% Of New Price: 37.6%)
  • Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class - $13,911 (% Of New Price: 39.4%)
  • Ram 1500 - $18,072 (% Of New Price: 40.6%)
  • Jeep Compass - $10,127 (% Of New Price: 40.7%)
  • BMW X2 - $17,764 (% Of New Price: 40.8%)
  • BMW X1 - $17,691 (% Of New Price: 44.6%)