These eight family-friendly vehicle classes deliver the lowest long-term operating costs.
Crossover SUVs are the hottest things going in the auto industry these days, and with demand running high, deep discounts may not be easily forthcoming, so smart shoppers will have to look beyond the sticker price to get the best overall values. As we documented in a separate post, it pays to pick a people-mover that inherently carries the lowest long-term operating costs, especially depreciation, fuel economy, and insurance costs.
Here, we’re highlighting the SUV/crossovers in seven market classes, along with a single minivan, that the experts at the auto-industry research firm Vincentric have determined deliver the lowest five-year ownership expenses. We’re featuring the cheapest-to-own cars, pickup trucks, and hybrid and electric vehicles in separate posts. Vincentric’s breakdowns of ownership costs for all makes and models are included with the full range of new-vehicle pricing data posted online at NADAguides.com.
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Here’s the eight cheapest-to-own SUV/crossovers and minivans for 2017, based on Vincentric’s annual Lowest Cost To Own In America awards:
1. Subcompact SUV/Crossover: Honda HR-V
Five-year operating costs: $35,129. Honda’s smallest crossover SUV is both reasonably stylish looking and surprisingly roomy; it includes second row "Magic Seats" that fold flat into the floor and tumble forward individually for maximum cargo carrying flexibility.
2. Compact SUV/Crossover: Subaru Crosstrek
Five-year operating costs: $33,233. The Crosstrek is essentially a Subaru Impreza wagon with a higher ground clearance and specific exterior elements added to help make it look more like a burly SUV; it’s roomy and well-mannered, with all-wheel-drive included for added foul-weather traction.
3. Midsize SUV/Crossover: Subaru Outback
Five-year operating costs: $35,331. The industry’s original crossover SUV adds ground clearance and specific styling cues to a Legacy station wagon; it’s both capable and comfortable with all-wheel-drive standard.
4. Large SUV/Crossover: Ford Flex
Five-year operating costs: $40,685. This long and boxy SUV has been around for several years without a major revision, but remains among the roomiest car-based crossovers on the market, with affordable long-range ownership costs.
5. Luxury Compact SUV/Crossover: Lexus NX 200t
Five-year operating costs: $45,154. Lexus’ entry in the burgeoning compact sport-luxury crossover market boasts a low rate of depreciation and decent fuel economy (22/28 mpg city/highway) from its turbo-four engine.
6. Luxury Midsize SUV/Crossover: Lexus RX 350
Five-year operating costs: $52,740. The venerable RX has long been a popular ride in upscale circles and boasts good overall performance with a roomy interior and a stalwart resale value.
7. Luxury Large SUV/Crossover: Infiniti QX60
Five-year operating costs: $51,964. On a good day, large SUVs are expensive to own, though the QX60 leads the pack with relatively low operating costs.
8. Minivan: Toyota Sienna
Five-year operating costs: $39,580. The Sienna gets the nod for having the lowest long-term ownership costs in a small but competitive market segment. It offers a full array of creature comforts that include second-row “first class” seating with pop-up foot rests for added long-distance comfort.