Even with the rise of SUVs, pickup trucks, and crossovers, passenger cars still make an impact in the evolving market. More importantly, many of them are cheaper to own than their high-riding counterparts. And cheaper to keep long-term, too.
According to the 2018 Five-Year Cost-to-Own analysis conducted by Kelley Blue Book, compacts cars (as expected) have the lowest cost of ownership. They're more affordable, even, than some of their compact SUV counterparts.
Of course, when searching for the cheapest vehicle, always look for projected value at the end of the contract’s term, too, as well as things like fuel economy. MPGs especially are gaining in importance with this last year's spike in gas prices.