SUV ownership comes at a price: RACT survey

AUSTRALIAN’S love affair with Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) comes at a price, the RACT’s annual Vehicle Operating Cost survey has found.

The survey revealed that typically SUVs are more expensive to own and operate than traditional cars.

This year the RACT Vehicle Operating Cost survey studied 125 popular vehicles, up from 111 vehicles in 2015. The extra 14 included in this year’s survey are all SUVs and reflect their sales growth in the market place.

The Vehicle Operating Cost survey takes into account all expenses associated with normal car ownership including purchase price, interest, fuel, servicing, new tyres, insurance and depreciation and allows buyers to compare vehicles not only within one class, but across all classes.

The survey results help consumers see where the money goes in every aspect of vehicle ownership from buying a car to fuel efficiency and servicing.

RACT general manager Member Assist Darren Moody said this year’s cheapest car to own and run was again the Suzuki Celerio (it was also the cheapest last year).

“At $92.74 a week, the Celerio is more than $10 a week cheaper than the second-placed Mitsubishi Mirage, and is actually $2 a week less than last year, mainly attributable to the drop in fuel prices” he said.

In the popular small car class, the Kia Cerato S was cheapest to run with a weekly cost of $128.08.

“The Cerato is a compelling proposition with a low drive away price along with an industry leading seven year warranty,” Mr Moody said.

Mr Moody said comparing the leading Cerato small car to the cheapest small SUV, the Ford Ecosport at $144.75 a week, would add more than $4,300 in costs over a five year ownership period.

Mazda’s CX-5 was the cheapest vehicle to own and operate in the medium SUV category at $171.87 a week, while in the increasingly popular dual-cab 4WD category, Mitsubishi’s Triton topped the list for the second year running.

The most expensive vehicle to own and operate is the Toyota LandCruiser GXL Petrol, knocking out the Nissan Patrol ST-L which held the title for the past three years. With an estimated on-road price of $87,959 the LandCruiser costs owners a hefty $341.66 a week to keep on the road.

Mr Moody said depreciation was the biggest cost of car ownership with on average 42 per cent of the total cost of ownership over five years being attributed to it.

“While the survey takes into account the manufacturer’s list price (MLP) when calculating the weekly cost, there were many deals in the market at the end of the financial year that could not only save money up front, but over the life of the vehicle through less depreciation,” he said.

“There has never been a better time to buy a new vehicle.”

Calculations are based on private ownership for five-years and driving an average 12,000 kilometres a year.

Caption: RACT general manager Member Assist Darren Moody with the Ford Ecosport.

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