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When buying a new car price of purchase is not the only thing to consider. There will also be anticipated vehicle maintenance and other general ownership costs. So, what goes into calculating a five-year cost of ownership for cars under $30,000? Check out this roster of affordability at its finest upon immediate purchase and over five years of ownership.

Understanding what contributes to the cost of ownership

A blue 2023 Kia Rio which has one of the cheapest 5-year ownership costs.
2023 Kia Rio | Kia

Purchase price and predicted maintenance expenses matter when budgeting to buy a new or new-to-you car. But other factors contribute to the cost of ownership calculations, too. Car Edge shared a study with metrics collected over a slew of different vehicles and estimated price points.

Their five-year cost of ownership evaluations are rooted in deprecation, auto loan interest, fuel pricing, insurance premiums, and traditional maintenance costs. Check out these three vehicles with the cheapest five-year cost of ownership with vehicles under $30,000.

1. Kia Rio

The most affordable to own over five years on this list is the Kia Rio. The average cost of owning one of these cars over five years is $21,115. Contributing to that average are insurance costs of roughly $8,565, depreciation of $3,510, and loan interest charges of about $2,706.

Putting gas in your Kia Rio over five years will only set you back $4,840, and vehicle maintenance costs are estimated to be $1,494. Kelley Blue Book says you can expect to buy a Kia Rio starting at $16,450, making them a super-budget-friendly consideration.

2. Mitsubishi Mirage

The Mitsubishi Mirage comes in second on this cost of ownership study, with its estimated five-year total of $22,442. Depreciation is mild at $5,206, and insurance premiums are relatively affordable over five years at $8,975.

Gassing up will only total about $4,730 and if you’re financing, expect to pay $2,246 in interest over the five-year term. Maintenance on a Mitsubishi Mirage, barring any catastrophic repair anomalies, will only cost about $1,285. If you want to buy a new Mirage, Mitsubishi says you can with a starting MSRP of $16,245, which is even cheaper than the Kia Rio.

3. Chevrolet Spark

This third least expensive car to own, based on the Car Edge study, is the Chevy Spark. Just a smidge more expensive than the Mitsubishi Mirage, the Spark will cost you $22,452 in ownership expenses over five years. Insurance estimates came in at $7,040.

Depreciation calculations totaled $6,090. Over five years, keeping a full tank of gas will run about $5,500. And you can expect to pay $2,302 in interest charges on a traditional auto loan. Maintenance is inexpensive, too, at $1,520. You won’t be able to get any brand-new models since GM is no longer producing them. However, you can still get a 2022 for $13,600, according to Chevrolet.

Bonus Cars on this list of least expensive to own

There are a host of other models on this Car Edge study of ownership costs. You might also consider the Mitsubishi Mirage G4, the Subaru Impreza, and the Kia Optima, coming in sequentially behind the Chevy Spark in the least expensive to own. Others include the Toyota Corolla, the Hyundai Accent, the Nissan Versa, the Honda Civic, and the Volkswagen Jetta.

These three cars just happen to be the least expensive to buy and own over the course of five years of ownership. If you’re of the budget-friendly persuasion and interested in the least expensive cars, these three models are certainly worth a look. Your bank account will thank you, too.

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