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Maintenance cost, and thereby reliability, is a crucial factor to consider when shopping for a new or used car. So, how does the Chevrolet brand compare in post-purchase costs? According to RepairPal, one Chevrolet model stands out among its stablemates with the lowest annual costs for the bow-tie brand, and surprisingly enough, it’s not the Cruze, Sonic, or Spark small car models.

Chevrolet’s reliability rating is middle of the pack

RepairPal gives Chevrolet an overall reliability score of 3.5 out of 5, placing Chevrolet at No. 20 out of 32 automotive brands for overall maintenance costs based on information gathered from 345 models across all manufacturers. The publication notes Chevy models have an “above average ownership cost.” According to the website, the average repair and maintenance costs for a Chevy model is $649 per year, its models will require 0.3 trips to a repair shop per year, and there is a 15% probability such a repair will be considered “severe.”

To note, Honda has the lowest annual repair costs. Honda buyers dish out an average of $428 per year on maintenance, and its models have a 10% probability of requiring a “severe” repair. Porsche is ranked last, with buyers spending an average of $1,192 per year on repairs and maintenance.

The Chevrolet with the lowest annual maintenance costs is a forgotten model

It would be fair to assume that Chevy’s recent economy cars, the Spark, Cruze, and Sonic, would save buyers on maintenance costs. Still, they are far more complicated than the relatively obscure model that actually tops Chevy’s list, the Celebrity.

Despite its ambitious name, the Chevrolet Celebrity was a mainstream midsize sedan and wagon manufactured from 1982 to 1990. The Celebrity ushered in the beginning of the front-wheel drive era for Chevy’s midsize sedans before it was replaced by the Lumina.

While only a “Celebrity” likely down on their luck would be driving a 40-year-old economy sedan, the model does have the lowest annual maintenance cost among all Chevy models. RepairPal notes the average annual repair cost for a Celebrity is $323. The most commonly reported issues of the Celebrity are fuel pump failures causing the engine to stall, intake manifold and PCV line/hose leaks due to age, and oxygen sensor failure.

How the Chevy Sonic, Cruz, and Spark compare

Most buyers likely aren’t willing to settle for a sedan that was manufactured when “Reaganomics” was first entering popular nomenclature. Therefore, buyers who want a low-cost maintenance Chevy should consider the far more modern Sonic, Cruze, or Spark.

The Spark, Chevrolet’s recently discontinued subcompact hatchback, was once among the most affordable new cars on the market. Its maintenance costs are fairly low at $434 per year, according to RepairPal. The website does not list any commonly reported issues for the Spark, which undoubtedly means there simply aren’t consistent issues among all models.

The Chevrolet Cruze, a compact sedan discontinued in 2019, is another compact economy car from the bow-tie brand, though its maintenance costs are notably higher than the Spark. RepairPal states the annual maintenance cost of a Cruze is $545, so buyers can expect to spend about $111 per year more for the model versus the Spark. The most common issue with the Cruze is the automatic transmission shifting “too hard.”

The Chevrolet Sonic, a subcompact four-door sedan or hatchback, was manufactured between 2012-2020 in the U.S. Those who want a slightly larger cabin than what’s offered in the Spark will likely have to spend more on annual maintenance costs, at an average of $536 per year in repair costs.

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