Vincentric: These 6 SUVs Have the Lowest Operating Costs in America

Every year Vincentric analyzes the cost of ownership for vehicles to determine the best certified pre-owned, or CPO, value. The company measures the cost of depreciation, fees, financing, maintenance costs and more to determine which SUVs offer the lowest operating costs in America and Canada. Two SUVs may cost the same at a dealer, but one could be more expensive to actually own once you add in the actual costs of onwership. Which SUVs offer the most value?

Nissan Kicks, the best subcompact SUV

An orange 2023 Nissan Kicks shows off as a cheap SUV.
Nissan Kicks | Nissan

According to Vincentric, the 2023 Nissan Kicks costs 6.8% less than expected. It earned recognition for its fuel economy, low operating costs, and the lowest cost of ownership in its class. The $21,585 Kicks didn’t see any major revisions for 2023. It remains Nissan’s cheapest SUV, thanks to its car-based chassis that only comes in two-wheel drive.

Subaru Crosstrek, best compact SUV

Front angle view of yellow 2023 Subaru Crosstrek, one of the cheapest SUVs that's great for snow driving
2023 Subaru Crosstrek | Subaru

In the compact class, the Subaru Crosstrek won for having operating costs 5.8% less than expected. It has the lowest insurance cost, and the lowest cost of ownership compared to 21 other compact SUVs. The Crosstrek does outperform many rivals with a solid feel, a spacious cabin, and standard all-wheel drive. The Crosstrek starts at $23,645 and, joyfully, is one of the few cars that can still be ordered with a six-speed manual transmission. It’s also known as a reliable SUV.

Subaru Outback, best mid-size SUV

White 2023 Subaru Outback crossover SUV driving on dirt road
2023 Subaru Outback | Subaru

Like the smaller Crosstrek, the Outback packs a lot of value and Vincentric says it costs 6.7% less than expected to own. It ranks highly because insurance costs are the lowest in its class, it has the  best fuel economy, and the lowest operating costs. The Outback, like the Crosstrek, is a tall wagon that can outperform many taller, truck-like, SUVs. The Outback starts at $28,395 and, like the Crosstrek, comes standard with all-wheel drive.

Ford Expedition, best large SUV

The Ford Expedition is a beast that seats eight and is built on a Ford truck platform. However, Vincentric says it has the lowest operating cost in its class, and it gets the best fuel economy. Sure, 17 MPG in the city and 23 MPG on the highway aren’t stellar, but compared to its competitors, the Expedition is the SUV to beat for value and cost of ownership. A 2023 Ford Expedition starts at $55,125.

Kia Sorento Hybrid, best hybrid SUV

The 2023 Kia Sorento Hybrid in green parked on a dirt road.
2023 Kia Sorento Hybrid

Hybrids get their own category at Vincentric, and it makes sense because they’re a bit more expensive than their gas-powered cousins, but they generally have lower operating costs. The Kia Sorento Hybrid took top CPO honors this year because its ownership costs are 11.9% less than expected. It has the lowest repair costs, the lowest maintenance costs, and the lowest operating costs.

The 2023 Kia Sorento Hybrid starts at about $36,000, which is about $6,000 more than the gas-powered version. The Sorento Hybrid is spacious, seats five comfortably, and gets a combined 34 MPG.

Ford Escape, best EV/PHEV SUV

A 2022 Ford Escape PHEV driving down a wooded area.
2022 Ford Escape | Ford
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Plug-in hybrids make a lot of sense because they combine the all-electric ability of an EV with the ability to add range with regular gasoline. The Ford Escape was recognized as the best value because its ownership costs are 5.9% less than expected by Vincentric. The Escape PHEV starts at $38,500, however thanks to its motor/generator set up it can achieve up to 117 MPG in city driving. The Escape has all-new styling, inside and out, for 2023.