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Suzuki Alto still cheapest to own and run

Modest motoring: Suzuki's Alto was one of only three models deemed by the NRMA to cost less than $100 a week to own and run.

Budget light-cars unsurprisingly dominate NRMA's annual running costs list

General News logo20 May 2011

By MIKE COSTELLO

IT MAY have lost its crown as Australia’s cheapest new car, but the Suzuki Alto has again been named by the NRMA as the most affordable to own and run.

The weekly operating costs of the five-door Alto GL manual came in at an estimated $89.61, using a formula that included the purchase price, average fuel use, vehicle depreciation, maintenance and insurance costs over a five-year period.

Budget rivals such as the Proton S16 ($92.40), Holden Barina Spark ($93.75) and Hyundai Getz ($102.24) were – unsurprisingly – easily the next cheapest cars to own and run overall.

Australia’s cheapest new car to buy – the Chery J1 – was not among the 1200 vehicles included in the NRMA’s “improved” running costs calculator, which the organisation says includes double the number of vehicles in its database this year.

While the Indian-built Alto cannot match the Chery J1’s super-low $10,990 drive-away price or that of Proton’s S16 sedan ($11,990 drive-away), the Suzuki – at $12,490 drive-away - comprehensively outguns them on safety, coming standard with six airbags, electronic stability control and a four-star ANCAP safety rating.

“The results speak for themselves and we are extremely proud of this recognition by the NRMA,” said Suzuki Australia general manager Tony Devers said.

 center imageFrom top: Skoda Octavia, Hyundai Santa Fe, Volkswagen Polo GTI.

Australia’s first Chinese passenger car, meanwhile, managed only a three-star ranking in the latest batch of ANCAP results published last week - the same result as the baby Proton.

The Malaysian car-maker’s Persona and Gen.2 were found to be the most affordable cars in the small-car category, while the leading volume-selling car was the Hyundai i30 at $124.12 in SX manual guise.

Skoda’s Octavia 77 TDI manual liftback took the honours in the medium car segment at $174.54, edging out the Volkswagen Jetta 77 TDI, Suzuki Kizashi and Mazda6.

The Toyota Aurion was again judged Australia’s most affordable large-car, with the SE 3.5-litre V6 coming in at $229.86 per week. The cheapest Ford Falcon to own and run was the XR6 50th Anniversary edition, coming in at $235.20 per week, closely followed by the Holden Commodore Omega dual-fuel at $236.12.

Suzuki also fared well in the compact SUV class, with its diminutive Jimny two-door manual taking out top spot at $130.39, heading a list of significantly larger and more expensive models like the Kia Sportage (from $157.64), Hyundai ix35 (from $159.15) and SsangYong Korando (from 160.14).

The Korean contenders continued to perform well in the medium SUV category, with the Hyundai Santa Fe CRDi manual ($179.28 per week), SsangYong Kyron (from $192.32) and Kia Sorento (from $193.17) taking out the top three spots ahead of the Korean sourced Holden Captiva (from $194.88).

Toyota’s popular Prado medium SUV was deemed to cost $259.75 in VX specification, while the Jeep Grand Cherokee led the large SUV segment, at $248.57 per week in Laredo 3.5-litre V6 guise, ahead of the bare-bones Nissan Patrol DX at $257.86. The segment-leading Toyota LandCruiser costs $289.39 in its cheapest Workmate form.

Volkswagen and Peugeot filled nearly all the top spots in the sportscar class, with the diminutive Polo GTI (from $156.57) and 207 CC (from $185.12) heading-off the Volkswagen Golf GTD and Mini Cooper Cabrio.

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