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Vehicle ownership costs drop

Cheap and cheerful: For the second year in a row, a Suzuki is the cheapest car in Australia to run at $97.65 a week, an RACV study has found.

Lower petrol prices, interest rates keep ownership costs down, says RACV

23 Jun 2015

THE cost of owning a car has dropped in the past year on the back of lower fuel prices and record-low interest rates, according to the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria's (RACV) latest cost-of-ownership survey, released this week.

In publishing the latest data from its annual Driving Your Dollars survey, the RACV said the overall average cost of owning a car was slightly down on last year, to $211.25 a week or 73.2 cents a kilometre.

In determining the cost of ownership, the RACV said it factored in the on-road price of the model, depreciation, interest rates and other standing costs, as well as running costs such as servicing, tyres and fuels.

Other state and territory-based car clubs, including the RAA in South Australia and the RACQ in Queensland, have published their own findings from the study, with varying factors such as on-road and other costs in each respective state impacting results.

Of the 111 vehicles across 13 different segments included in the survey, Suzuki's tiny 1.0-litre Celerio hatch was recognised as Australia's cheapest car to run, taking out the micro-car category with a total cost of $97.65 a week.

The Celerio went on sale in Australia in February this year, priced from $12,990 driveaway, following a delayed launch due to an issue with the passive safety system that kept the brake pedal depressed after an emergency stop.

The fault was discovered by British publication Autocar during an emergency braking test, but a fix was arranged at Suzuki's Thailand production facility. Vehicles already on the ground in Australia were retro-fitted before going on sale.

The model that the Celerio replaced – the Alto – was recognised as the cheapest car to run in last year's survey, with an average weekly cost of $115.58, nearly $18 more than the Celerio costs this year.

The Celerio also edged out the 2013 champion, Mitsubishi's Mirage ES, which costs $114.61 a week to run, an increase of nearly $2 on last year.

Suzuki's reputation for cheap and cheerful motoring got a further boost with the Swift GL leading the light-car brigade as the cheapest to run, with a total cost per week of $128.85, undercutting the Honda Jazz VTi on $136.09.

Toyota's Corolla Ascent 1.8-litre hatch was the highest ranked small car with a cost of $151.61 per week, ahead of the 2.0-litre Mitsubishi Lancer ES Sport ($154.92) and the Volkswagen Golf 1.4-litre 90TSI ($158.03).

In mid-size passenger cars, Skoda's Octavia 1.4-litre 103TSI offers the lowest running costs at $171,91 a week, ahead of the Australian-built Toyota Camry Atara S Hybrid ($173.93), while the 3.0-litre petrol-powered Holden Commodore Evoke was the cheapest large car at $219.25, followed by the 3.6-litre LPG-powered Evoke on $221.03.

At $213.74, Honda's 2.4-litre Odyssey VTi had the lowest running cost of any people-mover, followed by Hyundai's 2.4-litre petrol iMax on $228.72.

Environmentally friendly cars proved to be some of the costlier options on the market to run, with Mitsubishi's Outlander PHEV plug-in the cheapest in its category at $245.75 a week ahead of the all-electric Nissan Leaf ($252.75) and the BMW i3 ($288.62).

The recently launched Mazda CX-3, in two-wheel drive 2.0-litre petrol Neo Safety guise was the cheapest SUV to run in Australia, costing $165.42, and its larger all-wheel drive CX-5 Maxx petrol sibling topped the mid-size SUV category on $192.

Holden's AWD petrol Captiva 7 costs $231.68 a week, making it the cheapest of the large-size family SUVs, edging out fellow Korean-built contender, the Hyundai Santa Fe Active AWD diesel, on $231.81.

Larger all-terrain SUVs were the most expensive vehicles to run, with the Toyota Prado GXL 3.0-litre diesel offering the best value at $279.67, but once again weighing in as the priciest of all models on the list at $443.60 per week was the Nissan Patrol 5.6-litre V8 4x4 ST-L.

The Patrol's weekly cost has increased from $408.02 last year and $397.84 in 2013.

Ford's Aussie-built 4.0-litre Falcon ute was the cheapest 2WD utility to run on $205.47 per week, and Mitsubishi's GLX dual-cab diesel Triton topped the 4x4 ute category with a weekly spend of $229.45.

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