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LandCruiser diesel tops running costs survey

Low versus high-cost: Kia's Rio (above) and Toyota's LandCruiser (below).

Kia Rio tops RACV's latest running costs survey as LandCruiser diesel proves pricey

22 Jun 2006

TOYOTA’S LandCruiser turbo-diesel has emerged as one of the most costly vehicles to own and operate, according to the latest RACV survey into vehicle running costs.

Out of 37 vehicles surveyed, the LandCruiser was again the most costly to own and operate, at $339.55 a week - a jump of $26.93 or 8.6 per cent over previous survey results.

The survey found that skyrocketing fuel prices are now the main factor in pushing up motoring costs.

Even the cheapest car to run, the Kia Rio, has been hit by rising fuel prices.

It costs $111.20 a week, a jump of $5.72 over last year.

The RACV’s chief engineer, Michael Case, said unleaded fuel had shot up by 20 per cent in the past 12 months.

"It has become the single most critical thing in many car owners' minds," he said.

"However, the hidden costs of ownership, like depreciation, should also be considered. It’s always a significant component.

"We see some references to depreciation as part of the car buying experience but people don’t realise how important it is.

"If they did, they’d really think about what they own and drive."Mr Case said depreciation was emerging as a big issue for four-wheel drives, particularly the large off-roaders.

"Historically they’ve been quite good on depreciation but with increasing fuel prices and ownership costs this has had an effect on their values," he said.

17 center image"People don’t think about depreciation until it comes time to sell the vehicle and then they’re amazed at how little their car is worth and how much it costs to upgrade."Of the large locally-built cars, the Mitsubishi 380 bucked the trend for rising costs, being the cheapest large six-cylinder car to run at $195.98 a week, $23 less than the superseded Magna.

The 380’s operating costs were just $6.08 more than last year’s lowest family car, the Toyota Camry.

Holden’s Commodore, the country’s highest-selling vehicle now costs $217.36 a week to run, up $14.34 from last year because of higher depreciation and fuel costs.

The survey looked at whole-of-life issues with vehicles, including depreciation, which remains a key issue in owning and operating a vehicle.

Vehicle depreciation accounts for 46 per cent of the total running costs of the 37 surveyed vehicles.

Mr Case said the most people only considered the actual purchase price of a new car and not ongoing costs, including tyres, servicing and fuel, or even hidden costs such as depreciation, insurance, registration and interest payments.

Apart from depreciation, one aspect that surprised the RACV was the high cost of oil and brake rotors, particularly for large four-wheel drives.

In some cases the amount of oil used in a four-wheel drive engine was significantly more than a hatch.

For the first time the RACV vehicle operating costs survey has included LPG, diesel and hybrid vehicles, as a response to changing buyer patterns.

The survey directly compares these vehicles with conventional petrol models.

The Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDI and 2.0 FSI were compared, along with a Honda Civic hybrid.

Mr Case said the RACV looked at whether fuel-running costs outweighed some of the hidden costs such as depreciations, interest and registration.

"For example, while the petrol/electric Civic hybrid costs an extra $9000 more than the standard Civic, you will save three cents a kilometres on fuel costs," he said.

"But if you are doing an average 15,000km a year over five years, this additional purchase cost difference will not be recovered."However, Mr Case conceded that buyers of hybrid vehicles were more likely to be making a statement about their vehicle and driving them on ecological grounds because of their low emissions.

He said the buyers were increasingly questioning the need to run large cars, particularly four-wheel drives that never went off the bitumen.

Although the TDI Golf costs $2500 more to buy, the RACV estimates that buyers will recoup $1500 of this back at resale, meaning that owners would still have to make up the difference in fuel savings.

Despite the higher cost of diesel fuel, a diesel engine runs so efficiently that for every kilometre driven owners would save 3.5 cents over the petrol Golf.

The survey also found that the servicing regime for a diesel Golf is the same as that of the petrol car.

The LPG comparison with equivalent petrol models was a surprise. Both the LPG Ford Falcon and LPG Holden Commodore scored virtually identical running costs to their petrol equivalents.

The LPG Ford cost $210 a week to run compared to $217.40 for the petrol six Falcon, and the LPG Commodore cost $215.62 a week to run compared to $217.36 for the petrol Commodore.

The survey was based on average kilometres of 15,000 a year over a five-year period.

Mr Case said that in future the RACV was looking at offering an online calculator where a consumer will be able to key in kilometres travelled and work out the cost and ownership over a period longer than 15,000km.

The site would also enable comparisons between different vehicles’ running costs.

The chart toppers

This survey has no "winners" but, as a guide, the vehicles that came out cheapest to run on a weekly basis in each surveyed category are:Light car: Kia Rio 5-dr hatch 1.6 - $111.20
Small car: Toyota Corolla Ascent sedan - $145.38
Medium car: Toyota Camry Altise 2.4 sedan - $183.08
Large car: Mitsubishi 380 ES sedan - $195.98
LPG car: Ford Falcon XT LPG sedan - $210.00
Diesel/hybrid: Honda Civic hybrid 1.3 sedan - $169.34
Compact SUV:

Honda CR-V 2.4 - $189.85
Medium SUV:

Ford Territory TX AWD - $228.71
Large SUV:

Nissan Patrol 3.0 diesel ST - $269.19

Kia Carnival LS 2.5 - $188.95* Figures courtesy of the RACV

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