Smalls cars like Civics and Corollas are usually cheaper than other models. But when you factor in resale value, are they really cheaper in the long run?


Triple-A just put out a new study that looked at the five top-selling cars in nine different categories: everything from small sedans and hybrids, to pickup trucks. It turns out those small, cheap cars really are the best option for your wallet.

They looked at the sticker price for new cars. But they also factored in things like gas mileage, re-sale value, and how often they need repairs.

Small sedans cost an average of $6,354 a year over the entire lifetime of the car. That's for something like a Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus, or Chevy Cruze.

The next cheapest is small SUVs at $7,606. Then hybrids at $7,687, mostly because the gas mileage is better.

Electric cars are actually more expensive at $8,439 a year, because their resale value isn't as good. The only exception might be Teslas. But they didn't look at luxury cars, so they didn't run those numbers.

The other types of cars they looked at were:

  • Medium-sized sedans - $8,171 a year
  • Minivans - $9,146 a year
  • Large sedans - $9,399 a year
  • Bigger SUVs - $9,451 a year
  • Pick-up trucks - $10,054 a year

Read more at Consumer Reports.