There was an interesting article recently in U.S. News & World Report regarding the true cost of ownership of a compact SUV. Based on data provided by car value analyst IntelliChoice, U.S. News analyzed the total cost of ownership of each small SUV over a five-year period. These costs included new vehicle price, depreciation in value, fuel costs, maintenance costs, insurance costs, and repairs. Their findings are worth considering if you are in the market for a compact SUV.
As the article points out, compact SUVs have many attributes. Many compact SUVs are built on the same production platforms as small or midsize cars. This keeps their suggested retail prices similar to many sedans in the midsize class. They generally have good handling capabilities and several models get gas mileage near thirty miles per gallon on the freeway. These factors, in addition to their larger cargo and passenger areas and inclement weather capabilities, make them an attractive vehicle option.
Based on the data, U.S. News found that the Mitsubishi Outlander, a stylish, good handling compact SUV, received a “Poor” rating. The Outlander’s total cost of ownership over a five-year period was near $40,000, near double the vehicle’s base sticker price. Heavy depreciation and high insurance costs attributed to its rating. Other models receiving “Poor” ratings were the Suzuki Grand Vitara, Kia Sportage, and Jeep Liberty. These models primarily suffered in the ratings from high depreciation but fuel costs were also a negative factor.
IntelliChoice named the Honda CR-V as the “Best Overall Value of the Year” in the compact SUV class. Excellent resale value, good fuel economy, and lower insurance costs were the primary factors. The GMC Terrain, Subaru Forester and Jeep Patriot were all rated “Above Average”.
While these studies seem to heavily emphasize resale value and fuel costs, they are certainly important factors to consider when purchasing a compact SUV.