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Mazda, Lexus Win Kudos for Lowest Cost of Ownership

But GM has most top-ranked models of any manufacturer.

by on Feb.05, 2014

The Lexus LS won its category while the brand was named best luxury brand.

There are any number of ways to measure quality these days, some studies focusing on “things gone wrong” right out of the factory, while others look for products that surprise and delight their owners.  But for many buyers what’s likely to matter most is how much it will actually cost to own and maintain a vehicle until it’s time to trade in.

And by that measure, Mazda and Lexus are the two brands that come out on top in a new study that projects what the typical owner might expect to buy during the first five years.

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“­­New-car shoppers naturally want to know how much a car will cost upfront; however, sometimes an even more expensive car can actually save you money during the first five years of ownership,” said Dan Ingle, vice president of vehicle valuations for Kelley Blue Book, which announced the winners of its latest 5-Year Cost to Own Awards today.

Mazda - the Mazda3 shown here - was overall best brand in the Cost to Own study.

Depreciation and fuel costs are typically the two greatest expenses a motorist might expect to pay over the course of five years, but Kelley found a number of other factors can have a significant impact – and which were rolled into the new study.  These include finance and insurance fees, maintenance and repair costs and even state fees for such things as vehicle registration.

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Thanks to its low insurance and fuel costs, as well as relatively modest depreciation, Mazda was the overall “Best Brand” in the new Cost to Own study.

In turn, Lexus was tops in the luxury category, Kelley analysts said, despite a typical price tag higher than some of its leading competitors.  But Lexus products also do a better job of holding their value after five years and the maker’s reputation for reliability translates in into the study’s lowest repair costs.  The upscale brand also had some of the lowest fuel and insurance costs.

Two of the brand’s models topped their individual vehicle categories, in fact, the Hybrid SUV/Crossover Lexus RX, and the High-End Luxury Car Lexus LS.

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The Buick Encore was one of eight GM products to sweep their categories.

The researchers pointed out several other stand-outs, including the Buick Encore, which topped the Luxury Compact SUV/Crossover segment, in part, by having minimal depreciation and doing well in categories ranging from fuel to insurance costs.  Another surprise was the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV which beat out both the Chevrolet Volt and the Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid in the Plug-In Vehicle category.

Those two General Motors models were among eight GM products to top their vehicle categories, more than any other manufacturer.  Toyota captured the top spot in five of the 22 vehicle categories, including the two Lexus models and the Toyota Corolla, winner in the Compact Car category.

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Ford and its up-market Lincoln brand captured three segment wins, while various Chrysler brands led in two categories.  Audi, Hyundai, Honda and Mitsubishi had one top-rated model each.

2014 5-YEAR COST TO OWN AWARDS: BY VEHICLE CATEGORY

  • SUBCOMPACT CAR:  Chevrolet Spark
 
  • COMPACT CAR:  Toyota Corolla
 
  • SPORTY COMPACT CAR: Hyundai Veloster Turbo
 
  • MID-SIZE CAR:  Honda Accord
 
  • FULL-SIZE CAR: Chevrolet Impala
 
  • ENTRY-LEVEL LUXURY CAR:  Buick Verano
 
  • LUXURY CAR: Audi A5
 
  • HIGH-END LUXURY CAR: Lexus LS
 
  • SPORTS CAR:  Ford Mustang
 
  • HIGH-PERFORMANCE CAR: Chevrolet Camaro SS/ZL1
 
  • HYBRID/ALTERNATIVE ENERGY CAR: Toyota Prius c
 
  • COMPACT SUV/CROSSOVER:  Jeep Patriot
 
  • MID-SIZE SUV/CROSSOVER:  Mitsubishi Outlander
 
  • FULL-SIZE SUV/CROSSOVER: Ford Explorer
 
  • LUXURY COMPACT SUV/CROSSOVER:  Buick Encore
 
  • LUXURY MID-SIZE SUV/CROSSOVER:  Lincoln  MKX
 
  • LUXURY FULL-SIZE SUV/CROSSOVER:  Buick Enclave
 
  • MID-SIZE PICKUP TRUCK:  Toyota Tacoma Regular Cab
 
  • FULL-SIZE PICKUP TRUCK:  GMC Sierra 1500 Regular Cab
 
  • MINIVAN/VAN:  Dodge Grand Caravan Passenger
 
  • HYBRID SUV/CROSSOVER: Lexus RX
 

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