Buying a car involves doing numbers and accounts to, in some way, know the magnitude of the operation that the driver is facing. To the price, we must add other figures for necessary services such as those derived from taxes, consumption, car insurance, or maintenance. This last point adds a multitude of added costs throughout the useful life of the vehicle. Not in vain, manufacturers advise going through the workshop on an annual basis to carry out the necessary revisions. The invoice for these checks will vary depending on the model, the place chosen, and, of course, the brand.
Despite these oscillations, there are a number of cars that need less tune-up and are therefore cheaper to maintain. The Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) has prepared a report in this regard.
- 1 The differences
- 2 What are the cheapest cars to maintain?
- 3 Easiest Cars to Work On
- 4 Compare cars with the cheapest maintenance
- 5 Conclusion
Before taking a look at cars that are cheaper to maintain, there are a few things to consider. Each manufacturer establishes guidelines for the care of their vehicles with the aim of guaranteeing their operation throughout their useful life. In these indications, they include when they should be checked, either in time or in mileage. Therefore, it is logical that the plan varies from one brand to another, and with it, the intervals: 15,000 kilometers, 20,000, 30,000, etc. Despite the differences, the periods tend to move in the same figures.
On the other hand, there is a characteristic that directly influences these inequalities: the type of fuel. The maintenance of a gasoline vehicle is different from that of diesel due to the elements and parts that must be controlled. Something that influences the price. Audatex (a leading company in claims management) extracted the average cost over the useful life of a car and this data reveals that diesel costs between 300 and 700 euros more than its gasoline version.
Finally, choosing between one of the cheapest options on the market or opting for a more premium model does not have such a direct impact on maintenance, although it seems contradictory. Sometimes a high-cost car can save money in the long run because it may require fewer steps through the workshop than a ‘low-cost’ one. For example, according to the aforementioned OCU study, over 100,000 kilometers a Dacia Duster 1.5 CRDI would need nine hours of workshop and a BMW 3 Series 320 D ED only a couple.
What are the cheapest cars to maintain?
A study carried out by the IDAE (Institute for Energy Savings and Diversification), belonging to the Ministry of Industry, pointed out that, on average, maintaining a car in Spain costs approximately 2,000 euros per year. FleetData (a company dedicated to conducting market research) indicated that these expenses are usually 23.70 euros per 100 kilometers traveled. Taking into account that Audatex, a claims assessment consultancy, estimates that the annual average for a car is around 9,126 kilometers, the maintenance cost would be 2,098. A figure that is not too far from that provided by government sources.
As always, there are vehicles that meet the average, but others are above or below. According to data from the Spanish Association of Automobile and Truck Manufacturers (ANFAC), the average age of the Spanish automobile fleet is around 12 years. Knowing the kilometers they travel per year, during that time they will have accumulated 109,512 kilometers. With this starting point, these are the cheapest cars to maintain for their first 100,000 kilometers of life. Below are some of the easiest cars to work on.
- Opel Corsa 1.3 CDTI
- Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi
- Opel Insignia 2.0 CDTI
- Ford Focus 1.5 TDCI
- Opel Astra 1.6 CDTI
- Peugeot 308 1.2 PureTech
- Renault Clio 1.5 dCi
- Kia Sportage 1.6 GDI
- BMW 3 Series 320 ED
- Ford Fiesta 1.5 TDCi
Easiest Cars to Work On
The urban Opel needs three steps through the workshop at a cost of 600 euros to stay in shape. Available with three or five doors, with five generations of life it has become one of the classics in its segment.
It underwent a facelift in 2015 and opted for an original design, a modern and young look as well as a more personal aesthetic tailored to the driver. A combination inherited from the Opel Adam, his little brother. The Corsa has taken a leap forward in terms of standard equipment, quality, and comfort. It is, in short, an agile and balanced vehicle with a drive that, although it does not engage, is made up of a series of more competitive and economical engines.
The best-selling SUV in Spain (28,752 registrations in 2017) bases its success on the union of three fronts: a country-style look, a concept designed for the road, and the option of four-wheel drive to know how to respond off the asphalt. It is not the only ingredient: in 100,000 kilometers, it would go through the workshop three times without spending more than 900 euros.
In 2017, Nissan wanted to renovate it without losing the aura of success. It achieved this by emphasizing, above all, its aesthetics, the technological part, and the rolling. The result is that it improves on its predecessor in practically every aspect. As for the 1.6 dCi, it offers all this plus 130 hp and the choice between front-wheel drive with manual or automatic transmission and four-wheel drive with the manual gearbox.
When choosing the successor to the Vectra, Opel thought of a generalist saloon, with versions of four doors, five, in addition to the family, and that would raise the quality levels of one of its most successful models. To this must be added maintenance that favors the Insignia in the first 100,000 kilometers: three visits to the workshop for less than 900 euros.
Opel wanted to mark the before and after on all fronts. Not surprisingly, nothing remains of the Vectra’s sober angles. On this occasion, they have opted for an attractive and muscular figure that they have endowed with a large number of technological innovations. The end result is a safe and easy-to-use car that, in its diesel version, is available with powers of 110, 130, and 160 hp. In addition, Insignia can boast of incorporating the in-house engines developed in Turin, which are characterized by being silent, thin, sparing in consumption, and with a pleasant response.
If the Ford Focus is characterized by something, it is because it is a vehicle that has achieved a good balance between behavior, comfort, and equipment. Something that combines with discreet maintenance: despite his five steps through the workshop in the first 100,000 kilometers, the total amount would not exceed the barrier of 900 euros.
With a conventional image and an intuitive interior, the Focus boasts of giving stability to its driver. To do this, it boasts one of Ford’s characteristics, an advanced running gear to which it adds direct and agile steering and great maneuverability that makes it a winning combination both in the city and on the highway.
Within the compact segment, where the competition is deadly, the Opel Astra has its own benchmark of success. Generation after generation, it has offered drivers, among other things, a wide range (of bodies and mechanics) and good maintenance. As with the Corsa, it would be enough to go through the workshop three times with a price that would not exceed 900 euros.
The passage of time has suited the Astra, which is shown to be a lighter, more agile car with an improved driving feel. Qualities to which Opel adds a good ride quality and a cabin full of good finishes. Taking into account the scenario in which it moves, that of the compact, it must adjust to the requirements of equipment, design, and tuning. It does so with diesel engines, in this case, 95, 110, 136, and 160 hp.
The Peugeot compact has been good for the passage of time. Not only has it benefited from the PureTech engines, characterized by turbocharging and displacement reduction that make it gain in performance and reduce consumption, but also from the global commitment of the French brand to improve quality. Consequently, visits to the workshop are reduced to four at a cost that would not exceed 900 euros.
With a slightly more sober image, six trim levels, and a good price/equipment ratio, it is a car that ensures the driver a good reaction from very low revs, a progressive and pleasant response, and poise on the asphalt. It achieves this thanks to an offer of state-of-the-art mechanics, both gasoline and diesel. The first section highlights the PureTech range, three-cylinder engines that replace the four. The gearboxes are five-speed manuals for the most modest engines and six for the others. In addition, there is a manual-type automatic gearbox piloted with six gears.
Renault has given the Clio a much more modern image although, yes, it is still that popular and affordable utility of contained dimensions. A feature that extends to the maintenance part since, in theory, it only requires going through the workshop three times at a cost of fewer than 900 euros.
With the latest generation, the French brand has chosen to offer it only with a five-door body. Inside, the quality standards and finishes are still correct and when it comes to driving it is pleasant, but not the most agile in the segment. What has improved notably is in passive safety systems. Finally, the Clio engine range offers a couple of alternatives: diesel and gasoline. And the powers range between 75 and 120 hp.
Kia knew what the market was asking for and simply delivered it with the Sportage. It is a balanced family SUV, with a quality to match, good finishes, fairly complete equipment, great habitability, and, above all, a competitive price. Something that also happens with vehicle maintenance: three visits to the workshop and a price below 900 euros.
The Sportage’s latest facelift has given it a more attractive image, a more spacious interior, and also helped it move up a notch in build quality. At the same time, there are things that remain unchanged such as the complete equipment or the interior design: follow the classic configuration of the brand without much fanfare.
The Sportage is an easy car to drive although off-road it has limitations. In the mechanical part, the most affordable variant is the one we are talking about: the 1.6 GDI with 132 hp. To this must be added that Kia offers alternatives with the automatic dual-clutch transmission (DCT) and options with all-wheel drive.
BMW Serie 3
To think of the BMW 3 Series is to think of it as an average premium saloon. Despite being at this level, its maintenance is among the most affordable on the market: three visits to the workshop that will not go beyond the 900 euro barrier.
In its day, the German brand endowed the Series 3 with five seats and a continuous line in terms of design. Not surprisingly, with the passage of time and generations, it has been maintained while it was updated so as not to lose the market rhythm. At the wheel, it boasts of being a car that has struck the balance between comfort for long trips and the agility needed to maneuver. This is the result of a good set-up of the chassis in which it stands out in a direct, precise direction and with a somewhat artificial setting.
The icing on the cake is the mechanical offer. The gasoline engines go through the BMW 320i with 184 hp, the BMW 328i with 245 hp, and the BMW 335i with 306 hp. In diesel, the range starts with the 116 hp BMW 316d followed by the 143 hp BMW 318d and the 184 hp BMW 320d, the version we are dealing with, and one of the most balanced. Finally, the Series 3 can incorporate rear or all-wheel drive.
The Ford Fiesta is one of the most popular models in its segment both in Spain and in Europe, where it was key for the American brand. With seven generations behind him, he is also one of the oldest. With that background, he has reached the car that it is today: made to function with ease in the city and fun outside it. As for maintenance, it is, along with the Focus, the one that visits the workshop the most, although it does not exceed 900 euros in cost.
With a more modern air and better finishes, Ford has made a great bet on the technological part while maintaining everything that was good, such as, for example, contained consumption. This does not make you lose stamina and energy as your reactions are good. This is the result of its range of engines, which presents novelties in the last generation: a 1.1 Ti-VCT with three cylinders derived from the 1.0 EcoBoost that will have two power levels (70 and 85 CV) and in the diesel section the 1.5 TDCi, available with 85 and 120 hp. As for the gearboxes, they will be manual (five and six speeds) and six-speed automatic.
Compare cars with the cheapest maintenance
If when choosing your new car you take maintenance costs into account, doubts will arise since opting for a vehicle is not a simple or fast decision. In order to choose the one that best suits the needs of each driver, it is best to compare. Having a tool to speed it up is very useful.
The easiest cars to work on are essential easy maintenance and repair. This makes it easier for mechanics to repair the car as a result.
Car technology changes with the new models produced in most cases. Even so, many of them are still fast to work with. So, regardless of their models, most cars are easy to maintain and repair.
There was less use of modern technology in the car models of the past. As a result, working on the cars was easier.
Most of them are more efficient, robust and have fewer mechanical problems. Some are often simpler to operate. They have become smarter and more effective as a result.
But, make sure you work on them before you buy a car. With their low maintenance cost and ease of repair, you can benefit. As a result, on your own, you can solve any problem.