Best 10 Cars Under $25,000 And The Cost Of Owning Them

The choice of which new car to buy is an exciting decision for anyone to face. There is nothing quite like trading in your current road-worn car for a sparkling new car or slightly used car which is new to you. While this is an exciting time, there are also a lot of things to consider when choosing which car is right for you, your family and your budget. You need to look at more than just the sticker price, or the best deal you can get from a car salesman. You also need to look at the ongoing costs such as:

  • The cost of depreciation.
  • Auto insurance premiums.
  • Fees and interest if you are financing the purchase.
  • Sales taxes and fees such as the gas guzzler tax.
  • Fuel costs.
  • Maintenance, repair and servicing costs.

At the same time, you can get money back through tax credits. For example, those paid to eligible hybrid cars. To help you in your search for the best car in your budget, the breakdown of these costs and benefits has been calculated for the best 10 cars available under $25,000, both brand new and just a few years old.

The cost of owning each car is based on a few standard factors including:

  • You keep the car for five years.
  • You drive 15,000 miles per year.
  • You buy the car using a standard car loan and not a lease, with a loan term of 60 months.
  • You have a good credit rating and are therefore eligible for a low interest rate.
  • You put down a 10% deposit.
  • You fit into the average demographics for insurance purposes.

The Best Used Cars Under $25,000 and the Cost of Owning Them

A major cost most people neglect to budget for is the cost of depreciation, which is highest when you buy a new car. This is because depreciation is essentially how much the car is dropping in value and what you would be able to ask if you were selling it. The newer the car, the more significant the depreciation rate because few people will buy your new car after a year for one or two thousand off of what you bought it for. Why buy from you when they can buy the new model with zero miles on the clock, all the extras and a full manufacturer’s warranty?

However, depreciation does not continue at the same rate it did in the first few years of ownership. After a car is four to five years old it has already halved in value, and the depreciation costs level out. Therefore, if you have a budget of $25,000 and want to get behind the wheel of a fully featured, easy to drive, fuel efficient car, then consider one of the following five cars and how the cost of owning them will fit into your budget now and into the future.

2006 Chrysler 300 C

2006 Chrysler 300C

The Chrysler 300 C makes a statement on the road. With a four door sedan, AWD model you can enjoy the power of the V6 engine, more than enough space in the back for passengers, and plenty of room in the trunk for all their belongings. The Chrysler 300 is a stylish car and has all of the features you would expect of a luxury sedan. So consider whether the cost of owning a 300 C would leave enough money in your budget for a chauffeur:

  • Purchase price of $16,141.
  • The average cost per mile is $0.59.
  • The total cost of owning a 2006 Chrysler 300 C for five years is $44,205.
  • Your Chrysler will cost you $7,510 in depreciation.
  • You will have paid $1,844 in taxes and fees.
  • You will have put in $13,268 worth of fuel.
  • Maintenance costs will be $4,451.
  • Repair costs will be $3,472.
  • The cost of your car loan will be $2,578.
  • Your insurance premiums will add up to $11,082.

2006 Mazda MX-5 Miata

The MX-5 is one of the best value sports cars available.  Even one which is just a few years old will be able to zip you through windy hills roads and release your inner sports car driver, or just remind you of what it was like to be carefree. The cost of owning a 2006 MX-5 includes:

  • Purchase price of $13,044.
  • A $0.51 average cost per mile.
  • A total cost to own the Mazda sports car of $38,053.
  • Depreciation costs of $5,754.
  • Taxes and fees to the total of $1,526.
  • Fuel costs of $10,752.
  • Approximately $4,500 in maintenance costs.
  • A total of $2,574 in repairs.
  • Finance costs of $2,083.
  • Insurance costs of $10,864.

2006 Mini Cooper

The two door Mini Cooper hatchback is more than just a zippy little car. It is not only steeped in history and tradition, but is also a member of the BMW family which means you can be assured of the highest level of safety features, all of the luxury inclusions and some of the world’s best styling. The cost of owning a 2006 Mini Cooper over five years will include:

  • You will need $17,352 to buy the car.
  • Your 2006 Mini Cooper will cost an average of $0.55 to run per mile.
  • The total cost of owning the car over five years is $41,255.
  • Depreciation costs are $6,716.
  • Taxes and fees come to $1,992.
  • You will spend $10.752 on fuel.
  • Maintenance costs will be around $7,378.
  • You will be doing $4,408 worth of repairs.
  • Your financing costs will be $2,770.
  • Insurance premiums will be $7,239.

Interested in this car? Check out J.D Roth’s Mini Cooper purchase experience over at Get Rich Slowly.

2006 Subaru Legacy

The 2.5i Limited Subaru Legacy is a four door wagon and fully equipped with the signature all wheel drive system of the brand. The Legacy handles well, looks good and makes for a comfortable ride with plenty of room for passengers. It is much more affordable than European counterparts such as the Audi A4. The cost of owning a 2006 Subaru Legacy over five years is:

  • A purchase price of $12,970.
  • An average cost per mile of $0.47.
  • A total cost of ownership over five years, of $35,374.
  • Depreciation costs of $5, 863.
  • Taxes and fees of $1,516.
  • A cost of $10,384 in fuel.
  • Maintenance costs of $4,789.
  • A repairs bill of $3,056.
  • Financing costs of $2,071.
  • Insurance costs of $7,695.

2006 Toyota Prius

The 2006 Toyota Prius is a four door hatchback which will be economical on your fuel bill. But that is not the only thing you should consider when looking at how much it will cost to own. The 2006 Prius has the same modern styling as the newer models and is a very easy to drive mid-sized hatchback. Over five years the cost to own the Prius will include:

  • The purchase price of $12,718.
  • An average cost per mile of $0.41.
  • A total of $30,957 to own for five years.
  • Depreciation costs will be $5,526.
  • Taxes and fees will cost $1,493.
  • You will spend just $5,190 on fuel.
  • Maintenance costs will be around $5,358.
  • Repairs cost of $2,500.
  • Financing costs of $2,030.
  • Insurance premiums of $8,860.

The Best New Cars Under $25,000 and the Cost of Owning Them

There is nothing like that new car smell. If you are able to buy a brand new car, a budget of $25,000 can secure you a great value-for-your-money car, not to mention all of the latest features and gadgets. While some of those gadgets can help you drive more fuel efficiently and save money, the cost of owning a new car comes down to much more than the price tag and the miles per gallon. Often it can be worthwhile considering a new car over a used car because of features such as a new car warranty which can reduce or often eliminate your repair bills. But you should also take into account the money you’re losing through depreciation.

2010 Suzuki SX4

2010 Suzuki SX4

The SportBack GTS four door Suzuki SX4 is a capable and sporty little wagon with a powerful 2L engine. There is plenty of grunt to get you where you need to go, and in style. While it is an affordable, small car to buy, over five years, a new SX4 will cost you:

  • A price tag of $18,782 to buy.
  • And average of $0.50 per mile.
  • A total of $37,589 over five years of ownership.
  • Depreciation costs of $10,302.
  • Taxes and fees of $2,245.
  • A total of $9,557 in fuel.
  • Nothing in repairs for the first two years, and a total of $659 in five years.
  • Finance costs of $2,861.
  • Insurance premiums of $7,728.

2010 Honda Accord

The Honda Accord is an affordable luxury sedan with four doors, a 2.4L engine and the look and feel of European elegance. However, you don’t have to pay through the nose for this luxury treatment if you just look at what a 2010 will really cost you over five years:

  • You will need $23,692 to buy the Accord.
  • An average of $0.54 per mile.
  • A total of $40,344 over five years to own.
  • Depreciation costs of $11,249.
  • A cost of $2,620 in taxes and fees.
  • Fuel costs of $9,557.
  • Maintenance costs of $3,468.
  • Repair costs of $773 in the third, fourth and fifth year only.
  • Finance costs of $3,610.
  • Insurance costs of $9,067.

2010 Jeep Wrangler Sport

The Sport model of the Jeep Wrangler is a two door, 3.8L engine and much more than your standard SUV. As one of the toughest and most capable four wheel drives available in the world, the Wrangler can take you anywhere you want to go, in convertible style too. Before you consider the Wrangler, look at how much it will cost you to own it over five years:

  • A $25,850 price tag to buy.
  • An average of $0.60 per mile.
  • A total of $44,829 over five years.
  • Depreciation costs of $11,303.
  • Taxes and fees to the total of $2,833.
  • Fuel costs of $14,047.
  • Maintenance costs of $3,548.
  • Repairs bills of $1,450 after the first two years.
  • Finance costs of $3,938.
  • Insurance premiums to the value of $7,710.

2010 Volkswagen Golf

This four door, 2.5L hatchback is a highly awarded car for its value, its comfort and its inclusions. This popular small car could be popular with your budget too, once you are aware of the total cost of owning a Golf:

  • A purchase price of $22,923.
  • An average cost of $0.53 per mile.
  • A total cost over five years of $40,032 to own.
  • A depreciation of $11,272.
  • Taxes and fees to the value of $2,522.
  • Fuel costs of $9,189.
  • Maintenance costs of $3,331.
  • A repair bill of just $983 after the first two years free.
  • Finance costs of $3,491.
  • Insurance costs of $9,244.

2010 GMC Canyon

If you’re looking for something with a little adventure off road, the practicality of four doors, and the usability of a tray which can be handy for work, moving house or picking up new furniture, then you may want to know more about the GMC Canyon. Over five years, you will have spent:

  • Approximately $22,250 to buy your new car.
  • An average of $0.59 per mile.
  • A total of $44,279 over five years.
  • Depreciation costs of $12,075.
  • Taxes and fees up to $2,412.
  • Fuel costs of $11,370.
  • Maintenance costs of $4,024.
  • Up to $895 in repairs after the two year manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Finance costs of around $3,390.
  • Insurance premiums of $10,113.

The cost of owning a car is always going to be one of the biggest expenses in your budget. But there are ways to minimize those costs: used cars save on depreciation costs and new cars save on fuel and repair costs. Regardless of the costs, it is important to know what you need to budget for at the time of purchase and over the long term because for many of us a car is a necessity.

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Last Edited: March 17, 2014 @ 10:11 am