February 11th, 2022 by

You’re searching for used cars for sale near me, but did you know that the cheapest used car isn’t always the cheapest car to own? The cheapest car to own is one that’s affordable to maintain, efficient, and reliable. What does that mean in terms of your search and the inventory you’ll find on our lot?

Negotiating a lower price on a used car is a great way to get a better deal, but it’s also important to consider other factors before you start negotiating. Is the vehicle easy and affordable to maintain? How well does it hold its value over time? How fuel-efficient is the vehicle, and does this level of efficiency match your driving and budget needs?

These are factors we considered as we put together this list of the cheapest cars to own. Relying on our own expertise as well as that of other industry experts, you’ll find four models that have stellar reputations for their reliability and longevity on the road. They’re designed to keep more money in your wallet long after the initial sale.

Subaru Impreza 

  • Average Fuel Efficiency: 28 MPG in the city and 36 MPG on the highway (2020)
  • 10-Year Cost to Own is $4,462

The Impreza has been a staple in the Subaru lineup since the early 1990s. Like every Subaru in the fleet, the Impreza offers an exceptional value because it comes standard with Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive system that maximizes its capability in inclement weather and on challenging terrain. This is a huge advantage if you’re looking for a used vehicle that’s designed to give you more confidence and control behind the wheel.

Despite being all-wheel drive, the Impreza is also remarkably efficient, with models like the 2020 Impreza averaging 28 MPG in the city and 36 MPG on the highway. This means spending less on fuel and more on your next adventure since the Impreza is more than capable of handling everything from snowy terrain to dirt-road adventures. You won’t have to sacrifice comfort, ride quality, or convenience on those rugged adventures, with the Impreza offering a host of features from plush seating and advanced safety features to smartphone integration and beyond.

Surprisingly, the Impreza’s advanced technology and unique features like its Boxer engine and symmetrical all-wheel drive don’t significantly impact its maintenance costs. Over ten years, you can expect to spend around $4,462 on the Impreza. Considering the versatility that comes with the Impreza and the Subaru brand, this is money well spent.

Toyota Corolla 

  • Average Fuel Efficiency: 32 MPG in the city and 42 MPG on the highway (2019)
  • 10-Year Cost to Own is $3,247

The Corolla helped put Toyota on the map in America in the mid-1960s and eventually made a global impression as the best-selling car in the world. Holding this title since the 1970s, the Corolla is a natural addition to our list and reflects Toyota’s ability to give drivers exactly what they want and need in a sedan. In this case, it’s a spacious and efficient sedan that’s fun to drive, is laden with technology, and embodies Toyota’s stellar reputation throughout the industry.

The Corolla’s long history in America engineers confidence because it reveals its longevity and reliability. You’ll find this whether you’re shopping for a model like the 2019 Corolla Hatchback or a newer model from 2021 with all the bells and whistles. Either way, you know you’re getting an efficient sedan with the Corolla averaging anywhere from 30 to 32 MPG in the city and 38 to 42 MPG on the highway across its 2019 lineup. These numbers have only improved throughout the Corolla’s history.

As far as maintenance, investing in the Corolla won’t require a lot of ongoing expenses. You can expect to spend around $3,247 on the Corolla over its first decade on the road. With its impressive fuel economy and its long list of practical amenities like Bluetooth capability and smartphone integration, setting aside just over $3,000 for oil changes and minor repairs is an impressive trade if it means keeping you in the driver’s seat of the Corolla for over a hundred thousand miles.

Honda CR-V 

  • Average Fuel Efficiency: 28 MPG in the city and 34 MPG on the highway (2019)
  • 10-Year Cost to Own is $4,030

Honda’s “Comfortable Runabout Vehicle” is a staple on any list of affordable used cars. Introduced in the late 1990s, the CR-V is one of Honda’s most popular models because of its innate ability to balance efficiency and affordability with comfort, convenience, and innovation. This is apparent whether you’re shopping for a model from 2017 or something newer like a 2019 CR-V that earned high praise from Car and Driver for its impressive fuel economy, cargo space, and cutting-edge technology.

The CR-V also has Honda’s reputation to thank for its success. Honda is renowned for building vehicles that can log hundreds of thousands of miles with ease. Nearly every dealership’s used inventory has a Civic or an Accord with over 150,000 miles on the odometer and plenty of life left to offer. With regular maintenance and tender love and care, the same is true for the CR-V.

Experts project the cost to maintain the CR-V over 10 years is around $4,030. This includes the cost of oil changes, tire rotations, and other repairs necessary to ensure the CR-V lives up to its true Honda potential. Along with this minimal cost, you don’t have to worry about spending a fortune on fuel, with the CR-V boasting impressive numbers throughout its history with an overall average of 28 MPG in the city and 34 MPG on the highway.

Chevy Spark
  • Average Fuel Efficiency: 30 MPG in the city and 38 MPG on the highway (2021)
  • 10-Year Cost to Own is $4,189

Chevy has an outstanding reputation for building vehicles that are designed to last, and the Spark is no exception, even as the smallest vehicle in the automaker’s fleet. First introduced in 2013, the Spark is the most affordable car in America, with the new 2022 model starting at $13,600 and used models going for significantly less. This makes the Spark even more affordable on the used lot.

The Spark brings plenty of personality to the segment with its bold design and sophisticated styling. Its size makes it agile and easy to maneuver in and out of traffic and adds to its remarkable efficiency. The 2021 Spark averages up to 30 MPG in the city and 38 MPG on the highway, which is fairly standard for the Spark over the last decade.

As far as maintenance, you won’t spend much. Industry experts report the average 10-year cost to own the Spark is $4,189. Considering everything the Spark offers, from its maneuverability and efficiency to its array of technology features like smartphone integration and a WiFi hotspot, this is a minimal investment that’s easy to make in exchange for a sedan that’s laden with personality.

More Money in Your Wallet 

Shopping for a used car is a smart financial investment but, to truly reap the benefits of that investment, it’s important to consider everything that happens after you drive the car off the lot. This means doing your research on the model and learning more about its average fuel economy and whether you’ll spend a small fortune filling up the tank. It means looking into reviews of the model to learn about ongoing maintenance or repair issues, which can make any cheap used car an expensive money pit.

The cheapest car to own is one that takes these factors into consideration. Models like the Chevy Spark, Honda CR-V, Toyota Corolla, and Subaru Impreza do exactly that. Each automaker is renowned for building exceptional vehicles that hold their values incredibly well. You’ll also find that these models are efficient and, based on input from expert mechanics, are among the most affordable to repair and maintain.
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