5 Best SUVs, Minivans and Trucks for Cheapskates
BOSTON (TheStreet) -- If you like big automobiles but live on a small budget, here's a look at some 2014 SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks that Kelley Blue Book predicts will cost you the least money to own over the long haul.
"Buying one of these models means that you'll have more money in your pocket after five years," says Karl Brauer of KBB, which recently named 2014 winners of its annual Best 5-Year Cost to Own Awards.
KBB chose the winning models by estimating how much each mainstream 2014 sold in America will cost over five years in terms of depreciation, financing, fuel, insurance, maintenance, repairs and state fees such as excise taxes.
Brauer says buying an award winner will typically save you $2,000 to as much as $20,000 or more over five years vs. what you'll spend with a less-frugal model.
"It's very common to see a $2,500 difference in costs over five years between two cars in the same class, and that translates into $500 in savings per year," he says. "I'm sure most consumers could find plenty of things to do with the extra money."
The analyst says depreciation -- the difference between what you pay for a new car and what you sell it for later on as a used vehicle -- typically represents a model's largest five-year expense.
He says vehicles with lower purchase prices tend to depreciate less, so they generally offer the lowest long-term costs.
For instance, the Buick Enclave -- 2014's winner in the luxury full-sized SUV category -- lists for $8,780 less than the Audi Q7, but costs $11,804 less to own over five years.
Brauer says vehicles redesigned for 2014 also did well in the latest annual competition, as automakers appear unlikely to revamp them again within five years. As a result, the 2014 versions' values should hold up well in the used-car market, he says.
Read on to check out this year's winners in the auto industry's highest-volume SUV, minivan and truck segments. (Or, click here to see five 2014 cars KBB predicts will offer the lowest five-year ownership costs.)
All pricing figures refer to KBB's Fair Purchase Price, an estimate of how much consumers are paying for a given model based on actual U.S. sales.
Best compact SUV: Jeep Patriot
Five-year ownership cost: $34,894
Buy a Jeep Patriot and you can expect to have plenty of extra Ben Franklins and George Washingtons in your wallet to stir up your national pride.
That's because the Patriot is both the lowest-priced Jeep and least-expensive compact SUV on the U.S. market this model year, and Brauer says that should keep the car's ownership costs down by minimizing depreciation.
"Jeep is a powerful and iconic brand, and because the Patriot is the lowest-priced one that they sell, there's not that far that it can fall," he says.
KBB estimates the $21,186 Patriot will depreciate 9.3% less than what's average for compact SUVs, while the model's buyers can expect to pay 16% below average for financing and 11.9% less for insurance.
KBB also predicts you'll pay 4.9% below average for repairs, 3.1% less for maintenance and 2.2% less for fuel despite the Patriot's so-so fuel efficiency (as low as 20 mpg/city and 23 mpg/highway for some configurations).