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How Much Will That Car Actually Cost You?

Monday, 15 Aug 2011 | 3:20 PM ET

Of all the studies, reports, and predictions about how new cars and trucks will hold up after we buy them, the Kelley Blue Booktotal cost of ownership may be the most interesting, and perhaps the most relevant for many buyers.

That's not to say crash tests, likelihood of theft, or any of the other ratings of new vehicles are not important. They are. But the total cost of ownership for a new vehicle is significant because it gives people a gauge of how much they will spend the first five years they own a particular brand.

This year, the brands that have the lowest total cost of ownership share a few of common denominators. First, their models tend to have better better than average fuel economy, so it costs less to fuel them. Second, they often start with sticker prices that are lower than the competition. Finally, as they depreciate in value, they hold pretty well.

Frankly, I'm not surprised by those brands with the lowest cost of ownership. Kia and Hyundai, for example, have long been considered among the best buys in the industry because of their reliability and over the last couple of years, they have held their value.

Here's this year's list on cost of ownership by Kelley Blue Book:

Cost of Ownership

Top Luxury Brands Average MSRP Average Depreciation Average Total Cost of Ownership (Five-Year Ownership Period)
Audi $47,506 $33,467 $68,866
Lexus $55,273 $37,029 $73,605
Cadillac $53,684 $40,028 $77,680
Source: KelleyBlueBook.com

Cost of Ownership

Top Non-Luxury Brands Average MSRP Average Depreciation Average Total Cost of Ownership (Five-Year Ownership Period)
Kia $21,643 $15,599 $38,884
Hyundai $23,359 $16,688 $40,092
Honda $26,301 $17,120 $40,862
Source: KelleyBlueBook.com

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___________________________ Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.comand Follow me on Twitter @LeBeauCarNews

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  • Phil LeBeau is a CNBC auto and airline industry reporter based in the Chicago bureau and editor of the Behind the Wheel section on CNBC.com.

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