Cheapest new cars to own over three years

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When you're buying a new car, it's important to look beyond the ticket price and to think about how much it’ll cost to keep on the road over its first few years.

Skoda-Citigo

Fuel and insurance are likely to be some of the biggest costs, but depreciation (the difference between a car’s value when you buy it and when you come to sell it) is the biggest and one that’s often ignored.

In fact, some new cars can depreciate by as much as 50% over the first three years of their life, so it's a good idea to choose a vehicle that holds its value well.

Inevitably, cars with the lowest depreciation tend to be the cheapest on the market, so our list contains plenty of economical superminis and city cars. The good news is that budget cars aren't necessarily boring cars.

Using data from automotive experts, KeeResources, which includes depreciation, servicing, maintenance and repairs, fuel, car insurance, registration fee and road tax, the figures assume average mileage of 30,000 miles over three years.

The data was generated in May 2019.

1) Dacia Sandero 1.0 SCe Access (75PS)

Dacia-Sandero

Bearing in mind that the Sandero is still Britain’s cheapest new car by far, it’s no surprise to find that it's also the cheapest to run over three years. This model from Renault's budget brand may not be the height of sophistication, but it's superb value.

  • List price: £6,995
  • Depreciation: £4,245
  • Fuel: £3,804
  • Insurance: £1,284
  • Servicing, maintenance, repairs: £615
  • Road tax: £460
  • Registration fee: £55

Total running cost over three years is £6,218, and the depreciation to factor in is £4,245 (grand total £10,463).

2) Skoda Citigo 1.0 GreenTech (60PS)

Skoda-Citigo

Almost identical to its Volkswagen Group cousins, the Seat Mii and VW Up!, the Citigo also offers an entertaining drive, more space than you might think and low insurance.

  • List price: £8,890
  • Depreciation: £5,255
  • Fuel: £3,131
  • Insurance: £1,161
  • Servicing, maintenance, repairs: £726
  • Road tax: £420
  • Registration fee: £55

Total running cost over three years is £5,493, and the depreciation to factor in is £5,255 (grand total £10,748)

3) Toyota Aygo 1.0 VVTi (71PS)

Toyota-Aygo

The third of the Citroen C1/Peugeot 108/Toyota Aygo triplets, the Aygo has the most striking styling. It's also well built and just as much fun to drive.

  • List price: £9,700
  • Depreciation: £5,440
  • Fuel: £3,070
  • Insurance: £1,635
  • Servicing, maintenance, repairs: £792
  • Road tax: £420
  • Registration fee: £55

Total running cost over three years is £5,972, and the depreciation to factor in is £5,440 (grand total of £11,412)

4) Kia Picanto 1.0 (66PS)

kia-picanto

The latest Picanto is a competitively-priced, well-equipped, nippy city car, backed up by a generous seven-year warranty.

  • List price: £9,895
  • Depreciation: £5,470
  • Fuel: £3,442
  • Insurance: £1,401
  • Servicing, maintenance, repairs: £631
  • Road tax: £460
  • Registration fee: £55

Total running cost over three years is £5,989, and the depreciation to factor in is £5,470 (grand total £11,459)

5) Dacia Sandero Stepway 1.0SCe (75PS)

Dacia-Sandero-Stepway

A crossover version of the Sandero, the Stepway is almost as cheap and cheerful, offering a slightly more rugged look and higher ride height.

  • List price: £8,995
  • Depreciation: £4,870
  • Fuel: £3,804
  • Insurance: £1,635
  • Servicing, maintenance, repairs: £640
  • Road tax: £460
  • Registration fee: £55

Total running cost over three years is £6,594, and the depreciation to factor in is £4,870 (grand total £11,464).

6) Hyundai i10 1.0 (67PS)

Hyundai-i10

Cute, cheap to insure and great value for money, the i10 is a popular city car choice blessed with a superb five-year warranty for that extra peace of mind.

  • List price: £9,900
  • Depreciation: £5,800
  • Fuel: £3,442
  • Insurance: £1,161
  • Servicing, maintenance, repairs: £620
  • Road tax: £460
  • Registration fee: £55

Total running cost over three years is £5,738, and the depreciation to factor in is £5,800 (grand total £11,538).

7) Dacia Logan MCV 1.0 SCe (75PS)

Dacia-Logan-MCV

It may not win any awards for good looks, but the bargain Logan MCV offers an incredible amount of new estate car for the money.

  • List price: £8,495
  • Depreciation: £5,695
  • Fuel: £3,804
  • Insurance: £1,161
  • Servicing, maintenance, repairs: £640
  • Road tax: £460
  • Registration fee: £55

Total running cost over three years is £6,120, and the depreciation to factor in is £5,695 (grand total £11,815).

For other great value estates, take a look at our guide: Best value family estate cars under £20,000.

8) Dacia Duster SUV 1.6 SCe (115PS)

Dacia-Duster

You'll have to pay more for the 4x4 version of this budget SUV, but even this entry-level front-wheel drive Duster is spacious, rugged and a surprisingly decent drive.

  • List price: £9,995
  • Depreciation: £3,805
  • Fuel: £4,726
  • Insurance: £2,004
  • Servicing, maintenance, repairs: £735
  • Road tax: £500
  • Registration fee: £55

Total running cost over three years is £8,020, and the depreciation to factor in is £3,805 (grand total £11,825).

For more SUV options, check out: Best new 68-reg SUVs under £25,000.

9) Suzuki Celerio 1.0 Dualjet (68PS)

Suzuki-Celerio

The Celerio may look small, but there’s space for four people, it’s nippy, economical and also happens to be excellent value.

  • List price: £8,999
  • Depreciation: £6,159
  • Fuel: £2,950
  • Insurance: £1,764
  • Servicing, maintenance, repairs: £711
  • Road tax: £400
  • Registration fee: £55

Total running cost over three years is £5,880, and the depreciation to factor in is £6,159 (grand total £12,039).

10) Volkswagen up! 1.0 (60PS)

vw-up!

Fun to drive, well built, cute and classy – the VW up! is closely related to the Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii and is blessed with an eager little three-cylinder petrol engine.

  • List price: £10,080
  • Depreciation: £6,870
  • Fuel: £3,131
  • Insurance: £1,044
  • Servicing, maintenance, repairs: £608
  • Road tax: £420
  • Registration fee: £55

Total running cost over three years is £5,258, and the depreciation to factor in is £6,870 (grand total £12,128).

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