While buying a used car is thrilling, it’s important to keep in mind its “true cost.” The true cost of owning a car includes not only the vehicle itself, but also any payments you have on a loan, yearly registration fees, fuel, insurance premiums, and maintenance and repairs. Here, we want to focus on a single aspect of the true cost of car ownership: maintenance and repairs. More specifically, we are going to look at five vehicles that have low maintenance and repair costs.
We based our list on the frequency of maintenance, the average cost of recommended service, and the frequency of repairs. With all of those factors in mind, we believe the Toyota Vanguard, Mitsubishi Pajero Mini, Nissan Cube, Mazda Demio, and the Nissan Tiida all fit the bill of efficient money-savers. So, let’s have a look at each of these vehicles and a few of the features that each offers.
5. Toyota Vanguard
The Toyota Vanguard has a wheelbase of 2,660 mm, 100 mm longer than the Toyota RAV4. In addition to having a longer wheelbase than the RAV4, the Vanguard has a slightly different front-end featuring a different grille, bumper, bonnet, and headlamps. Under the bonnet, the engine and gearbox options are the same. The six petrol offerings range from a 1,998 cc I4 that produces 145 bhp and 190 N-m of torque to a 3,456 cc V6 capable of 268 bhp and 336 N-m of torque.
The two diesel options are a 2,231 cc turbo I4 capable of 108 bhp and 310 N-m of torque or a revised version of the same 2,231 cc powerplant that offers 147 bhp and 400 N-m of torque. The base Vanguard is fitted with a four-speed automatic, but five and six-speed automatics are available along with a CVT. Manual options include a five and six-speed. The Toyota Vanguard is also available in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive layouts. As buyers would expect from an upper level Toyota offering, the Vanguard comes loaded with high-tech gadgets like steering-assisted stability control, keyless entry, and satellite navigation.
4. Mitsubishi Pajero Mini
The Mitsubishi Pajero Mini may be a surprising vehicle to find on this list, but it shouldn’t be. The Pajero Mini is equipped with a durable engine and tough gearboxes that can tackle any driving conditions. In addition to its low maintenance and repair costs, it fits into the kei car class, offering lower taxes in the Japanese home market.
Under the bonnet you will find a 659 cc petrol I4, and the engine can be naturally aspirated or turbocharged. The gearbox can be either a four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual. Buyers can opt for a front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.
Interior comforts of the Mitsubishi Pajero Mini are limited, but can include a touchscreen navigation system and an upgraded CD stereo system. The limited interior upgrades translate into fewer electrical repairs, saving you even more money throughout the lifespan of a Pajero Mini.
3. Nissan Cube
Under the bonnet of the Nissan Cube, buyers can choose from three petrol engines or a single diesel powerplant. The petrol engines include a 1,498 cc, a 1,598 cc, and a 1,797 cc. All are naturally aspirated I4 engines with variable valve timing for greater efficiency, with the single diesel engines turbocharged and I4 capable of 110 bhp, offering outstanding low-end torque.
Inside, buyers can find a large amount of tech and high-level upgrades. Nissan also offers many interior options so that buyers can personalise their Cube. These offerings include multi-colour appliqués for air vents and window switches, utility hooks and elastic bands in different colours, variable colour LED accent lights in the footwell and cup holders, and colour-coordinated carpet on the top of the dash.
2. Mazda Demio
Classified as a super-mini, the Mazda Demio is marketed as the Mazda2 in some markets. The Demio has earned many accolades for its fuel efficiency, low purchase price, and a very affordable cost of ownership over its lifespan. Over the years, the engine and gearbox selections have varied, so let’s talk about the third generation (2007-2014) models. We are looking at these in particular as they are the most readily available for export.
Under the bonnet, buyers will find two petrol and two diesel options. The petrol engines are a 1,348 cc I4 capable of 90 bhp and a 1,498 cc I4 that produces 110 bhp. The diesel powerplants are a 1,399 cc I4 capable of 67 bhp and a 1,560 cc I4 that produces 89 bhp. The gearbox options are a five-speed manual, a four-speed automatic, and a CVT. When equipped with the 1,498 cc petrol and a CVT, the Mazda Demio can achieve 16.2 km/l.
1. Nissan Tiida
Let’s look at the first generation (2004-2012) cars. This generation of the Tiida offers three petrol engines and a diesel under the bonnet. The petrol engines include a 1,490 cc I4, a 1,596 cc I4, and a 1,798 I4. The diesel offering is a 1,496 turbo I4. The diesel offering was dropped from the line after the 2010 model year. Gearbox selections are a six-speed manual, a four-speed automatic, and a CVT.
The addition to an affordable purchase price, the Nissan Tiida has received top safety ratings in every market where it is sold. Additionally, the Tiida is so durable that it is even used as a police vehicle in some countries. The combination of safety and durability creates an outstanding offering for a small family on the move, which lands it in our number one spot for low maintenance cars.