The true cost of owning and operating a vehicle has little to do with its initial sticker price. No matter what price you and your dealer agree upon, the real cost of owning your vehicle can only be determined by looking at the long-term, real-world costs of ownership and operation.
For that you have to look at factors such as the history of a vehicle’s recent resale value, its gas mileage, how prone it is to mechanical problems, and what kind of maintenance package a given automaker offers. You’ll also want to consider factors such as depreciation, insurance, maintenance, and expected repairs.
For instance, virtually any new car loses about 20% of its initial value the moment you drive it off the dealer’s lot. Although the rate of depreciation slows fairly quickly in subsequent years, depreciation continues throughout the vehicle’s life. But some models retain value far longer than others, based on their popularity with consumers, their excellent reputation for reliability, and their desirability among used car buyers.
Toyota Camry is such a vehicle. A consistent top seller in America, the Camry offers superb resale value due to its well-deserved reputation for reliability, comfort, innovative features, and relatively low costs of operation and ownership.
Consider the comparison between Toyota Camry SE and Hyundai Sonata Sport. Both are excellent vehicles considered to be highly competitive in their class. While the Camry costs slightly more than the Sonata initially, in the long run the Toyota actually saves you money ($1,590, according to our estimates). That’s no small difference when you consider the relative MSRPs for these vehicles, and the benefits of owning America’s best-selling car. That’s right. Toyota Camry has been America’s best-selling vehicle for more than a dozen years
Even when initial costs are similar, in the longterm the actual cost of owning a vehicle may be considerably greater than anticipated. Use our Cost-of-Ownership guides to arrive at an informed decision about the true cost of owning and operating the vehicle you’re interested in.