For those of us who don’t take public transportation, there are two basic choices when it comes to choosing a vehicle to get around in. The first is to get the cheapest, most efficient car that will get you from A to B with the least amount of hassle. The second, is to splurge on that really good looking car you’ve always had your heart set on, but more often than not, this option comes with much debt and maintenance expenses.
This article will focus on those shiny, eye-catching cars that we love so much. Only this time, we will let you in on the hidden costs behind these vehicles’ initial price tag. Some of the cars on our list break down often, while others simply cost insane amounts of cash to maintain. Read on to discover the truth about some of today’s most popular cars on the market.
When BMW debuted the X6 model back in 2016, it was immediately received with glowing praise. The SUV featured everything that made the German automaker great, from a powerful engine to incredible technology behind the wheel. In-addition, the X6 is an all-weather, all-wheel drive vehicle, and it can drive on just about any off road terrain (within reason).
Traveling off-road in one of these does have its costs though. SUVs and pickup trucks were meant to be thrashed around, so getting a luxury one feels almost like a sin. Repairs on the X6 are multiple times more expensive than your average SUV, and its gas mileage is 17 miles per gallon on the highway, which doesn’t help its annual costs either. Then again, she is a thing of beauty, so ultimately - you win some, you lose some.
Most people purchase Mazdas because they are considered highly affordable and relatively reliable and up-to-date. One of their flagship models is the Mazda6, which features quite modern technology and power in relation to its low price. The car is smart, sleek and not too heavy on the wallet, making it a very popular choice among middle-class consumers.
Unfortunately, the Mazda6 model had quite a problematic past when it comes to reliability. The car had some serious faults, which ended up in massive recalls that affected hundreds of thousands of customers. Expect to pay a lot more on maintenance when it comes to the Mazda6, compared to the brand’s other popular vehicles, or better yet, just buy a new car. It may just be cheaper.
One of the better looking Mercedes Benz models out there is undoubtedly the CLS Class. It has the iconic grille, and looks extremely heavy and powerful. This is one of the most intimidating vehicles on the road, and it definitely has the engine to match. The most expensive version of the car contains a 5.5-L twin-turbo V8 engine, which sounds really great when you press on that gas pedal.
As usual, Mercedes charges quite a bit of money for its repairs, but that’s really a repetitive theme at this point. Let’s jump instead to another major “fault” of the vehicle — the CLS Class has a gas mileage of 16 miles per gallon in the city. As terrible as this is in-terms of fuel economy, you really can’t expect much from such a powerful and fierce engine.
The Subaru Forester is a popular option for many SUV enthusiasts, as it offers a fairly reliable truck that’s really not that expensive. With the rise of SUVs as a popular vehicle category, the company has definitely managed to find its way into the market. Still, owning one of these will cost more than $13,000 over a decade in repairs and maintenance alone.
Many of the car’s owners complain about faulty O2 sensors and catalytic converters that simply stop working. These are relatively minor issues, but it's important to note that if you don't have any friends at the car dealership, larger problems such as starter replacements will end up costing these SUV owners more than $500 to perform.
The Porsche 911 was always known as one of the coolest cars you could possibly own. It had everything that a luxury sports car needed — from a sleek and highly recognizable design, to a growling engine that provided fast accelerations. The only problem (besides its huge upfront cost), was that it also had higher maintenance costs than most of your average entry-level cars.
Maintaining an unreliable car is usually quite expensive, but couple that with much larger premiums on parts and service, and you’ve got a recipe for a huge drain on your wallet. Everything about the 911 was extremely expensive, as even a simple oil change could cost more than $200. If you also count the abuse that most owners put on their Porsche, it’s clear why this is quite the expensive vehicle to own.
Porsche 718 Boxster
Everyone loves the Porsche 718 Boxster. It’s a sleek, compact, and highly dangerous road monster. While the car isn’t as fast as some of the company’s more expensive models, it can still pull off some amazing performances when given a chance to. The Boxster was made to make Porsche as affordable as possible (within reason). That is, until you take into account the annual upkeep of this curvy beauty.
Changing the oil on a Boxster will set you back around $200, which is reasonable when compared to other luxury cars on our list. What gets you rethinking your purchase are all the other little fixes. A simple brake replacement costs about $1,700 on the Boxster. While the car is quite reliable, most of its owners tend to abuse the vehicle’s braking system, so take that brake replacement into consideration when thinking about purchasing one.
Mercedes-Benz GLS63 AMG
Mercedes-Benz has always been known for making some of the most luxurious, advanced and reliable vehicles on the market. This reputation has led them over the decades, but the reality of the situation is that it is often not the case. The German automaker moved into the SUV market in recent years, with the $100,000+ GLS63 AMG being one of its most prized vehicles.
Unfortunately for owners of the GLS63, this car costs more than $1,700 annually in regular expenses. Fans of the brand will also be shocked to learn that it has a relatively poor reliability rating. So, if you own one of these - say hello to your new relationship, because you’re going to be spending an awful lot of quality time with the staff in the repair shops.
Volkswagen has always been known as a great alternative to some of the more luxury brands such as BMW and Mercedes. It usually offers much cheaper vehicles, and they end up performing at similar (albeit slightly inferior) levels, for a much more affordable price. The only problem? Maintaining them often costs as much as their pricier German alternatives.
The Volkswagen Passat has been especially known for having very faulty ABS Control Modules. It has also been reported that many of these models suffer from oil leaks that originate from the engine. Maintaining your Passat could end up costing around $1,200 in annual maintenance and fuel. It also costs more than $150 to get an oil change, and more than $1,200 for new brake pads.
BMW 640i Gran Coupe
Nobody gets a BMW 640i Gran Coupe unless they have a bunch of spare money to spare. Or at least in order to appear like they are in a position to do so. You’ll have to fork in about $100,000 just to get the base version of the car, and the price goes up quite a lot when you get the mandatory upgrades. It also costs more than $2,500 annually to maintain, which makes it quite a financial drain.
BMW has always been known for making extremely reliable cars. The thing is, even reliable cars eventually need to get some maintenance. Just getting an oil change on this car will cost you more than $160, and don’t even talk about replacing the brakes (which you will need to do if you drive a BMW), which costs almost $1,600.
Nissan is widely viewed as a reliable automaker that sells affordable, family friendly vehicles. The company also ventured into some luxury car brands, and who can forget it’s incredible GT-R. The Nissan Maxima is one of the brand’s most beloved luxury sedans, but its repair costs also share a bitter luxury feel to them.
Your average fan replacement on the Nissan Maxima will cost over $700, and you can also expect to pay $100 for a basic air filter replacement. This wouldn’t be so bad in a BMW or an Audi, but for a $34,000 vehicle, that’s just ludicrous!
Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG
When it comes to speed, luxury and style, you can’t get much better at the low six-figure mark than the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG. This car includes just about everything that you might desire from a luxury sports vehicle, and treats you like a king when you’re driving it on the road. It costs around $150,000 just for the base package, but also has a high annual maintenance fee.
S63 AMG owners can expect to pay around $2,300 in annual fuel, maintenance and repairs. Fortunately, this is one of the most reliable cars you can get, as it’s the German brand’s most recognizable and beloved model. Despite its high annual costs, if you’re driving one of these, we assume a few extra grand here and there won’t exactly keep you up at night.
Nissan has been advertising their Murano SUV as an affordable alternative to some of the more expensive ones on the market. It’s sleek, looks great, and drives excellently. The only problem? You’ll probably pay close to $15,000 in repairs and maintenance within the first decade of owning it. $15k is a lot of money, considering that the Murano is an entry level SUV.
The Murano is known for having many faults in its engine mounts that occur over time. Another major complaint from consumers is that the seat adjusters often begin breaking down after a few years. This causes them to make extremely annoying sounds, and some have even reported that they begin to move back and forth on their own. Not something you look for in any car.
Porsche 718 Cayman
We can talk all day about how incredible the Porsche’s vehicle lineup is. Honestly, we wish everyone could own, or at least drive one of these, as they are some of the smoothest rides in the world. The 718 Cayman is one of the brand’s most popular sports vehicles. It has a unique look and style, but costs more than $24,000 to keep for a decade, not even including fuel.
Owners of the 718 Cayman pay around $2,500 annually in fuel, maintenance and repairs. It's a very expensive car to upkeep, and just getting a steering knuckle replacement will cost you more than $3,000. Luckily, unless you’ve purchased this car second hand, chances are that you can afford to absorb this unfortunate fee.
Chrysler has always been known as the classic American company that makes highly sophisticated vehicles for relatively affordable prices. One of its most beloved lineups, the Sebring model, was produced from 1995 up until 2010. It was a trendy two-door sports coupe that was good looking and great on the road. The Sebring had great sales figures, but hid a massive cost behind it.
While the Sebring was cheaper than many of its direct competitors, such as the Audi RS3, it also had a huge cost in the back-end. Buyers would often have to spend over $17,000 over the years in maintenance fees alone, as the car was known for being faulty and unreliable. The lesson? If you’re going to try to look cool by buying a sports car, try to avoid going for the cheapest option. Those missing bucks won't look so cool later on...
Audi first launched its popular A4 model back in 1994. This was the company’s first executive compact vehicle, and became an instant hit among consumers. Despite its demand, we’re quite sure that nobody knows how much it costs to maintain. You can expect around $1,000 annually for basic repairs, but costs can get much higher than that.
Getting an oil change on your brand new A4 will cost almost $200, about four times as much as the average price. Hopefully, you’re already aware that Audi, like many other luxury brands, charges much higher prices when it comes to servicing. Fortunately, its fuel economy is one of the best in the world, as the A4 gets over 40 miles per gallon. Wow!
Ah, the BMW M6. It’s widely considered as the German automaker’s most impressive and powerful vehicle, as it boasts an incredible 600 horsepower. The M6 is fitted with a breathtaking twin-turbo engine, and is one of the best performers on the road. It has an average annual cost that’s around the $1,500 mark, which is relatively low compared to its price.
Customary to the luxury sports vehicles on our list, repairs on the M6 will cost you quite the pretty penny. Expect thousands of dollars in upkeep if you ever have a faulty or broken component, and try not to crash the car, as replacing it entirely will cost you more than a hundred thousand dollars.
The Mini Cooper became one of the most popular and recognizable vehicles in recent decades, largely due to the terrible parking situation in many large cities. It’s very fun to drive, and can fit into any parking space far more easily than your average vehicle. Unfortunately, these advantages do come at quite a price.
The average Mini Cooper will set you back around $1,500 per year in maintenance fees alone. One of its most prominent issues over the years has been faulty electric door locks, which might get you locked out of the vehicle. Another major issue is that the Mini Cooper S clutch tends to stop working properly a lot sooner than you might expect meaning you’ll have to pay for that replacement sooner than you’d hoped.
Dodge Ram 1500
Anyone who loves pickup trucks will tell you that the Dodge Ram 1500 is a fantastic truck. It has all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a heavy duty SUV, and can definitely lift its weight when it comes to this competitive industry. One thing that doesn’t get mentioned often enough though, is that the Ram 1500 loves gulping your money down, as well as your fuel.
It’s estimated that the Ram 1500 costs the average owner around $1,200 annually. The cost was calculated between maintenance and fuel costs on a per year basis. Recharging the Ram’s AC will cost you an additional $150. We’ve also heard reports that the pickup truck’s rear window seal often breaks down over time, causing water to leak inside. Better to save that feature for the outdoor pool.
Nine out of ten Americans will agree that the strongest muscle car out there is the Ford Mustang. It has been a staple of American roads for the last few decades, and remains a highly affordable vehicle with a wonderful money-to-power ratio. Side fact: the Ford Mustang is the most often crashed car in the entire United States.
While Mustangs are extremely cheap compared to their raw power, they are also hard to control and cause many crashes. Repair prices can add up to some pretty high numbers, and the Pony was always known as a serious fuel drinker. Nevertheless, if you drive safely and responsibly, you should be good. But no one buys a Mustang for safe and responsible...
Fans of the German automaker will instantly recognize the SL550 as one of its most beloved flagship vehicles. The luxury car remains extremely popular for decades now, thanks to being constantly updated with new technology and an ever-evolving design. It’s the epitome of luxury when it comes to design, and anyone would look good driving one of these...
While the SL550 itself costs more than a hundred thousand dollars for the base model, repairing the car is also extremely expensive. With so many moving parts, such as the convertible roof, you can expect to have at-least a few of these break over the years. Getting a simple wheel alignment on your SL550 will cost you around $150. That’s about three times more than the average vehicle.
According to Honda, the Pilot is one of its most popular, reliable and affordable family-friendly vehicles. It’s supposed to have everything you could want from a vehicle that’s used to drive your kids to school on a daily basis. However, the fact of the matter is that the Pilot is none of these, and might actually be the opposite.
We’ve learned that the average Honda Pilot owner pays over $1,000 annually to fuel and maintain their car. It is also known among car enthusiasts to have some very bad safety issues. These include having warped front brake rotors, and occasionally suffering from overheating wires. Personally, we'd rather get our heat from the AC. Assuming that works.
We’ve covered a few expensive BMW models, but what about the German automaker’s entry-level models? The BMW 328i is known as a fairly affordable vehicle, relatively speaking. Unfortunately, its upkeep costs are anything but affordable.
Owning one of these will cost you around $1,200 annually on average. That’s just the start of the problems, as these vehicles are known for suffering from oil leaks and fan failures on a regular basis. This is likely due to the stress put on them by the owners, combined with their less expensive build. If you’re buying a 328i, prepare to be paying hundreds of dollars for each of these fixes.
Ram’s 3500 model is one of the brand's biggest and baddest trucks. It’s a massive vehicle, and one that has the power to match its size. Ram has always been known for making some of the best pickup trucks in the industry, but this one suffers from slightly higher annual upkeep costs than its competitors. Expect to pay around $1,500 annually for gas, maintenance, and possibly some repairs on this one.
Regardless, the Ram 3500 is an extremely beloved truck, and deserves all the awards it has received over the years. If you do want to buy one, just keep in mind though that an AC recharge will likely cost you over $100, and an alternator replacement around $500. These are not exuberant costs thought, especially when compared to many of the other vehicles on our list.
Many fans of Audi swear by the car brand and would never ever by a car made by any other company. The brand is known for selling some of the most advanced eye-catching cars you can get, and often competes with Mercedes and BMW for the “best German automaker” title in consumers’ minds. Its S4 model costs just under $40,000, but that’s the least of your problems when you buy one of these.
Audi is notorious for having some of the most expensive upkeep costs relative to its vehicles prices. You should expect to pay around $1,600 in annual upkeep for the S4 model. Although repairing an Audi is quick, easy and always comes with great service, it’s also freakishly expensive. Just getting a control arm replacement would cost you a whopping $5,000. Yikes.
Let’s face it, anyone buying a $100,000 Nissan GT-R clearly isn’t looking to save money. These affordable sports vehicles are one of the fastest production cars on the market. They also tend to be highly customized and go through a lot of modifications, including special engine upgrades, custom paint jobs, and many owners like to ad some extremely loud speakers to hear that engine roar.
It can cost the average GT-R owner more than $1,500 to maintain and fuel this vehicle. In addition, larger fixes such as replacing its timing chain, will set you back more than $2,500. This is a very real possibility since the car was not built for safe, legal and slow driving and most drivers will likely need to renew their timing chain within a few years time.
Lincoln has never been known for making cheap cars. Their vehicles might have a wide range of prices, but everyone knows that Lincolns cost money. Their MKS model was no different. It was a full-size luxury sedan that was sold by the automaker from 2007, and was recently discontinued in 2016.
Reports have come out that it costs more than $1,500 to maintain the Lincoln MKS annually. This adds up to almost $20,000 in a decade, a figure that doesn’t include gas and all the potential problems that might occur over that span of years. The car was also known for having issues with its breaks. These would cost between $250 to $750 to fix, which would get pretty pricey, since there was no way around it.
Mercedes Benz came out with its C300 model somewhere in the mid ‘90s. The car was an instant success, and featured the same interior as its E-Class counterpart, but had a much more curved and sleek design. It’s also a relatively cheap Mercedes, and costs around $40,000, making it quite affordable for upper-middle class Americans.
The main downside behind owning the C300 is the same as with any other Mercedes model. Maintenance and repairs are certainly not cheap, and you can expect to pay around $200 for a basic oil change. It’s definitely worth it if you’re a fan of the German luxury car brand, but otherwise, you should probably save that money for better use.
Infinity is a luxury brand that belongs to Honda. It's known for having pricier vehicles that promise a greater level of quality and comfort. The Q45 was one of the brand’s flagship vehicles, and was sold for many years until it was replaced by the M45 in the recent decade. Despite the new model that came out, maintenance costs have been and remain steadily high.
As a Q45 or M45 owner, the average cost of maintaining and fueling your vehicle are expected to be around $1,300 per year. Prepare to save some money for oil changes too, as these cost around $200 each. The same goes for brake pad replacements, which also go for upwards of $240. You do the math.
One of the most affordable cars on this list is the Ford Focus. The car is an entry level sports car, and gives the appearance of a highly affordable vehicle. What most Focus owners learn only after they get the actual car, is that it is rife with annual maintenance fees that amount to over $1,000 in fuel, upkeep and repair costs alone.
These recurring costs are just the start though, as the Focus is notorious for having various technical issues with its components, such as faulty door latches and motor breakdowns. You would be better off skipping this one all together and considering a slightly more expensive option, such as the Volkswagen GTI, which could end up saving you both money and headaches in the long-run.
When Porsche came out with its Cayenne SUV back in 2002, the company was highly criticized, as it was exclusively associated with small sports vehicles. Despite the backlash from fans, the Cayenne quickly became one of the brand’s best selling models, and can be seen almost anywhere in upper-class American neighborhoods. The luxury sport SUV has a fairly competitive price, but that’s only if you ignore its extensive repair costs.
Even simple things like oil changes for the Cayenne will cost you more than $400 a pop. You can expect to pay between three to five times more on just about any servicing, which does add up to some significant annual numbers. Better pray that nothing ever goes seriously wrong with the car’s components, as these fixes end easily end up costing you in thousands.
Meet the Chrysler 300. This full-size luxury car comes in various trim levels that range from comfortable driving to “holy crap this is really fast!”. Chrysler built it to look as close as possible to the high-end Rolls Royce and Bentley vehicles, and managed to do a decent job at it. Unfortunately, it also has quite a steep price when it comes to annual upkeep.
On an annual basis, the Chrysler 300 costs around $1,200 just for upkeep and fuel. It also requires more regular checkups and small tune-ups than your average vehicle, which will each cost you a few hundred bucks. It could be worse, but certainly any executive has more important things going on than running around thinking about car maintenance.
BMW’s Z4 model is what happens when you take an extremely powerful German engine, and put it on one tiny vehicle. The result is a fast, sleek and aggressive vehicle, which happens to also be a convertible. The base cost of the Z4 is around $50,000, which keeps it as a vehicle for mostly upper-middle class Americans living in wealthy neighborhoods.
The first drawback to the Z4 is its less than stellar gas mileage. You’d expect a car this small to drink much less fuel than it does considering its size. Additionally, its convertible soft-top can break down over time, which will result in one extremely costly repair. Still, by taking one look at the car, you can imagine how all of this can easily escape consumers minds.
While Chevrolet often likes to brag about the several reliability reports it has won over the years, these reports were mostly self-paid and were created by the brand itself. Furthermore, Chevys aren’t as reliable as they might want you to believe, which is one of the reasons that the company is discontinuing its popular Impala model in 2020.
Owning one of these will set you back around $13,000 or more over a full decade, and that’s just for the costs of maintenance. The car is known for having various issues with transmission pressure failure and various reports on keys that get stuck in the car’s ignition. Now that's not very reliable at all.
Dodge Grand Caravan
If you’re a fan of vans, the Dodge Grand Caravan is likely on the list of vehicles you’d like to have, or at least admire. It's one of the company's best selling vehicles, and is a highly competitive van on the market. However, like many vans, it hides a steep cost of over $1,200 per year in maintenance and fuel costs.
The Caravan is known for eating away at your gas tank, which means that you can expect to find yourself at a gas station more often than you’d probably like to. It's a highly reliable, safe and spacious van, but some owners complain about several minor electrical problems with the windows and switches. Still, it's a competitive van, and that’s highly respectable.
We just covered the BMW M6, one of the baddest vehicles you’ll find on the road. But what about its young brother, the BMW M5? When we compare them in terms of performance, both run exceptionally well. The M5 is somewhat cheaper, but is still incredibly well made. However, this is a costly car to own, and let’s not even get started on its incredible repair costs.
The M5 has a very bad gas mileage, which makes it a huge drain on your wallet when it comes to fuel costs. However, we promised not to get into the details of just how expensive its repairs were, but let’s just say you’re better off buying a few new iPhones when you consider just how pricey some of these repairs are.
The Corvette is one of the world’s most recognized and beloved supercars. It’s extremely fast, beautiful and makes one of the most aggressive engine noises you can find on the market. The supercar is also extremely affordable relative to its performance and status, as a new model will cost you around $55,000 at base cost. When you’re actually careful not to crash this monster into oblivion, annual upkeep costs are surprisingly low.
You can expect to pay around $1,200 annually for maintaining the Corvette, including various frequent visits for oil changes and other minor repairs. What really costs a lot of money is having to replace your clutch and other parts, which is often caused by overusing the Corvette. These repairs and fixes will likely end up costing you thousands of dollars on average.
Dodge SRT Viper
The Dodge SRT Viper is one of the most aggressive street-legal racing cars you’ll ever see. The SRT can go from zero to sixty in less than four seconds, and has an impressive triple digit horsepower. It's also one of the baddest looking cars in the world. Unfortunately, the SRT is also a massive drainer when it comes to repairs and maintenance.
The SRT itself costs up to $120,000, but basic repairs such as replacing the control arm start at roughly $5,000. This is because the car is quite rare, and servicing it must require quite a high markup to be profitable. It's definitely not for everyone. We only hope that if you get one of these, you knew exactly what you were getting yourself into.
Mercedes has always been known as a company that charges top dollars for impressive vehicles, and its E350 certainly doesn’t disappoint. The German automaker uses this model as its flagship product for technological advancements, which make it one of the most sought after and beloved luxury cars in the entire world.
While being relatively affordable when you consider all the luxury you get inside, the E350 does come with a fairly high annual cost. You should expect to pay around $1,300 in annual upkeep, and in the rare case that something really goes wrong, costs can run quite steep. For example, just replacing a standard alternator would cost you over $1,200.
What’s even more impressive than how popular the Acura TL got over the past few years, is just how low its average annual upkeep was. Owning one of these used to cost around $1,000 annually, which is not too bad considering its an entry-level luxury vehicle. Unfortunately it had high costs when it came to repairs, and suffered from much public dissatisfaction and criticism.
The car was discontinued more than a decade ago, after going through a lot of problems with its clients. Getting a new air conditioning fan would cost an unbelievably expensive price of over $329, and a windshield washer pump replacement could cost well over $100. It almost seems like the company sold its affordable luxury car just to make its money later in repairs.
This Mercedes model is the CL-Class, it’s a niche line of cars made by the German automaker that’s a lot lighter than a regular one. The name CL stands for Coupe Light and Coupe Luxury, but as-we’ve stated before, it’s definitely not light on the wallet.
You can expect to pay anywhere from three to five times as much as the average asking price for any type of service with the CL-Class. Hopefully, you came fully prepared for this before deciding to buy one of these.