Infiniti Qx80
Courtesy of infinitiusa.com
Infiniti Qx80
Courtesy of infinitiusa.com

Drive Your Automotive Destiny

If you’re in the market for an SUV or crossover, the first consideration is often how budget. But the cost of owning a cargoes far beyond the purchase price. Long-term costs take into account both depreciation and out-of-pocket expenses like fuel, insurance, state fees, financing, maintenance, and repairs — things that can add up quickly if not carefully considered. Using Kelley Blue Book data, Cheapism created a list of the least expensive SUVs to own over five years across all categories, including subcompact, compact, mid-size, off-road, full-size, and luxury. Meet the SUVs and crossovers that are easiest on the wallet over the long run.

Note: 5-year cost of ownership estimates may vary based on state fees, insurance rates, and other variables.

 Mazda Cx-3
Courtesy of mazdausa.com

Mazda CX-3

5-year cost of ownership: $31,727
Although the CX-3 is Mazda’s smallest crossover, both the interior and exterior are highly styled and Mazda loyalists insist it’s got a little bit of Miata inside — the CX-3 is simply fun to drive. Then there’s the relatively low cost of buying and owning what KBB named 2019’s best subcompact SUV in terms of five-year cost. Its base price is just over $20,000, it boasts an above-average resale value, and it gets great gas mileage — 34 mpg in front-wheel drive and 32 mpg in all-wheel drive.

Subaru Crosstrek
Courtesy of subaru.com

Subaru Crosstrek

5-year cost of ownership: $35,321
The winner in the compact SUV crossover category is the Subaru Crosstrek, which is known for its rugged reliability and safety. More of a muscular wagon than an SUV, the Crosstrek is smaller than the Outback but has the ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive needed for off-road excursions. Not only is the Crosstrek affordable in the long term, but it starts under $22,000.

Jeep Wrangler
Courtesy of jeep.com

Jeep Wrangler

5-year cost of ownership: $35,330
The winner of the off-road SUV/crossover category is none other than the vaunted Jeep Wrangler. Long associated with its prowess for conquering hilly, rough terrain and breezing through mud and muck, the two-door Wrangler has enough interior comfort, safety features, and tech to make it a viable primary vehicle. Not only does the Wrangler boast a sub-$30,000 starting price, but its turbocharged four-cylinder engine is more fuel efficient than ever, making the trusted Wrangler the cheapest to own in its class.

Hyundai Santa Fe SE
Courtesy of hyundaiusa.com

Hyundai Santa Fe

5-year cost of ownership: $36,984
The title of top two-row midsize SUV/crossover goes to theHyundai Santa Fe, which got a complete makeover in 2019. Safety features like blind-spot monitoring and tech like Apple CarPlay are standard even on the entry-level model, which starts at a little over $24,000 — lower than its competitors. Its excellent long-term value is boosted by a beefy 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty.

Mitsubishi Outlander
Courtesy of mitsubishicars.com

Mitsubishi Outlander

5-year cost of ownership: $38,058
Although it isn’t as popular as some of its three-row, midsize SUV/crossover competitors, the Mitsubishi Outlander has a sticker price of less than $25,000, lower than virtually any other new, seven-passenger SUV. Like the Santa Fe, it comes with a full 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty for the powertrain, which is available in a muscular V6 for those who plan to do some hauling.

Lexus Ux
Courtesy of lexus.com

Lexus UX

5-year cost of ownership: $42,617
The No. 1 luxury subcompact in terms of cost-to-own is the Lexus UX, which is a fuel-efficient and sporty entry into the world of Lexus luxe. Not only is it cheaper to own over time compared to its competitors, but its $32,000 sticker price offers a low barrier to entry. Like all Lexus models, it comes with impressive standard features, including adaptive radar cruise control, a system that can read road signs, lane-departure warnings with steering assist, and pedestrian detection with automatic emergency braking.

Lexus Nx
Courtesy of lexus.com

Lexus NX

5-year cost of ownership: $43,749
If you’re looking for something a little bit bigger but no less posh, the luxury compact SUV/crossover winner is the Lexus NX. It starts under $37,500, much less than its German competitors, and it took the No. 2 spot for the third straight year in KBB’s 2019 list of vehicles with the best resale value.

Lexus RX 350
Courtesy of lexus.com

Lexus RX

5-year cost of ownership: $49,885
In terms of affordable opulence, the title once again goes to Lexus, this time with the RX taking the cake in the category of luxury two-row mid-size SUV/crossovers. It enjoys the exceptional resale value, safety features, and high-end amenities and tech that have become synonymous with the Lexus brand — and it starts under $45,000.

Infiniti Qx60
Courtesy of infinitiusa.com

Infiniti QX60

5-year cost of ownership: $51,829
Although it’s the first vehicle on this list to break the $50,000 mark in terms of long-term ownership, the Infiniti QX60 is still the cheapest-to-own, luxury, three-row mid-size SUV. The luxurious interior is bursting with amenities and features, and the outside is sleek and gorgeous — but the QX60 is more than just a pretty face. Its 295-horsepower, V6 engine gives it a gallop, and the fact that it’s a carryover vehicle makes it affordable both to own and to buy. It starts under $45,000.

Nissan Armada
Courtesy of nissanusa.com

Nissan Armada

5-year cost of ownership: $59,626
By the time you move up to full-size SUV/crossovers, there’s really no such thing as cheap to own, but you’d be hard-pressed to do better than the Nissan Armada. The rugged and durable eight-passenger vehicle is hardy and powerful — it can tow up to 8,500 pounds and tackle most off-road adventures. It’s also spacious and comfortable, with luxury rivaling that of vehicles from Infiniti — but its starting price comes in $20,000 lower than the QX80.

Infiniti Qx80
Courtesy of infinitiusa.com

Infiniti QX80

5-year cost of ownership: $71,909
The cheapest luxury full-size SUV/crossover is also one of the best. The Infiniti QX80 is a chrome, heavy steel and leather beauty wrapped around a frame-on-body, full-size truck. Its exterior recently got a glamorous makeover, and its interior is plush and bursting with wondrous tech, even by the standards of its category. Its five-year cost to own is only a little higher than its $67,795 starting price tag.