The real costs of owning a car

@PeterDrivesMay 3, 2012: 5:43 AM ET
When buying a car, think beyond the purchase price. To understand a car's real cost, take into account how much you'll be spending on it over five years.

When buying a car, think beyond the purchase price. To understand a car's real cost, take into account how much you'll be spending on it over five years.

(MONEY Magazine) -- When buying a car, think beyond the purchase price. To understand a car's real cost, take into account how much you'll be spending on it over time.

For example, a new Honda CR-V EX and Kia Sorento LX both cost about $25,000, but the numbers look very different after five years of ownership.

Depreciation: Use the comparison tool at Intellichoice.com to get an estimate for what you'll pay now versus what the car will be worth by the time you trade it in.

"Look carefully at how well the car holds its value, especially if you're taking out a long loan," says Kris de la Cuesta of Intellichoice.

Value lost after 5 years: Honda CR-V: $13,143; Kia Sorento: $16,590.

Insurance: Your driving history, repair costs, and how likely the car is to be stolen factor into the wide-ranging prices for insurance.

Call your insurance agent and get quotes for the vehicles you have in mind.

5-year cost (for a driver who is under 65 with 15 years' experience and no accidents): Honda CR-V: $5,935; Kia Sorento: $7,040.

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Fuel: Miles per gallon isn't the only number that counts. A car with a high MPG that runs on pricier diesel or premium gasoline may wind up costing you far more over the course of the year.

You can check the annual fuel costs for any car at fueleconomy.gov.

5-year cost (both cars use regular gas): Honda CR-V: $10,714; Kia Sorento: $11,581.

Maintenance and repairs: This is where simple maintenance plans and cheaper service regimens pay off. In this case, Honda's shorter warranty is more than offset by the Kia's more frequently scheduled service and bigger, more expensive tires.

5-year cost: Honda CR-V: $1,683; Kia Sorento: $2,025.

Total costs (after 5 years, excluding depreciation): Honda: $18,332; Kia: $20,646.

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