4 Expensive Cars To Maintain And 4 That Are Surprisingly Cheap

Thinking of investing in a new run-around? Make sure you read our guide to the cheapest (and most expensive) cars to maintain first. There may be a few surprises.

1. You’re Thinking About a…

Jaguar XK-8, from £3,500

This sleek British sports car packs a powerful engine – and some hidden gremlins.Estimated annual running costs

Fuel: £2,000

Tax: £235

Mechanical: £1,000

Total: £3,235

The Jaguar XK-8 boasts a punchy 4.0-litre V8 in its most basic form, which is capable of developing 290bhp, as well as exterior styling which still looks attractive on the road today. However, these cut-price speed machines aren’t cheap to run.

The engine is thirsty, the bodywork is prone to rusting and a set of tyres can cost upwards of £800. Oh, and the inefficient powerplant also means annual Vehicle Excise Duty stings a bit…

But You Should Really Get a…

Mazda MX-5, from £600

The Japanese alternative is a hoot to drive, but is also reliable and cheap to fix, too.Estimated annual running costs

Fuel: £1,300

Tax: £235

Mechanical: £500

Total: £2,035

Okay, the diminutive Mazda MX-5 lacks the hairy-chested V8 engine, but its combination of rear-wheel-drive layout, lightweight design and spot-on chassis make it a budding racing driver’s dream.

The wheels are tiny (meaning tyres are cheap), the engines are renowned for going the distance, and the bodywork tends to be inexpensive and easy to patch up, thanks to thousands of MX-5 parts available

2. You’re Thinking About a…

Mercedes-Benz A-Class (2013), from £11,500

It’s an entry-level Mercedes-Benz, but it remains an expensive premium hatchback option.Estimated annual running costs

Fuel: £1,100

Tax: £185

Mechanical: £600

Total: £1,885

With classic Mercedes-Benz styling – and the famous Silver Arrow on the bonnet – the A-Class is a tempting option for anyone who wants to add a bit of premium quality to their daily hatchback.

However, the engines aren’t particularly efficient, the list price remains high (even on high-mileage used models) and servicing at a certified Mercedes-Benz dealer is expensive.

But You Should Really Get an…

Audi A3 (2013), from £8,000

This premium hatchback is cheap to buy, and reliability is a strong point.Estimated annual running costs

Fuel: £650

Tax: Free

Mechanical: £600

Total: £1,250

You can pick up Audi’s upmarket hatchback for surprisingly low prices, partly thanks to steep residual values and the fact they are getting on a bit now. But overall reliability is good, and the engines are notoriously strong.

Official Audi dealers tend to charge a premium for labour compared to less coveted brands, but owners should find that good used examples don’t throw up too many problems. Plus, there are plenty of parts available , thanks to the many sellers specialising in breaking old models.

3. You’re Thinking About a…

Land Rover Discovery (2015), from £25,000

The seven-seater workhorse has become a lifestyle statement, but it’ll eat into the family budget.Estimated annual running costs

Fuel: £900

Tax: £110

Mechanical: £1000

Total: £2,010

Anyone with a large family will appreciate a vehicle that boasts seven seats and plenty of room for the weekly shop, but opting for the highly capable Land Rover Discovery could be an expensive choice.

Servicing and maintenance at an approved garage will be costly, and the British marque doesn’t retain the best reputation for reliability. Patchy infotainment systems, interior build quality issues and general creakiness can also prove problematic.

But You Should Really Get a…

Citroën C4 Grand Picasso, from £13,000

A high-maintenance family doesn’t have to mean a high-maintenance car.Estimated annual running costs

Fuel: £650

Tax: £ Free

Mechanical: £600

Total: £1,250

The economical engines in the big Citroën C4 Grand Picasso are proven to be reliable, meaning service intervals are long and mechanical costs should be kept to a minimum. Also, the vehicles have been designed distinctly with family life in mind, so the interiors are borderline bulletproof.

Almost-new models can be picked up with huge discounts – such is the nature of this ubiquitous family machine – while maintenance and servicing costs tend to be extremely competitive, with most garages offering simplified or flat labour fees.

4. You’re Thinking About a…

Maserati Quattroporte (2005), from £15,000

A luxury Italian saloon might be the dream car, but it could turn into a total nightmare.Estimated annual running costs

Fuel: £2,600

Tax: £515

Mechanical: £1,500

Total: £4,615

Very little beats the howl of the Maserati Quattroporte Italian stallion’s V8 engine and its opulent surroundings are tempting, but official recalls have been made for problems with the electronic stability control, the front suspension and other electrical issues.

That’s before we get into the amount of fuel this thing slurps, the cost of replacing tyres and the length of the bill should something go wrong – which is very likely in high-mileage models.

But You Should Really Get a…

BMW 7 Series Saloon

What this German cruiser lacks in flair, it more than makes up for with reliability and high-tech features.Estimated annual running costs

Fuel: £970

Tax: £145

Mechanical: £800

Total: £1,915

It’s possible to snap up a 2012 BMW 7 Series for the same sort of money as a much older Maserati Quattroporte, and there’s arguably just as much of a premium feel to the German machine, without the constant worry of huge repair bills.

The engine range is more frugal, the consumables (tyres, wipers, etc) are cheaper to replace, and BMW build quality is up there with the best. If you want a stylish saloon that won’t break the bank, look no further.

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