Suzuki still the cheapest car to run

THE cost of motoring is at its lowest level in five years.

That's according to a new RACQ report examining 111 popular vehicles for sale in Australia, citing lower interest rates, cheaper fuel and more competitive insurance prices as key reasons.

Queensland's peak motoring body's annual survey revealed the cost of owning some new vehicles dropped by as much as $20 per week over the past 12 months.

Cheapest car to own was Suzuki's new Celerio with an annual cost of $5152.39 or $64.39 per week, while the most expensive car examined, the V8 petrol powered Y62 Nissan Patrol ST-L, set owners back a mighty $23,059.66 annually or $340.54 per week.

Suzuki has retained its top spot in the cheapest ownership survey as the micro car Celerio replaced the winner of the past three years, Suzuki's Alto.

The survey takes into account all the expenses associated with normal car ownership including purchase price, interest, fuel, new tyres, insurance and depreciation.

RACQ's Steve Spalding said depreciation and fuel were some of the highest costs for motorists and if they wanted to see significant savings, downsizing was the most affordable option.

"Small, medium and large vehicle owners are benefiting from the lowest running coasts since 2010," he said.

"But if you're serious about cutting back then downsizing, which typically means a cheaper and more fuel-efficient smaller vehicle, is the best way to see real savings."

Mr Spalding said buyers opting for a small car in favour of a large car could see their bank balance improve by more than $4000 per year, or $77 per week.

The report also showed those tempted by the cachet of German car ownership would also be out of pocket.

Buy a mid-sized Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz instead of a mid-size Ford, Toyota or Subaru and expect to be stung over $5000 more per year, or $98 per week.

There was good news for locally built models with Toyota's Camry Atara S Hybrid proving cheapest to run in the medium class, and Holden's Commodore Evoke V6 cheapest in the large car class.

The report also showed the cost of supposedly going green doesn't come cheap, with Toyota Prius variants coming out most expensive in both the light and small classes, while BMW's new electric car, the i3, has a stinging annual cost of $15,103.42 - more than a Toyota LandCruiser Prado GXL 4WD.

Ownership costs may be down, but RACQ reports there have been marked rises in dealer delivery fees for new cars.

Of the brands surveyed delivery fees were up this year $222.86 from $2152 to $2375, while prestige delivery fees ranged from around $2995 to $5500.

Meanwhile the average service and labour rates at dealerships had a modest increase from $150.29 per hour to $151.04 per hour.

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