Searching for a vehicle with low running costs? Start here.

Rapid Finance on 25 August 2016

  • Lower running costs could save you money long term
  • Cheap to buy doesn't always mean cheap to run
  • Get lower running costs with a diesel or hybrid engine

Running costs can be the difference between a 'cheap car' and a car that's great value.

It's easy to be swayed by the allure of a vehicle's low sale price. However, when it comes to cars, the vehicle's purchase price is just one part of your overall expenses.

There are on-road costs, stamp duty, insurance, club membership fees and more. That's before you even start to think about depreciation, trade-in values, and car loan interest rates.

Running costs, however, are perhaps the largest of your car's ongoing expenses. Depending on your choice of vehicle, you could end up spending substantially more on fuel, maintenance, and servicing, than you save from a good upfront deal.

So, avoid getting caught out in future. Choose a car with lower running costs and save in the long term. Here are five cars available in Australia today with low or cost-effective running costs.

Light Car: Ford Fiesta Ambiente

Ford Fiesta Ambiente

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For an affordable small car, it's hard to look past the Ford Fiesta. The entry level Fiesta Ambiente is the cheapest Ford available, and it's also one of the cheaper new cars to run.

Its low running costs are mainly due to its efficient 1.5L engine, its minimal weight, and excellent fuel economy (4.9–5.8L/100km). And, because it's a Ford, replacement parts should be inexpensive to source.

Small Car: Hyundai i30 Active 1.6 CRDi

Hyundai i30 Active 1.6 CRDi

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The Hyundai i30 is another all round performer. In fact, back in February it was named Australia's best small car, under $35,000. That's a prestigious award, which Hyundai worked hard to earn.

The best of the bunch in regards to low running costs is the diesel engine equipped i30 Active 1.6 CRDi, which reportedly delivers an exceptional fuel economy of 4.6L per 100km in standard driving conditions.

CarFormat of FiguresFuelTyresServicingTotal Running Costs*

Ford Fiesta Ambiente






Hyundai i30 Active CRDi






*Source: RACV's car owning and operating costs guide

Medium Car: Toyota Camry Atara S Hybrid

Toyota Camry Atara S Hybrid

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Toyota has been delivering fuel efficient hybrids for almost two decades now. The 2016 Toyota Camry Atara S continues the company's tradition of high build quality and low running costs.

Fuel consumption is 5.2L per 100km, which is around the middle of the Fiesta's fuel consumption range. That's not half bad when you consider that the Camry is a much larger (and heavier) family sedan.

SUV: Ford Ecosport Ambiente (2WD)

Ford Ecosport Ambiente 2WD

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Ford's Ecoboost engines delivers terrific value for both their small cars and SUVs. The Ecosport Ambiente features a 1.5L petrol version, which offers 5.7–6.5L of fuel consumption per 100km.

It is still an SUV, so it is more expensive to run than many small and medium-sized cars. However, if you compare its specs to that of other vehicles on this list, you'll see that it's not far behind.

CarFormat of FiguresFuelTyresServicingTotal Running Costs

Toyota Camry Atara S Hybrid






Ford Ecosport Ambiente






Electric Car: Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf

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Fully electric cars are still very much in their infancy in Australia. They're not cheap to buy, either. A Nissan Leaf will typically set you back more than $50,000 plus on road costs.

However, once purchased, electric cars do boast impressive figures regarding running costs. Take the fuel consumption costs of the Leaf, for example, measured in litres of petrol required it's officially 0L per 100km!

CarFormat of FiguresFuel*TyresServicingTotal Running Costs

Nissan Leaf






*Fuel consumption is estimated based on the amount/cost of electricity, which is required to power the Nissan Leaf.

"Running costs can be the difference between a 'cheap car' and a car that's great value."

Finance a car that's cheap to run

Like the look of one of the cars on this list? Or do you have your own car in mind? At Rapid Finance, we could help you find the right car loan for your needs, situation, and budget. It's what we do!

After all, we have been helping Australians find finance for over 17 years. And, with access to a range of lenders and finance products, we could find you a suitable car loan, fast.

Find out more about Rapid Finance Car Loans.