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Your car can depreciate in value the moment you drive it off the lot. So, how do you know if the car you’ve purchased will be a good investment down the road?

You ultimately want a car that will retain as much of its value as possible, and that means low maintenance cars that emphasize efficiency, reliability and safety. All of these elements can combine into a car that can go the distance and fetch a pretty penny come trade-in time.

After spending some time perusing the Kelley Blue Book listing of 2018 models with the lowest five-year cost of ownership, we have a short list of the cheapest cars to maintain:

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1. Chevrolet Spark Hatchback
  • Price: $14,000
  • Fuel economy: 31 mpg city/38 mpg highway
  • 2017 five-year cost of ownership: $29,171

When it comes to the cheapest cars to maintain, the Chevrolet Spark makes the top of our list. It has the overall lowest five-year cost of ownership and the purchase price is comparatively lower compared to others on this list.

Boasting efficient fuel economy and 98 horsepower, the Chevrolet Spark also comes with a decent safety rating. Not only is it a cheap car to maintain, it is also reliable. These two qualities are important to take into consideration when you’re determining a vehicle’s potential loss of value.

2. Kia Rio
  • Price: $15,000
  • Fuel economy: 29 mpg city/37 mpg highway
  • 2017 five-year cost of ownership: $29,819

Next on our list of low maintenance cars is the Kia Rio. This time around, the Kia Rio has had a total makeover in terms of the safety systems and creature comforts. Those creature comforts include an interior perfect for smart driving with a 7-inch display to run Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and satellite radio (comes standard), to name just a few.

The Kia Rio has also received a motor makeover with an updated version of the 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine. This makes for a more dependable driver experience navigating traffic and climbing hills than the previous model.

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3. Hyundai Accent
  • Price: $16,000
  • Fuel economy: 28 mpg city/37 mpg highway
  • 2017 five-year cost to own: $29,826

This time around, the Hyundai Accent is a sedan as opposed to the hatchback featured in previous listings. However, that’s not the only thing that has changed (or improved) about this car.

The fuel economy is slightly improved compared to previous models. There is also an expanded tech suite with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Tack onto that an increased emphasis on safety systems and the fact that the Accent is one of the cheapest Hyundais on the market, and you have a real contender when comparing it to all the other cheapest cars to maintain.

4. Toyota Corolla iM
  • Price: $19,770
  • Fuel economy: 27 mpg city/35 mpg highway
  • 2017 five-year cost to own: $30,856

The Toyota Corolla iM is versatile enough for an active lifestyle and dependable enough when it comes to getting you where you need to go. Powered by Toyota’s 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder engine, the car offers solid fuel economy and handling. Combine that with safety features like pre-collision warning and driver-assist, and you have a prime example of a safe, dependable and low maintenance car.

5. Hyundai Elantra
  • Price: $17,835
  • Fuel economy: 26 mpg city/36 mpg highway
  • 2017 five-year cost to own: $31,070

The recent redesign of the Hyundai Elantra earns it a spot among the cheapest cars to maintain for a number of reasons:

  • Driver safety features (Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist, etc.)
  • Heated outside mirrors
  • An efficient Eco model with emphasis on value and dependability

It also features enhanced performance and handling powered by a new 4-cylinder engine. You’ll get to where you need to go and have a safer journey along the way.

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6. Kia Soul
  • Price: $17,095
  • Fuel economy: 24 mpg city/30 mpg highway
  • 2017 five-year cost to own: $32,014

The second Kia in our rundown of low maintenance cars! The Kia Soul is fun to drive and easy on the wallet both in terms of overall value and fuel efficiency. It boasts a 5-star safety rating when it comes to vehicle collision tests and even features an all-electric model. In short, the Kia Soul is a valuable investment that is easy to take care of and even easier to drive.

7. Honda HR-V
  • Price: $20,665
  • Fuel economy: 25 mpg city/33 mpg highway
  • 2017 five-year cost of ownership: $32,874

Last but not least is the Honda HR-V, a prime specimen of a subcompact/SUV crossover and worthy of a spot on our list! Despite being smaller than its purebred, SUV cousins, the Honda HR-V is quite roomy on the inside. But that’s not why it’s on the list.

The Honda HR-V stands among the cheapest cars to maintain for its dependability and handling. It is an all-weather-capable vehicle with agile handling and great fuel economy. That adds up to a car that can navigate a variety of situations and go the distance. Versatile and reliable.

And those are just a few of the cars plucked from the pages of Kelley Blue Book. If you’re looking for a low maintenance car, start with one of these. If you see something you like, we can also help you find the best auto loans in your area.

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