The Most Expensive Cars to Keep on the Road According to Consumer Reports

by Gabrielle DeSantis

Owning a car goes above and beyond having to buy it and make car payments, you need to ensure that it can stay on the road. If you plan on keeping any car for an extended period of time, then being able to maintain and repair is key. However, some cars cost a lot more to maintain. Here are the most expensive cars to keep on the road according to Consumer Reports.

Consumers tend to keep their cars for a long time

A brand new Toyota Camry sits on the sales lot. | (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Cars, in general, have come a long way in the past couple of decades, so it’s no surprise that they are lasting longer. This also means that consumers are keeping their cars for longer. According to iSeeCars, the average length of car ownership is 8.4 years, so the cost to maintain a car is really important in the long run.

When it comes to maintaining a car, the old adage is true; Japanese cars typically cost less to maintain and repair while German cars cost the most. If you don’t believe it, then check out the list of cars that Consumer Reports came up with.

Most expensive cars to maintain under $10,000

A black 2011 BMW 550i sport sedan is driven at New Jersey Motorsport Park in Millville, New Jersey, on Tuesday, May 11, 2010
2011 BMW 550i | Mark Elias/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Consumer Reports created this list using 2011 model-year cars to show how much it could cost annually to maintain a 10-year-old car. As such, here are the most expensive 2011 model year cars to maintain that are priced under $10,000.

  • BMW 5 Series: $1,200
  • BMW 3 Series: $800
  • Audi A4: $550
  • Subaru Legacy: $500

As we can see, just because you can find a 2011 BMW 5 Series for less than the price of a used Honda Civic, it doesn’t mean that it’s a good deal. With a projected annual cost of $1,200 just to keep in on the road, that fancy 5 Series could cost you a lot later on. The same can be said for the other cars on this shortlist.

Most expensive cars to maintain: $10,000 to $20,000

Following the same formula, here is a list of 10-year-old cars, priced between $10,000 to $20,000, that are the most expensive to maintain.

  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class: $600
  • Acura TSX: $500
  • Infiniti M: $500

Were you surprised to see the Acura TSX on this list? We were too. But it goes to show that even the cars with the most perceived reliability can be costly in their own way, too. Acura is a luxury brand, after all, so you can expect to pay luxury pricing for maintenance costs.

Most expensive SUVs under $10,000 to maintain

2011 Acura RDX
2011 Acura RDX | Acura

In case you’re into SUVs instead of regular passenger cars, here is the list of 10-year-old SUVs with the highest repair costs.

  • Acura RDX: $700
  • Chevrolet Traverse: $590
  • Cadillac SRX: $530
  • Buick Enclave: $505
  • Subaru Forester: $500
  • Subaru Outback: $500

This list is surprisingly filled with Japanese branded SUVs, however, their maintenance costs are still lower than those you find associated with most German vehicles. Also, if you take into consideration that the Acura RDX is a luxury vehicle, parts and service labor will typically cost more.

Don’t let maintenance costs scare you

If you’re planning to purchase any of the aforementioned cars or SUVs, don’t let the maintenance numbers associated with them scare you off. These are mainly estimates, and if you can afford to pay for any unforeseen repairs for the car that you want, then it doesn’t really matter. Otherwise, if you can’t, then you might want to check out the least expensive cars to keep on the road. Or, perhaps, buy a new one.

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