Sunday 28 May 2023
  • :
  • :

Compact SUVs, Cheap to Maintain

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

It’s easy to find out what it will cost to buy, insure and
fuel a new car, and while it’s important to know those numbers up front,
they’re not the only expenses you need to worry about.

It also costs money to maintain and repair a vehicle as it
ages, even if you buy a new one with full factory warranty coverage. But
figuring out which vehicles will be the cheapest to keep in good running
condition is a daunting task, thanks to the sheer number of parts that make up
a modern car and the differences in each manufacturer’s maintenance schedules.

To help you make a more informed new-vehicle purchase
decision, we got in touch with the auto industry experts at the research firm Vincentric.
Among other things, they calculate which models promise to be the least
expensive to maintain and fix through the first five years of ownership.

How does Vincentric calculate maintenance and repair

Vincentric starts by looking at the manufacturer’s
maintenance schedule to see how often regular maintenance items need to be done.
It also adds in the costs of unscheduled maintenance on things like batteries,
tires and brakes. Those items’ lifespans are hard to predict because they
depend on how the vehicle is driven.

Next, Vincentric adds in an hourly labour charge, which is
averaged at $126/hour for mainstream brands, and $146/hour for luxury brands.

There’s also the cost of parts that may have to be replaced
during maintenance procedures, such as lubricants and other fluids, filters, and
brake pads and rotors.

For repair costs, Vincentric looks at each car company’s
warranty coverage. The longer a vehicle is warrantied, the less expensive it
should be for you to drive it during the first five years you own it. The cost
of parts comes into play here, too, especially once the warranty has expired.
Vincentric uses each car company’s list price for replacement parts, and if
that isn’t available, it falls back on the average price for a part in the
vehicle’s market segment.

Some manufacturers include free maintenance when you buy a
new car, and Vincentric takes that into account, too.

For our first article on the topic, we’re presenting the
five compact SUVs and crossovers that promise to be the least expensive to look
after. The dollar figure that follows the vehicle’s name is the predicted
combined cost of maintenance and repairs during the first five years of

  • 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander – $4,578.62
2020 Mitsubishi Outlander

The Outlander is Mitsubishi’s longest-running nameplate in
Canada, having served as the brand’s compact crossover model since 2003. It’s
also the vehicle with the segment’s lowest maintenance and repair costs in

Mitsubishi introduced the third-generation Outlander in
2014, refreshed its styling in 2014 and added a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version
in 2018. The lack of significant updates for the gasoline model means it lags
its competitors in terms of performance. Base versions use a 2.4L four-cylinder
engine with 166 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque, and uplevel trims get a 3.0L V6
making 224 hp/215 lb-ft. All-wheel drive is standard with both engines; the
four-cylinder is paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), and
the V6 gets a six-speed automatic.

According to Natural Resources Canada, the Outlander’s fuel
consumption estimates are also unimpressive. Four-cylinder models come with a
combined estimate of 9.1 L/100 km, and V6 versions are rated at 10.6 L/100 km.
Mitsubishi also recommends premium gas for the V6 model, so a four-cylinder
version is your best bet for keeping running costs low.

The Outlander stands apart from most of its competitors for
its standard seven-seat interior, making it a strong value for families on a
budget. We like the four-cylinder EX trim’s generous list of standard
equipment. For $31,100, it comes with heated front seats, 18-inch wheels,
dual-zone automatic climate control, and blind spot warning with rear cross
traffic alert.

Mitsubishi warranties the Outlander’s powertrain for 10
years/160,000 km (whichever comes first) and covers the rest of the car for 5
years/100,000 km.

  • 2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross – $4,890.13

In 2018, Mitsu revived a name previously used on a sporty
coupe and convertible for a new small SUV called the Eclipse Cross. It looks
more interesting than the Outlander, with styling that borrows elements from pricier
vehicles. It can also boast the second-least expensive maintenance and repair
costs among compact crossovers available in Canada for the 2020 model year.

The Eclipse Cross also has a more modern engine than the
Outlander. A 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder makes 152 hp and 184 lb-ft of
torque, which is fed to all four wheels by a more sophisticated CVT that can
simulate the performance of an eight-speed transmission.

Natural Resources Canada says the Eclipse Cross’s combined
fuel consumption estimate is 9.3 L/100 km.

We would go for the entry-grade ES trim. For $28,298, it
comes with heated front seats, automatic climate control, fog lights, 18-inch
wheels, LED daytime running lights and taillights, and a 7.0-inch infotainment

Like the Outlander, the Eclipse Cross’s warranty covers the
powertrain for 10 years/160,000 km and the rest of the car for 5 years/100,000

2020 Kia Sportage
  • 2020 Kia Sportage – $5,237.34

Next up is another of this fast-moving segment’s older
designs, the Kia Sportage. Kia last redesigned this model in 2017 with styling
that riffs on upscale European models. The look has aged well on a vehicle that
places third for maintenance and repair costs among small utilities in Canada,
according to Vincentric.

The Sportage’s engine offerings are a 2.4L four-cylinder
with 181 hp/175 lb-ft, and a 2.0L turbo that’s unique to the top-end SX trim
and makes 237 hp/260 lb-ft. The 2.4L is available with front-wheel drive, but
most Sportage trims come with AWD. A six-speed automatic transmission is
standard across the range.

Natural Resources Canada’s fuel consumption combined
estimates for the Sportage are 9.0 L/100 km (2.4L/FWD), 10.0 L/100 km
(2.4L/AWD) and 11.0 L/100 for the 2.0L turbo and AWD.

Our pick for best value is the Sportage EX ($31,695), which
comes with AWD, heated front seats and steering wheel, passive keyless entry,
wireless smartphone charging, sunroof, collision avoidance system, and lane
keeping assist.

Kia’s standard powertrain and bumper-to-bumper warranty
coverages are good for five years/100,00 km.

  • Volkswagen Tiguan – $5,269.42
2020 Volkswagen Tiguan

Fourth on Vincentric’s list of the small SUVs with the
lowest maintenance and repair costs is the Volkswagen Tiguan. VW redesigned
this crossover in 2018, making it larger and adding an optional third row of
seating. It wears understated styling typical of VW; some might call it boring,
but it’s a design we think will age well.

The sole engine is a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder promising
184 hp/221 lb-ft of torque, which comes with an eight-speed transmission. Only
the entry Trendline trim comes with front-wheel drive; all other versions are
AWD. The third row is an option in all trim levels.

According to Natural Resources Canada, the Tiguan’s fuel
consumption estimates are 9.4 L/100 km with front-wheel drive, and 10.2 L/100
km with AWD.

Like many VW models, the Tiguan projects an upscale vibe. If
you want low maintenance and repair costs but are also keen on a full suite of
driver safety assists, the Tiguan IQ Drive trim is the one we’d choose. For
$37,670, it comes with adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, lane keeping
assist and forward collision detection. That price also brings an 8.0-inch
touchscreen, panoramic sunroof, passive keyless entry, dual-zone climate
control, artificial leather upholstery, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Volkswagen Canada’s warranty covers the Tiguan’s powertrain
for five years/100,000 km, while the bumper-to-bumper portion is good for four
years/80,000 km.

Kia Sorento
  • Kia Sorento – $5,303.71

Finally, Vincentric’s fifth-place finisher is the Kia
Sorento. In our opinion, this is a controversial choice as the Sorento
technically competes as a mid-size SUV, though it was recently displaced by the
Telluride as Kia’s largest crossover.

The Sorento is standard with a 2.4L four-cylinder engine
(185 hp/178 lb-ft) and a six-speed automatic, but only in the LX and LX+ trims
aimed at bargain hunters. All other versions come with a smooth-running 3.3L V6
with 290 hp/252 lb-ft and an eight-speed transmission. Every Sorento is
standard with AWD.

Kia’s fuel consumption estimates for the Sorento are 10.2
L/100 km for the 2.4L engine and 11.1 L/100 km for the V6.

The Sorento presents good value to go with its spacious
interior. The LX+ V6 model ($36,095) is the least-expensive Sorento model with
seven-passenger seating. It also has heated front seats, a six-speaker stereo
with a 7.0-inch display, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic air
conditioning, wireless smartphone charging, passive keyless entry, blind spot
warning, rear cross traffic alert, and collision detection with city-speed
automatic braking.

Like the Sportage, the Sorento’s powertrain and
bumper-to-bumper warranties are good for five years/100,000 km.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *