If you’re in the market for a new car, keep in mind that sticker prices don’t include the cost of gas mileage — or maintenance. Sometimes a set of wheels with a modest price tag can be among the most expensive cars to own. That’s because as the years tick by, the slow drip of tune-ups, repairs and upkeep can drain a driver’s budget with the hidden but inevitable costs of ongoing maintenance.
GOBankingRates used data compiled by YourMechanic to determine which makes and models are the most expensive cars to maintain over the course of a year. Take a look at which vehicles could cost you more than expected.
20. Audi A4 Quattro
- Annual cost to maintain: $505
Audi introduced the A4 as the entry-level model for drivers looking to get into the luxury car market. When it was unveiled in 1996, the A4 was designed to replace the Audi 80. Later down the line, wagons and cabriolets were added to the lineup — then finally a model with Quattro all-wheel drive.
The $339 average maintenance cost for the A4 Quattro is steep compared to other makes of car, but not by Audi standards.
19. Dodge Grand Caravan
- Annual cost to maintain: $527
The modern minivan can be traced to 1983 with the release of the first Dodge Caravan. In 1987, the Grand Caravan, which had a longer wheelbase, joined the original. In 2007, Dodge dropped the original Caravan, leaving the Grand Caravan all alone in the Dodge minivan universe. If you’re in the market for the iconic family van, prepare to spend $261 on average in maintenance fees.
18. Audi A4
- Annual cost to maintain: $527
Known worldwide for its four-ring emblem, Audi is among the oldest automakers in the esteemed history of German car manufacturing. Audi vehicles on average bleed their owners for $344 in maintenance costs, making it one of the most expensive brands to maintain. The Audi A4 is no different, requiring $341 on average to maintain.
17. Dodge Ram 1500
- Annual cost to maintain: $533
Dodge has been producing trucks since 1917. It wasn’t until 1981, however, that the now-famous Ram entered the scene. In 1994, the game changed, even more, when the company developed a rugged half-ton pickup called the 1500. Still wildly popular, the 1500 comes with a maintenance price tag significantly higher than the brand average of $257.
16. Volkswagen Passat
- Annual cost to maintain: $561
Germany’s answer to Ford’s car for the common citizen was the “people’s car”: Volkswagen. Founded in 1937, Volkswagen emerged at the same time as Germany’s legendary Autobahn highway network. Largely because of their association with the Nazis, VWs were generally shunned in postwar America — until 1959, that is, when the car was rebranded “the Beetle.” It would go on to become the bestselling import in the United States. Today’s VWs have an average maintenance cost of $301, while the Passat’s comes in at $307.
15. Nissan Murano
- Annual cost to maintain: $588
The Nissan Motor Company was established in 1934 and emerged decades later as a leader in the energy-crisis era of the 1970s when drivers were looking for more fuel-efficient cars. Nissan launched the Murano in 2003, and it is still one of the company’s top-selling cars.
Nissans across all models average $301 in maintenance costs, making them one of the more costly options. The modern Murano takes it up a notch with a $317 average cost for maintenance.
14. Nissan Maxima
- Annual cost to maintain: $608
This year the ninth-generation Nissan Maxima will debut. But in 1981, the Maxima was merely a trim level on the Datsun 810. A year later, the Maxima’s success earned it a model line all to itself. Evolving into a luxury sedan by the 1990s, the Maxima was always known for its technological innovations.
Nissans are usually on the pricier side to maintain, and the Maxima is no exception with its average maintenance cost of $300.
13. Acura TL
- Annual cost to maintain: $624
Since it was founded in 1986, Acura has been the luxury wing of the Honda brand. Honda unveiled the TL, a front-wheel-drive luxury sedan, in 1996. Although its parent company is Japanese, from 1999 to 2014, Acura produced all TL vehicles at Honda’s Marysville plant in Ohio.
At an average of $305 for maintenance, Acuras aren’t cheap to fix — especially when it comes to the TL.
12. Chevrolet Impala
- Annual cost to maintain: $634
One of the most iconic names in automotive history, the venerable Chevy is the largest of the four remaining General Motors brands. With names like Corvette, Silverado and Camaro under its umbrella, General Motors held the No. 1 spot ahead of Toyota when ranked by 2022 sales volume in America, according to CNN Business.
Chevrolet vehicles across all models average $290 in maintenance costs, putting the company in the middle of the pack as far as costs are concerned. Impala owners can expect to pony up an average of $297 in maintenance costs however.
11. Chevrolet Cobalt
- Annual cost to maintain: $655
After 23 years as a mainstay in the hypercrowded compact car segment, the Cavalier was replaced in 2005. Its replacement would be the Chevy Cobalt, which was designed to be a higher-end, more refined compact than customers had gotten used to. Today, you can expect to pay $284 on average to maintain a Cobalt.
10. Chrysler 300
- Annual cost to maintain: $671
Chrysler came to be defined by the 300 almost as soon as it was released in 1955. Considered by some to be the world’s first muscle car, the 300 is also considered Chrysler’s flagship automobile. To make it easier for drivers to handle the 300’s awesome power at high speeds, Chrysler began adorning the car with tail fins, which would come to define the cars of the doo-wop decade.
While today’s Chryslers cost $267 on average to maintain, the 300 is pricier to keep running with its average maintenance cost at $279.
9. Ford Focus
- Annual cost to maintain: $681
Of all the innovators in the history of cars, none stands taller than Henry Ford. Ford had been tinkering with motorized vehicles since the late 1800s, but he changed the course of human history in 1908 when he unveiled the first car designed for the everyman: the Model T. Five years later he would revolutionize global manufacturing when he perfected the mass assembly line. The company sold 15 million Model T cars before production ended in 1927.
Today, Ford cars across all models average about $267 for maintenance. The Focus sits almost in the middle of that price range with a $268 average maintenance cost.
8. Mazda 6
- Annual cost to maintain: $684
The predecessor to Mazda Motor Corp. was founded in 1920 in Hiroshima, Japan. The Mazda 6, however, dates back only to 2003.
One of the top-selling cars in the crowded midsize sedan segment, the Mazda 6 is among the pricier ones to maintain in the Mazda line. The brand’s average car requires just $288 for upkeep compared to $292 for the Mazda 6.
7. Ford Mustang
- Annual cost to maintain: $724
At the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, the public met the Ford Mustang for the first time. It was love at first sight. More than 400,000 Mustangs were sold in the first year of production alone — thanks in part to the car’s appearance in that year’s James Bond movie, “Goldfinger.” The average maintenance costs for a Mustang is $278, making them one of the slightly more expensive Fords to maintain.
6. Honda Pilot
- Annual cost to maintain: $740
Soichiro Honda co-founded his namesake company in 1949. It’s now one of the world’s largest and most well-known conglomerates. Honda sold 4.1 million vehicles in its 2022 fiscal year — and that’s not counting the 17 million motorcycles and 6.2 million power products its loyal customers purchased that year.
Although the Pilot requires more care than other models, Hondas in general cost an average of only $277 for maintenance, which is lower compared to other brands.
5. Subaru Forester
- Annual cost to maintain: $743
Subaru traces its lineage to 1950, but the first Forester didn’t roll off the line until 1998 when the compact SUV was built on the familiar Impreza platform.
The model is expensive to maintain compared to Subarus in general, which cost an average of $334 for upkeep. Forester owners can expect to spend $345 on average for general upkeep.
4. Mini Cooper
- Annual cost to maintain: $749
The Mini Cooper traces its history to 1957 and the Suez Canal crisis, which sent global fuel prices skyrocketing. The masses in post-World War II England were clamoring for a small, fuel-efficient car. The Morris Company responded with the Mini, which became a cultural icon of the 1960s.
Though Minis cost an average of $318 to maintain, you can expect a Cooper’s maintenance to cost $314 on average.
3. Mercedes-Benz E350
- Annual cost to maintain: $873
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class has been the definitive midsize luxury vehicle since it was first released in 1994. Known for its good fuel economy, today’s E350 is quiet and delivers superior handling.
The iconic Mercedes brand is known for delivering power, luxury and innovation. It’s also known for high maintenance costs — an average of $367 for repairs across the entire brand.
2. BMW 328i
- Annual cost to maintain: $964
The physical embodiment of high-end performance, the BMW 3 Series was referred to by Edmunds as “about as slam-dunk-wonderful a car as there is available.” Dating back to the 1970s, the 3 Series was the culmination of BMW’s painstaking efforts to replace its then-dated 2002 Coupe, which, more than any other model, epitomized the company in the minds of the public.
Today’s 328i continues that tradition, but it isn’t cheap to maintain unless you compare it to average BMWs. With a whopping average of $360 to maintain, they’re known as one of the most expensive makes of car to repair in the entire industry.
1. Chrysler Sebring
- Annual cost to maintain: $1,074
When it was unveiled as a two-door version of the Chrysler Cirrus in 1995, the Sebring was available only in a hardtop. The next year, however, the public’s demands were answered and the convertible Sebring was born. While it was one of the only affordable midsize cars available as both a convertible and a sedan, the Sebring was discontinued in 2010, partly because of the high cost of maintenance. Starting in 2011, Chrysler made major upgrades on what was the Sebring and renamed it the Chrysler 200. It stopped producing the 200 in 2017.
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Amen Oyiboke-Osifo contributed to the reporting for this article.