The Real Cost of running your car

06 June 2006

  • Calculate three years' of car ownership
  • Target Price, depreciation and running costs
  • Real Cost unique to What Car?


Calculating the real cost of owning your car used to be tricky. Not any more. Here's the What Car? Real Cost - one price based on three years' ownership to cut through confusion and help you buy better.

The What Car? Real Cost makes it easy to find out how much a car will cost to run. It takes into account all of the bills you're likely to face over a three-year ownership period to reveal which cars are kindest on your pocket - and which will leave a big hole in your bank balance.

How does Real Cost work?
The starting point of Real Cost is the What Car Target Price, which is a realistic discounted figure to aim for in the showroom.

Just how much will you get back when you sell the car on? That's where our Depreciation Index comes in, giving a predicted resale value for every car on sale. We take away the likely part-ex price of a car after three years and 36,000 miles from our Target Price.

Next we fill in the blanks. A year's road tax (Vehicle Excise Duty) is included in the purchase price of new cars, but there'll be two more tax discs to pay for before three years are up. We also include the cost of three years' insurance, based on a typical premium. Next, we add in the likely cost of servicing over three years. Finally, we add in the cost of fuel for 36,000 miles, based on the official combined figure.

The final total is the Real Cost of running each new car - and it's unique to What Car?.

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