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What's the real cost of buying a car?

Words By

Will Nightingale

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Q: I'm trying to find out the true running costs of different cars, taking into account depreciation, fuel (based on, say, 10,000 miles a year), tax, MoT costs, insurance, servicing etc. Is there anywhere I can get this information?
Ced Green

A: There certainly is - What Car?'s Real Cost is a simple way of comparing the overall cost of owning different cars. As you've guessed, it's not just the purchase price you should be looking at when buying a new car.

You can find the Real Cost of any new car by selecting the vehicle from the drop-drop menu on the whatcar.com home page.

Real Cost is an estimate, but takes into consideration most of the costs the average motorist will incur over a three-year, 36,000-mile period. These include the likely discount you'll get when buying, and the cost of depreciation, fuel, insurance, servicing and tax.

MoT costs aren't included, as cars don't require an MoT test during their first three years.

Real Cost results can often be rather surprising. For example, an 11,625 Mini One has a Real Cost of 8414, which makes it a cheaper ownership proposition than a 7095 Ford Ka, which has a Real Cost of 8801, for the average driver.