Third-best car for cheapskates: Chevrolet Spark
Five-year cost of ownership: $28,588
Fair purchase price: $14,439
A new model for 2013, the Spark represents Chevrolet's first U.S. foray into the so-called "mini-car" segment, which includes such tiny cars as the Smart Fortwo and the BMW-produced Mini.
Not to be confused with the electric-powered Chevy Volt, the Spark runs on gas -- although the car doesn't need much of it.That's because the Spark gets 32 mpg/city and 38 mpg/highway with a manual transmission or 28 mpg/city and 37 mpg/highway as an automatic. On average, KBB estimates you'll pay just $9,252 to fuel up your Spark over five years. Factor in a low $9,556 estimated depreciation and modest projected costs for financing, insurance, maintenance and other expenses and the Spark's five-year operating costs are roughly half of the average 2013's. The youth-oriented car also offers very hip styling. "It definitely looks different from a plain Jane subcompact," Gutierrez says. And if you're really into energy efficiency, Chevy plans to roll out an electric-powered Spark later this year.
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