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TheStreet Open House

5 Best SUVs, Minivans and Trucks for Cheapskates

Best minivan: Dodge Grand Caravan
Five-year ownership cost:
$43,765

Priced well below the popular Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, the $25,220 Dodge Grand Caravan should enjoy 11.6% lower depreciation compared with what's average for minivans, KBB estimates.

Buyers can also expect 18.6% lower financing expenses and 4.1% below-average maintenance costs.

On the downside, expect to pay 5.7% higher than average for insurance and 5.8% more for repairs. The Grand Caravan's middling 17 mpg/city and 25 mpg/highway mileage also means buyers will face 1.9% above-average fuel costs over five years.

Brauer says the 283-horsepower Grand Caravan "has got good power, but isn't the best for fuel efficiency."

Best full-sized SUV: Ford Explorer
Five-year ownership cost:
$50,807

This large SUV should cost a relatively small amount to own over five years, thanks mostly to depreciation that KBB predicts will run 11.4% below what's typical for the vehicle's automotive class.

"The Explorer is just a really popular model, so there's a lot of demand for it in both the new- and used-car market -- and that should help maintain its residual value," Brauer says.

KBB also estimates those who buy the $35,012 Explorer will spend 17.9% below average on financing, 15.2% less on maintenance, 9.3% under what's typical for insurance and 5.8% less on repairs.

You can also expect to pay 8.8% below average for gasoline, partly due to good fuel efficiency from the Explorer's optional 240-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

While the SUV's standard V-6 engine and front-wheel-drive system provide only a modest 17 mpg/city and 24 mpg/highway, four-cylinder Explorers boast a best-in-class 20 mpg/city and 28 mpg/highway.

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