5 Best SUVs, Minivans and Trucks for Cheapskates

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- If you like big automobiles but live on a small budget, here's a look at some 2014 SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks that Kelley Blue Book predicts will cost you the least money to own over the long haul.

"Buying one of these models means that you'll have more money in your pocket after five years," says Karl Brauer of KBB, which recently named 2014 winners of its annual Best 5-Year Cost to Own Awards.

KBB chose the winning models by estimating how much each mainstream 2014 sold in America will cost over five years in terms of depreciation, financing, fuel, insurance, maintenance, repairs and state fees such as excise taxes.

Brauer says buying an award winner will typically save you $2,000 to as much as $20,000 or more over five years vs. what you'll spend with a less-frugal model.

"It's very common to see a $2,500 difference in costs over five years between two cars in the same class, and that translates into $500 in savings per year," he says. "I'm sure most consumers could find plenty of things to do with the extra money."

The analyst says depreciation -- the difference between what you pay for a new car and what you sell it for later on as a used vehicle -- typically represents a model's largest five-year expense.

He says vehicles with lower purchase prices tend to depreciate less, so they generally offer the lowest long-term costs.

For instance, the Buick Enclave -- 2014's winner in the luxury full-sized SUV category -- lists for $8,780 less than the Audi Q7, but costs $11,804 less to own over five years.

Brauer says vehicles redesigned for 2014 also did well in the latest annual competition, as automakers appear unlikely to revamp them again within five years. As a result, the 2014 versions' values should hold up well in the used-car market, he says.

Read on to check out this year's winners in the auto industry's highest-volume SUV, minivan and truck segments. (Or, click here to see five 2014 cars KBB predicts will offer the lowest five-year ownership costs.)

All pricing figures refer to KBB's Fair Purchase Price, an estimate of how much consumers are paying for a given model based on actual U.S. sales.

Best compact SUV: Jeep Patriot
Five-year ownership cost:
$34,894

Buy a Jeep Patriot and you can expect to have plenty of extra Ben Franklins and George Washingtons in your wallet to stir up your national pride.

That's because the Patriot is both the lowest-priced Jeep and least-expensive compact SUV on the U.S. market this model year, and Brauer says that should keep the car's ownership costs down by minimizing depreciation.

"Jeep is a powerful and iconic brand, and because the Patriot is the lowest-priced one that they sell, there's not that far that it can fall," he says.

KBB estimates the $21,186 Patriot will depreciate 9.3% less than what's average for compact SUVs, while the model's buyers can expect to pay 16% below average for financing and 11.9% less for insurance.

KBB also predicts you'll pay 4.9% below average for repairs, 3.1% less for maintenance and 2.2% less for fuel despite the Patriot's so-so fuel efficiency (as low as 20 mpg/city and 23 mpg/highway for some configurations).

Best midsized SUV: Mitsubishi Outlander
Five-year ownership cost:
$38,359

A complete redesign, a low supply of available vehicles and unique third-row seating all mean the $24,377 Mitsubishi Outlander should depreciate a whopping 22.6% less than what's average for its class.

"Like the Jeep Patriot, the Outlander starts with a low cost of entry that keeps it from having the potential to lose as much value in the used-car market," Brauer says.

He says the model's third row of seats -- a rarity for a midsized SUVs -- should boost the vehicle's resale value as well. So should the fact that Americans don't buy many Outlanders, meaning the used-car market typically has short supplies.

KBB predicts Outlander buyers will also pay 26.2% below average for financing and 2.9% less for repairs. Good gas mileage -- 25 mpg/city and 31 mpg/highway for some Outlanders -- should also translate into 20.1% below-average fuel costs.

On the downside, KBB estimates that the vehicle's maintenance will run 6.1% above average over five years, while insurance should cost 5.8% higher than what's typical.

Best full-sized pickup: GMC Sierra 1500 Regular Cab
Five-year ownership cost:
$43,171

The redesigned 2014 GMC Sierra can climb mountains, but shouldn't tumble into a valley of depreciation when you sell it.

KBB estimates the $29,433 truck will lose 15.3% less value than what's typical for full-sized pickups, which Brauer partly attributes to a redesign this year of the Sierra and its twin the Chevrolet Silverado.

The expert says the Sierra also has a good reputation with consumers and low supplies in the used-car market, which should further boost the vehicle's resale price. "The Sierra's styling and GMC name give it a little more premium feel than the Silverado has, and its volume [of available used models] is also lower than that Silverado's," Brauer says.

KBB predicts Sierra buyers will also pay 14.4% below-average costs for financing and 2.8% less for insurance.

And as the model's newly added 285-horsepower base engine boasts 18 mpg/city and 24 mpg/highway when teamed with rear-wheel drive (impressive efficiency for a full-sized pickup), fuel costs should run 12.4% below average.

That said, KBB estimates that Sierra buyers will pay 7.7% more than average over five years for repairs, as well as 4.1% more for maintenance.

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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