Victoria’s cheapest cars, utes, and SUVs to own for 2022

Blue MG3 Core Light Hatchback parked in front of lake at dusk

Tianna Nadalin

Posted November 07, 2022

Ever wondered how much your car is costing you? RACV’s latest Car Running Costs Survey reveals the most affordable new cars to own and run in 2022.

The MG3 Core light hatch is the cheapest new car to own and run in 2022, according to RACV’s latest Car Running Costs Survey.

While the MG3 Core was the cheapest in the light car category, the two-litre Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport came in as the cheapest small car, costing a touch over $950 a month to own. The MG ZS EV – with a monthly ownership cost of $1,149 – was the cheapest electric car of the 2022 survey.

RACV Head of Policy, James Williams said the survey confirms what Victorians are already feeling in the hip pocket, with the results showing that fuel is the second-biggest expense for car owners, accounting for, on average, 13 per cent of the total monthly cost.

“It would surprise no one to see that the cost of owning and operating a car has risen, given the trends we have seen in fuel prices,” Mr Williams said.

As the vehicle's features such as the safety rating, price point, and aesthetics may attract buyers to a particular make or model, it is often the ongoing costs that can be overlooked or underestimated. 

Purchase price, as the biggest upfront expense, accounts for as much as 80 per cent of a vehicle’s ongoing costs once loan repayments are factored in, while registration, insurance and auto club membership combined can account for up to 15 per cent of other monthly costs.

“When you factor in the growing price of used cars and the improved fuel efficiency and safety ratings of new cars, there is a very good argument to take a close look at the more affordable models outlined in the survey,” Williams said.

All costs used in these calculations were current at the time of compilation.

For in-depth analysis of each car category, each article is listed below.

Australia's Cheapest Cars Survey 2022 | RACV

How the Car Running Costs Survey works

The annual Car Running Costs survey has been running for more than 50 years. It helps uncover the hidden costs of buying and running a new car by measuring the total cost of purchasing, operating, and maintaining Australia’s best-selling cars and SUVs, as well as emerging models and brands, averaged over a five-year period. 

The 2022 survey focuses on mainstream brands, analysing the top-selling cars across various vehicle segments. The survey includes 86 models across 11 categories, focusing on the base variant - unless a higher-spec option is more comparable with other vehicles in that class.

To calculate the total cost of ownership of the vehicle over a five-year period, the survey considers:  

  • initial purchase price
  • loan repayments
  • registration charges
  • insurance costs
  • fuel (or electric vehicle charging costs)
  • tyres
  • servicing
  • and repairs  

Calculations are based on private vehicles travelling 15,000 kilometres per year, the average annual distance covered by Victorian drivers according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

As well as petrol and diesel models, several hybrid and battery electric models were included to reflect the growing uptake of low and zero-emissions vehicles in Australia.



Cheapest car to own/run

Monthly ownership cost

Light Cars

MG3 Core 1.5 4sp auto Hatch 


Small Cars

Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport 2.0 CVT Hatch 


Small SUVs

Kia Stonic S 1.4 6sp auto FWD 


Medium cars

Toyota Camry Ascent 2.5 8sp Auto Sedan


Medium SUVs

Toyota RAV4 GXL 2.0 FWD CVT 


People movers

Hyundai Staria 3.5 V6 FWD 8SP Auto 


Large SUVs

Subaru Outback 2.5 AWD CVT MY23 


All-terrain vehicle (4x4)

Mitsubishi Pajero Sport GLX 2.4 t/dsl 8sp auto 


Light Commercial (4x2)

Mitsubishi Triton GLX 2.4 T/dsl 6sp auto 4X2 Dual cab Pickup 


Light Commercial (4x4)

GWM Cannon 2.0 T/dsl 4x4 8 sp auto dual-cab pickup 


Electric cars



The cheapest cars, SUVs, and utes to own

The MG3 Core light hatchback has remained the most affordable new car for the second year running, with an average cost of $734.84 a month. It narrowly edged out the Kia Picanto S, which will set owners back $746.31 a month.

Light passenger cars were once again the most affordable vehicle segment in the survey, costing an average $857.16 a month, making them the only segment with an average monthly ownership cost under $1,000. 

Of the family cars tested, the Subaru Outback is the most affordable, with the large SUV’s monthly out-of-pocket totalling $1,415.43, while the seven-seat Hyundai Staria, at $1,563.65 per month, is the cheapest people-mover.  

Electric vehicles are experiencing a surge in popularity and the increasing range of models available in Australia is helping to make them more affordable. 

Of the models included in the survey, the cheapest EV in 2022 is the MG ZS at $1,149 per month, only slightly more than the average monthly cost of a small car ($1,064.88).

As a category, battery electric vehicles are in the middle of the pack, averaging $1,542.21 per month - $80 less in costs per month than large SUVs, and $30 less than people movers per month.


Click here to view the full 2022 Car Running Cost Survey.

To view previous years' results:

The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product(s) issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.