Victoria’s cheapest family cars and SUVs to own for 2022

Subaru Outback parked on grass with lake and mountains in the backdrop

Tianna Nadalin

Posted November 07, 2022

In the market for a new family car or large SUV? RACV’s annual Car Running Costs survey highlights the cheapest and most expensive people movers to own and run in 2022.

Sometimes when you’re looking for a new family wagon, it comes down to one thing: size; especially if you’re chauffeuring half a football team around town every weekend. 

But more often than not, more space means increased cost, adding additional price pressures to already stretched family budgets.

The good news is, there are still plenty of affordable, family-friendly cars on the market. 

Despite seven-seat wagons being the more affordable family car segment overall, the cheapest family car to own and run in 2022 is actually an SUV, according to the results from RACV’s latest Car Running Costs Survey.

This year, the survey has compared 11 of the top-selling seven-seat cars, wagons, and large SUVs to determine which are the cheapest to own and run. It factors in purchase price, loan repayments, fuel use, tyres, servicing and on-road costs – including insurance, registration and auto club membership. These costs are then averaged out over a five-year period to determine which cars in each category offer the best bang for buck.

Not including loan repayments, which make up about 72 per cent of a family car’s ongoing expenses, on-road costs account for 13 per cent, fuel takes an 11 per cent bite, while servicing and tyres account for just 4 per cent. 

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Australia's Cheapest Cars Survey 2022 | RACV

Cheapest seven-seat people movers to own and run 

To gauge the running costs of a couple of the country’s favourite seven-seat sedans, RACV pitted two of the highest-selling models against each other: the Hyundai Staria 3.5 V6 FWD 8SP Auto and the Kia Carnival S 3.5 V6 FWD 8sp Auto.

Of the pair, the Hyundai Staria came out just in front in what is almost a photo finish. The Hyundai claimed the most-affordable mantle after nudging the Kia Carnival out of contention by an average of just $25 per month.  

Despite having a slightly higher purchase price ($53,439.80), the Staria is cheaper to service and has lower on-road costs than the Carnival, costing owners an average of $1,563.65 per month to own and run. 

The Kia Carnival, on the other hand, is cheaper to buy ($52,577.80) and boasts superior fuel efficiency (it costs $21 per month less on average at the bowser), but its higher on-road and servicing costs drive its average running cost up to $1,588.09 per month.

Of the family cars surveyed, people movers cost less to buy and run on average, despite fuel accounting for 15 per cent of the average monthly running cost, compared to 11 per cent for large SUVs. 


White Mazda CX-8 parked in front of apartment building

The Mazda CX8 is the second-most affordable family SUV in the survey, after the Subaru Outback.

Cheapest large SUVs to own and run 

Large SUVs might be the most expensive passenger cars to own and run, according to the survey results, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find some great value-for-money options.

To find the most affordable family-sized SUV, RACV’s Car Running Costs survey looked at the purchase price and ongoing ownership costs of nine of the top-selling models to find which wagons are the cheapest to own and run.

Included in this year’s survey are the Hyundai Palisade 2.2 T/dsl AWD 8sp auto, Hyundai Santa Fe (base) 2.2 T/dsl AWD 8sp DSG, Kia Sorento S 2.2 T/dsl AWD 8sp DSG, Kia Sorento GT-line 1.6 turbo hybrid 6 SP auto AWD, Mazda CX8 Sport 2.2 T/dsl AWD 6sp auto, Mazda CX-9 Sport 2.5 Turbo AWD 6sp auto, Subaru Outback 2.5 AWD CVT MY23, Toyota Kluger GX 3.5 V6 AWD 8sp auto and the Toyota Kluger GX 2.5 Hybrid AWD CVT.  

Of the cars surveyed, the sleek and swift Subaru Outback 2.5 AWD CVT MY23 is the most affordable family car, coming in at $1,415.43 to own and operate per month, on average.  

It narrowly edged out the perennially popular Mazda CX8 Sport 2.2 T/dsl AWD 6sp Auto, which has an average monthly running cost of $1,444.97. 

When it comes to running costs, the Mazda CX8 is the cheapest to fuel, with an average monthly spend of $157.05 - just $20 more per month than the most efficient large SUV surveyed: a hybrid Kia Sorento GT-line.

By comparison, the least efficient of the cars surveyed is the Toyota Kluger GX petrol wagon, which costs families, on average, $226.60 per month to fill up.

Despite being the cheapest on fuel, of the cars surveyed the Kia Sorento Hybrid is the priciest of the large SUVs, owing to its higher purchase price and servicing costs. The seven-seat wagon has an average monthly running cost of $1,993.40, of which servicing accounts for $87.13, nearly double the segment average.  

The Hyundai Santa Fe has the cheapest on-road costs of the cars surveyed, with owners shelling out $181.85 per month on average for registration, insurance and auto club membership. This is $60 less than the Toyota Kluger Hybrid, which has the highest on-roads.


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


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.