Victoria’s cheapest medium-sized cars and SUVs to own for 2022

Close up of blue Toyota Camry driving on bitumen road

Tianna Nadalin

Posted November 08, 2022

The 2022 edition of RACV’s annual Car Running Costs survey highlights the cheapest medium-sized cars and SUVs to own and run. 

There are many considerations when choosing a family-friendly hauler. Is it spacious enough? Do we want a sedan or a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV)? Can it fit a pram in the boot? Is it comfortable for long family road trips? Is the standard safety pack sufficient?

When it comes time to sign along the dotted line, for many it comes down to purchase price, often with little consideration of the ongoing running costs. 

RACV’s annual Car Running Costs survey uncovers the hidden costs of owning and operating some of the most popular new vehicles in Australia, comparing makes and models on purchase price, loan repayments, fuel use, tyres, servicing and on-road costs – including insurance, registration and auto club membership – averaged out over a five-year period, to determine which cars in each category offer the best bang for buck. 

Notwithstanding average monthly loan repayments, which account for nearly 70 per cent of a car’s total ownership cost, in the medium-sized car category, fuel takes the biggest bite, accounting for 11 per cent of ongoing monthly costs.

On-roads (including registration, insurance and auto club membership) make up the third-biggest expense accounting for a combined total of 17 per cent, while servicing and tyres make up just four per cent.

A medium-sized SUV costs a family $1,345.07 per week on average to own and run, while a medium-sized passenger car (sedan) nudges up to $1,362.69 per month on average. 

In the medium-sized car category, there’s room to move if you’re looking for a great deal on a new set of family wheels, with medium-sized cars and SUVs offering the convenience of space at an attractive price point. 

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Australia's Cheapest Cars Survey 2022 | RACV

Most affordable medium-sized cars to own and run

The medium-sized car category includes some of the country’s most popular nameplates, including Toyota, Mazda, Honda and Hyundai. To find which of these is the most affordable, RACV tested seven of the highest-selling models in the segment.

Included in the survey are the Honda Accord VTi-LX Hybrid, Honda Accord VTi-LX 1.5 Turbo CVT Sedan, Hyundai sonata N-line 4dr Coupe, Mazda6 Sport, Skoda Octavia 110TSI Ambition, Toyota Camry Ascent, Toyota Camry Ascent Hybrid.

Of these, the Toyota Camry Ascent 2.5 8sp Auto Sedan is the most affordable, coming in at $1,123.20 per month to own and run, on average. It beats the hybrid variant by a whisker, with the Toyota Camry Ascent Hybrid 2.5 CVT costing a little under $10 per month more. Both the petrol and hybrid variants are also the cheapest to service.  

The most efficient medium car is the Honda Accord VTi-LX Hybrid 2.0 CVT Sedan, with its average monthly petrol use of $103.04 well below the segment average of $151.94. The Skoda Octavia 110TSI Ambition 1.4 Turbo 8SP Auto Sedan is the leading petrol car for fuel efficiency, with an average monthly fuel spend of $146.78. 

The Hyundai Sonata N-line 4dr Coupe 2.5 Auto 8sp DSG is the thirstiest of the medium cars surveyed, with owners expected to shell out an average of $194.10 at the bowser per month. It is also the most expensive to service ($48.50 per month) - that’s more than double the average monthly servicing costs for the Toyota Camry Ascent’s petrol and hybrid variants. 

When it comes to on-road costs, Mazda’s popular Mazda6 Sport 2.5 6sp Auto Sedan is the cheapest, averaging a total spend of $189.38 per month. This is nearly $100 less than the Honda Accord VTi-LX 1.5 Turbo CVT Sedan, which is the segment’s most pricey at $280.36 per month.  


Red Toyota RAV4 SUV prked in front of cafe with umbrella in background

The top-selling Toyota RAV4 is also the most-affordable medium SUV to own and run in 2022.

Most affordable medium-sized SUVs to own and run

SUVs are now the car of choice for many Australians. 

Sports Utility Vehicles now represent just over half (52 per cent) of all new car sales in Australia, with medium-sized SUVs under $60,000 accounting for nearly 30 per cent of all SUV sales.

SUVs present great value as both a compact family car or zippy urban runaround, costing less (on average) to own and run than a medium-sized sedan, according to RACV’s Car Running Costs survey. 

To find the cheapest medium SUV, the RACV survey included a selection of the country’s best-selling models, including the Hyundai Tucson Elite, Mazda CX-5 Maxx, Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport, Mitsubishi Outlander ES, Subaru Forester 2.0e-L Hybrid, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4 GXL and Toyota RAV4 GXL 2.5 Hybrid, putting them through their paces to determine which is the most affordable to own and run, on average. 

It’s little surprise that the country’s top-selling passenger car, and third-highest-selling car overall, the Toyota RAV4 GXL 2.0 FWD CVT, has emerged as the cheapest to own. 

The RAV4 GXL petrol model costs an average of $1,245.08 per month to own and run, just marginally less than its hybrid sibling at $1,263.10. As well as being the most fuel-efficient, the Toyota twins are also the cheapest to service, with monthly costs of around $22 amounting to half the segment average.

Of the cars surveyed, The Mitsubishi Outlander ES 2.5 AWD CVT has the lowest purchase price ($41,967.80) and the cheapest average monthly on-road costs ($182.71), but is the least efficient for fuel consumption ($186.91), which pushes it out of the top spot.

The most expensive of the cars surveyed is the Mazda CX-5 Maxx Sport 2.2 T/dsl AWD 6sp Auto, costing $50,207.20 to buy and $1,424.67 to run, on average, per month. 

Medium-sized SUVs are also the leading category in terms of value retention, with average depreciation for the segment (40.8 per cent) the lowest of all the categories. 


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.