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

Blue MG3 Core driving along dusty country road

Tianna Nadalin

Posted November 07, 2022

The results from RACV’s latest Car Running Costs Survey show these are the most affordable new light cars, small cars, and small SUVs to own and run in 2022.

RACV’s latest Car Running Costs Survey has revealed the MG3 Core light hatchback is Australia’s cheapest car to own and run for the second year in a row, largely due to its relatively low purchase price and fuel consumption.

The top-ranking MG3 Core costs owners $734.84 per month on average, up from $626.50 in 2021. 

Despite the MG3's running costs increasing in 2022 from the year prior, it still edges out its nearest rival, the Kia Picanto S, which costs $746.31 per month - $12 more than the MG3. 

The annual Car Running Costs survey highlights what it costs to own and run some of the most popular new vehicles in Australia.  

This year’s survey compared the purchase price, loan repayments, fuel efficiency, servicing, maintenance and on-road costs – including insurance, registration and auto club membership – of 29 light cars, small cars and small SUVs, averaged out over a five-year ownership period, to determine which cars will drive your dollar furthest. 

With lower purchase prices, servicing costs and fuel consumption, light passenger cars are the most affordable segment overall, racking up an average monthly out-of-pocket of $857.16, or $10,285.92 per year.  They are the only segment with running costs that still average less than $1,000 per month.

For the first time in the survey’s history, small SUVs have pipped small cars for second place, with monthly running costs of $1,021.52 - that’s $43 less than the average monthly cost of a small car, which has crept up by $160 per month to $1,063.64 in 2022.

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Australia's Cheapest Cars Survey 2022 | RACV

Most affordable light cars to own and run in Victoria

Though light car sales have seen a steady decline in affordability over the past few years, these zippy urban runabouts still have their place in the market, presenting excellent value for money, particularly for a first-car buyer or downsizer. 

At $734.84 a month, the MG3 Core was the most affordable light car, as well as the most affordable car overall in the 2022 survey. The light 1.5L hatchback was also the cheapest to buy, with the base variant costing as little as $17,490.

In terms of fuel consumption, the Suzuki Swift Ser 2GL was the most efficient light hatch, with owners spending just $115.02 a month at the bowser. This was closely followed by the Toyota Yaris Ascent Sport, at $117.42 a month. 

The Yaris was also the cheapest car to service ($20.17 per month), while the Kia Picanto S had the lowest on-road costs (registration, insurance and auto-club membership), at $136.21.

At the other end of the scale, the Volkswagen Polo Trendline is the priciest of the light cars, costing owners $1,075.92 per month on average. It also has the highest on-road costs ($204.29) and is the most expensive to service ($54.05). 


White Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport parked in front of flower wall

Toyota's popular Carolla Ascent Sport is the survey's cheapest small car to own and run in 2022.

Most affordable small cars to own and run in Victoria

If you’re looking for a car that is roomier than a light hatch while still being light on costs, a small car ticks all the boxes. And despite average running costs creeping up to more than $1,000 per month in 2022, small cars still remain one of the most affordable segments. 

This year, RACV’s Car Running Costs survey compared eight of Australia's top-selling models, with all (except for the Honda Civic Turbo) costing $40,000 or less. The models included were the Honda Civic VTi, Hyundai i30, Kia Cerato S, Mazda3 G20 Pure, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport, Volkswagen Golf.

Of the vehicles included, the most affordable small car to own and operate is the Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport, with the petrol model’s running costs averaging $950.93 per month.

The segment’s top-selling Corolla Ascent is also the cheapest to buy, with its purchase price coming in at just slightly less than rival Hyundai’s i30, the second-highest selling car in the category. 

Of the small petrol cars, it was also the best in class for fuel efficiency at $143.78 per month, trumped only by its sibling, the Corolla Ascent Sport Hybrid, whose monthly fuel use ticks just over $100 ($100.64). The Ascent Hybrid is also the cheapest car to service. 

The Kia Cerato S and Mazda3 G20 Pure are neck-a-neck in terms of on-road costs, with both having similar purchase prices and average monthly on-road costs of $177.35. 

Honda’s Civic VTi Turbo was the least affordable small car, largely due to its higher purchase price ($47,200). The peppy hatchback will set owners back $1,352.81 per month.

The Volkswagen Golf is the second priciest of the small cars, with an estimated purchase price of $40,550.20, which equates to a monthly cost of $1,215.23. It is also the most expensive to service at $57.60 per month on average.

The average cost of owning and operating a small car in Australia is $1,064.88 per month, just slightly more than the cost of owning a small SUV ($1,021.52). 


Blue Kia Stonic S SUV parked in warehouse

The Kia Stonic S is the most affordable small SUV in RACV's 2022 Car Running Costs Survey.

Most affordable small SUVs to own and run in Victoria

Despite declining new car sales overall, SUVs are bucking the trend. The popular category now accounts for more than 50 per cent of all new car sales in Australia, with nearly a quarter of those being small SUVs under $40,000.

To find the most affordable small SUV, RACV has compared the running costs of 13 of the most popular models. The 2022 survey comprises the Haval Jolion, Hyundai Kona, Hyundai Venue, Kia Seltos S, Kia Stonic S, Mazda CX30 G20 Pure, Mazda CX-3 Neo Sport, MG ZST Excite, Mitsubishi ASX ES, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Subaru XV, Toyota Yaris Cross GX and the Toyota Yaris Cross GX Hybrid.

Driving home the title of cheapest small SUV to own and run is the sporty Kia Stonic S. The light SUV comes in at $905.89 a month, closely followed by the Hyundai Venue at $932.86. 

The Stonic and Venue are almost equal on purchase price and on-road costs, however it is the Stonic’s superior fuel efficiency ($138.98 per month) that sees it nudge ahead of the Venue ($172.53) as the most affordable to own and operate. 

When it comes to fuel use and servicing, the Toyota Yaris Cross GX in both petrol and hybrid models is best in class. The petrol model’s monthly fuel costs amount to $129.40, while the hybrid adds up to $91.06, both well below the segment average of $164.45 per month. 

At the other end of the scale, the Subaru XV is the most expensive of the small SUVs to own and run, costing owners $1205.41 a month. 


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.