When buying a second-hand car, one of the main considerations buyers face is how much it’ll cost to run them throughout their course of ownership. In normal circumstances, people don’t want a car that’ll cause them sleepless nights and constant headaches every time they take it for a drive. If you’re buying something like a used Bentley Continental GT, you can probably be prepared to deal with the expensive running costs. But a normal family car shouldn’t burn your wallet.
In the United States, a quality used car is imperative given the current state of the market and the constant supply chain woes affecting new vehicles. So, if you wish to keep your sensible hat on, avoid these ten most expensive American cars to maintain cited by Consumer Reports.
10 Dodge Grand Caravan – $500/Year
The Dodge Grand Caravan is a popular choice in the minivan segment, but unfortunately, consumer reports have cited sky-high running costs to keep them on the road.
At an average of $500 per year, it ranks much higher than a lot of decent family cars. So, the risk of emptying your wallet is much higher with a Grand Caravan than a Ford Focus. Still, we can at least imagine this Dodge is less heavy on fuel than the insane Challenger SRT Demon.
9 Ford Explorer – $500/Year
The Explorer pioneered the SUV segment in the U.S. when it was first introduced in the early 1990s and made famous in Jurassic Park. But as technological development soldiered on throughout the 2000s and 2010s, running one probably won’t be the best idea.
Considering it’s a large car designed for families, you’d expect a Ford to be relatively easy on the finances. But it doesn’t seem like the case with a used Explorer at an average of $500 per year through repairs and maintenance. Given that the Explorer was a pioneer of the SUV trend in America, it’s worth looking at how far they’ve come in 2023 in terms of hybrid technology.
8 Jeep Grand Cherokee – $500/Year
The Jeep Grand Cherokee was a desirable choice for off-road enthusiasts in the past – particularly with the XJ generation which has earned quite the cult status today.
The newer cars, however, have been developed to suit a more premium buyer, and one could argue this is having quite a negative effect on the costs of keeping one on the road. The Grand Cherokee commands $500 a year on average – making it just as temperamental as the Explorer which sits in a similar segment. Of course, if you want a Hemi V8, you can probably deal with the costs. But a standard trim? You might be better off looking elsewhere.
7 Jeep Wrangler – $500/year
Another surprising entrant to the list is the car that was supposed to be Jeep’s workhorse: the Wrangler. At $500 a year, it appears that consumer reports are just as unkind to the Wrangler as they are to the Grand Cherokee.
This is especially worrying as the days of simple maintenance on such things appear to be over. The Wrangler appears to be at premium levels in terms of running costs, so if you plan on buying one and applying modifications for off-road use, then keep the potentially crippling running costs in mind. It can be the same story with trucks unfortunately as these cheap-to-buy but expensive-to-maintain examples prove.
6 Buick Enclave – $505/Year
Another entry into the crossover/SUV segment is the Buick Enclave. Designed as a 3-row luxury crossover and powered by thirsty V6 engines, the Enclave was the more upmarket version of the related Chevrolet Traverse.
With the upmarketness of the Enclave, comes upmarket running costs. At an average of $505 per year, the Enclave doesn’t seem very friendly to your wallet, despite seeming like a suitable everyday vehicle. But unfortunately, great candidates for daily drivers can also be wallet-burning items.
5 Cadillac SRX – $530/Year
As GM’s most upmarket brand, a Cadillac had to make the list at some point. Rather surprisingly, there is only one that’s on it. The SRX was Cadillac’s crossover that shared its platform with the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain.
At $530 per year on average to keep these things on the road, the SRX certainly isn’t a cheap thing to keep. Couple that with the reported safety recalls in 2010 due to engine failures of the 2.8 liter V6, and it’s probably best practice to avoid an SRX unless you know what to look for. The larger V6 powertrains didn’t suffer from the recalls, but that doesn’t make them any less expensive to run. Buyer beware.
4 Chevrolet Traverse – $590/Year
Bizarrely, the Chevrolet Traverse – despite being the less posh version of the Buick Enclave – scores higher average maintenance costs than its upmarket sibling.
At $590 per year, it really is worth doing your homework on the problem points of the Traverse and seeing if those jobs have been taken care of. Because if not, simply running a Traverse will empty your bank account.
Speaking of doing your research, it is worth doing so when looking into affordable sports cars such as the Aston Martin DB7 – otherwise, you will be hit with sky-high repair and maintenance bills.
3 Acura RDX – $700/Year
The only slight curve ball to the list as the RDX is made by Acura – a subdivision of Honda made primarily for the U.S. market and responsible for cars like the Integra in North America. The RDX is assembled in Ohio and because it’s marketed as a luxury crossover, running costs were never going to be the cheapest in the world.
Unfortunately, however, the RDX is one of the most expensive cars to repair and maintain conducted to consumer reports. At $700 a year on average, the RDX is an absolute bank mine waiting to explode.
If you were hoping to rely on Japanese reliability, you might want to think again regarding Honda’s upmarket crossover. Because chances are, you will probably be better off with a Toyota RAV-4 or Nissan Rogue. But other Japanese cars out there are indeed bulletproof, but you still have to keep a watchful eye for some.
2 GMC Acadia – $775/Year
At a stratospheric $775 per year is the GMC Acadia. It’s the third car that has a platform in common with the Enclave and Traverse – so if a theme of expensive maintenance and repairs is being reported, then it undoubtedly means you have to approach all 3 cars with a watchful eye.
But it seems that the GMC Acadia is the most expensive car to maintain in that family, so if you are after a GM product of a luxury crossover nature, this is the one to avoid if you want to keep your finances intact. Affordable Acadias may be tempting at first glance, but it along with other cheap SUVs demonstrate that huge money will be required to keep the things on the road.
1 Chevrolet Suburban – $900/Year
The Chevrolet Suburban has been in production since the 1930s and has always been a staple of the ultimate American family hauler. Naturally, as it shares its platform and running gear with the Cadillac Escalade, you could never expect running the enormous bus to be cheap. Judging from consumer reports, General Motors is high on the list of the most expensive automotive brand to maintain in America. But European cars like the BMW 5-Series which commands an average of $1,200 per year, can be a lot more expensive.
At $900 per year, the Suburban is the most expensive car to maintain on this list and commands a huge wallet for repairs and maintenance. And if you’re not prepared for that, this V8-powered SUV will almost certainly bankrupt the unsuspecting buyer.
Source: Consumer Reports