But even cars that cost the same can have different depreciation, fuel costs, maintenance, insurance and repair expenses. This Edmunds car ownership calculator can be a valuable research tool when you're comparing vehicles, whether they're of the same type (two sedans or two SUVs, for example) or of very different types. In addition to using this tool on Edmunds mobile and desktop sites, you can find ownership cost information on the Edmunds car-shopping app for iOS and Android devices.
For the most powerful application of this car ownership information, look for it in the Compare Cars feature on Edmunds. Select two or more vehicles and then click "Ownership Costs" on the top navigation, or just scroll down. You can easily scan across the screen and see the ownership costs, side by side. Additionally, the chart lists an average cost-per-mile figure.
You can use this tool to help you decide between very different vehicles. Let's say you want a sports car — maybe a 2018 Corvette coupe. Your significant other wants a luxury sedan — maybe a 2018 Cadillac CTS. You can dive into the comparative ownership costs of both vehicles for more clarity on the decision.
The Corvette is more expensive: an MSRP of $66,490 versus the CTS' MSRP of $52,990. When you review the Edmunds car ownership data, you find that over five years, the Corvette will cost more to fuel and insure. The CTS, however, has higher estimated repair costs and maintenance. The CTS also loses more value over five years than the Corvette. But on an average cost-per-mile basis, they're within a penny of each other: $1.07 for the Corvette and $1.06 for the CTS. Now the decision is down to what's best for your lifestyle.
Perhaps even more valuable are the comparisons you can make when you've narrowed down your choices within a car type.
For this example, let's look at three common competitors among luxury compact SUVs: the 2018 Acura RDX, the 2018 BMW X3 and the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300. While all three have similar prices, the estimated five-year cost of ownership ranges from $55,538 for the RDX up to $71,580 for the X3. The GLC 300 sits between the two, at $65,793.
The cost-related pros and cons of each are visible at a glance, from fuel costs (the RDX is the priciest; its fuel economy is not as good as the other two) to insurance (the GLC 300 hits the wallet the hardest) to depreciation (the X3 falls furthest).