Higher interest rates and increasing fuel costs have increased the average cost of vehicle ownership by five per cent, the RACT says.

Using Tasmanian specific data, all expenses associated with normal car ownership (purchase price, interest, fuel, servicing, new tyres, insurance and depreciation) are taken into account to allow buyers to compare vehicles not only within one class but across all classes.

The survey results help consumers see where their money goes in every aspect of vehicle ownership, from buying a car to fuel efficiency and servicing.

RACT General Manager Member Assist Darren Moody said this year’s cheapest car to own and run, for the third year in a row, was the Suzuki Celerio.

“At $94.12 a week, the Celerio is more than $7.70 or eight per cent a week cheaper than the second-placed Kia Picanto,” he said.

“The Suzuki is $1.38 a week more than last year, mainly attributable to an increase in fuel and interest costs.

“Suzuki was also found to be the leading car in the increasingly popular Small SUV category with the Vitara beating the Honda HRV into second place.”

In the largest volume small car class, the Kia Cerato S was cheapest to run with a weekly cost of $119.16, more than $20 per week cheaper than the next cheapest car and $10 per week less than last year’s survey.

Mr Moody said comparing the leading Cerato small car to the cheapest small SUV, the Suzuki Vitara at $142.84 a week, would add more than $6,156 in costs over a five year ownership period.

Mazda’s CX-5 was the cheapest vehicle to own and operate in the fast growing medium SUV category at $177.70 a week, while in the increasingly popular dual-cab 4WD category, the Mitsubishi Triton topped the list for the third consecutive year at $211.83 per week.

Toyota Land Cruiser GXL Petrol kept its crown as the most expensive non electric vehicle in the survey with an estimated on-road price of $89,679. The Land Cruiser costs owners a hefty $352.87 a week to keep on the road.

New to this year’s survey are pure electric vehicles from BMW and Tesla. While the cost per kilometre to run these vehicles is very competitive, high initial purchase prices and large depreciation costs over the five year ownership period blow out the overall costs significantly, with a Tesla Model X estimated to cost more than $500 per week to own and run.

Mr Moody said depreciation was the biggest hidden cost of car ownership with on average 42 per cent of the total cost of ownership over five years being attributed to it.

“While the survey generally takes into account the manufacturer’s list price (MLP) when calculating the weekly cost, there are many manufacturers offering ongoing competitive drive-away pricing below MLP which has been included in this survey,” he said.

“With the end of financial year looming, there are often great deals to be found as dealers look to clear stock.”

Calculations are based on private ownership for five-years and driving an average 12,000 kilometres per year.

This year the RACT Vehicle Operating Cost survey studied 134 popular vehicles, up from 125 vehicles in 2016.