Suzuki SX4 Sport
Base price: $14,999
Fuel cost: $9327
Cost of ownership: $29,013
Suzuki's SX4 is the most expensive car to operate over a five year period, primarily due to the car's steep depreciation and middling fuel economy. On the highway, the SX4 achieves a respectable, if not stellar, 31 mpg. It's the 23-mpg EPA city rating that really calls the SX4's subcompact credentials into question. Estimated fuel costs for five years are more than $1000 higher than any other car in the comparison. Additionally, after five years of use, the SX4 will be worth about $8650 less than its purchase price.
With 143 hp on tap, the SX4 is the brute of the subcompact bunch, beating all of the other cars by more than 30 hp. The clutch and shifter work well together and short gearing makes sprightly acceleration part of the Suzuki's DNA. The Suzuki's ride, however, is less than ideal. While the SX4 sedan we drove only comes in front-wheel drive, its five-door hatchback sibling is unique to the subcompact class in offering standard all-wheel drive for the snow-averse.