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Top 10 most expensive cars to maintain in 2020

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Updated 25 Mar 2021

Rowan Johnstone

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Cars come in all shapes and sizes, and all have their own expenses when it comes to owning and maintaining them.

Generally, cars that cost more to buy also cost more to maintain. You need to consider this before buying!

AutoGuru helps hundreds of thousands of Aussies each year better care for their cars, and we’ve got a pretty good idea of what the most expensive models to maintain were in 2020.

Take a look, and see if the car you’ve got your eye on has made the list!

Note - The cars on the list must have had at least 100 bookings through AutoGuru in 2020 to be listed. So no, don’t expect this list to be dominated by Ferraris and Lamborghinis. This list is also based on average booking values, so it’s not the be-all and end-all.

1. Volkswagen Amarok

By Vauxford - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

For the second year in a row, Volkswagen's entry into the highly competitive 4x4 ute category tops the list as the most expensive car to service or repair.

The most common service interval for the Amarok in 2020 was the 60,000km / 48-month service which set owners back about $474 on average. However, a very close second was the 105,000km / 84-month service which on average costs over $1,100! The most common repair was for timing belt replacements (about $1,000 on average).

2. Isuzu D-Max

By Vauxford - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Making the list for the first time is the Isuzu D-Max. The D-Max is a very competitive option in the 4x4 ute category and has become increasingly popular with buyers.

The 100,000km / 60-month interval was the average service booked, costing on average over $410. The most common repair looks to be to clean and repack the wheel bearings, which set owners back an average of $900!

3. Mitsubishi Triton

By TuRbO_J from Adelaide, Australia CC BY 2.0

The Triton makes it three out three for utes! The Triton came in at second for 2019, however, dropped back to third thanks to the appearance of the D-Max.

The most common service in 2020 was the 75,000km / 60-month interval, and on average came with a price of $393. The most common repairs for the Triton was for a timing belt replacement, which owners were forking out an average of $1,200 for.

Two out of two for utes! The Triton comes in at second for 2019, with the most common service being the 75,000km / 60-month interval. The most common repairs for the Triton was for front brake pad replacements and windscreen replacements.

4. Jeep Grand Cherokee

By FotoSleuth - Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, CC BY 2.0

You bought a Jeep! Our first American made model to find its way on our list and one to break the tide of 4x4 utes.

2020 saw Grand Cherokee owners most commonly book in for 90,000km / 54-month logbook services. On average, they paid around $320. The most common repair was for an alternator replacement, and that set owners back about $1,100 on average.

5. BMW X5

By Charles01 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

The BMW X5 is the second model to make its way onto this list for the first time. As a luxury European of SUV, I’m not sure anyone one will be completely surprised to see it here, but let’s see how the stigma actually shapes up.

From a servicing perspective, BMW uses a method called ‘condition based servicing’, which basically means that there are no set tasks at each kilometre interval. A scan tool is plugged in and your car basically tells the technician what needs to be replaced then and there. The average price for this service is $750, however they can all vary in terms of tasks completed.

The most common repair booked for the X5 was for a rocker/valve cover gasket replacement. This cost owners about $420 on average.

6. Mazda BT-50

By RL GNZLZ from Chile - Mazda BT-50 SDX 2016, CC BY-SA 2.0

The BT-50 is our fourth 4x4 ute to make the list. As of late 2020, the BT-50 is actually a twin to the Isuzu D-Max, with both cars using the same underpinnings and engine, with different shells and interiors, so we may expect to see them remain close together on this list for a few years to come.

The most commonly booked service for the BT-50 in 2020 was the 120,000km / 144-month service, which cost on average about $600.

The most common repair was for an AC Compressor replacement, which set back owners nearly $1,200.

7. Toyota Landcruiser Prado

By EurovisionNim - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Toyota’s first appearance on the list comes in the form of their popular Landcruiser Prado.

Whilst the versatile ‘go-anywhere’ 4x4 family wagon inherits the excellent reputation of its non-wagon Landcruiser counterparts, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll be cheap when they do go in for maintenance work.

The most popular service was the 100,000km / 60-month service, which cost on average $360. Alternator replacements look to be the most commonly booked repair for the Landcruiser Prado in 2020, costing around $640 on average.

8. Jeep Wrangler

By Vauxford - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

The second entry for Jeep! The Jeep hero car finds its way to number eight on our list for the second year in a row. In 2020, Jeep Wranglers were most commonly booked in for a 60,000km / 30-month logbook service and on average it cost around $340.

Wranglers most commonly booked in for spark plug replacements, which on average set them back about $460.

9. Mitsubishi Pajero

By オーバードライブ83 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Mitsubishi’s second appearance on this list and, unsurprisingly, it’s the wagon counterpart to their Triton ute.

Pajero owners used AutoGuru to mostly book 75,000km / 60-month logbook services with an average cost of $400, and timing belt replacements were the most common repair, coming in at over $1,200 on average.

10. Volkswagen Jetta

By Charles01 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Here we have a model that’s bucking the trend of this list completely! The Volkswagen Jetta is a small sedan and sat somewhere between the Golf and the Passat in Volkswagen’s lineup. It now finds its way to tenth on our most expensive cars to maintain list in 2020.

In 2020, Passat owners were commonly booking in for 105,000km / 84-month services at an average cost of $656. The most common repair that was booked in for were timing belt replacements, and these were setting owners back $950 on average.

So there we have it. The top 10 most expensive cars to maintain in 2020, based on having at least 100 AutoGuru bookings. Did your current or next car make the list?

As a bonus. I’ll add the five most expensive cars to maintain, irrespective of how many bookings they had, just in case you were curious.

  • Land Rover Discovery
  • Audi S3 Cabrio
  • Volkswagen Caddy
  • BMW 4-Series Cabriolet
  • Land Rover Defender
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Written By

Rowan Johnstone

On weekdays Rowan can be found in the AutoGuru office, driving content and growth with the rest of the marketing team.

On weekends you’ll probably find him in the garage with his father restoring a 1958 Ford Star Model Customline or enjoying a cruise through the Gold Coast hinterland on his Suzuki GSX-R600.

Despite his passion for being behind the wheel (or handlebars), he looks forward to the day when he can commute to work in his own driverless car.