The spring/summer 1997 figures give total costs - calculated by combining rental, insurance and fuel costs - for popular models based on three year/60,000 mile cycles. Rental figures include delivery, collection, servicing, maintenance, road duty, breakdown recovery and provision of a replacement vehicle for 28 days to cover accident or breakdown.
In the small car section the Fiat Punto 1.1 55 SX 5-door came out top with a total cost of £11,876, compared to a purchase price of £8,480. Second was the Citroen Saxo 1.1 SX 5-door (purchase price of £9,035, total cost £12,112), followed by the Nissan Micra 1.3 GX 5-door (purchase price £9,995, total cost £12,141).
Fiat also topped the lower medium car section with the Brava 1.4 S 5-door (purchase price £10,768, total cost £13,733). Second place went to the Nissan Almera 1.4 Si 5-door (purchase price £12,205, total cost £14,278), while the Peugeot 306 1.4 XL 5-door was third (purchase price £12,230, total cost £14,380).
The upper medium section was headed by the Nissan Primera 1.6 GX 5-door (purchase price £14,130, total cost £16,266). Second place went to the Renault Laguna 1.8 RT 5-door (purchase price £13,295, total cost £16,465), with the Toyota Carina E 1.8 GS 5-door (purchase price £14,109, total cost £16,476) in third.
The Vauxhall Vectra 1.8i 16v LS topped the medium estate league with a purchase price of £15,560 and total cost of £18,063, followed by the Vectra 2.0 Di LS in second place with a purchase price of £16,500 and a total cost of £18,364. In third place was the Nissan Primera 2.0 GX (purchase price £15,810, total cost £18,493).
The management cars section was headed by the Renault Laguna 2.0 RXE 5-door (purchase price £16,010, total cost £19,198). Second was the Volkswagen Passat 1.8 SE 20V 4-door (purchase price £16,339, total cost £19,722), while third was the Honda Accord 2.0 LS 4-door (purchase price £17,295, total cost £19,761).
The Mercedes C220 2.2 Classic 4-door was top of the executive cars category with a purchase price of £21,225 and a total cost of £22,264. Second was the Vauxhall Omega 2.0 16v GLS 4-door (purchase price £20,350, total cost £23,098), followed by the Nissan QX 2.0 V6 SE 4-door (purchase price £20,605, total cost £23,564).
Top executive estate was the Land Rover Discovery 300 2.5 Tdi S (purchase price £23,865, total cost £24,995). This was followed by the Jeep Cherokee 2.5 TD Limited SE (purchase price £24,705, total cost £25,643) and the BMW 323i 2.5 Touring (purchase price £23,805, total cost £26,154).
Luxury cars were headed by the Mercedes E230 2.3 Classic (auto) 4-door which has a total cost of £28,552 - £4,683 below average - compared to a purchase price of £29,300. Second was the Rover Sterling 2.5 (auto) 4-door (purchase price £25,995, total cost £29,589) and third was the BMW 525 2.5 TDS SE (auto) 4-door (purchase price £28,565, total cost £29,851).
Cheapest total costs among the coupes was the Renault Megane 2.0 16v 2-door (purchase price £16,495, total cost £20,287), followed by the Rover 1.8 VVC 2-door (purchase price £17,850, total cost £21,202) and the Ford Probe 2.0 3-door (purchase price £18,565, total cost £21,398).
Top of the people carriers was the Mitsubishi Space Wagon 2.0 GLXi 5-door (purchase price £16,469, total cost £19,277), with the Nissan Serena 2.0 Excursion 5-door in second place (purchase price £17,105, total cost £19,420), followed by the Renault Espace 2.0 RN Helios 5-seater 5-door (purchase price £17,255, total cost £20,875).