We understand that the cost of car insurance might not be a consideration when selecting a new car. It of course is part of the total cost of ownership, and it’s usually the second highest expense, only behind the price you pay for the car. It’s a fact that insurers base customers policy premiums in part on what car is being covered, and every make and model is priced differently. Some are rather affordable, as recently discovered by Forbes when they looked at average insurance premiums. Unsurprisingly, many of the cheapest to insure are family-oriented vehicles, with minivans topping all comers. A mix of both American and Japanese choices are present, but Japan provides 70 percent of those here. but Sport utility vehicles and even a venerable Jeep also make appearances.
American families are rather fond of the Toyota Highlander, and really, there aren’t many reasons not to like this crossover SUV. It drives, handles and rides like a car, yet offers the flexibility that only a sport utility can offer. However, it is a bit cramped for space compared to some competitors. With an MSRP of $28,000, buyers can also expect an annual car insurance premium that averages at $1,154.02.
Our first American entry on the list, the Ford Escape is also a very popular car with families and those without them. We should note that the 2013 Escape will drop next summer, and it’s an all new model. In our opinion, it’s a much better looking vehicle, with design traits that share much in common with the looks of the Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus. And we suspect it will bring the Escape to the top of the heap in the small SUV segment. But, if you’re ok with a soon to be out of date model, you’ll probably find decent deals off the MSRP of $21,240. You can also expect to pay an average car insurance premium of $1,150.26 annually.
There’s no doubt that equipping a Toyota Sienna with a V6 is a superior experience to one that has the base four-cylinder engine under the hood. Even better, the V6 is rated for 19 city/24 highway in EPA estimated fuel economy – that’s the exact same numbers the littler engine puts out. MSRP starts at $26,145 and buyers can expect an average annual insurance cost of $1,142.94.
We won’t lie. Even though the Odyssey offers nimble and competent handling, it, like other minivans, isn’t exactly fun to drive. But you could do much worse than the Odyssey, as it’s either at, or near, the top of its class segment. The EX is an upscale version, but it’s by no means the highest trim level available on Honda’s people mover. MSRP clocks in at $31,225 and buyers will find an average annual insurance cost of $1,138.16.
Some would consider the Jeep Wrangler a bit uncivilized, even if engineers have added a bit more refinement – just a bit – to this venerable off-road capable classic. But it is so much fun, even if you’re not taking advantage of its ability to tread in dirt, mud and climb near anything. Fuel economy is poor, but we suspect buyers won’t care. MSRP starts at $25,545 and the average annual insurance premium checks in at $1,131.27.
Nissan certainly isn’t afraid to take risks with the Murano platform, as it’s now offered in aconvertible version. Like all smaller SUVs, this mid-sized one doesn’t offer the vast space of full sized SUVs. Thus, you may find the Murano cramped for cargo space, even as it offers a wealth of interior space for passengers. The Murano has an MSRP of $29,290 and buyers should expect an average annual insurance premium of $1,127.89.
Unlike the offering from Toyota, Honda’s entry level LX trim doesn’t skimp with a four cylinder power plant. But then, the Honda is also considerably more expensive than the base Sienna as well. With a starting MSRP of $28,075, drivers of this people hauler can expect an average annual insurance premium of $1,114.62.
The LE trim level offers a few nice upgrades over the base Sienna, including a V6 standard, 8 passenger seating, and entertainment options like iPod input and bluetooth, not to mention electronic stability control (ESC), as standard features. With an MSRP just north of $26,000, buyers of this minivan will pay an average annual car insurance premium of $1,107.70.
The cheapest to insure of the three Toyota Siennas on this top list is of course the cheapest one you can buy. Even though this is a base model, it can still come nicely equipped, even though we think you’d be better off selecting the LE or SE trims. MSRP for the Toyota Sienna is $25,060, and buyers will pay an average annual car insurance premium of $1,100.66.