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SUVs vs Estate: Which costs the most to maintain?

Stephen Wright, 1 year ago

5 min read

  • Advice
  • Maintenance
IMG 5260

SUVs have become increasingly popular of late in the UK with every car manufacturer purposefully launching new models to supply our insatiable appetite for this particular style of car. But how does it compare in terns of maintenance costs with the traditional estate car?

So, with this trend in mind, we have crunched the numbers to see which of these workhorses - the SUV or the traditional estate car - performs the better when it comes to ongoing maintenance costs.

Content Guide

  • Digging for data

  • Average service costs

  • Brakes

  • Expert opinion 

Digging for data generates a monumental amount of data every day as thousands of jobs are posted by drivers and quoted on by garages.

So we decided to pull this data together, and given that SUVs and estate cars actually share many of the same components, the results and running costs should be relatively close.

To this end we’ve decided to compare some of the best-selling SUV and estate models from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen

Average servicing costs of SUVs vs. Estate

Below is the graph for the average cost of all services for the most popular SUV’s on the roads and their estate equivalents. As would be expected, the SUV’s mostly do cost more to run vs the equivalent Estates, but our data did throw up some unexpected figures.

SUVs vs Estate: Which Costs the Most to Maintain  breakdown based on models

Quite surprisingly Audi SU’s appear to be cheaper to service than the estates on which they are based! Furthermore, they are cheaper than the Volkswagen models, despite them being owned by the same company.

Costs are what we would expect with SUV’s generally costing more to service than the estates on which they are based. The difference is relatively small with the biggest price gap being £40 for Volkswagen.

Parts such as an air filter cam be swapped like for like from an estate and SUV which is why servicing costs overall are extremely close.

SUVs vs Estate: Which Costs the Most to Maintain - cost based on full service

Brake systems

However, the picture changes significantly when looking at brake systems. In general SUV drivers are getting charged more to fix and replace parts of a brake system than the equivalent estate drivers across all the manufacturers.

SUVs vs Estate: Which Costs the Most to Maintain brake repair

Expert opinion

So, despite an SUV and estate being manufactured by the same brand and being extremely close in terms of retail cost, why do they differ so much in price?

To understand things better, we decided to get an expert opinion from Ross, a highly experienced trained mechanic who owns Ross Motors in South East London.

“Essentially the SUV is a significantly heavier vehicle and this impacts on the price of repair in several ways.

Firstly, the brakes and brake pads have to deal with a higher amount of kinetic energy meaning they are subject to stronger forces and may be more likely to break more regularly and severely.

Secondly, many SUV’s are fitted with EPB’s, which stands for Electronic Parking Brake’s. These parts can be included in repair work when it comes to the braking system of an SUV which means more work may be required and hence the rise in price.

Lastly, because the SUV is typically heavier, a bigger and more powerful ramp is required to lift the vehicle whereas a simple jack may be enough for an estate.

As there is more work involved and specialist equipment is required, labour costs will rise as a result."

There you have it. SUVs tend to be more expensive to maintain due to their size and weight and the extra labour costs associated with this. Definitely worth considering when thinking about whether or not to buy an SUV and estate next time round.