What motivates you to buy a green car?

For some, it's the desire to do just a little to help the environment. For others, it might be the technology. Some may simply want to save money.

If the latter is a major factor, you may be interested to know that the cheapest car to run over five years is the 2013 Scion iQ, according to Kelley Blue Book.

While its gas mileage may not top the charts--though 37 mpg combined could hardly be described as terrible--the iQ has several other factors in its favor.

For a start, it's cheap to buy in the first place. Purchase costs don't affect cost of ownership, but they do mean the car has little to lose in depreciation over the five years.

It also scores well on fuel, maintenance, insurance and repair costs too, with a predicted five-year ownership cost of $27,006.

For comparison, the best hybrid in the list was Honda's Insight, with a five-year cost of $33,014. KBB praised its quality, reliability and fuel efficiency ratings--but it's still over $6,000 more expensive to run over five years than the diminutive iQ.

According to Scion vice-president Doug Mertha, “For the urban driver looking for maneuverability, impressive fuel economy and style, the iQ is an excellent choice.”

That might be the case, but the public isn't buying it--figuratively or literally.

Both the iQ and the even tinier Smart Fortwo have sold poorly, reflecting the fact that while graced with clever names, neither offers anything to U.S. customers that they can't get in larger, faster, more comfortable cars.

If you're looking for a cheap car to run, the iQ is that car. But you'll probably buy something else...


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