2014 Mazda6 Red

Purchase price is typically the number that most car shoppers fixate on, but Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com says those initial costs can be outweighed by the out-of-pocket expenses that follow in the first five years of ownership. That is why the automotive-research site compiles its annual 5-Year Cost to Own Awards, which give vehicles buyers a clearer picture of long-term costs. In this year’s awards, KBB.com recognized Mazda as the most affordable auto brand in America.

For its 2013 5-Year Cost to Own Awards, KBB.com determined its winners based not only on purchase price and depreciation, but also on costs related to fuel, financing, insurance, state fees, repairs and maintenance. Mazda was predicted to have the lowest overall ownership costs of any automaker during a five-year period, thanks to its above-average fuel-economy ratings, low maintenance costs and high resale value. Meanwhile, the 2013 Mazda5 earned individual recognition in the Minivan/Van category.

“It’s easy to get hung up on the price of a vehicle, but taking the long view ensures a more satisfying car-ownership experience as the years go by,” said Jeanette Downing, general manager of Goodwin Mazda, a Brunswick, Maine Mazda dealer. “Mazda’s lineup manages to appeal equally to the head and the heart by offering plenty of performance, style and technology without costing owners much for maintenance or fuel.”

Mazda’s fuel-efficient lineup recently welcomed a new member to the family: the redesigned 2014 Mazda6. As the second Mazda vehicle to feature the brand’s full suite of efficiency-focused SKYACTIV technologies, the latest Mazda6 jumps to the head of the midsize-sedan class with its 38-mpg rating on the highway. The first model to fully embrace the SKYACTIV suite, the Mazda CX-5 compact crossover, also leads its segment by returning 35 mpg on the highway.

Fuel efficiency isn’t the only area where the Mazda6 mimics the CX-5, as both models feature Mazda’s KODO, or Soul of Motion, design language. In the sedan, that means an aggressive five-point grille flanked by sweeping, angular headlights that pull back over the flared front fenders, a look that is punctuated in the rear by dual exhaust pipes. Inside, the 2014 Mazda6 features advanced technology like an available 5.8-inch touchscreen with voice recognition, which makes for simple and safe control of the navigation system and audio settings.

“Midsize sedans have a reputation for being bland and boring, but the new Mazda6 turns that notion on its head,” Downing noted. “Mazda has made a name for itself by building exciting vehicles that buck trends, but the new Mazda6 really takes that idea to new heights with its daring design.”