Dear Driving for Dollars,
I'm buying a new car and trying to decide between a fully loaded car from a nonluxury brand or a luxury car brand with similar features that costs about the same. How do I figure out which one is the better value?
-- Lisa

Dear Lisa,
To determine value, look at your overall cost of ownership for each car.

You can use an independent car information site to get basic ownership data such as projected costs of maintenance and repairs. Then, add in your personal car insurance costs for each vehicle.

Also, estimate the fuel costs based on the number of miles you drive annually and the cost of gas in your area. It's likely you will find the luxury car brand will cost more to own overall.

Car insurance, repair and maintenance are typically higher on luxury car brands. But you can't be sure until you take the numbers for your situation and the cars under consideration.

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