"This tool should be first stop for anyone who is in the market for a car"

 We invited self-confessed car geek and prolific blogger Debbie Mountford - aka Motor Mistress - to test drive CAP's free Total Cost of Motoring tool. Here's her verdict ...

Buying or Leasing your Next Car?


If you are, you need to read this first…

It’s about time that consumers had the same sort of privilege that the motor trade has had for years. I am talking about knowing what their car will be worth in the future.

In most cases, future residual values have been something of an unknown quantity for private buyers and until recently, car buying decisions have often been made on the initial cost of the car (or the cost of the lease). The cheaper the car, the more affordable it is – right?

Wrong. Vehicles depreciate at different rates depending on make and model (and even trim level and specification). If you are buying, choosing a car that hits the D word hard could lose you quite a lot of money when you come to sell it on – it is only at this stage that many buyers find out what their car has actually cost them.

This is no way to acquire a car; after all, it is likely to be one of the biggest investments that any household will make. And I say “investment” lightly – a car will not (usually!) appreciate, after all.

Factors to consider…

Due to the rising (and in some cases, crippling) fuel costs, private buyers have become more aware of the total cost of ownership. Cars are being chosen nowadays for economy reasons – both fuel and insurance. Both of these factors are crucial points when buyers are budgeting for their next car.

Buying patterns are also changing; the traditional family D-Sector cars (like the Mondeo) are being swapped-in for more practical cars that suit the needs of everyday family life. For example, the compact SUV (sports utility vehicle) and compact MPV (multi-purpose vehicles) are now top on a lot of wish-lists.

It is worth noting that some of the cheaper cars - that have a heavier depreciation scale than some premium marque models - will actually lose you less than some of the more expensive cars that fare better in terms of resale values. This is quite simply because the less the car costs, the less you generally stand to lose.

So, let’s not make it any more complicated than it needs to be. You will be no doubt considering the following when it comes to making your next vehicle decision:

  • Fuel Economy
  • Insurance Costs
  • Road Tax
  • Depreciation

Whilst you can make your own spreadsheets and find out some of these points yourself, it is tricky to forecast depreciation. But now, people, you can.

CAP Total Cost of Motoring Tool

For many years, CAP Automotive have been the industry leaders in forecasting residual values. They set the bar in the leasing sector. They are one (if not the) determining force when it comes to setting leasing figures.

They study buying trends, sales figures, facts and almost anything that affects the way that a vehicle is predicted to be worth in the future.

Whist the industry deprecation forecast tool (which is called CAP Monitor) is not available for consumers, the clever bods at CAP have developed a free, online buying tool that takes their expert knowledge and puts it together with the other factors explored herein to create a calculation tool that will advise consumers what their car will cost them over the course of ownership.

By clicking on CAP Total Cost of Motoring website, you can enter your registration (or indeed, model details), complete a few simple stages of qualification questions (like what you will be buying it for, whether you are paying cash or taking on finance and estimated insurance costs) and the tool will come up with the following:

  • Total Cost of Motoring  (for the term of ownership)
  • Total monthly running cost
  • Running cost per mile

It will have considered the following factors and detail them for you in easy to understand form:

  • Road Tax costs
  • Fuel costs
  • Depreciation
  • Servicing and maintenance costs
  • Insurance (you provide this part of the calculation)

In addition, when you get to the findings screen, you can quickly compare any other cars that may be on your list. Simple.

Leasing – vs – Buying

As I have already touched upon, a vehicles’ future predicted value will be a major factor in its monthly leasing cost. It is always a good idea to fix your costs where motoring is concerned.

Whether you are looking at buying or leasing, it is still good to compare all of the factors listed above so that you can, at least, know what your overall monthly budget should be.

Why not compare your leasing deal with depreciation figures on the CAP Total Cost of Motoring tool? Remember than many leasing providers can often also find you some great deals when it comes to financing and buying outright.

You can also compare servicing and maintenance costs using the TCM tool and see if it will work out cheaper for you to take a non-maintained or fully maintained contract if you do decide to lease.


I feel very strongly that private buyers should be armed with this sort of information before they enter into any sort of vehicle purchase. I want to help tell people all about it – this tool should be first stop for anyone who is in the market for a car, no matter how they are planning to fund it.

Until now, buying a car hasn’t been an easy, clear-cut task for many of you. And that’s the point – until now.

The team at Motor Mistress wholly recommend the CAP Total Cost of Motoring online tool; help us spread the love and help to get the word about if you feel that others can benefit from it.




Motor Mistress is an Automotive and Leasing Industry expert. The Motor Mistress team provides original content, social media management, bespoke project consultation & implementation, newsroom provision, car reviews and much more to clients nationwide. Contact Motor Mistress for more information, or follow her on Twitter @MotorMistress.