Used cars

Cayenne For Civic Money: It Actually Makes Fiscal Sense(?)

Here’s the math to prove that you could own an ageing German super-SUV, and be better off than buying a brand new Civic. 

For those with a penchant for wandering the classifieds, you’ll probably already know that there are some rather amazing cars out there that are worth way less than you’d think. Depreciation after all is a wonderful thing, and nothing depreciates more than a luxury continental car.

Take the Porsche Cayenne for instance, the granddaddy of super-SUVs can now be yours for a mere pittance of around RM 40,000. And this ain’t even for some ratchety ancient example with a million miles on the clock too, as that really not very large chunk of change (which incidentally couldn’t even get you into a brand new base-spec Myvi) could seat anyone comfortably behind the leather-wrapped steering wheel of a clean first generation V6 example, that still wouldn’t look out of place outside the fanciest of hotel lobbies.

Now rather inevitably however, those with even the tiniest bit of fiscal sense would naturally be already aiming for the hills at even the slightest thought of owning an ageing German luxury SUV with a thirsty six-cylinder engine. Citing the astronomical fuel costs and crippling repair bills that would be all but a given with a used Cayenne, many would see owning said used Porsche as nothing more a one-way ticket to financial ruin.

But is that really true though? Would owning a used Porsche Cayenne actually be akin to committing financial suicide for anyone who is not an Arabic sheik, or a Malaysian politician?

Of course, the ownership costs associated with a Cayenne wouldn’t be the same as a Myvi, despite the relatively equal initial outlay. Though could someone who is perhaps in the market for a new Honda Civic be able to afford climbing into the Porsche instead?

Well, having run the (very rough) numbers, the surprising conclusion is that yes, you could realistically be the owner of a Cayenne for what it would cost to run a Civic. What more is that unless you’ve bought an absolute lemon of a Porsche, there could even be the argument for you to be better off with the old German SUV instead of the brand-new Honda too!

Unfortunately, the budget of this enterprise hasn’t stretched that far as to actually buy a used Cayenne and see if it’ll actually be cheaper to run than a Civic. So instead the next best thing to do is just crunch and compare a best guess for each estimate running costs. Rather unsurprisingly too, the arrival at this conclusion using this admittedly vague method does therefore require a few assumptions and approximations to be made, with the biggest one being that the following calculations only takes into account ownership costs for both cars over the coming five year and 50,000 km period only. Further clarification for how each of the costs are calculated are to be found beneath the table below, which in itself gives an at-a-glance overview on how this frankly astonishing result was obtained.

Initial purchase price: RM 145,000 purchase price of the Civic is a close approximation to the current cost of a brand new mid-spec example, which retails for RM 143,700. The RM 40,000 price tag meanwhile for the Cayenne V6 was a ballpark figure obtained from the various listings of such a model that is currently on the various Malaysian auto classified sites.

Price after 5 years: RM 80,000 was estimated for the Civic based on the reasonable assumption of a 45% depreciation after 5 years, which is consistent with the current used values of the 5-year old examples of the prior Gundam-esque generation of Civic. The assumed RM 5,000 loss in depreciation for the Cayenne over the next 5 years on the other hand is derived from the current costs of 2004 model year examples of this Porsche SUV, which are currently being listed on the used market for around RM 35,000.

Annual road tax: This was simply calculated using the JPJ road tax formula. The Honda Civic was taken as a privately owned saloon car with an engine capacity of 1,498 cc, which equates to an annual road tax of RM 90. The Cayenne is expectedly taken as a non-saloon car with a rounded-up engine capacity of 3,600 cc, to yield a nice round number for the annual road tax of RM 2,600.

Cumulative insurance: Calculated as a comprehensive policy, but with the assumption for the vehicle’s owner currently has and will retain a 5-year NCD throughout the ownership period. Inevitable yearly depreciation for both cars was also factored in when determining the insurance cost over the 5 year timeline. The overall lower value of the Cayenne is the main factor for insurance on it to be cheaper than the Civic.

Fuel consumption and fuel costs: Fuel efficiency figures are that of the manufacturer’s claimed combined fuel consumption numbers, with the Civic managing 6.0 L/100 km while this particular spec of V6 Cayenne is claimed for 12.0 L/100 km. As for the cost of fuel itself, it is assumed at RM 2 per litre, which is on par with the cost of subsidised RON 95 fuel in Malaysia for the last couple of years. And yes, the Cayenne can indeed run happily on RON 95.


Maintenance: Total maintenance cost for the Civic includes the RM 1,924 cumulative servicing cost Honda claims for the first 5-year and 100,000 km period of ownership, as well as a RM 3,000 buffer for other associated expenses like tyres, wipers etc. during that time. The Cayenne meanwhile is assumed to cost around RM 8,000 to keep on the road annually, which is perhaps a tad on the high side, but RM 40,000 should certainly cover even the most egregious maintenance mishaps that would occur over the 5 years of owning an old German luxury SUV.

Just discussing a little bit further on the topic of things going wrong too, there really are not that many massively ruinous repair bills which are to be expected with the Cayenne. Air suspension that have a tendency to go pop are probably the most common issue reported on the forums, but there are specialist companies out there that can refurbish it for around RM 1,500 per corner.

In fact, the most expensive bills associated with used Cayenne ownership would perhaps be for its regular servicing. 18-inch SUV tyres and brake pads for such a heavy car don’t come cheap after all, as are good quality engine oil. Also, the inevitable the Grab fares that would presumably be accumulated when one’s Porsche is at the menders will rack up a fairly hefty sum too.


Even then though, the table above clearly illustrates that given our 5-year 50,000 km scenario, the maintenance costs of the Cayenne will need to exceed over RM 50,000 during that aforementioned period of ownership for anyone to be worse off financially for choosing the Stuggart stallion SUV over the brand new Civic.

So in that case then, the math above does sort of prove that being a baller on a budget isn’t necessarily financial suicide, and there may even be the argument to be made that it is a fiscally wise move. So what’s stopping anyone who’s currently eying a Civic to take the brave pill and go for the Cayenne instead?


Well, if you want to hear two young and naive petrolheads ramble on about why they would take the plunge on this amazing opportunity, but sincerely not recommend anyone else who’s right in the head do so, then maybe consider checking out our new podcast. The link to it is right here. Thanks in advance!

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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