Whether it’s a simple runaround, a sturdy SUV, or the latest sports car, owning a car doesn’t just get us from A to B. It also gives us the freedom to go where we want, when we want, and becomes an essential part of daily life for many people.
However, buying a brand new car isn’t usually cheap, and that’s before you take into account other costs such as fuel, car insurance and repairs. But the cost of purchasing a car can vary quite considerably depending on where in the world you live, so where are the cheapest and most expensive places to buy?
Cheapest country to buy a hatchback - United States
According to our research, the cheapest place to buy a hatchback is the United States. Here, the Volkswagen Golf will cost you $23,195 (£17,082) when bought brand new.
The Volkswagen Golf is one of the most widely available hatchbacks in the world and it’s estimated that over 35 million have been sold globally since 1974. Having won numerous awards since that time too, the Golf is clearly popular for a reason.
Car ownership is very high in the US, so increased competition may be a reason why manufacturers are happy to set their prices so low here.
Most expensive country to buy a hatchback - Singapore
To show just how wildly car prices can vary, the cheapest that you’re able to pick up a Golf in Singapore is S$182,900, equivalent to £99,305. This is actually over five times higher than in the US! While that might seem like a crazy price for a hatchback, cars in Singapore are subject to heavy taxes and fees, in an attempt to limit the number of vehicles on the road. For example, the Additional Registration Fee (ARF) can potentially increase the initial base price by as much as 180%.
Cheapest country to buy a SUV - Canada
Our research reveals the cheapest country to purchase a SUV is Canada, where a Toyota RAV4 has a list price of C$28,850 (£16,796).
The Toyota RAV4 is considered to be the first compact crossover SUV and remains one of the best-selling to this day, having first launched in 1994.
Offering SUV benefits such as increased cargo room and higher visibility but with the manoeuvrability and fuel economy of a compact car, it’s one of the most widely available SUVs in the world.
Most expensive country to buy a SUV - Singapore
Once again, Singapore is by far the most expensive place to purchase an SUV, with a cost of S$175,888 (£95,497) for a RAV4.
Again, this is heavily influenced by the various taxes and fees put in place by the Singapore government.
Cheapest country to buy an EV - Macau
According to our research, the cheapest place to buy an EV is Macau. A Tesla Model 3 will cost MOP$324,290 (£29,456) in the Chinese special administrative region.
While many countries are encouraging drivers to switch to electric vehicles, a common reason people are reluctant to do so is the cost, however our research suggests this isn’t the case in Macau.
Most expensive country to buy an EV - Singapore
When buying a Tesla Model 3, drivers in Singapore benefit from a S$25,000 VES (vehicle emissions scheme) rebate, as well as an EV early adopter incentive of S$20,000.
However, a huge ARF tax of S$76,959 means that it remains the most expensive country to purchase a Model 3.
Cheapest country to buy a sports car - Canada
Buying a sports car such as a Ford Mustang isn’t likely to be cheap in many parts of the world.
However, Canada is once again the cheapest country to buy in, with a list price of C$31,895 (£18,568) closely followed by the US.
While this is just for the base model of the Mustang, it’s still very affordable for such an iconic vehicle!
Most expensive country to buy a sports car - Cambodia
With the Mustang not currently available to be purchased new in Singapore, the most expensive country in this instance goes to Cambodia, with a cost of $145,000 (£106,785).
The reason the price is so expensive here is that all vehicles and parts are imported into the country.
Plus, like Singapore, vehicles are subject to heavy taxation, with the costs being passed on to drivers.
Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at Confused.com, comments:
"The prospect of looking for a new car is undoubtedly exciting – but it doesn't come without its pitfalls. With cars designed to suit every lifestyle and budget, the options are endless. However, with so many options to choose from, the car buying experience can be overwhelming for many.
"It’s important to take your time, thinking carefully about what you want from a car, while determining how much you are willing to pay.
"Before rushing into any decisions, it’s also important to consider other car-related costs, such as fuel and car insurance. The costs of car insurance might vary depending on the cost of your chosen car. Be sure to compare car insurance quotes prior to purchasing a new car, to avoid disappointment further down the line."
For each category, we selected a car that is widely sold around the world and sourced the list price from the manufacturer's local website in each country that the vehicle is sold in. Full list of sources. In each instance, we took the cheapest available model for each vehicle and took the list price as shown on the website, including taxes and any potential grants in the case of electric vehicles.