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Insight: how repair costs for SUVs exceed those of estates


The difference in repair costs between estate cars and SUVs on which they are based  can be hugely different, research has revealed.

SUVs have become extremely popular in the UK as almost every car manufacturer has purposefully launched new models to supply the huge demand in this growing category in recent years.

Freshly launched models such as the Fiat 500x, Jeep Night Eagle, BMW X6 M demonstrate how the manufacturers are aiming to cash in on the trend.

With this in mind, has created an exclusive report on how SUVs compare to estates in regards to maintenance costs.

It compares the top selling SUV and estate cars made by BMW, Audi, Volkswagen and Mercedes.

More than 16,000 lines of data have been analysed to produce the following insights for this specific piece of research.

Louis Butcher (pictured), digital marketing manager from said: “SUVs and estate cars actually share many of the same components meaning their running costs should be relatively close.”

Below is the graph for the average cost of all services for the most popular SUVs on the roads and their estate equivalents.

“As would be expected, the SUVs mostly do cost more to run vs the equivalent Estates, but our data did throw up some unexpected figures.

“Surprisingly Audi SUVs appear to be cheaper to service than the estates on which they are based.

“Furthermore, they are cheaper than the Volkswagen models, despite them being owned by the same parent company.”

Average cost of all services for BMW, Audi, VW and Mercedes-Benz SUVs and estates

Average SUV and estate repair costs - July 2016SUVs generally cost more to service than the estates on which they are based.  The difference is relatively small with the biggest price gap being £40 for Volkswagen.

Parts such as air filters can be swapped like for like from an estate and SUV which is why servicing costs overall are extremely close.

Comparative full service costs for BMW, Audi, Mercedes and VW estates and SUVs

Full service cost July 2016

However, the picture changes significantly when looking at brake systems.

“In general SUV drivers are getting charged more to fix and replace parts of a braking system than the equivalent estate drivers across all the manufacturers. 

“It’s important for drivers to bear this mind given after servicing and tyres, brakes are one of the biggest repair types in automotive by volume,” said Butcher.

Average cost comparison of brake work on BMW, Audi, Mercedes and VW SUVs and estates

Brake repair costs - July 2016

So despite an SUV and estate being manufactured by the same brand and being extremely close in cost, they differ hugely in price, so why is this?

The technician’s view

Gavin Ross, from Ross Motors in South West London that specialises in German marques, provided his insight: “Essentially the SUV is a significantly heavier vehicle and this effects the price of repair in several ways.

“Firstly, the brakes and brake pads have to deal with a higher amount of kinetic energy meaning they are subject to stronger forces and may be more likely to break more regularly and severely.

“Secondly, many SUVs are fitted with EPBs (electronic parking brakes).

“These parts can be included in repair work when it comes to the braking system of an SUV which means more work may be required and hence the rise in price.

“Lastly, because the SUV is typically heavier, a bigger and more powerful ramp is required to lift the vehicle whereas a simple jack may be enough for an estate.

As there is more work involved and specialist equipment is required, labour costs will rise as a result."

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