Why has my Car Registration Increased?


Hello John,

I rang you on air on Radio 2UE in Sydney last Sunday afternoon about the rego charge on my Mazda CX-5 2.5-litre SUV. It cost me $482.00 in registration charges to renew. That's due on the second of next month.

I wondered was it because it's called a wagon? My old 3.0-litre Subaru Outback cost a littler over $300 and it was a heavier vehicle. My son's Mazda CX-9 is $471. Its tare weight is 1890kg, and the CX-5's tare weight is 1505kg. My sister has a new Golf, and its registration fee is $337.

Can you please explain the different fees?

Thanks for your help.

Kind regards,



Hi Sheenah,

Thanks for listening to the motoring segment with Tim and me on Sunday afternoons.

The answer has nothing to do with body style and everything to do with weight. Specifically, tare weight.

For so-called 'light vehicles' (that's cars, wagons and lighter trucks) the RMS in NSW (formerly the RTA) uses a stepped system to determine rego fee.

  • There's a flat $60 plus $195 if the vehicle's tare weight is up to 975kg.
  • It's $60 plus $226 for vehicles from 976kg to 1154kg.
  • It's $60 plus $277 for vehicles from 1155kg to 1504kg.
  • It's $60 plus $422 for vehicles from 1505 to 2504kg.

Here's the part of the official RMS website that spells it out:

Or you can visit the relevant official RMS registration fees page here.

In all cases the weights above are tare weights. Tare weight is basically the vehicle's official unladen weight. It's on the rego papers.

It seems to me that the CX-5 you own has just tipped over the 1505kg threshhold. (I just looked at the tare weight of a CX-5 Maxx Sport 2.5i auto - it's 1505kg. How unfortunate. Missed it by that much, as Maxwell Smart would have said.)

Full range of current model petrol CX-5 model variants with specifications. (Tare weight is under the 'dimensions' tab - click on the specific model you have first, then the 'dimensions' tab.)

Search for your old Subaru Outback here. Same thing.

I think you will find the Outback was slightly under the 1505kg limit, and the CX-5 is slightly over. It seems like a big hike, but the difference is under $3 a week. That's less than one takeaway coffee. And the CX-5 is a very nice vehicle.

So, in summary it's not the result of some hike in registration fees or a change in the body style of the vehicle. You unwittingly jumped into the next bracket, weight-wise. I think you'll find, on closer inspection, that the Outback you replaced was in fact lighter than the CX-5 - and let's face it, it might have had to be only one kilo lighter to find itself in the next-cheaper bracket.

Hope this helps, explanation-wise. (It's probably not what you wanted to hear...)