It's a new year on the calendar this month, but the 2011 model-year has been in full-swing for a while now, enough time for the data compilers to tell us how much we can expect to lay out for auto insurance if we're in the market for a new vehicle.

Insure.com has released its lists of the most and least expensive vehicles to insure, and the big winner is the 2011 Chrysler Town & Country LX. With a national average premium of just $1,092 per year, it was the least expensive vehicle to insure. Second was the four-cylinder version of the Toyota Sienna at $1,101, and coming in third was a different version of the Sienna, the LE trim level, at $1,108. Toyotas did well in the study, with four of the top 10 least expensive vehicles to insure. (See the full lists below.)

On the wallet-busting side, the most expensive 2011 models were the Mercedes SL65 AMG, at $3,544 annually; the BMW 750i, at $3,281; and the BMW 750Li, at $3,281. Perhaps Mercedes can spin this as a measure of its high-roller cachet, but five of the top 10 most expensive vehicles to insure wear the brand's Tri-Star.

If you detect a trend here, that's because there is one: Expensive luxury cars, especially high-performance ones, are always the most expensive to insure. This is not just because the cost of parts and labor at a luxury dealership's service department are stratospheric, but also because these tend to be high-horsepower performance machines that are driven hard and fast, and are more likely to be involved in accidents. The more often a particular model is in an accident, the more insurance claims get filed for that model. Since repair costs for a vehicle with a six-figure MSRP scale accordingly, insurance claims for these models tend to be expensive.

Most Expensive Cars to Insure

Model Average National Annual Premium
Mercedes SL65 AMG $3,543.81
BMW 750i Hybrid $3,280.70
BMW 750Li Hybrid $3,280.70
Mercedes SL63 AMG $3,263.46
Mercedes S65 AMG $3,220.86
Aston Martin DB9 $3,120.45
Mercedes CL600 $3,114.28
Porsche 911 Carrera S $3,092.31
Aston Martin DB9 Volante $3,088.96
Mercedes G55 AMG $3,086.49

At the other end, minivans and crossovers tend to be among the least expensive to insure, because "those are mostly owned by families, and are used to drive kids to school, and run errands, and tend not be driven late at night," says Amy Denise, senior managing editor of Insure.com. "So, if you choose to buy a vehicle that is either a safe vehicle, or driven by other safe drivers, you will benefit from low insurance rates, since insurance companies do determine rates for a model based on its claim history."

Smaller, less expensive economy cars are also among the cheaper to insure, partly because they are cheaper to repair, since the cost of fenders and quarter-panels and such are lower. Again, drivers of small econo cars with small engines are a lot less likely to be tearing up the road.

"If you look at the top 20 most expensive vehicles to insure, the list is dominated by vehicles with 8-cylinder or 12-cylinder engines," says Danise.

The Mercedes SL65 AMG, for example, is a svelte convertible with a turbocharged, 6-liter, V12 engine that rides herd over 604 unruly stallions. Punch the pedal on this road rocket, and you'll sprint from zero to 60 in 4.2 seconds and hit 120 miles per hour in just 12.8 seconds. Its MSRP is, ahem, $198,750.

"Typically, people who buy these kinds of cars do not buy them to drive kids to school. They buy them for their speed, and their flash, and show off, and to drive at high speeds. So those drivers are just crashing more often than the average vehicles and those drivers are also racking up more traffic citations, which is another factor in determining a vehicle's insurance rate," says Danise.

Least Expensive Vehicles to Insure

Model Average National Annual Premium
Chrysler Town & Country LX $1,091.80
Toyota Sienna $1,100.66
Toyota Sienna LE $1,107.70
Honda Odyssey LX $1,114.62
Nissan Murano SL $1,127.89
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport $1,131.27
Honda Odyssey EX $1,138.16
Toyota Sienna V6 $1,142.94
Ford Escape XLS $1,150.26
Toyota Highlander $1,154.02

The study was commissioned on behalf of Insure.com by Quadrant Information Services, and calculated the average premiums for a 40-year-old single male driver who commutes 12 miles to work each day, who has a clean driving record and good credit.

The data was based on policy limits of 100/300/50 ($100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $50,000 for property damage in an accident) and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. The study used the rates from six large carriers (State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, GEICO, Farmers and Nationwide) in 10 zip codes per state.

Not all models are available for calculating average rates, says Denise. "There weren't enough Lamborghinis or Maseratis out there for us to get reliable data on those, so those don't appear on the list, but you can be sure those are very expensive to insure.

"And these are average rates, for comparison purposes," stresses Denise. "Your own rates will be different, based on your driving record, your age, where you live, etc."

But back to the highest rates being for cars that are stratospherically-priced. Since those are out of the reach of many buyers, we thought we would note some of the sub-$45,000 models that were among the more expensive to insure. Among those are: the Dodge Charger SRT-8 sedan, at $1,951; the Ford F-350 SD King Ranch Crew Cab SB 4WD diesel pick-up, at $1,932; the Ford F-250 SD King Ranch Off Road Crew Cab pick up, at $1,930, and the Infiniti G37 Sport sedan, at $1,930.

Below is the complete list of the Top 20 most and least expensive 2011 models to insure, or you can use this interactive tool at Insure.com.