As the cost of motoring continues to rise you’ll no doubt be considering ways to reduce the amount of cash you spend getting from A to B. But with numerous petrol, hybrid, electric and diesel options out there, it can be difficult finding the best car for your limited budget. That’s where we come in. We’ve gone through our epic car database with a fine-tooth comb to find the cars with the lowest running costs and emissions. Here, without further ado, is our list of the 13 most economical cars on the market today. You’re welcome. Now send us a fiver in the post with the money you save.
1. Vauxhall Ampera
Flying the hybrid flag, the Vauxhall Ampera (also known as the Chevrolet Volt) boasts an electric motor and a 1.4-litre petrol engine working in tandem. The car can run on electricity much of the time, which helps push its average CO2 emissions figure to a mere 27g/km and fuel economy to a quoted 235mpg. Long distance driving will yield far less impressive numbers, but the Ampera is a fantastic tool when used as a city runabout that can also manage the occasional cross country trip.
2. Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid
The Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid is virtually three cars in one. It’s a fast, economical and spacious estate that’s also a brilliant city car. Its economical, delivering a claimed 155mpg, but can out-accelerate sports cars thanks to a 0 to 62mph sprint time of 6.1 seconds. You can drive for next to nothing in all electric mode, but expect around 60mpg on longer trips. If you can afford one, the V60 Plug-In Hybrid is a very practical and frugal choice.
3. Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid
What the Prius Plug-in Hybrid lacks in looks, it more than makes up for with low running costs and eerily silent, comfortable motoring about town. CO2 emissions of 49g/km keep it in the cheapest tax bracket and the 1.8 VVT-i petrol engine and electric motor provide a whopping 134.5mpg if you drive carefully. Fully charged and with a full tank of fuel, you could drive as far as 769 miles before hitting empty.
4. Kia Rio 1.1 ecodynamics
While Kia may not have the brand recognition of its peers, the company knows how to make a frugal car. Case in point: the Kia Rio CRDi Ecodynamics, which can do 88.3 miles per gallon while spewing just 85g/km of CO2. Simply unrivalled economy in its class and sweetened by Kia’s seven year, 100,000 mile warranty.
5. Hyundai i20 CRDi Blue
The Hyundai i20 is the not-so-distant relative of the Kia Rio, hence it delivers equally attractive economy and low emissions. Its 74bhp three-cylinder, 1.1 turbo diesel engine is capable of an impressive 88.3mpg and 85g/km of CO2. A five year unlimited mileage warranty ensures even fewer pennies have to leave your wallet over the course of ownership.
6. Peugeot 208 1.4 e-HDi Access+ 70
If you can resist the sporty charms of the Peugeot 208 GTI, the 208 1.4 e-HDi Access+ 70 (try saying that drunk) will prove a far more frugal proposition. It sit in the free ‘A’ tax band, which means no congestion charge (minus the annual £10 signing up fee). 83.1mpg and 87g/km make the Pug a very economical car if you would like a bit of design panache with your efficiency ─ you’ll have to put up with a sluggish automatic gearbox though.
7. Skoda Fabia Greenline II
Skoda is a much trendier brand than it has been in days gone by, so it’s high time you consider the Fabia Greenline if you want to claw back some of your disposable income. The 1.2-litre, three-pot diesel provides 74bhp and 180Nm of torque, which is respectable in its class, but it’s the 83mpg figure and 89g/km of CO2 we care most about. It also comes in estate form so you’ll have plenty of room in the boot to carry all that money you end up saving.
8. Toyota Yaris Hybrid
Toyota’s chucked its hybrid technology at its Yaris with decent results Although only capable of travelling 1.2 miles in full-electric mode – and only if there’s sufficient charge in the battery – it’ll do 80.7mpg and 79g/km of so it’s one very thrifty customer. It even betters its diesel brethren.
Read Toyota Yaris Hybrid Review
9. Fiat Punto 1.3 Multijet Dynamic
Italian flair meets cheap running costs in the Fiat Punto 1.3 Multijet Dynamic. Although the diesel is hardly the cool option, the 80.7mpg and 90g/km CO2 emission figures speak volumes if you want to spend the least time filling up in petrol stations. An Alfa Romeo-esque interior and decent space for you and your passengers are added bonuses.
10. Renault Megane 1.5 dCi Dynamique
The Renault Megane in its most wallet-friendly form has a 1.5-litre diesel engine. Figures of 80.7mpg and 90g/km of CO2 emissions make it a stylish option for anyone who wants to save money on fuel, but there’s more: Renault’s 4+ scheme means you get a free four year warranty, free servicing for four years or 48,000 miles and four years of roadside cover.
11. Seat Ibiza SC Ecomotive
Seat’s Ibiza SC Ecomotive ─ the SC bit standing for Sports Coupe, if you were curious – uses a 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo diesel lump, which gives an economy figure of 80.7mpg and CO2 emissions of just 92g/km. It has a good interior and, since it’s basically a VW Polo in a Spanish frock, is high on quality.
12. VW Polo Bluemotion
The VW Polo Bluemotion not only looks rather stylish, it’s capable of 80.1 miles per gallon and emissions of 91g/km of CO2 which means you can cruise around in the thing for next to nothing. It cost a little more than your average bottom-of-the-rung Polo, but drive it often and it’ll soon begin paying for itself.
13. Hyundai I30 CRDi Blue Drive
When Batman’s not burning fuel in the Tumbler, he likes to roll around in a Hyundai I30. Don’t believe us? Then watch this video. It’s no surprise the winged super rat is a fan, the i30 is brilliant to drive and returns fantastic fuel economy in its Blue Drive guise. Expect a whopping 76.3mpg and emissions well below 100g/km.