The Most Economical Cars on the Market

When looking for a new car there are many things to consider and depending on what you’re looking for not all models will be suitable to you. This is especially significant for motorists looking for economical cars.

While saving money on your vehicle’s upfront costs is always handy, long-term savings on fuel efficiency is pivotal for those looking to purchase a car with low annual costs.

What makes a car economical?

There are various factors that impact how economical a vehicle is. While it may not be possible to find a model that ticks all the boxes, certain factors work in unison to produce a more (or less) economical vehicle.

We’ve listed the key attributes that are used to determine their economic status.

Aerodynamics – Automotive aerodynamics are a key element in the fuel efficiency of the vehicle you choose to drive. It is the principle of how air resistance and drag contributes to how a car moves. With bigger vehicles, like some 4x4 and trucks, you will notice their fuel efficiency is less, which is a result of their larger shape making it harder to push through the air while travelling. This is opposed to smaller cars that have an aerodynamic design, meaning they can cut through the air at optimal levels.

Size and Weight – Choosing the right size and weight is vital to finding the most economical vehicle for you. While you may require an SUV to accommodate the whole family or a truck suitable for work, finding a lighter model in this range will help reduce the amount of fuel required to power it, making it more economical.

Engine Types – Naturally, the engine type will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, however it is worth noting that this can also vary in the same model as upgrades and other features will impact the efficiency. When shopping around compare petrol and diesel engines to their hybrid counterparts. We recommend doing this as manufacturers are working tirelessly to improve the miles per gallon (MPG) of their environmentally friendly models – helping reduce range anxiety.

Low emissions – Although low emissions are not directly linked to fuel efficiency, there is money to be saved when considering a low emissions vehicle as they are likely to pay less tax due to the RDE tests all models undergo before being sold.

Axle Ratio – This isn’t often a specification you can choose when buying a car but it is detrimental to the overall fuel efficiency of the car you choose. Always consider the size of the axle ratio when looking at new cars and where possible opt for the combination with the lowest digits as this dictates that the vehicle will be able to cover more ground smoothly. It will also offer better engine functionality at low intensities for a longer period maintaining a standard speed.

Improve your Fuel Economy

There are a number of small changes you can make to improve your MPG which will help to enhance your vehicles fuel efficiency. Small practical changes like reducing your use of in-car tech as well as maintaining national average speeds can also benefit the environment too.

Other changes can include:

Car Maintenance – Booking in your annual service will ensure everything is ticking over properly all year round. Some manufacturers recommend a service every year while others have a mileage threshold. Check your service schedule with your manufacturer to know when to get booked in.

Tyre Check – Often we drive around without ever really checking our tyre pressure. This can lead to driving on underinflated tyres or the wrong pressure which causes the car to use more fuel to pull the car along.

Reduce Weight – Easy ways to reduce the weight of your vehicle is to remove any unrequired extras that you may store in your boot. These can weigh you down, thus causing more drag and slowing you down.

Driving Distance – When you drive with a cold engine it uses twice as much fuel as when warm. Reduce the number of short trips you do to the shops and perhaps walk instead where appropriate.

Speed and Driving Quality – Adhering to speed limits is not only a legal requirement but will also impact the maximum miles per gallon your vehicle can reach. Sticking to the speed limit is not the only integral factor here, your acceleration is also key, so hitting the pedal hard when you take off will be more damaging. Driving at a steady speed with controlled acceleration and braking will help you maintain more miles per gallon, while also improving the general wear and tear of the vehicle.

How to Check if a Car is Economical?

After spending some time searching for your next car you may have a long list of motors that you are considering and need help refining. A quick way to do this is using a fuel checker that can compare a car’s miles per gallon (MPG). The MPG is the measure of fuel economy and is the simple process of measuring distance travelled in miles per gallon of fuel. Therefore fuel checkers like the one created by fuelwatchdog.co.uk are able to work this out for you, giving you the comparable data for two vehicles at a time. When comparing you preferences, it is worth noting hybrid cars use a combination of petrol/diesel and electric power to run, meaning their MPG may be skewed against a solely petrol or diesel vehicle – in these instances it is worth considering the additional benefits of hybrid/fully electric vehicles.

Economical Cars: Our Favourites

Choosing an economical car doesn’t have to be limiting. Whether you’re after a family friendly car, a larger SUV or something to cruise round the city in there are many options available. To help expand your horizons we have listed our top cars in some favourable categories. 

City Cars

smart forfour – Running costs are significantly reduced with this model due to the 67.3mpg range. While there is also the fortwo option available, this model is designed to provide more space as well as fuel efficiency with its extra seats. For those looking for a more practical city car, the forfour has a 5-door design and increased luggage and passenger capacity appealing to drivers looking to frequently travel with friends.

Volkswagen e-UP! – The e-UP! Boasts a premium feel for a relatively respectable price for an electric car. Its city friendly size makes it ideal for nipping across town without the usually high emissions of city driving. Reaching 54.8mpg as well as more space for passengers and luggage the e-UP! is sure to impress.

SKODA Citigo – Reaching nearly 70mpg the ŠKODA Citigo is not only economical but also great value for money. The two petrol engines available are both affordable to run and come in various specs, allowing you to increase and decrease the price depending on the in-car tech and additional features you need.

Volkswagen Polo – Low emissions and a high mpg make this an ideal model for those looking for an economical drive. With the 1.6 litre diesel model you can expect to reach a 76mpg – as long as you drive with care (our tips above will help).

Navigating through cities and more built up areas is a lot easier when driving a more compact model like the ones we have listed. Boasting an economical drive for urban drivers, it’s easy to find your next economical city car now.

Family Cars

SKODA Kodiaq – Jam-packed with storage solutions, large boot space, 50mpg and the option to have 7 seats, it’s hard to find fault with the Kodiaq and it’s a great car for larger families on the move.

Audi e-tron – The new Audi e-Tron is a large SUV that also boasts a highly efficient battery pack, large enough to provide an impressive range of 241 miles on a single charge. Accompanied by virtual wing mirrors and an ultra aerodynamic design, the e-tron is both technologically advanced and practical.

MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid – Boasting a range of 97.4mpg the petrol/electric hybrid is great for small families. While it offers a little less space internally, its on-road capabilities are likely to save you a good deal on the daily school-run as its AUTO eDrive system selects electric on speeds up to 50mph. Changing into SAVE BATTERY mode will utilise petrol power to maintain a charge of 90% which can be useful for longer journeys or days where you’re out and about a lot.

Juggling a busy diary for all the family while choosing a car that is cost effective from purchase through to day to day driving is important for the whole family. That’s why our favourite family cars are spacious and economical, providing space for all the kids and efficiency for parents.

Business Cars

BMW 3 Series saloon – The 3 Series saloon is a good business alternative for those looking for style as well as a reasonable mpg. The economic model achieves a 67.3mpg while still reaching 0-62mph in a respective 7.5 seconds, for those still wanting some power in the punch.

Toyota Prius Hybrid – Often bought for business use, the Prius is an ideal motor for those looking for an economical and eco-friendly drive. With a 94.1mpg along with the tax incentives to go green the economic benefits are never ending!

Mercedes-Benz E-Class – The new E-Class is available in a wide selection of engine types appealing to all business drivers. With their diverse offering you can increase the efficiency with a petrol/electric plug-in hybrid which has an impressive mpg of 134, or opt for the sportier diesel engine that still offers 72.4mpg. 

Finding a car that is affordable to run while still offering class and sophistication has become a lot easier. Our top business cars allow you to drive in style on your day to day commute without worrying about filling up the tank every day.

With all the information above, we hope you now feel ready to make your next economical vehicle purchase. Go further for less with our selection of wallet-friendly models and feel confident knowing what to look for in your next car. If any of the models listed have taken your interest, our sales team are at hand to help in one of our many locations across the UK.

Likewise, if there is economic model you believe should be on our list share with us on Facebook of Twitter!