With fuel costs continuing to soar and the cost to fill an average car now exceeding £100, a car’s fuel economy has never been so important.
While choosing an electric car can be a great way of reducing your running costs, this isn’t a solution that suits everyone yet. So if you want to stick with a conventional petrol or diesel car, but drastically reduce your running costs, what are the best options? Here we explore six choices, across petrol, diesel and hybrid powertrains, excluding plug-in models.
If you want to cut your running costs, choosing a smaller car is generally an effective way to do so. And in terms of fuel efficiency, it’s hard to beat the Fiat 500. Though not the best to drive or the most roomy inside, it still looks the part and gets a decent level of equipment.
Its 69bhp 1.0-litre mild-hybrid petrol engine is also fantastic where running costs are concerned, returning a claimed 61.4mpg when in entry-level Pop trim. With prices starting from £14,245, and finance available from £223 per month over three years with a £2,000 deposit, it could be a relatively affordable way to get better fuel efficiency.
Though diesel cars might have fallen out of favour with plenty of buyers these days, if you do lots of miles, these models will nearly always be better on fuel than the equivalent petrol. The Citroen C4 is no exception, with its 108bhp 1.5-litre turbodiesel able to return a claimed 64.2mpg.
There’s lots more to like about the C4 too, such as its stylish SUV-inspired design and generous equipment levels. It’s also set up to be as comfortable as possible, and is truly fantastic in this respect.
For those that can’t charge an EV or plug-in hybrid, there’s lots of appeal to a ‘self-charging’ hybrid. Though they have a compromised electric-only range, they can be very frugal in day-to-day driving, particularly around town.
Toyota is a true leader in this area, and one of the best choices is the Corolla hatchback. Kitted out with the 122bhp 1.8-litre petrol-electric setup, up to 62.7mpg is claimed, with it being frugal both on the motorway and around town. With generous equipment levels and a relaxing driving experience, there’s a lot going for the Corolla.
The efficiency of modern diesel engines is seriously impressive, and if you want a more premium car that will still cost little in fuel to run, you shouldn’t look further than the Mercedes C220d Estate. Its powerful 197bhp 2.0-litre engine paired with a 48-volt electric motor is able to hit a claimed 60.1mpg, though you can vastly exceed that figure if you do lots of motorway miles.
Offering a spacious and upmarket interior filled with technology, the C220d shows just how smooth and efficient modern diesel engines can be.
The Honda Jazz is another car to use a hybrid system, with this being a route Honda has majorly invested in. It’s paid off too, with this supermini’s 1.5-litre petrol-electric setup being very frugal, with the Japanese firm claiming 62.8mpg.
The Jazz is also very generously equipped, particularly when it comes to safety kit, and it’s a very easy and relaxing car to drive too. Like its predecessors, it also offers loads of interior space, despite a relatively small footprint.
Though Dieselgate might mean Volkswagen has a slightly chequered history with its diesel cars, its moden 2.0-litre TDI units are impressively good on fuel. Considering there’s not even any electric assistance, the claimed 62.8mpg for the latest Golf could equate to some big savings on fuel costs.
The Golf also remains a safe and classy buy, with its comfortable and refined driving experience paired with plenty of interior space that makes it an ideal family car.
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