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Most fuel-efficient and economical cars

Written by Kasey Cassells, Senior content editor

18 March 2019

Our pick of the most economical and fuel-efficient cars could help you cut costs on the forecourt

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Petrol prices have reached their highest level in more than a year, according to figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (October 2016). Experts also predict further price rises at the pumps as the pound weakens — as fuel is traded in dollars, its price is affected by the currency exchange rate.

The rising cost of fuel is of key concern to drivers who cover a lot of mileage. While car insurance can be one of the most significant costs of running a car, there are ways of saving on your car insurance, including comparing quotes:

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But if you’re serious about saving you can cut your driving costs by considering a fuel-efficient car. A fuel-efficient car can also help you to save on vehicle excise duty (more commonly known as road tax), and small-engine fuel-efficient cars tend to be in lower insurance groups, which could help to cut the cost of your cover.

We’ve searched for some of the best fuel-efficient petrol, diesel, and hybrid cars available today, and also listed some popular electric vehicles if you’d like to cut your fuel costs altogether.

What are the most fuel-efficient petrol cars?

While petrol cars are typically less fuel efficient than other options such as hybrid or diesel, there’s no shortage of economical petrol cars available, including these top picks:

VW Polo 1.0 TSI 95 Bluemotion 

Advertised miles per gallon: 68.9mpg Starting price: £14,730

This version of the ever-popular VW Polo was specially designed with fuel economy in mind. The supermini seats 5, making it a great family car.

Suzuki Celerio 1.0 Dualjet

Advertised miles per gallon: 79mpg Starting price: £8,499

Offering exceptional fuel economy, the Suzuki Celerio is a strong contender for most fuel-efficient petrol car. It’s not only cheap to run, but at around £8,000 new it’s cheap to buy too.

Seat Ibiza 1.0 Eco TSI 95 

Advertised miles per gallon: 68.9mpg Starting price: £13,245

With the five-door version constituting another solid family-car option, the Seat Ibiza’s 1.0-litre engine promises fuel efficiency as well as low emissions. It is one of the best fuel-efficient cars in the market.

What are most fuel-efficient diesel cars?

Although diesel usually costs more than petrol at the pumps, the fuel can offer more miles to the gallon. A diesel car could be a more economical choice if you typically use your car for longer trips rather than lots of short journeys.

Peugeot 208 1.6 S&S Diesel 

Advertised miles per gallon: 94mpg Starting price: £15,515

This version of the Peugeot 208 comes equipped with top/start technology to make for a more economical drive. The larger 1.6-litre engine offers a little more power while still maintaining an impressive 94 miles to the gallon.

Kia Rio 1.1-litre Diesel 

Advertised miles per gallon: 88mpg Starting price: £11,745

At under £12,000, the Kia Rio is a good option for those looking for an economical and fuel efficient diesel car on a budget. Like other Kia models, the Rio comes with a seven-year warranty for added peace of mind.

Most fuel-efficient hybrid cars

Hybrid cars use a combination of traditional fuel and electric power. The technology uses less fuel and therefore reduces emissions, making hybrid cars both economical and eco-friendly.

Toyota Prius Hybrid

Advertised miles per gallon: 90mpg Starting price: £23,600

The Prius is one of the most well known hybrid vehicles as it was one of the first cars to popularise hybrid technology. As well as a traditional hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) model, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) version is also available. Toyota also offers the smaller and more affordable hybrid city car, the Toyota Yaris, but this comes with less impressive MPG ratings.

Hyundai Ioniq 1.6 GDi Hybrid SE DCT 

Advertised miles per gallon: 86mpg Starting price: £19,995

The Hyundai Ioniq has quickly become a solid and more affordable alternative to the Prius. It’s currently the only car with hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric all available under one body type.

Best electric cars

If you want to completely bypass the fuel pumps, you might want to consider a fully electric car, or EV. If you need an incentive, there’s currently a government grant that offers up to 35% of the cost of a new electric vehicle, to a maximum of either £2,500 or £4,500 (depending on the model).

These cars don’t use traditional fuel, so there are no MPG measurements available, but we’ve listed some of the most popular on sale at the moment.

Nissan Leaf 

Price: £21,680 (before government grant)

The Nissan Leaf is known as the most popular EV in the UK, and is offered with two battery options (24KWH and 30KWH). You could choose to cut the cost of buying a Leaf by leasing the battery at a monthly cost.

Renault Zoe 

Price: £21,000 (before government grant)

Like the Nissan Leaf, the Renault Zoe offers its battery on a hire basis, which can help to cut the outright cost.

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