• Published: 22 February 2022

Fuel economy and fuel efficiency will probably play a large part in deciding what your next new car will be. Simply it's cost to benefit analysis. The more economical the vehicle, the more money you’re going to save each time you make a journey.

How to choose an economical car

Until recently, diesel cars were viewed as the most economical cars. This is due to their combination of good fuel efficiency and low CO2 emissions. However, their popularity is now on the decline. This is after details of the Volkswagen emissions scandal arose in 2015. Despite this, new diesel cars are very clean and the fuel still makes a good choice. Diesel buyers just need to ensure that they cover enough miles in a year to offset the extra upfront cost of a diesel engine with fuel savings. However, in recent years, advancements in fuel delivery systems and turbocharger technology have made petrol engines almost as efficient as their coal-rolling counterparts. 

Top diesel picks

Peugeot 108 1.5 HDi - 73.6mpg

Peugeot 108 is retaining its crown as the most economical car on sale in the UK. The 1.5 litre four cylinder diesel is the least fuel thirsty option with a fuel economy figure of 73.6mpg. Such frugality doesn’t come at the expense of performance. A top speed of 117 mph and decent in gear acceleration, meaning the diesel unit rarely feels like a hindrance on the open road. 

Vauxhall Corsa 1.5 Turbo D - 70.6mpg

The latest Vauxhall Corsa is very closely related to the Peugeot 208. Its 1.5 litre four cylinder, the Corsa has a claimed WLTP fuel economy figure of 70.6mpg. Vauxhall claims a 117 mph top speed and a 0 - 62mph time of 9.6 seconds. It is one of the most frugal cars you can buy right now.

Renault Clio 1.5 dCi - 67.3mpg

The Clio is powered by an efficient 1.5 litre four cylinder engine. The Clio is said to be better to drive than the Peugeot 208. It’s as well built, better equipped and more practical than many other cars on the market. 

Top Petrol Cars

Peugeot 108 1.0 - 58.9mpg

The Peugeot 108 is a good contender in the city car class. Its tiny Toyota sourced 1.0 litre three cylinder returns a fuel economy figure of 58.9mpg. This is impressive for a petrol engine. It is not a car where you will feel underpowered around town.

Kia Picanto  1.0 MPi - 58.9mpg

Like the Peugeot, the fuel efficiency of the Kia is capable of returning up to 58.9mpg. This is courtesy of the city car’s low weight and its tiny 1.0 litre three cylinder engine. That means the Kia has enough punch for a car that will probably spend a lot of its life being driven around towns and cities. 

Suzuki Swift 1.2 Dualjet - 57.2mpg 

Despite being a bigger car with a larger and more powerful engine, it runs the Peugeot 108 and Kia Picanto quite close in the fuel consumption stakes. A 57.2 mpg fuel consumption rate, which is only 1.7mpg less than the smaller Kia and Peugeot city cars can manage. Officially, this spec is also a hybrid. The 1.2 litre petrol engine is assisted by an electric motor generator unit. However, the mild hybrid system doesn’t have a battery big enough to allow electric only driving. It’s there to give the engine a small helping hand in acceleration, which helps to improve the car’s fuel consumption a little bit.


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Transport For London

Cars need to meet minimum emission standards when travelling in the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) or the daily charge must be paid.

Minimum emission standards

Petrol: Euro 4
Diesel: Euro 6

The ULEZ will be enforced based on the declared emissions of the vehicle rather than the age. However:

Information from Transport For London

Check this car on the TFL website before purchasing: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/check-your-vehicle/

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