Best cars for high mileage

If you seem to spend your life driving or cover long distances regularly, you'll need a capable high-mileage car. Here are our favourites

Joe Holding
Dec 11, 2020

In 2019, figures released by the Department for Transport showed that the average car in the UK had covered 7,400 miles over the previous 12 months. However, for plenty of people, their annual mileage will be several times that figure.

Most drivers who rack up high mileages will do so for work, although travelling to see friends and family - or even a pandemic-induced staycation driving around the country - can add serious numbers to a car’s odometer, which tracks how many miles it's covered.

If you’re a member of the ‘miles high’ club, then the best cars for high mileage will be those that are economical, reliable, comfortable and generally geared towards the type of driving you do most, whether that's mainly cruising up and down the motorway, a wide mix of roads or urban commuting.

So, if you’re looking for a car in which to rack up the miles, we’ve put together a range of vehicles that will effortlessly eat up the miles in various different scenarios. And if you go through BuyaCar, we’ll find the perfect car for you while saving you a pretty penny in the process. Best of all, you don't have to rack up any more miles viewing cars or going to pick one up; buy with us and we'll deliver the car to your door.

Economical cars for high mileage

1. Peugeot 208

Used deals from £13,795
Monthly finance from £238*

The new Peugeot 208 is one of the most economical cars you can buy. Find one with a 1.5-litre diesel engine and you’ll be looking at 68.9mpg, according to the car’s official figures. Unless you consider a plug-in hybrid vehicle instead - which will require you to regularly charge the batteries if you want to get close to the official economy figures - you’ll struggle to find better numbers anywhere right now.

Though it’s only a supermini, the 208 will cope on the motorway just fine: the engine packs a fair amount of punch and helps the 208 to hit 0-62mph in under 10 seconds, so threading it through traffic on the motorway will be a piece of cake.

As the latest-generation 208 is relatively new, used examples are only now beginning to filter onto the market. On BuyaCar, you can acquire a diesel 208 with only a few thousand miles on the clock for around £15,000. If that’s too much for you, older versions can be found for much less cash, and you’ll still see around 50mpg.

PEUGEOT 208 BUYERS’ GUIDE

2. Renault Clio

Renault Clio dynamic

Used deals from £12,765
Monthly finance from £190*

The Renault Clio is one of the 208’s closest competitors, again scoring well when it comes to fuel economy. The latest, fifth-generation model will do up to 67.3mpg, so it’ll make the most of every last drop of fuel just like the 208 above.

The Clio isn’t quite as powerful - and therefore not as quick - as the 208, but what it lacks in performance it makes up for in other key areas. For one it’s more practical, with its large 391-litre boot dwarfing the 208’s 311 litres, and for another it’s better equipped. The Clio comes with LED headlights, cruise control with a speed limiter (useful for the motorway) and a suite of driver safety aids as standard. It handles better around corners too.

You’ll pay a little bit more for the Clio (around £17,000 on BuyaCar, though this figure will drop as more and more used models become available), but petrol models are cheaper and will still hit somewhere in the region of 50mpg. These might be better for you if your high-mileage driving is on a mix of fast and slow roads.

RENAULT CLIO BUYERS’ GUIDE

3. Skoda Superb

Used deals from £14,490
Monthly finance from £254*

Skoda is on something of a hot streak at the moment, with a really strong lineup of cars, thanks to its close ties with parent company Volkswagen Group and the fact that engines, gearboxes and many other bits of kit are shared with pricier Audis, VWs and Seats. All Skodas are based on VWs, but with a less ‘premium’ badge they are normally much better value for money.

The Skoda Superb is no exception; it’s the Czech company’s version of the Volkswagen Passat, offering lots of space for passengers along with a large, 625-litre boot - and a more practical hatchback - meaning that it will suit families covering long distances. There’s an estate version too, which is even bigger.

The latest model is available with a variety of petrol and diesel engines, with the 2.0-litre diesel (combined with a manual gearbox) the best equipped for long motorway miles, managing up to 56.5mpg. You can get automatic models too, which will be less taxing to drive and, though they use more fuel, will only cost you a few miles per gallon. On top of all that, the Superb has a comfortable ride and is quiet when cruising. 

SKODA SUPERB BUYERS’ GUIDE

4. Toyota C-HR

Used deals from £14,595
Monthly finance from £222*

Given the popularity of SUVs these days, we couldn’t go through this list without mentioning one. The Toyota C-HR is one of the better models on the market, especially in hybrid form. The hybrid model contains a small battery that gets charged by the engine and in turn powers an electric motor (but offers much less electric range than plug-in models where you need to charge the car to make the most of the onboard batteries). Subsequently the electric motor in the C-HR then helps the engine accelerate, boosting fuel economy.

The effect of this system is most noticeable around town and in traffic, where a conventional car would be at its least efficient. And in varied driving, you should get around 55mpg, which isn’t bad for a petrol vehicle of this size.

There are other attributes that make the C-HR well suited to high-mileage: its high driving position will give you confidence on the road, while the ride is comfortable for the most part. Drive at a gentle pace, and you’ll avoid the worst of the slightly jerky automatic gearbox.

Go for a 2.0-litre version of the C-HR over a 1.8-litre if you can, as the extra power will mean you don’t have to work the engine as hard.

TOYOTA C-HR BUYERS’ GUIDE

5. Volkswagen Up

Used deals from £5,000
Monthly finance from £118*

If you cover most of your miles around town or in a city, then the small, nimble Volkswagen Up is an ideal choice. It’s one of the more spacious city cars going - good for when you’ve got company - and drivers rate it well for reliability, so you can rely on it to get you where you need to go.

High-mileage drivers will also be pleased to know that the Up is fun to drive. After all, who wants to cover tens of thousands of miles per year in a car that’s completely devoid of character? The 1.0-litre turbocharged engine in the latest Up gives it a great turn of pace, although you’ll want the most powerful version with 115hp if you’re planning to spend much time on the motorway.

The Up has been around for a few years now, but as one of the cheapest new cars on sale, used prices for older models are exceedingly low. There are five-year-old cars for less than £6,000 on BuyaCar’s listings, but we’d recommend going for something newer: prices for one-year-old cars have dropped below £9,000, which isn’t much of a premium to pay for a car with better equipment.

VOLKSWAGEN UP BUYERS’ GUIDE

6. Hyundai Ioniq

Used deals from £15,600
Monthly finance from £268*

A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) could be a great choice if your mileage consists of many short- to medium-length journeys. That's because PHEVs contain a large battery that you charge up by plugging the car in, allowing you to then run the car for a certain distance without using the engine at all, with an electric motor doing the work instead.

In the Ioniq Plug-In, you can expect to drive 20-30 miles on a full charge (depending on the temperature) in this way before the engine needs to turn itself on again. And if that distance covers most (or all) of your daily driving, then you’ll potentially see 100mpg+ fuel economy. Better still, charging the battery at home will likely only cost just over £1 each time, so your running costs could be miniscule.

Just make sure that you charge the car regularly if you go for a plug-in hybrid, as these can be inefficient if you only run them on petrol power, as they have to carry all the weight of the batteries and electric motor without getting much electric assistance. And if most of your journeys are less than 30 miles, why not consider a fully electric car - like the Kia and Hyundai models below - and then you never need to worry about topping up with petrol at all.

The interior is far from luxurious, but the unfussy design and highly functional touchscreen media system (up to eight inches wide in the mid- and top-spec trims) make the Ioniq a very easy car to get along with. Nearly-new models will set you back well over £20,000, but older cars that have covered a few more miles will be considerably cheaper.

HYUNDAI IONIQ BUYERS’ GUIDE

7. Kia e-Niro

Kia e-Niro front three quarters view

Used deals from £32,350
Monthly finance from £476*

Up until recently, the idea of covering high miles in an electric car was extremely far fetched, with technology only allowing them to travel so far before needing a long stop-over to recharge. However, there are now a number of electric vehicles that can do well over 250 miles in one go, while ‘rapid charging’ can replenish their cells in less than an hour in some cases.

The Kia e-Niro is one such example. Officially, the top-spec model with the 64kWh battery can do 282 miles on a single charge, while its maximum charging speed stands at an impressive 100kW. And while it looks like any other boxy SUV, the electric power option makes it very smooth to drive and exceptionally quiet compared to a conventional car.

The e-Niro has been highly sought after in the UK ever since it arrived in 2019, meaning you’ll do well to get your hands on a used one for less than £30,000. That might sound like a lot of money, but you need to consider that filling the battery will cost less than £10 each time, giving you a lot of driving range for the money. Kia has a seven-year warranty on all of its cars too, so even the oldest e-Niros will have warranty cover until 2026, so there’ll be lots left to give you peace of mind on the road.

KIA NIRO BUYERS’ GUIDE

8. Hyundai Kona Electric

Used deals from £26,995
Monthly finance from £318*

The Hyundai Kona Electric is closely related to the Kia e-Niro above (Kia and Hyundai are part of the same company), with both cars sharing the same platform, battery and electric motor. As such their performance figures are nearly identical, with the Kona capable of 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds - which is pretty speedy for a relatively small electric car - and a top speed of 104mph. It’s 0-30mph where the car - like most electric vehicles - excels though, meaning it can zip through the miles around town.

It’s not exactly the same car as the e-Niro but with different badges though. The Kona’s 332-litre boot is much smaller than the e-Niro’s, and the latter is slightly better equipped.

That said, the Kona Electric is a genuine high-mileage contender, and the fact that this SUV arrived in the UK earlier than the e-Niro has left more time for prices to come down below the £30,000 mark.

If you are prepared to spend more than that, it’s well worth looking at a Tesla Model S or Model 3. These boast the longest ranges of any electric car right now, and they are supported by Tesla's ultra-reliable ‘Supercharger’ network of rapid-charging stations.

HYUNDAI KONA BUYERS’ GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta Titanium:

Monthly payments over 48 months: £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage allowance: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

Buyacar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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