Most economical small cars on sale in UK 2019

Trying to save money on your motoring? These economical small cars are bound to help you make substantial savings

Simon Ostler
Sep 6, 2019

Trying to make motoring more affordable? One of the easiest ways to save yourself a bit of money is to use less fuel. The price of fuel is easy to overlook, but if you're driving over 8,000 miles per year it's likely your annual fuel costs will exceed £1,000 - lengthy commutes can burn some pretty large holes in your wallet.

In some cases, covering thousands of miles a month is unavoidable, so saving money on fuel can seem like a pretty impossible task, but there are steps you can take to keep your fuel bills under control. Driving a car with better fuel economy can be a very effective way of saving fuel and minimising costs.

Generally measured in miles per gallon (mpg), factors like engine size, exhaust efficiency and tyre pressures can all have an effect on a cars' fuel economy, as can the weight of a driver's right foot. An engine that is made to work harder will burn more fuel, so it's worth addressing any outstanding engine issues your car may have, as a smoother running engine will be more economical.

If, however, your car is simply burning too much fuel, then you can look towards finding something more efficient. In general terms, newer cars will offer much better fuel efficiency courtesy of their need to comply with ever stringent environmental standards such as Euro 6.

Good news for you, we've taken it upon ourselves to bring you 10 of the most economical small cars on the market. With a mix of diesel and petrol engines - and even a hybrid - there is an excellent choice of great small cars that are not only fun to drive and practical, but they will also save you some serious money in the long term.

Most economical small cars

1. Peugeot 208

Latest Peugeot 208 deals from £4,950
Monthly finance from £89
Our pick
Peugeot 208 1.5 BlueHDi 100
Fuel Economy 94.2mpg (claimed)
CO2 95g/km

It's only small, but the Peugeot 208 is a car that's full to the brim with character. It's a very capable hatcback that offers good amounts of space for passengers and luggage. Up against the likes of the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta, the 208 might not be the best car in it's class, but a selection of very frugal diesel engines makes it very hard to ignore. 

We've gone got the 1.5-litre, 100hp diesel, as it offers astounding fuel economy without being painfully slow. The 94.2mpg figure claimed by Peugeot maybe unrealistic in the real world, but you should still see some pretty impressive figures in excess of 50mpg if you're gentle enough on the accelerator.

2. Dacia Sandero

Our pick Dacia Sandero Comfort Blue dCi 95
Fuel economy 62.8mpg
CO2 98g/km

The Dacia Sandero will save you money before you've even driven it. The Renault subsidiary remains untouchable when it comes to affordable new cars, but this one will continue to save you money on the road as well.

Although you won't get much in the way of technology or performance, the Sandero will make you smile for reasons relating to the weight of your wallet instead. 95hp, 1.5-litre Blue dCi models will deliver a very handsome 62.8mpg that is certainly not to be sniffed at.

3. Seat Ibiza

Our pick Seat Ibiza FR 1.6 TDI 95PS
Fuel economy 74.3mpg
CO2 100g/km

Another very stylish and enthusiastic option for drivers who still want to enjoy their driving alongside saving money. The Seat Ibiza sits alongside the Peugeot 208 and Ford Fiesta as the more exciting cars on this list, but again comes with a temptingly economical diesel engine.

In FR trim you will still have a very comfortable and usable car, but go for the 1.6-litre diesel engine with 95hp and you'll find your fuel bills are reduced as well - this is certainly one to take note of. 

4. Ford Fiesta

Our pick Ford Fiesta 1.5 TDCi 85PS
Fuel economy 74.3mpg
CO2 96g/km

The Ford Fiesta is probably the best car on this list. For outright driving joy alongside day-to-day practicality and versatility, there is really very little that comes close within its class. It's also the most popular car in Britain, and it's very easy to see why.

Next to all that, the Fiesta is also capable of being a very sensible and efficient car if you're looking to make some savings. A 1.5-litre diesel engine with 85hp is available with multiple trims and proves to be very handy. Even if the 74.3mpg claimed by Ford proves to be out of reach, anything above 50mpg will be hugely competitive in this list.

5. Ford Ka+

Our pick Ford Ka+ Zetec 1.5 TDCi
Fuel economy 76.3mpg
CO2 99g/km

Making use of a slightly more powerful 1.5-litre diesel engine (this time with 95hp), the Ford Ka+ is another example of Ford putting together a very frugal little car. Availble in the Zetec trim, you won't be missing out on much as you get plenty of tech including air conditioning and cruise control.

Again, it's unlikely the claimed 76.3mpg is actually achievable during real world driving, but you should still manage some very acceptable figures if you pay attention to your right foot and don't drive too hard.

6. Suzuki Celerio

Our pick Suzuki Celerio 1.0 SZ3 Dualjet
Fuel economy 72.4mpg
CO2 89g/km

Here we have something of a left-field choice to the more established Ford Fiesta or Seat Ibiza. The Suzuki Celerio is certainly not ont he same level in terms of quality and popularity - the interior especially leaves us wanting. But up against the more realistic rivals like the Dacia Sandero, the Celerio starts to come into its own. It's very affordable, and perfectly likeable, but most importantly, it'll save you money on the road.

It's only available with a tiny, 1.0-litre petrol engine producing 68hp, but economy figures will easily clear 50mpg and Suzuki claim a it'll manage a whopping 89mpg, although it's unreasonable to expect such a number in the real world.

7. Toyota Yaris Hybrid

Our pick Toyota Yaris Hybrid 1.5 VVT-i Icon
Fuel economy 85.6mpg
CO2 84g/km

As the only hybrid on this list, it has something of an unfair advantage, but the Toyota Yaris hybrid is a very capable car that brings even better fuel economy to what is already a very practical and desirable hatchback.

We especially like it in Icon trim, because not only will you get some very impressive fuel economy figures of over 70mpg (more than some other trims thanks to smaller wheels), it also produces the lowest amount of CO2 of the Yaris Hybrid range.

8. Citroen C1

Our pick Citroen C1 Elle VTi 72
Fuel economy 68.9mpg
CO2 93g/km

The Citroen C1 is another very small car with a very big heart. Particularly in this Elle trim, that offers more personalisation with various colour schemes inside and out, the C1 is a very affordable, yet very enjoyable car to own and drive. 

It's rough around the edges, feeling a long way off its rivals in terms of quality, and the 1.0-litre, 72hp petrol engine lacks power. But it'll give you an awful lot back in fuel savings, with 68.9mpg proving to be a very realistic target in the real world - your smile is about to get a whole lot bigger.

9. Peugeot 108

Our pick Peugeot 108 1.0
Fuel economy 68.9mpg
CO2 93g/km

Another french fancy, this time in the form of the Peugeot 108, this one proves to be just as tempting as it's larger cousin. A 1.0-litre petrol engine availbale in Access, Active, Allure and Collection trims makes this car a very imressive fuel saver indeed.

With economy figures of over 50mpg very achievable, the 108 will definitely save you money, and also provide some very enjoyable journeys along the way.

10. Suzuki Swift

Our pick Suzuki Swift 1.2 Dualjet
Fuel economy 61.4mpg
CO2 106g/km

Our final pick is the Suzuki Swift, which is perhaps the dark horse of the lot. With a larger 1.2-litre version of teh dualjet engine found in the Celerio, the Swift can offer some very enticing fuel economy figures, the claimed 61.4mpg is very attainable in the real world.

This is definitely one you should consider if saving money is important to you.

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