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
Oct 29, 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 car's 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 £4,497
Monthly finance from £83
Our pick Peugeot 208 1.5 BlueHDi 100
Fuel Economy 94.2mpg (claimed)
CO2 emissions 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 hatchback 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 its class, but a selection of very frugal diesel engines makes it very hard to ignore.

We've gone for the 1.5-litre, 100hp diesel, as it offers astounding fuel economy without being painfully slow. The 94.2mpg figure claimed by Peugeot may be 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.

Peugeot 208 buyers’ guide

2. Dacia Sandero

Latest Dacia Sandero deals from £4,395
Monthly finance from £81
Our pick Dacia Sandero Comfort Blue dCi 95
Fuel economy 62.8mpg
CO2 emissions 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. The 95hp, 1.5-litre Blue dCi models will deliver a very handsome 62.8mpg that is certainly not to be sniffed at.

Dacia Sandero buyers’ guide

3. Seat Ibiza

Latest Seat Ibiza deals from £4,995
Monthly finance from £85
Our pick Seat Ibiza FR 1.6 TDI 95PS
Fuel economy 74.3mpg
CO2 emissions 100g/km

Another very stylish and enthusiastic option for drivers who still want to enjoy their motoring 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.

Seat Ibiza buyers’ guide

4. Ford Fiesta

Latest Ford Fiesta deals from £5,400
Monthly finance from £101
Our pick Ford Fiesta 1.5 TDCi 85PS
Fuel economy 74.3mpg
CO2 emissions 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.

Ford Fiesta buyers’ guide

5. Ford Ka+

Latest Ford Ka+ deals from £5,995
Monthly finance from £104
Our pick Ford Ka+ Zetec 1.5 TDCi
Fuel economy 76.3mpg
CO2 emissions 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. Available 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.

Ford Ka+ buyers’ guide

6. Suzuki Celerio

Latest Suzuki Celerio deals from £4,253
Monthly finance from £79
Our pick Suzuki Celerio 1.0 SZ3 Dualjet
Fuel economy 72.4mpg
CO2 emissions 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 on the same level in terms of quality and popularity - the interior especially leaves us wanting. But up against 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.

Suzuki Celerio buyers’ guide

7. Toyota Yaris

Latest Toyota Yaris deals from £5,782
Monthly finance from £108
Our pick Toyota Yaris Hybrid 1.5 VVT-i Icon
Fuel economy 85.6mpg
CO2 emissions 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.

Toyota Yaris buyers’ guide

8. Citroen C1

Latest Citroen C1 deals from £4,695
Monthly finance from £83
Our pick Citroen C1 Elle VTi 72
Fuel economy 68.9mpg
CO2 emissions 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.

Citroen C1 buyers’ guide

9. Peugeot 108

Latest Peugeot 108 deals from £4,500
Monthly finance from £79
Our pick Peugeot 108 1.0
Fuel economy 68.9mpg
CO2 emissions 93g/km

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

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

Peugeot 108 buyers’ guide

10. Suzuki Swift

Latest Suzuki Swift deals from £5,199
Monthly finance from £100
Our pick Suzuki Swift 1.2 Dualjet
Fuel economy 61.4mpg
CO2 emissions 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 the 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.

Suzuki Swift buyers’ guide

 

Latest best cars & vans

  1. Best pre-registered car deals 2019

  2. Best new vans: 2020 models worth waiting for

  3. Best new sports cars and supercars coming in 2020

What our customers say