Everyone knows driving costs cash. Getting the most for your money is not only important when you’re buying a car, it’s also vital when you’re out on the road. With rising fuel costs and the pound in your pocket constantly shrinking – what are the best cars to get if you want to avoid shelling out the big bucks on repairs and fuel? These are our top 5 cars – listed in reverse order – that should help you save petrol, money and benefit from a cleaner, greener ride.
Honda Civic 1.6i-DTEC
The Honda Civic is one car where cost effective doesn’t equal under powered. With good handling and divisive looks it might cost you a little more to get one of these motors, but they do come with a full on 5 Star safety rating. However, the cabin size is a little diminished so this would be a bad choice for basketball players, although it is more spacious in comparison to its major rival the VW Polo TDI Blue Motion, offering great legroom. And a good boot size makes it an ideal family car.
How economical is this car? You’re looking at official figures of 78.5mpg and 94g/km in emissions meaning that you can get the most out of your fuel costs.
Our Pick: 2013 Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC ES with 99,000 miles for £5000
Ford Focus 1.5 TDCi
Although the official figures state that the Ford Focus does 85mpg, real-world tests would indicate that 60mpg is more of a grounded expectation. Great for families – as this is one of the bigger hatchbacks out there with room for the kids and there’s a nice ride quality to it, comparable to somewhere between VW Golf and a Skoda Octavia. To accompany the smooth feel you’ll find a good interior with an easy on the eye plastic decor and the comfy, spacious cabin space can easily fit those of us lucky enough to stand in the 6ft tall range in the back.
Our Pick: 2012 Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi with 61,000 miles for £5000
Volkswagen Polo Bluemotion
These fine examples of German motoring can achieve a staggering 80mpg and the CO2 emissions are rated at around 91g/km. If you want a green car, that’s value for money and doesn’t compromise on the performance, you’ll be hard pushed to find a better option than the VW Polo.
The solid VW build quality means you get an easy feel behind the wheel, but this does tend to make it a little pricier and you’ll need to do a high mileage to benefit from the cost savings. One of the most practical and spacious entries to this list, the in-cabin comforts include Bluetooth and a leather steering wheel as standard, and alloys on the outside.
Our Pick: 2012 Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TDI BlueMotion Tech with 58,000 miles for £5000
Skoda Octavia 1.6 TDI Greenline
Tests have shown that the Skoda Octavia usually clocks in around 56 mpg, although the literature does claim that it’s nearer 88.3mpg. Whilst this is not the most exciting car to drive, nor will it turn any heads at a beauty parade, it does have the accolade of perhaps being the most spacious car on this list.
Perfect for families including the kids and all their kit, you have a vast, cavernous 590 litre boot to help you on those big shopping trips or camping holidays. Suitable for the practically minded, this car is comparable to the Ford Mondeo or the VW Golf, only cheaper. A fact you’ll see reflected in the quality of the trim.
Our Pick: 2010 SKODA Octavia 1.6 TDI GreenLine with 72,000 miles for £4495
Toyota Prius Hybrid
Whilst the manufacturer’s stats make the audacious claim that the Toyota Prius Hybrid clocks in at around 134.5mpg, real world performance sets the performance at around 70% of this figure, and even with no electric power remaining you’ll still get a very respectable 78.5mpg out of the petrol engine.
However, CO2 emissions are the lowest you’ll find at a very respectable 89g/km. Voted the most reliable car in the 2013 Which? survey this vehicle comes with a 5-star safety rating and you won’t have to pay road tax. One of the most affordable options on this list with a great entry level spec, there’s a reason why you’re seeing more people driving these cars.
Our Pick: 2009 Toyota Prius 1.5 T4 CVT with 90,000 miles for £4995