The top money-saving motors of the year

With fuel prices still on the rise it is more important than ever to buy a car that uses it as sparingly as possible.  Average fuel prices are currently at an astonishing £6.36 per gallon for petrol, and £6.66 per gallon of diesel, so what should you buy when trying to cut your running costs?

Finding your money-saving motor

Generally speaking, you can expect a better average miles per gallon figure in a small diesel car, but it won’t fulfil the needs of a family of four, or a fanatic golfer with a boot full of clubs. However, a petrol car will be more efficient on short urban journeys; if you’re only travelling three miles to work each day, a petrol engine will save you money in the long run.

It is also worth considering a hybrid car such as the revered Toyota Prius, a range extender (within which the electric motor uses the petrol intake as a kind of backup power generator) such as the Chevrolet Volt, or even a fully electric option such as the Nissan Leaf. The problem here is that, with a few exceptions, the price of purchase will be significantly higher across the board. So if you’re looking for a car that will save you money in both the long term and the short term, stick with the petrol or diesel.

Taking this into account, here are our top three diesel and petrol cars.

1.     The Renault Clio 1.5 dCi

This 1.5-litre diesel engined Renault supermini promises a staggering 88.3mpg while its low-emission output (just 83g/km) mean that road tax is free, making it about as cheap to keep on the road as anything else you’ll find. A compact five door, it has great boot space and trendy touch screen displays on the dashboard.

Prices start at £14,345

2.     The Kia Rio 1.1 CRDi

Again it is the diesel model that wins in mpg (88.3) and low-emissions (85g/km) so there is not a huge amount to choose between this and the Clio.  The bonus with the Rio is that ESP is fitted on all models, and the range achieved a 5 star Euro NCAP safety rating. Unfortunately, to achieve the highest economy you would have to go without Bluetooth and Air Conditioning, but the manufacturer offers an unrivalled seven year / 100,000 mile warranty. Also exempt from road tax.

Prices start at £11,345

3.     The Ford Fiesta ECOnetic

The 1.6-litre TDCi engine will give you 85.6 mpg while this, too is exempt from road tax due to its 87g/km emissions. The Fiesta is renowned for its ease and this is no difference, with easy, manageable steering and an incredibly comfortable ride. Also received a five-star rating from NCAP and has a huge range of add-ons, from the Active City Safety Stop mechanism, which can sense and avert a collision in urban environments, and the innovative MyKey, which enable parents to set a maximum speed for when their wannabe racing driver son/daughter borrows the car.

Prices start at £14,595


Image credit: Mariordo (Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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