Fuel prices might be at a low point, but fuel economy remains one of the main drivers for new car buyers when they're shopping around.
Even with petrol and diesel prices dropping, a model that doesn't demand too many trips to the fuel pumps will save you cash on a daily basis. It should also be less harmful to the environment, and will typically be worth more than less efficient competitors on the used market when you come to sell it.
We've listed the UK's most economical cars here to help you make your next new car choice - and unsurprisingly they're all super frugal diesels. Do be aware, however, that the most fuel-efficient versions are not always the most cost-effective overall. If you don't do many miles a cheaper, thirstier rival may still cost less to own, and diesel repair bills can be higher as the engines are typically more complex. So economy is just one factor to consider, but it can be a big one.
Although official fuel economy and CO2 emissions figures are often quite different to the real-world figures, we still see them as useful. The official economy tests are standardised, so they don't include variations in driving style, traffic or weather - that means they are comparable, and a higher figure on the tests will likely mean a higher real-world figure, too.
We've decided to focus on non-hybrid and non-electric cars in our list here, as we've already put together round-ups for those models (see links, below). Instead, we’ve concentrated on conventionally-engined cars - especially as they are often much more affordable than their electrically-powered equivalents.
Electric cars do work for some people, though, so if you're looking for ultra-low emission vehicles, we've also got articles on the best hybrid cars, the best electric cars and even the best green cars on sale now.
Do remember that small diesel cars often boast excellent economy but this may not suit your lifestyle. Small city cars are great for commuting into town, but the tiny dimensions and cramped interior mean family trips can be very uncomfortable indeed - and there won't be much space for the shopping.
Diesel engines are not suitable for short trips, but work best for motorway travel - and small petrol engines are the opposite, working well in the city and getting noisy on faster roads. Also, diesel cars are usually more expensive than their petrol equivalents and are more costly to fill up. So if you don't cover long distances, a petrol car could make more financial sense.
You need to think carefully about which car will suit your needs best before you make a decision, rather than thinking purely about the fuel economy.
The cut-off point for our most economical cars list is an astonishing combined cycle return of 85.6mpg. Below that sit a cluster of fantastic cars that average over 80mpg but didn't quite make it into the fuel efficiency hall of fame. Any one of them should still be seriously cheap to run. Here's the best of the rest...