Motoring costs are sky high and many drivers will be looking to cut their fuel consumption by investing in a more economical car. However, it's not just a case of choosing a car with the best mpg. You also need to think about how you will use your new car.
Generally, small diesel cars have the highest mpg, but there is no point in going for great fuel economy if the car doesn't fit in with your life. While a tiny city car will be very efficient on urban roads, its small dimensions often mean a cramped interior and limited boot size, which won’t be much use to a family of five.
A diesel engine won't run efficiently if you only do short, in-town journeys, yet a small petrol engine may have to be revved hard, which could make motorway trips noisy. Also, diesel cars usually are 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 what will suit your needs best.
Petrol and diesel engines are becoming more and more efficient, but there are alternatives to the traditional internal combustion engine that you may want to consider.
Hybrid cars, electric cars and range extenders can also have low running costs. although they tend to cost more to buy. A hybrid car, such as the Toyota Prius, mates a petrol or diesel engine with electric motors. Around town, they can run on electric power only for a limited time.
Electric cars, such as the Nissan Leaf, can be even more costly to buy. While they eliminate your fuel costs, they have a limited range and charging them can take up to eight hours.
Range extenders such as the Vauxhall Ampera and Chevrolet Volt are a combination of the two – they are essentially electric cars with an engine that kicks in as a back-up ‘generator’ when the batteries run flat. The engine will never drive the wheels and they are very expensive to buy.
Checking the official fuel economy figures in the showroom is a good way to see how cars compare, but remember you won't always be able to reach these government figures. They're achieved under unrealistic tests.
With this in mind, we've rounded up the 10 most economical cars. Click the links on the left to find out which one is right for you.