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The top 10 cheapest cars to run

Running costs are a crucial consideration for many car buyers. With so many fuel-efficient options out there, it can be hard to know which models are best. To help you pick the perfect one, we’ve found the 25 most fuel efficient cars across petrol, diesel, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric model range.

Here are the cheapest to run cars you can buy:

Cheapest to run petrol cars

Petrol engines have come a long way in terms of fuel economy in recent years thanks to advancements such as direct fuel injection and cylinder-on-demand. They tend to cost less than diesel-powered options and are well suited to drivers who do mostly inner-city journeys. If you cover fewer than around 15,000 miles per year, a cheaper petrol car can make more financial sense than a pricier, more efficient diesel.

Bare in mind that, on 1 April 2017, UK Road Tax bands will change. Many models that used to be free to tax will now demand an annual fee. Read our helpful road tax guide to figure out if the car you’re considering will cost more to tax after 1 April.

 Cheapest to run diesel cars

Diesels are usually more fuel efficient than equivalent petrol models and generally offer more torque. This means they have plenty of in-gear oomph so require fewer gearchanges to achieve strong acceleration and are well suited to towing. Diesels use less fuel than petrols but cost more to buy, so you’ll need to make sure your annual mileage is high enough so your reduced fuel costs make up for the greater purchase price.

Cheapest to run hybrid cars

Hybrids combine a regular combustion engine with at least one electric motor. Around town, they sometimes run on electric power alone so aren’t as badly affected by inefficient stop-start traffic as a normal petrol or diesel. Many hybrids use a CVT automatic gearbox that saps a little power and produces an annoying drone from the engine when you ask for hard acceleration – most are best suited to more sedate driving styles as a result.

Cheapest to run plug-in hybrid cars

Plug-in hybrids use bigger batteries and more powerful electric motors than regular hybrids and, crucially, feature the ability to recharge those batteries externally from the engine. This means that strategic charging could mean you almost never pay for fuel again if your regular commute is shorter than the car’s electric range. Of course, you have the fuel-powered engine should you need to tackle longer journeys – arguably the bane of the pure-electric car.

Cheapest to run electric cars

For drivers who cover almost exclusively short stop-start journeys, an electric car will be the cheapest to run. While London’s congestion zone becomes more and more stringent on CO2 emissions, electric cars are future proofed because they don’t emit any CO2 at all. They also offer very powerful acceleration off the line thanks to the instant torque available from an electric motor. The only stumbling block for buyers is the limited range that puts long journeys out of the picture without a second car.

Cheapest-to-run electric cars are ordered according to purchase price.

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Suzuki Celerio

Roomy budget city car is cheap to run
£7,999 - £11,449
Read review Compare offers

Hyundai Ioniq hybrid

A small, affordable hybrid that’s cheap to run
£21,240 - £24,840
Read review Compare offers

Kia Optima PHEV

Cheap running costs and lots of equipment
Read review Compare offers
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