Really? 235.4 miles per gallon? Well, sort of… It’s a little complicated, but here goes. On the face of it, the Chevrolet Volt (which is also badged as the more expensive Vauxhall Ampera) is a hybrid, its engine powered by both electricity and petrol. However, GM Motors insists it is an ‘extended range electric vehicle’ as, once the battery has run its 40-mile range, the Volt’s 1.4litre petrol engine fires into life to recharge the batteries and ensure there’s always power delivered to the front wheel drive. All this adds up to that quite phenomenal range of 235.4mpg. And with CO2 emissions of just 27g/km, the Volt is also exempt from both road tax and London congestion zone charges. On the downside, at £35,000 it’s not cheap to buy and its group 22 insurance means that you could get stung when purchasing cover. 2. Toyota Prius Plug-in (from £21,845) CO2 - 49g/km, 134.5mpg Tax band A Insurance group 16
The Toyota Prius has always been something of a standard-bearer for hybrids – great about town, enough room for a family and, crucially, it can swap smoothly between petrol and electric power, making it easy on the gas. The Prius Plug-in comes with additional batteries that charge by plugging into the mains. And although the all-electric range of 15 miles isn’t a good enough reason to blow upwards of £20,000, the combined consumption figure of 134.5mpg could be. 3. Kia Rio 1.1 Ecodynamics (from £11,895) CO2 - 85g/km, 88.3mpg Tax band A Insurance group 3
Easy on the gas, easy on the environment and easy on the pocket – not only can you bag a Kia Rio for a little over £10,000, its tax band means that you pay just £30 a year in road tax, while its insurance group means that your annual car insurance premium shouldn’t break the bank either. And with a range of 88.3mpg, you won’t be spending much at the pumps either. 4. Hyundai i20 1.1 CRDi Blue (from £11,795) CO2 - 84g/km, 88.3mpg Tax band A Insurance group 5
More money-saving motoring from a Korean manufacturer, this time in the shape of Hyundai’s i20, which offers the same miles-per-gallon as the Kia Rio and is also privy to the same cheap road tax. Both cars also look strikingly similar and come with low insurance costs, so if you’re in the market for one of these superminis, it will basically come down to a question of petrol (Kia) or diesel (Hyundai). 5. Renault Clio 1.5 dCi 90 ECO (from £15,345) CO2 - 83g/km, 88.3mpg Tax band A Insurance group 13
Having already owned a couple of diesel-powered Clios down the years, this is probably the one I’d go for as I’ve definitely got a soft spot for the little French runaround. At around £15,000 and in a higher insurance group, the Clio is initially more expensive than its Korean contemporaries, but it will perform just as well at the pumps and, well, it just looks better. And now the top five by class, from the most fuel-friendly city car to the most efficient executive model…
CITY CARVW Up 1.0 75 High Up (from £10,900) CO2 - 108g/km, 60.1mpg Tax band B Insurance group 2
Although it looks a bit pricey compared to some of its rivals, the Up is great to drive, very spacious for a city car and has all of the looks and refinement you’d expect from a VW. And the low tax and impressive insurance and fuel economy figures mean it’s also very cheap to run.
SUPERMINIAudi A1 1.4 TFSI (from £15,890) CO2 - 124g/km, 53.3mpg Tax band D Insurance group 16
As with the Up, the Audi A1 may seem a little pricey and may not be as quite as cheap to run as some of its contemporaries but this is offset somewhat by the fact that you’re getting all that’s good in an Audi, including a much better sell-on value than most other superminis.
FAMILY CARFord Mondeo 1.6 TDCi 115 Eco Zetec Start/Stop (from £20,195) CO2 - 114g/km, 65.7mpg Tax band C Insurance group 16
The Ford Mondeo has been the go-to family car for some years. Its great handling, spacious cabin and refined styling all combine to give it the edge over its peers. And if you opt for the 1.6 TDCi 115 Eco Zetec then you’ll be getting all of this combined with the running costs of a much smaller vehicle.
MPVNissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi Acenta 2WD (from £21,640) CO2 - 119g/km, 62.8mpg Tax band C Insurance group 21
Not only does the Quashqai’s 4x4-styling and refined interior mean it looks and feels better than most MPVs on the market, it’s 1.6dCi engine strikes a perfect balance between performance and economy. It’s also great to drive, competitively priced and holds its value well – plump for the +2 version and you can alternate as required between extra seats or added boot space.
EXECUTIVEBMW 5 Series 520d Efficient Dynamics (from £30,835) CO2 - 119g/km, 62.8mpg Tax band C Insurance group 32
If it’s an executive model you’re after, look no further than the BMW 5 series, which combines great styling and comfort – it ‘feels’ expensive and is great to sit in – with performance and fuel economy. You really can’t argue with an executive model that returns a better miles per gallon ratio than many smaller cars. [text-blocks id=cta-banner]