One of the most noticeable aspects of driving is the ever increasing amount of money that motorists are having to pay in order to fill up with fuel at the petrol pumps.
While there may be disputes between the government, the oil producers and the motorists when trying to apportion blame for the increasing forecourt prices, there is an alternate way to negate the spiralling fuel costs.
Automotive firms are creating ever more economical cars for the consumer to purchase and combined with the current climate it seems a good time to examine the top ten economical cars available on the market.
The first model on show is the Smart Fortwo car, part of the Penske Automotive Group in Michigan. Priced at £9,825 on the British market, the car offers a return of 85.6 miles per gallon. The diesel engine produces 54 brake horsepower and comes in a range of models from sporty through to coupe.
With a choice of either manual or automatic steering and a remote central locking system the car offers more for the consumer than just its economical value. However the alloy wheels, air conditioning and power windows are only added as optional extras onto the vehicle.
The Skoda Fabia Greenline is one of the most economical models ever made. According to the European Union’s Combined cycle, the diesel car has a score of 83.1mpg making it the most economical five seated car on sale.
While the car does not look like it is economical on first viewing, on closer inspection there are special panels fitted. However, for the environmentalists there is bad news; the car misses the 100g/km C02 target which means road tax must be paid on the model.
Priced from £13,685, the Mlada Boleslav firm’s car is towards the lower end of the market and comes with a three cylinder engine.
The immediate advantage relating to the Volkswagen Polo Bluemotion is that owners pay no road tax and do not have to pay the congestion charge so long as they register with Transport for London. With a price tag of £14,860 the car is slightly more expensive than it’s sister company model, the above mentioned Skoda Fabia Greenline.
The ‘Bluemotion’ in the title refers to the philosophy employed by Volkswagen which is put to use in trying to make the Volkswagen models as fuel efficient as possible whilst still listening to what their customers like when driving.
Vauxhall’s Corsa 1.3CDTi ecoFLEX at £13,310 has a four-cylinder 75 brake horsepower diesel engine which emits a similar amount of emissions to Volkswagen’s Polo. Unlike normal Corsa’s the ecoFLEX comes fitted with a new chassis and softer dampers, although it still has sport springs which are found on most Corsas.
The car offers a compromise for drivers who want a less expensive version of the Ford Focus Econetic but are after just as smooth a driving experience.
Seat’s Ibiza 1.2 TDI CR Ecomotive has been described as the Ibiza’s supermini sister. Unlike it’s sister though the car is incredibly economic with its fuel lasting 80.7 miles per gallon giving out 92km/g in emissions.
This means that the owners of the £13,900 motor are not required to pay tax costs because of the low emissions. The car comes with a five speed manual gearbox and can reach 60 miles per hour in 13 seconds. The hatchback comes in a variety of colours and has a softer suspension than the sportier models released by Seat.
At a cost of £13,195 the Fiat Punto 1.3 MultiJet Eco has a fuel capacity of 78.8 miles per gallon and emits only 95g/km. As this is under the required 100g/km it is yet another car which costs the motorist no tax during the year as it is listed under Class A. It also gives the car a Euro rating of five.
The car comes with driver and passenger air-bags, electric windows and heated front windscreen. Electric steering is fitted and the car can reach a top speed of 107 miles per hour. It also has remote central locking fitted.
Described as Ford’s greenest ever car, the Ford Fiesta Econetic 1.6 TDCi has been developed along a similar concept which served Volkswagen’s Polo BlueMotion and Seat’s Ibiza brands very well.
The good news about the £13,895 car is that it was one of the most economically designed family cars in the UK when it was released. In order to keep the C02 emissions below 100g/km though it has left out the spare wheel. In terms of car handling it compares very well against its competitors and unlike the Ibiza the Fiesta Economic has a split rear bench.
Always keen to embrace change and always eager to innovate, it is no surprise that Toyota have also worked on economical model when designing new cars.
The firm’s Auris Hybrid T4 HSD is priced at the upper end of the market scale when relating to the economical list and it’s lenient tax levied against it demonstrates how economical the motor is. It is just one of many models which offers the motorist 74.3 miles per gallon on the Combined cycle.
An advantage of the Auris is the ability to drive at up to 31 miles per hour in electric mode, which will last for 1.2 miles.
At a cost of over £14,000 the Mini One D is towards the less expensive end of the scale relating to economical cars. Covering a distance of 74.3 miles per gallon the Mini One D has 90 brake horse power resulting in it being on the most economical Minis around to buy.
The diesel-fuelled car can reach speeds of 114 miles per hour and can race to 60 miles per hour in just over 11 seconds. Like most Minis this car makes driving an enjoyable experience and can cover 650 miles before it needs refilling at the pumps.
Last but not least in the ten best economical cars around is the Volvo S40 DRIVe. It is the priciest of the economical vehicles and replaces the S40 model. The DRIVe is the name attached to the Volvo cars which emit low levels of C02. As the car emits 118 g/km, more than the 100 g/km permissible to join the A Class of cars, it is a Class B vehicle which means owners have to pay £35 per year in road tax.
Volvo have made alterations to the original concept of the S40 in order to come up with the S40 DRIVe. Innovations include lowering the bodywork by a centimetre and smooth alloys. The radiator grille has also seen its appearance changed in order to improve the flow of air into the car.
Due to the continual evolution of car designs it looks likely that should another list be compiled in two years time these economical cars may well be replaced with ever more smarter cars which can outperform the models which are currently seen as cutting edge.