What Car?’s technicians drive new cars every week to capture our True MPG fuel economy data. Unlike official Government figures generated by a laboratory test, the numbers we publish are gained from real-world conditions.
This week we’re looking at the most economical cheap cars that we’ve tested so far, including the new Hyundai i10 - our 2014 City Car of the Year. If you’re looking to spend less than £10,000 on a car that won’t cost a fortune to fuel, then these seven models are worth considering. All of them beat 45mpg in our test.
1. Dacia Sandero 1.5 dCi (from £8595) – official 74.3mpg: True MPG 61.7mpg
The Sandero range starts at an astonishly low £5995, although this diesel will set you back another £2600. Of course, such a low price demands compromises, but if you can stomach the basic level of refinement and comfort, this economical small family car is incredible value for money.
2. Toyota Aygo 1.0 VVT-i (from £8595) – official 65.7mpg: True MPG 57.0mpg
The Aygo has a punchy engine, cute looks and feels solidly built despite the cheap cabin trim. However, the ride and refinement are below par and it has little standard kit. This is one of the most fuel-efficient small cars, though, and it comes with a reassuring five-year warranty.
3. Peugeot 107 1.0 (from £8095) – official 65.7mpg: True MPG 52.3mpg
The 107 is the same car underneath as the Aygo, but our True MPG test suggests it’s not quite as efficient. The engines feels nippy in town and can hold its own on faster roads, although like the Toyota, the ride is rather firm. A three-door model in Active trim is at least a smart, solid city runabout.
4. Skoda Citigo 1.0 60 (from £7990) – official 68.1mpg: True MPG 49.1mpg
The Citigo is one of the best city cars around – it's great to drive, well built and cheap to buy and run. Granted, it’s not as classy as the Volkswagen Up, but a five-door Greentech SE model is well equipped, emits 95g/km of CO2 and costs less than £10,000. That’s a bargain in our book.
5. Volkswagen Up 1.0 60 (from £8265) – official 62.8mpg: True MPG 48.6mpg
The Up was our 2013 City car of the Year. It’s a funky-looking runabout that’s also economical, spacious and good to drive. This 59bhp engine can struggle on the motorway, but it’s fine around town. You can get a well-equipped, three-door Move Up model - plus VW’s portable sat-nav from the options list - and stay within the £10,000 budget.
6. Kia Rio 1.25 (from £9995) – official 56.5mpg: True MPG 46.4mpg
The Rio feels impressively grown up for a supermini, thanks to its roomy, stylish interior. The ride, refinement and handling all leave a lot to be desired, but given the space and equipment on offer, plus Kia’s seven-year warranty, it’s good value for money and well worth considering.
7. Hyundai i10 1.0 (from £8345) – official 60.1mpg: True MPG 45.6mpg
The new i10 only just beats 45mpg in our real-world test, but it performs so well in other areas that we named it our 2014 City Car of the Year. Its ride, handling and compact size make it a fine urban runabout, while it’s also remarkably refined compared to all of its rivals. There’s room for four six-footers inside, a decent-sized boot, six airbags and Hyundai’s five-year warranty. The i10 is simply outstanding value for money.
We add new models to our True MPG database every week. Visit whatcar.com/truempg to see the full range of cars we’ve tested, and find out what you really can expect to achieve on UK roads.