Top 10 economical second-hand cars

  • Small, fuel-efficient cars
  • Great used buys
  • VED costs and mpg listed
Top 10 economical second-hand cars
Top 10 economical second-hand cars
Finding an economical used car is a priority for many buyers who are struggling with rising road tax rates and the escalating price of fuel. So, to help out, here are our top 10 economical used cars.

The Ford Fiesta 1.6 TDCi Econetic is our favourite used money-saver. It has average fuel economy of 78.5mpg and CO2 emissions are just 95g/km. As a result, you’ll pay zero road tax and be exempt from the London Congestion Charge. The Fiesta is great to drive, too, so you aren’t sacrificing fun for frugality.

The Fiesta is a great-looking car, but if you demand even more style, a used Mini Cooper D is sure to please. Minis hold their value better than most, so they aren’t especially cheap to buy, but average economy of 72.4mpg, emissions of 104g/km and annual road tax of £20 are great reasons to invest.

The Fiat 500 0.9 Twin Air is another modern interpretation of classic design that's sure to impress. It's impressively efficient and cheap to run, too, with average economy of 68.9mpg, CO2 emissions of 95g/km and no road tax to pay.

The Skoda Fabia 1.4 TDI PD 80 Greenline isn't as smart as the two retro-inspired superminis, but it has the Fiat and Mini beaten for both practicality and interior space. Efficiency tweaks over other Fabia models give the Greenline average economy of 68.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 109g/km – and an annual road tax bill of just £20.

The Seat Ibiza 1.4 TDI Ecomotive is closely related to the Skoda Fabia and it's even more economical with average economy of 76.3mpg and just 98g/km CO2 emissions. The interior quality isn’t quite as good as rivals', but zero-rated road tax and low prices give the Ibiza plenty of appeal.

You'd be hard-pushed to find cars as compact or cheap to own as our next three. The Citroen C1, Peugeot 107 and Toyota Aygo are re-badged versions of the same petrol-powered three-cylinder car.

The car you choose depends on personal taste, because each gets its own interior and exterior styling. Economy remains brilliant whichever you go for, though, with a 61.4mpg average for all three and CO2 emissions of 108g/km for the Citroen and Toyota, and 109g/km for the Peugeot. Road tax is £20 a year, but minuscule prices for low-mileage cars on the used market make these three a real bargain.

The BMW 116d is at the opposite end of the spectrum. It has a classy image, great handling and resale values that will remain strong as a result. Search for older, low-mileage cars, though, and the 116d proves that desirability doesn’t have to mean a big price. It’s capable of 62.8mpg and emits 118g/km CO2, making it good for a £30 a year road tax bill.

Last but by no means least is the Smart ForTwo 0.8 CDI. It'll squeeze into the smallest parking spaces and early models are very reasonably priced. Running one won't cost the earth, either: fuel economy is 85.6mpg and CO2 emissions are the lowest of any car on our list at 88g/km, so congestion charges don’t apply. The Smart is held back by limited practicality, but if all you need is space for two, you won't be disappointed.

Rory White

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