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What are the most cost-effective cars?

By Mathilda Bartholomew | November 13, 2023


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Which model claims the top spot among the most budget-friendly car brands?

What are the most cost-effective cars?

Affordable cars attract attention for their budget-friendly nature, fuel efficiency, and minimal maintenance expenses—especially for those just starting out on the road.

The question arises: among the nation's favourite cars, which ones boast the most economical running costs?

Confused.com has the answers. They examined the top 50 cars in the UK to identify those with the most economical running costs. This assessment includes factors such as:

● Fuel tank refill expenses

● Full service cost

● Car tax

● Fuel efficiency

● Depreciation rate over three years

Based on these criteria, they assigned each car a score out of 10 to highlight the most cost-effective options.

Rank Car Estimated cost to fill a tank (petrol) Average full service cost Average annual car tax Miles per pound Average 3-year depreciation rate Cost-effective score /10
1 Honda Jazz £62.04 £156 £170 9.2 35% 8.69
2 Toyota Yaris £65.14 £177 £170 9.3 29% 8.49
3 Toyota Aygo £54.28 £184 £90 8.3 40% 8.41
4 Citroën C1 £54.28 £182 £90 8.1 40% 8.41
5 Fiat 500 £54.28 £188 £100 7.6 27% 8.33
6 Hyundai i10 £55.83 £175 £180 7.8 40% 7.59
7 Citroën C3 £69.79 £191 £90 7.4 19% 7.43
8 Peugeot 208 £62.04 £210 £180 8.1 28% 7.35
9 Kia Picanto £54.28 £185 £180 7.5 39% 7.30
10 Volkswagen Polo £62.04 £193 £180 7.2 11% 7.26

1. Honda Jazz - 8.69/10

According to Confused.com's research, the Honda Jazz emerges as the most cost-effective car. Striking a balance between fuel economy and service costs, the Honda Jazz maintains its value over time. With a commendable 9.2 miles per pound, it showcases good fuel efficiency, while a modest 35% value loss over three years indicates its strong retention of value.

2. Toyota Yaris - 8.49/10

Trailing closely behind the Honda Jazz, the Toyota Yaris exhibits superior fuel efficiency at 9.3 miles per pound. Boasting a 3-year depreciation rate of 29%, one of the lowest among the nation's most popular cars, the Toyota Yaris excels in retaining its value. However, it comes with higher service and fuel costs compared to the Honda Jazz.

3. Toyota Aygo & Citroën C1 - 8.41

The Toyota Aygo and Citroën C1 jointly secure the third position, boasting identical cost-effective scores of 8.41/10. Within the top three, they claim the lowest annual car tax and the most economical tank-fill cost, although their fuel efficiency is slightly lower. While maintaining a reasonable 3-year depreciation rate of 40%, it is worth noting that it is higher than the rates of the two cars positioned ahead of them.

Which cars are the least cost-effective?

Typically, luxury brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW tend to have lower cost-effectiveness scores owing to their elevated running and maintenance expenses.  

Which cars offer the most economical tank fills?

The Toyota Aygo, Citroën C1, Fiat 500, and Kia Picanto top the list with the lowest estimated cost to fill the tank. With a fuel capacity of 35 litres, the expense is £54.28, calculated based on an average petrol cost of £1.55 per litre (as of October 16, 2023).

Which car boasts the most economical average service cost?

The Honda Jazz takes the lead, featuring the lowest average full service expense at £156. The latest iteration of the Jazz is equipped with Honda's innovative e:HEV drivetrain, comprising a 1.5-liter petrol engine and two electric motors.  

Which cars feature the most affordable car tax rates?

The Toyota Aygo, Nissan Micra, and Citroën C1 and C3 collectively have the lowest average annual car tax. The maximum car tax expense for each of these models is £180 per year. Additionally, their electric versions enjoy a tax exemption until 2025, reducing their average car tax to £90.  

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