Auto Express

Cheapest car to run | Auto Express

When you’re looking for a new car and you’re on a tight budget, the chances are you’ll be comparing windscreen sticker prices of a range of city cars and superminis. You’ll probably also be looking at promoted finance deals in the hope of saving a bit more cash, but are you considering the longer game? Which model is actually the cheapest to  run over the long term?

The cost of any car isn’t just the amount of money you need to find up front, because you keep paying out while you own it for fuel, maintenance, road tax and insurance. You also get a chunk of your money back when it’s time to sell. Taking all these factors into account produces a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) figure, and while it’s easy to be wise after you’ve owned a car, predicting a TCO figure before you buy it is a bit of a black art.

So we’ve teamed up with the experts at car data firm CAP HPI, and with the benefit of their expertise and algorithms, we’ve come up with predictions for the cheapest cars to run that are on sale in 2022. CAP is the industry leader for new and used car valuations, and its figures are widely used by manufacturers to calculate new car finance costs.

To avoid being repetitive and increase the range of choice, our list excludes duplicate models if more than one specification of the same car falls into our roster of low running cost champions. Instead we’ve picked the best performer from each model range.

Our TCO calculations are based on a typical three-year/30,000-mile ownership model too, and while this might not be the car buying pattern everyone follows, it’s a great basis for making running cost calculations and comparisons.

So, on to our winners. As you can see it’s not just bargain basement eco-boxes making the grade in 2022, as the super-low cost of charging an electric car compared to filling up with petrol or diesel has brought a number of EV options into play in spite of their comparatively high list prices.

Top 10 cheapest cars to run

Without further ado, here are the brand new cars that cost the motoring equivalent of next to nothing to run, in reverse order…

10. Suzuki Ignis 1.2 Dualjet 12V Hybrid SZ3

  • Total cost over three years/ 30,000 miles: £13,070
  • Monthly: £363  
  • Per mile: 43.6p

The Suzuki Ignis is a city car with SUV aspirations. It might come as a surprise then, to find that it’s one of the lightest new cars you can buy today, tipping the scales at just over a featherweight 800kg. 

This means the cool-looking micro-SUV is efficient, managing 58mpg on the WLTP cycle and putting out 110g/km of CO2 from a 1.2-litre mild-hybrid petrol engine. Its low kerbweight means it also pretty much gets away with its modest power output of 82bhp, with a 0-62mph figure of a just-acceptable 12.7 seconds.

It needs to be worked hard to make good progress, though, and it can be a little unrefined when you’re doing so. It’s not the quietest or most comfortable car overall, with a noisy cabin and a fairly bumpy ride.

The tiny Suzuki’s real forte here, as you’ve probably guessed, is a low total cost over three years. It doesn’t cost much to buy, and residual values – so long as you stick to one of the lower-spec models in the range – are reasonable, giving a per-mile figure of 43.6p.

The Ignis is fairly basic in SZ3 trim, doing without cruise control for instance, although you do get manual air-con and a sound system including a DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity, plus lots of safety features. 

9. Dacia Duster 1.0 TCe 90 Essential

  • Total cost over three years/30,000 miles: £12,892
  • Monthly: £358 
  • Per mile: 43p

This is the only proper compact SUV to make it into the top 10. Yes, it’s the entry-level trim and engine combination we’re looking at here (as with the Sandero range, the ultra-basic Access line has been dropped), but the Essential still comes with plenty of useful features including cruise control and Bluetooth. Plus the steel wheels suit the car quite well, and you don’t have to worry about kerbing expensive-to-repair alloys.

It won’t feel the plushest inside (the same is true of the higher trim grades, too), but the cabin is roomy and the boot is a good size and shape. You also get a useful 210mm of ground clearance for mild off-roading, but bear in mind that the Duster is just two-wheel drive. 

The 1.0-litre, 89bhp engine doesn’t exactly make it a rocketship, but it’ll offer up enough performance for most while delivering 45.6mpg. However, CO2 emissions of 140g/km mean the Duster has the highest first-year tax bill in this list, at £230.

Regardless, its showing here is thanks in large part to its low purchase price and decent residual values. 

8. Kia Rio Hatchback 1.2 DPi 1

  • Total cost over three years/30,000 miles: £12,822
  • Monthly: £356  
  • Per mile: 42.7p

Before we get on to the good points, we confess there are a few reasons not to recommend a Kia Rio. The Ford Fiesta rival is not particularly interesting

to look at, and unlike some of its Kia stablemates – which punch above their weight for cabin quality – the Rio has some cheaper-feeling elements inside.

The 1.2-litre, naturally aspirated petrol engine in this version also has to be worked hard to get the best out of it, and has the least impressive fuel economy figure here, albeit a decent 49.6mpg. 

But, crucially, it’s a very cheap car to buy, and the 1.2 is only in insurance group four. So you’ll pay just 42.7p a mile to run one for 30,000 miles over three years, although first-year tax will cost £190.

It’s also a very practical car, with an abundance of cubby holes and a big-for-the-class 325-litre boot.

7. Toyota Aygo X 1.0 VVT-i Pure

  • Total cost over three years/30,000 miles: £12,781
  • Monthly: £355  
  • Per mile: 42.6p

The Aygo X is Toyota’s intriguing way of staying in the shrinking city car class – the firm has turned its smallest car into a stylish micro-SUV. It finished last when we tested against the Hyundai i10 and the all-electric Fiat 500 earlier this year, falling behind in terms of refinement and practicality. However, there’s still plenty to like here beyond the distinctive looks. For one thing, it’s well equipped, and for another, the interior is as funky as the exterior and certainly more practical than its forbear.

Plus, class-leading residual values mean the Aygo X performs strongly in terms of total cost of ownership, despite being more expensive than the car it replaces. Fuel economy of 56.4mpg will keep fuel bills down, while CO2 emissions of 110g/km put it in the same £165 tax band as most of the cars in the top 10. 

6. Citroen C3 1.2 PureTech You

  • Total cost over three years/30,000 miles: £12,523
  • Monthly: £348  
  • Per mile: 41.7p

The C3 might be a supermini, yet it beats many city cars to the punch on running costs. Not only that, but the Citroen is also one of the strongest contenders in the B-segment, marking itself out with a greater focus on comfort rather than sharp handling. It’s roomy, stylish, and efficient, with the 82bhp 1.2-litre engine returning up to 51.4mpg. The motor has to be worked hard for brisk progress, but it’s potent enough for us to have no qualms about swerving the more expensive and less economical 109bhp turbocharged version. 

CO2 emissions are 122g/km, which puts the C3 in tax band G for a first-year rate of £190. Residual values are below par for the class, but the TCO figure is healthy thanks to the low price of the C3 range’s You trim.

The spec is simple, as you’d expect, but will tick all the right boxes for most buyers, offering electric front windows, air-conditioning, cruise control and a DAB digital radio with Bluetooth connectivity.

5. Dacia Sandero 1.0 TCe Bi-Fuel Essential

  • Total cost over three years/30,000 miles: £12,377
  • Monthly: £344  
  • Per mile: 41.3p

Another larger car to appear on our list, the Dacia Sandero is in the B-segment supermini class, yet costs less to own than many much smaller city cars. 

When it launched, the original Sandero was Britain’s cheapest car to buy outright, and by some margin, but it was much more basic back then. It’s since grown up, with a close relationship to the current Renault Clio. Also, the famously simple Access, trim with its lack of body-coloured bumpers, a radio or air-conditioning is no longer part of the Sandero range.

Regardless, the Dacia is still an excellent-value car, especially considering its now more-refined nature. It’s particularly cheap to drive in Bi-Fuel form; this is a car that can run on petrol and LPG. The latter costs significantly less than the former at petrol stations.

However, Dacia recently paused orders of some of its Bi-Fuel cars. “Work is under way to restore the situation and reopen orders as soon as possible,” said a spokesman for the Romanian manufacturer.

4. Hyundai i10 1.0 MPi SE  

  • Total cost over three years/30,000 miles: £12,263
  • Monthly: £341  
  • Per mile: 40.9p

The i10 is based on the same platform as Kia’s Picanto and shares the same 1.0-litre, 66bhp engine, but features slightly sportier and more aggressive exterior styling.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite as smart inside, with a pretty plain interior design and layout. Again, though, it’s very well made, and spacious. In this basic SE trim, you get a modicum of kit, including cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity and a digital radio. 

The current i10 has a longer wheelbase than the car it replaced, which helps to improve the ride and handling. There are better-driving city cars in this dwindling class, but you’ll have to pay more to buy and run them. 

The Hyundai has everything stacked in its favour when it comes to trimming its per-mile TCO figure, though. Like the Picanto, it costs £170 to tax for the first year, while fuel economy stands at 56.5mpg.

Residual values are fairly strong, too, and this car is in insurance group four, one lower than its Kia sister.

3. Peugeot 2008 1.2 PureTech Active Premium+

  • Total cost over three years/30,000 miles: £12,247
  • Monthly: £340
  • Per mile: 40.8p

Our second-cheapest proper car isn’t some tiny, budget-focused runabout; it’s a great-looking and desirable small SUV. Granted, not everyone will get on with the 2008’s ‘i-Cockpit’ driving position, which involves a small steering wheel placed beneath, rather than in front of, the instrument cluster, but there’s plenty else to like in this package.

The interior might be quirky, but it looks as stylish as the exterior, and is well built. The 2008 is available with a wide range of impressive engines, and this entry-level 99bhp petrol unit serves up enough performance for most people, because this is a reasonably light car. It also helps that the full 205Nm of torque is delivered at just 1,750rpm, so you don’t have to thrash it to make good progress.  

It’s also economical, managing 52.6mpg on average, and residual values are healthy, contributing to a low per-mile cost. CO2 emissions stand at 121g/km, so you’ll pay £190 to tax it in the first year.

Despite the ‘Premium’ bit of this derivative’s name, this is an entry-level trim grade. The standard spec is reasonable enough, however, with heated, power-folding mirrors and automatic air-conditioning.

2. Kia Picanto 1.0 1 5dr

  • Total cost over three years/ 30,000 miles: £12,083
  • Monthly: £336
  • Per mile: 40.3p

Strong values on the used market mean Kia Picanto owners – even those with the most wallet-friendly 1 models – stand to lose only a fairly modest sum through depreciation after three years. Further helping running costs, the least polluting and most efficient versions puff out 110g/km of CO2 and can achieve up to 58.9mpg, which makes for low fuel bills and keeps the first year of vehicle excise duty pegged at £170.

You will have to compromise on performance – the derivative we’re looking at here uses the entry-level 1.0-litre engine, which produces just 66bhp. It’s also in the lowest 1 trim, which features a basic two-speaker sound system, steel wheels and manual mirror adjustment. You do at least get Bluetooth connectivity, a USB socket and remote central locking.

The simple spec isn’t such a big deal, however, because the Picanto feels well made inside, with a spacious cabin featuring an abundance of premium-feeling materials. It’s also very comfortable and refined for such a small car, and fun to drive, even if the Volkswagen up! has it beaten for dynamics overall.

As a final bonus, every model in the Kia range is sold with a brilliant seven-year warranty. 

1. Citroen Ami

  • Total cost over three years/30,000 miles: £3,191
  • Monthly: £89
  • Per mile: 10.6p 

You  might view the Citroen Ami as something of an imposter here, because it’s technically not a car at all, legally classed as a quadricycle. But it still has four wheels, a steering wheel and an enclosed space for two, and yet can be run for just 10.6p a mile – substantially less than anything else on these pages. 

There’s a second caveat, however, because we’d be surprised (and quite impressed) if many Ami owners end up doing as many as 10,000 miles a year. This is a vehicle built specifically for clocking up lower mileages in congested urban environments, with a lack of creature comforts, a range of 46 miles and a top speed of just 28mph making it unsuitable for longer trips.

That said, it costs just £7,695 – a little more than we’d hoped, but far less than the UK’s cheapest actual car. And it’ll cost buttons to run, thanks to its electric powertrain and nothing to pay in vehicle excise duty, so the Ami will also provide low-cost motoring on lower mileages.

It’s propelled by an 8bhp motor, fed by a 5.5kWh battery pack that takes three hours to charge. The Ami is under 2.5 metres long, has a turning circle of 7.2 metres and weighs less than half a tonne. It offers truly back-to-basics motoring, with a low TCO to match.

Case study: living with An Ami

“Could you live with an Ami? Well, the Fowler family did for a while and it could well have a place in your family fleet. If you’re just going to be popping to work or to the shops and you live somewhere where the 28mph top speed isn’t going to cause you problems with queues of traffic behind you, then the Ami could well be the perfect solution. I reckon you’d end up using it more than you first thought – if only because it’s so much fun to be in.

You’ll have to be prepared to be stared at lots and answer lots of questions, but that’s part of the appeal; it’s a car that creates interest, as it did with my kids – all young drivers – and all of them loved the Ami.

Sure, the tiny Citroen has its limitations, its top speed being one of them. As its position as Britain’s cheapest car to own suggests, it’s built to a price, but Citroen’s designers have played to those strengths, having fun with the design inside, too. While it’s easy to drive, the ride is a bit firm and you hear every stone popping up off the road surface. But it’ll put a smile on your face and won’t cost you much to own. Which is why I love it so much.

Cheapest cars to run 2022

Here’s the final list of the cheapest cars to run in full. Click the links to read the full in-depth reviews on each car…

  1. Citroen Ami
  2. Kia Picanto
  3. Peugeot 2008
  4. Hyundai i10
  5. Dacia Sandero
  6. Citroen C3
  7. Toyota Aygo X
  8. Kia Rio
  9. Dacia Duster
  10. Suzuki Ignis

How to cut your fuel costs

CAP’s Total Cost of Ownership figures are based on the manufacturer’s official fuel economy figures, but what if you could do even better? Follow our tips on cutting fuel costs and you could spend even less on Britain’s cheapest cars to run than we’ve listed above.

Don’t buy your fuel at a motorway service station

Buying fuel at a motorway services is a bit like buying a burger inside the stadium at a U2 concert – you’ll pay a lot more for the privilege. 

Find the cheapest petrol station in your area

Use a website or app to find the cheapest petrol or diesel prices in your area – some cars with connected services even have this feature built in. In some cases you’ll be able to save around 35p per litre just by peeling off the motorway and filling up at a nearby supermarket, saving around £20 per fill depending on the size of your car’s tank.

Use a fuel loyalty card (including Tesco Clubcard and Nectar)

When you do need to fill up, make sure you subscribe to any loyalty schemes that can net you discounts just for filling up. Most major chains run them, and supermarket forecourts mean you can enjoy benefits such as your Tesco Clubcard or Nectar card (valid at Sainsbury’s, BP and Esso) both in the shop and while filling up.

Drive smoothly

Driving smoothly can help save fuel, because petrol and diesel cars use more energy when accelerating hard, and the more often you brake, the more often you’ll need to pick up speed again. To avoid this, build speed gradually and try to anticipate traffic and junctions so you keep rolling as much as possible.

Plan your journeys

Plan your journeys to make the most of fast and flowing roads (which tend to be better for fuel economy), rather than simply taking the most direct route through traffic black spots or villages, where you’re likely to slow to a crawl and have to change speed more often.

Reduce weight

Manufacturers tirelessly strip as much weight out of cars as possible to reduce CO2 emissions and boost fuel-efficiency, so don’t undo all their good work by leaving the boot full of sports gear and burning more fuel than necessary.

Maintain your car

Ensuring tyres are correctly inflated, the engine oil is changed and air filters are replaced are all key to making sure a car runs at its best. Driving with underinflated tyres in particular will mean you visit the forecourt far more often than anticipated.

Climate control

Air conditioning and climate control are wonderful things, both for keeping a car cool in summer and demisting windows in winter, but they also take lots of energy to run. If the weather permits, turn it off as often as possible, or run it in ‘Eco’ mode if your car has one.  

What’s the cheapest car to run that you’ve ever owned? Let us know in the comments…

Source link


News7F: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button