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Ten cars to buy for the lowest bills

Ten cars to buy for the lowest bills

If you’re in the market for a new car and want one with running costs that won’t break the bank, it’s tricky to know what to buy and easy to get wrong. You might fall in love with a car you test-drive which ends up costing you two or three times as much in terms of depreciation, insurance, repairs and miles per gallon as another, perhaps more sensible, option. The practical alternative might not have the jealousy-inducing looks and brand name, but just think how much better off you’ll be in the long run? The difference can be hundreds or even thousands of pounds each year.  

Total cost of ownership – the nitty gritty

Fortunately, the experts at car magazine Autotrader annually compile a list of cars which they think are the cheapest to own and run based on several factors. To arrive at a top ten with the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) they use figures based on three-year old models with 30,000 miles on the clock. The TCO considers; price, fuel economy, value depreciation over the first two years of ownership, insurance, replacements parts and general repair costs. The resulting TCO figures are shown in pence-per-mile, which can be seen in the top ten list below. None of the cars cost more than £13,000 to buy.    

Top ten cheapest to run:

  1. Dacia Sandero, 1.0SCe Access model – TCO: 30.5 pence per mile (ppm)
  2. Dacia Logan, 1.0 SCe Access model – TCO: 33.7ppm
  3. Toyota Aygo, 1.0 VVTi X 5 door model – TCO: 34.1ppm
  4. Kia Picanto, 1.0 ‘1’ model – TCO: 35.5ppm
  5. Dacia Duster, 1.6SCe Access 4×2 model – TCO: 35.5ppm
  6. Volkswagen Up!, 1.0 Take Up! 3 door model – TCO: 36.9ppm
  7. Citroen C1, 1.0 VTi Touch 3 door model – TCO: 37.4ppm
  8. Hyundai i10, 1.0 Play model – TCO: 37.9ppm
  9. Ford Ka+, 1.2 Studio model – TCO: 38.1ppm
  10. Mitsubishi Mirage, 1.2 ‘3’ model – TCO: 38.3ppm


Why no electric vehicles in the top ten?

It’s a little surprising that no electric cars or plug-in hybrids make it into the top ten as they’re renowned for cheap running costs. But Autotrader’s experts point out that the still relatively high purchase prices, expensive repairs and sharp levels of depreciation keep them out, although that’s expected to change in the near-future.  

A word on insurance

Car insurance is often the biggest annual expense involved with keeping a car on the road – the difference between those in similar categories alone, such as ‘SUV’ or ‘family saloon’, can be enormous Generally speaking, cars with high-end brand names and more powerful, less fuel-efficient engines are going to be the most expensive to insure. So, if you want to be careful with your cash, call an insurer or insurance broker before you buy a car you’re interested in to check out just what the cover might cost.



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Published 31st October 2019