Here are 10 of the UK's most efficient used cars for £15k or less
Want more bang for your buck? These motors offer decent mpg and low CO2
If you’re budgeting around the £15,000 mark for your next car, you’d be a shrewd operator to pick any one of these highly efficient motors. While we're always a little sceptical of claimed mpg, car makers are working to close that gap between claimed and real-world figures—hybrid technology getting them part of the way there. In addition to good fuel economy, other financial benefits such as low- or no tax or low-emissions to help you avoid ULEZ charges, these used cars with a fifteen grand price tag are more wallet-friendly than you might first think.Advertisement - Page continues below
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is one of the most efficient vehicles on the market with a claimed 156mpg. Though in our experience you'd get closer to the 60mpg mark, this plug-in hybrid SUV does offer 28 miles of electric-only range. Charge it every night and you’ll find yourself buying petrol for the 2.0-litre engine far less frequently. The new Outlander with a 38-mile range is more than double the price of the 2016 version. Quids in and it’s zero road tax, too.
The Fiat 500 is a great choice for keeping fuel costs low and getting parked in and around town. This iconic city car with its 1.0-litre engine gives over 50 miles to the gallon and offers enough comfort for longer motorway schleps too. With several nearly new Fiat 500s listed for our target £15k, there’s good choice and you get an immediate minimum £2k saving on the cost brand-new.Advertisement - Page continues below
A Toyota Auris will generate only 82g/km of CO2 emissions and it can squeeze a claimed 78.5mpg and real-world 50-60mpg out of its 1.8-litre petrol engine. Explain the difference? We wish we could. Nevertheless, the Auris has all the practical features to suit families; reliability, low running costs and what’s more, a 2017 hatchback will offer free road tax, if you can get a pre-February model.
BMW 2 Series Active Tourer
For busy families, the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer brings that illustrious badge, a sharp driving experience and a quality interior finish to a car that’s essentially a stylish people carrier. The PHEV works better in town where you can run on electricity more, but the diesel-engined cars are good for 60-ish mpg.
Volvo V60 Cross Country
The 2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country estate might be a 2.0-litre diesel, but it's got a Euro 6 engine so qualifies for ULEZ exemption in the UK’s towns and cities with low-emission zones. The V60 has only 111g/km, so it also bags the cheaper road tax of £30, as well as carrying you some 67 miles for every gallon of fuel.
Pushing out up to 65.7mpg is not the only compelling characteristic of the 2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, since it qualifies for £20 road tax. It sports a 2.1-litre diesel engine but with it being Euro 6-compliant, it’ll get you into any low-emission zones free-of-charge. What’s more, the CO2 rating of this executive saloon is only 109g/km, so you don’t even need to feel that guilty.Advertisement - Page continues below
The Peugeot 508 is stylish, well-respected mid-sized family car that gets a claimed 63.6mpg from its efficient 1.5-litre petrol engine. The 2019 model hits the price gauge for this list and comes packed with a reasonable amount of kit - provided you get on with the titchy steering wheel. That could prove a dealbreaker for some.
Kia Niro Hybrid
If you’re in the market for an SUV, the Kia Niro Hybrid is a great choice. The 1.6-litre petrol engine of this popular SUV puts out a respectable 76.3mpg by official figures, and still reasonable 60-ish by our own. The 2017 model also has a measly 88g/km of CO2 emissions, so again, pre-Feb registrations pay zero road tax.Advertisement - Page continues below
As the TT comes to the end of its days, buying any decent example of the model from its 25 years will be an investment. So be an absolute contrarian and pick a 2.0-litre diesel TT - a ocupe with a Euro 6 engine that meets the criteria for ULEZ compliance and yes you've already stopped reading this haven't you?
The Mini Hatch's fuel consumption is listed at 61mpg pre-WLTP. Thems the regulations that arrived in 2017 to simplify life (though we’re not convinced they’ve achieved the goal). A 1.2-litre One petrol hatchback is a great choice for city dwellers wanting to keep costs low and we’ve found used examples as low as £11,000, so you might make further savings, too.