As we all know, it’s not just the original price of a car that can set you back; it’s the running costs that can hit you unexpectedly hard.

In this instance, what you want to do is look at several key things, like the mpg, road tax/CO2 emissions and engine size among others, to work out just how efficient your potential new runner is.

These days, it’s pretty easy to find a motor that isn’t expensive to run thanks to car manufacturers and all of their innovations, with small but powerful engines and lightweight materials that are strong but help to increase a car’s mpg.

We’ve picked out our top five favourite cars that are the cheapest to run to give you some guidance if you’re looking to buy something that is good-looking and also efficient. Let us know what you think too!

Peugeot 108 Hatchback 1.0-litre Access

This particular Peugeot has been designed as part of a partnership between PSA and Toyota, which sees the 108 Hatchback share its platform and powertrain with the Toyota Aygo and the Citroen C1. Interesting if you’ve already been looking at either of the other two.

What you might not know is that having the same make up actually helps to make the cars cheaper to begin with.

This car, with its 1.0-litre petrol engine and Access specification, is most economical. Its manual gearbox will see it return 69 mpg and it has just 95g/km of CO2 emissions. Free from tax! Woo!

You should also fall into a nice, low insurance group with this little hatchback too, and monthly costs are estimated at just over £190. Cette Francaise voiture – c’est pas mal, non?

Hyundai i10 hatchback

Well, it should be obvious that anything with an ‘i’ in front of the model is going to be an efficient runner, but this Hyundai has some pretty sweet extras that other, smaller cars don’t always have.

Again, the 1.0-litre petrol engine is your best bet and although there isn’t a diesel engine available, this makes for a great city car.

You’ll get a 60.1 mpg combined cycle and it’s just £20 a year to tax thanks to the 108 g/km of CO2 emissions.

But something that makes the i10 hatchback extra-special is that it’s surprisingly roomy, boasting five doors and a class-leading boot capacity at 252 litres.

Citroen C1 1.0 VTi Touch 3dr

As we mentioned, the Citroen C1 shares its platform with our other top five choice, the Peugeot 108 model, so this gives the car a good start.

In general, its running costs and such are pretty similar to the 108. It’s ever so slightly more expensive at around £210 a month – but what are you getting for the extra cost?

Well, for starters you get a more comfortable ride than the Peugeot, as there is more cabin space. You’ll also enjoy more extras, like five-door as standard and a roll-back fabric roof that lets in the cool air in summer and keeps you cosy in the winter.

Audi TT 2.0-litre TDI Ultra

Well hello there, sportscar! Okay, so this might not be as efficient as the city cars above, but what if you want something a bit more jazzy? You do? Well then, the Audi TT 2.0-litre TDI Ultra is the ticket for you.

Let’s start with emissions: there is just 116 g/km of CO2, which makes it a good company car choice too. Audi claims that the car has a 63 mpg combined cycle capacity, and you can get a range of nearly 700 miles from a full tank.

For extra efficiency choose the Drive Select system, which is part of the economy settings fitted behind the wheel of the model.

This, plus amazing boot space, a virtual cockpit screen and sexy interior leather? You’re on to a winner.

SKODA Rapid Spaceback

Although they’re not the most frequently viewed brand on British roads, SKODAs are an excellent choice for almost any driver.

In particular, the SKODA Rapid Spaceback 1.2-litre TSI 90 S 5dr is one of the most efficient family cars you can buy.

There is a 1.6-litre Greenline option that has class-leading figures at 74.3 mpg and 100 g/km of CO2, but it isn’t as refined as it should be and very noisy.

Stick with the 1.2-litre TSI, which gets an impressive 65.7 mpg and emits just 118g/km, keeping it a cheap tax class.

Boot space is 415 litres and it’s low and wide, which is perfect for those long family road trips.

Do you think we’ve missed out a particularly frugal runner? Let us know! We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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