You might be able to laugh off the recent fuel ‘crisis’, but it could well be time to consider a car that will do a few more miles to the overpriced gallon. MPG has to be one of the deciding factors when it comes to a commuter and everyday used car hack.
Now, lightness and all-round simplicity are the very best ways to make your fuel go further. I do rather like the Toyota iQ, which looks properly different – or just plain weird. Officially, it will return a creditable 65mpg overall, and it will rack up considerable six-figure mileages. There are some sub-£2000 examples out there. I would go for the white 2012 car with 76,000 miles that I’ve found. It has a full service history, is currently exempt from road tax and comes with a warranty from the selling dealer, all for £2999.
If you need two extra doors and more practicality, the Kia Picanto provides some rather reassuring reliability. I stumbled across a 2011 1.0 1 model as a “part exchange to clear” job. It was the later shape with almost 90,000 miles, which should do 67mpg for £1400.
There’s also the Smart Fortwo, which some people will prefer over the iQ. You can easily pay less than £1999 now for a 2009 Pure with 65,000 miles. It will do 57mpg and is perfect for just buzzing around.Little runabouts are all very well and good, but when serious miles are needed, a very serious diesel miler is what you want.
I was hugely tempted by a 2004 Audi A4 Avant 1.9 TDI CVT with 92,000 miles, which should return around 49mpg for £1500. What a stylish, hard-working package without an over-complicated oil-burning unit.
Indeed, this is what a simple unfiltered diesel looks like: a 1998 Peugeot 306 Turbo Diesel with 190,000 miles but only a year’s MOT, up for £575. It’s an estate, like the Audi, and should deliver 50mpg.
If those are a bit too cheap and cheerful for you, how about some proper new-tech diesels? That would be really easy. Search out something that you will enjoy looking at while brimming the tank and you will find a 2009 Alfa Romeo 159 2.0 Ti with a good specification, a full service history and 85,000 miles for £5200. This is a rather handsome and underrated saloon that should deliver just over 50mpg overall.