What Makes A Car Economical

10 March 2021 Blog

Driving more economically and having a fuel efficient car not only helps the environment, but can save you money in the long run too.

We share what makes a car more economical, how you can drive your current car more efficiently and our top picks of economical cars.

What Makes A Car More Economical?

There are various factors that will determine how economical a car is. The main ones are:

  • Size & weight
  • Engine type
  • Emissions

Size & Weight

The size (and therefore weight) of a car has a significant impact on the amount of fuel your car consumes. A lighter weight will reduce the amount of fuel your car will consume, as it will need less energy to get moving and have reduced rolling resistance.

This leads us on to aerodynamics (the air around your car and how your car is able to drive through this). Smaller cars can cut through the air at a more optimal level (they have a smaller frontal area so there's less pressure against the front of the car as it tries to move through the air), meaning they can accelerate better and have lower fuel consumption.

Engine Type

The type of engine that your car has will impact the miles per gallon (mpg) that your car can achieve (research features of the engine that impact its efficiency, as well as the fuel type it takes).

When buying a car you should compare diesel and petrol engines to hybrids to see which offers you the best range and efficiency for the type of driving you will be doing (e.g. long distance driving, rural driving, or urban / city driving), and how the emissions will impact the cost of taxing the vehicle.

Low emissions

Although low emissions won’t offer you more fuel efficiency, a low emission vehicle can save you money. Emissions (based on the type of engine your car has), is one of the factors that impacts the amount of road tax you pay on your vehicle.

Driving a low emission vehicle also reduces the impact you are having on climate change and smog, and helps improve public health. With air pollution becoming a growing problem, Clean Air Zones and Ultra Low Emission Zones are being put in place in cities such as Birmingham and London, where you will have to pay a charge if your car’s engine isn’t compliant. Low emission vehicles are exempt from these charges.

How Can I Be More Economical When Driving?

There are a number of ways in which you can improve your fuel efficiency and drive more economically. Here are our top tips:

Regular Car Maintenance

Keeping on top of car maintenance is key, for example checking your tyres and engine oil levels.

You should regularly check the pressure of your tyres (every two weeks is recommended), as driving on over or under inflated tyres can greatly increase your fuel consumption. Your vehicle handbook will give you the correct pressures for your car.

Ditch The Excess Weight

We’ve all got a habit of driving with a boot full of non-essentials, and it can quickly fill up without you realising. Reduce the excess items that you are driving around in your car with, and remove roof racks and boxes if they aren’t in use. This will help to reduce drag whilst driving, meaning you will burn through less fuel.

Make Fewer Short Trips

Did you know that you can use as much as twice as much fuel driving with a cold engine than a warm one? Make fewer shorter trips to the shops or combine journeys if you can, and try to avoid rush hour. Planning routes before leaving the house is also a good idea to reduce the amount you are backtracking.

Review Your Driving Style

The way you drive your vehicle will also impact it’s efficiency.

Maintain a steady speed when driving, and aim for controlled acceleration and braking. Keeping a greater distance between yourself and the car in front of you can help you better anticipate situations and regulate speed without having to brake too much. Additionally shifting to a higher gear earlier can reduce the amount of fuel your car consumes too (around 2,000/2,500 rpm) 

Sticking to speed limits is also essential. Not only is this the law, but speeding also impacts the mpg your vehicle is able to achieve. Did you know that typical fuel consumption increases by 14.9% when your speed increases from 60mph to 75mph.



Increase in fuel consumption (%)

Petrol car fuel economy (mpg)




Diesel car fuel economy (mpg)




Car fuel economy (mpg)




Large diesel van fuel economy (mpg)




(Statistics taken from DfT data)

Following this advice will not only improve your fuel efficiency but also reduce the wear and tear on your vehicle.

Use Your Car’s Fuel Consumption Display

Most newer cars come fitted with a fuel consumption display. You can use these insights to adjust your driving style to be more efficient.

They show details of the average fuel consumption for the journey, as well as an instant mpg display for how much you are consuming at that moment in time. By acting on the feedback provided you can improve your fuel consumption.

Our Top 5 Economical Cars

There is a lot to think about when buying a car that also offers great fuel efficiency. We have you covered and have picked some of our favourites below.

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

The Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid not only delivers great fuel economy (up to 75mpg) it also has low emissions, saving you money on fuel and road tax. What’s more Hyundais come with a longer warranty as standard (five years manufacturers warranty and eight years battery warranty), so when you buy nearly new from Motorpoint there will still be at least a couple of years of the manufacturer’s warranty remaining.

Shop Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

BMW 7 Series Hybrid 

If you’re looking for a premium model the BMW 7 Series Hybrid offers outstanding performance coupled with low running costs and delivering up to an impressive 113 mpg. The hybrid engine isn’t all that’s to be marvelled at, the specifications include nappa leather (noted for its soft touch and durability) and electric sunroofs.

We have a great selection with savings over £45,000 off list price.

Browse BMW 7 Series

Fiat 500

A timeless classic, the Fiat 500s styling doesn’t seem to have aged since they were relaunched. Bring some fun back into driving with the pastel colourways, contrast interiors and Lounge models that come with a panoramic sunroof as standard. Bringing substance with it too, Fiat 500s achieve up to 62mpg.

Browse Fiat 500

Ford Focus

One of the best looking hatchbacks in recent years, the Ford Focus is more than just eye candy delivering up to 65 mpg. A smaller engine doesn’t mean less power, the EcoBoost engine on the Ford Focus means your 1.0 Turbo is still able to achieve 125 bhp while also providing great fuel efficiency. What more could you want from a family car?

Browse Ford Focus

Suzuki Vitara

Buying an economical car doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go smaller. The Suzuki Vitara achieves up to 55mpg without compromising on power or performance, and its 1.4 engine has an ample 140 bhp. A big name in the offroad culture, Suzuki is known for being durable and reliable without costing the earth.

Browse Suzuki Vitara

Whatever you are looking for in your next car, Motorpoint will ensure you drive away happy. We have over 5,000 nearly new cars in stock, all under four years with less than 30,000 miles.