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The top 5 cheapest cars to own in the most expensive country to run a car

Posted by Bob on Thursday 5th December 2013

The UK recently came out on top in a survey looking at the costs of running a car in 21 different countries throughout the globe. At a calculated average of just under £3,500 a year to pay for insurance, fuel, taxes and MOTs, this puts motorists in the UK more than £1,000 more out of pocket than our American cousins, and £2,000 poorer than drivers in China. Indeed, many car buyers may only be interested in the price to buy a motor, without stopping and thinking about how much actually keeping it running and road legal will end up costing them. With this in mind, I have had an attempt at producing a top 5 list of the cheapest new cars to buy if low ownership costs are what you are looking for.

There are a myriad of things to look at when assessing the cost of owning and running a vehicle, and so for this top 5 I chose to look at models with as little road tax as possible, with good fuel efficiency, and with low insurance costs. Fuel, taxes and insurance can be the killers for the majority of cash-strapped drivers, and these aspects are what I will be focussing on. I have chosen to disregard costs such as depreciation, otherwise the results may rather chaotic. Anyway, onto my top five:

5) Toyota Prius Plug-in

The ever pious priusToyota's much praised Prius is a hybrid electric vehicle now in it's third generation. It utilises a hybrid petrol/electric engine, which means it is economical and produces very low emissions, but will struggle to match the power of a diesel vehicle. Power is not what we are looking at however, so how does it fare in costs? Published MPG is around 135, which equates to around 4 pence a mile, and published CO2 emissions is 49g per kilometer, which means the vehicle is exempt from road tax. However, the initial outlay for the Prius can be rather steep, at around £28,000 after the Government's plug-in grant is taken into account. It also has a group 16 insurance rating, meaning a higher outlay to keep it insured. Still a good buy for those looking to cut down on fuel bills and to save mother earth.

4) Volkswagen Up

The Volkswagen Up clocking up the milesThe Volkswagen Up is a small city car with plenty of class and has received praise for both it's handling and the quality of it's interiors. But where it shines is it's low running costs. With an MPG of around 72.4, this equates to nearly 9 pence a mile. CO2 emissions are also low, at 95 g per kilometer, which puts it in the exempt from road tax category. It also has a car insurance group rating of 1, which means the lowest level of insurance costs. Available for less than £10,000, the Volkswagen Up is a decent ride for those who mainly drive in town, but are looking for low running costs. However, if a car's badge is not something you are interested in, then maybe you should take a look at our next two entries.

3) Seat Mii

Seat Mii, not with miiSeat's Mii is basically a rebadged Volkswagen Up, with some changes to the design of both the front and the rear of the vehicle. They are even produced in the same factory in Bratislava, Slovakia. The Mii actually boasts a slightly higher MPG than it's sibling, at 78.5, but the price per mile is still pretty much 9 pence. CO2 emissions remain at 95 g per kilometer, which again equates to no road tax payable on the vehicle. Group 1 insurance also helps to make the Seat Mii a very affordable car to own and run, and is available for around £250 less than the Volkswagen Up. But wait, that's not all!

2) Skoda Citigo

Citigo goingSkoda's Citigo is also another rebadged Volkswagen Up, sharing the same level of performance and handling, but for an even better price. MPG and CO2 emissions are the same as the Seat Mii, and yes it also shares the same car insurance group category. For a city dweller not hung up on car brands looking for a decent ride to take them around town, whilst still saving those pennies, the Skoda Citigo may indeed be the way to, er, go. At around £300 less than the Seat Mii it's also lighter on the wallet.

1) Suzuki Alto

Alto-lutely the best choice for priceTopping our chart of cheapest cars to own in the most expensive country to run a car in is Suzuki's Alto. This small vehicle, known as a kei car in it's mother country Japan, has been around in one form or another since the 1980s, and still proves to be popular in it's country of origin and around the world. Sporting an agile three cylinder petrol powered engine, the Alto gives an MPG of around 74.3, with a cost per mile of around 9 pence in fuel. CO2 emissions are at 99 g per kilometer, which means it just scrapes into the category that makes it exempt from paying for road tax. With group 2 insurance, and a new price at around £7,199, the Alto is not only light on the pocket initially, but should also be economical to run throughout it's life.

If you have any opinions of your own on cheap cars to own, let us know in the comments below.

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