Dream car or Budget, which comes first? Tell us your thoughts | No thanks
small car mpg - Rog46

Hi, Im after a car the primary focus is great MPG. I do 60 plus miles a day (80%motorway).small/medium size hatchbacks are fine.

I am tempted by a celerio(60mpg i believe) id probably do 13k/14k a year.

My max budget is 3.5k but id prefer 2.5k(celerio not possible at this price)

Any other suggestions, I dont really want anything earlier than 2011, max 80k mileage and 50 plus mpg. Hopefully a reliable motor for 2.5k/3k is possible.

Thanks

small car mpg - alan1302

Hi, Im after a car the primary focus is great MPG. I do 60 plus miles a day (80%motorway).small/medium size hatchbacks are fine.

I am tempted by a celerio(60mpg i believe) id probably do 13k/14k a year.

My max budget is 3.5k but id prefer 2.5k(celerio not possible at this price)

Any other suggestions, I dont really want anything earlier than 2011, max 80k mileage and 50 plus mpg. Hopefully a reliable motor for 2.5k/3k is possible.

Thanks

Hyundai i10 - 1.2l engine - I do a 90 mile round trip - 95% motorway and get 50mpg

small car mpg - badbusdriver

While i do have a soft spot for the Celerio, i would steer clear for this type of useage, i.e, predominantly motorway. The Celerio is light narrow and fairly tall, fine attributes for urban environments but not so much on the motorway where you will find it hard work in crosswinds and passing large vehicles. Same goes for other 'city cars' (the next size down from a supermini, that is Fiesta, Polo, etc) such as Citroen C1, Peugeot 107/8, Toyota Aygo, etc.

£2.5-3.5k is not a lot to work with, but because of the motorway useage, i'd be looking towards at least a supermini size, but also the next size up (Golf, Astra, etc). In fact, assuming your travelling doesn't take you into places where an oldish diesel could be banned, i'd look at diesel. If that is viable, some to consider would be a Vauxhall with the 1.7 diesel (Isuzu sourced and very reliable), Peugeot/Citroen with the 2.0HDI, a VW with the 1.9 turbo diesel, something with the Renault 1.5DCI (this includes Renault, Nissan and Dacia)

Also, regarding your budget, i'd be looking at the best car you can find rather than the cheapest. Spending that extra grand could be the difference between something reliable and something troublesome. You really need to be judging each car on condition and making use of the MOT history available (www.gov.uk/check-mot-history)

small car mpg - Big John

The Celerio is light narrow and fairly tall, fine attributes for urban environments but not so much on the motorway where you will find it hard work in crosswinds and passing large vehicles.

I second these thoughts. I also have (well had pre Covid!) a 64 miles round trip commute and have had for many decades. A small car gets battered around by bad weather, side winds etc. A medium sized would be more comfortable / stable etc. Don't just look at the economy you also need to consider whole life costs eg tyre prices and expected life can be significant. Also insurance costs can be significantly higher when you declare your mileage.

I've done a long journey to work for over 3 decades and for the last two cars I've gone large but still reasonably economical and picked models with longer lasting and cheaper tyres (16" rims in stead of 18"). Previous car was a Skoda Superb 1.9 pd that did about 50mpg - after 10 years use (bought 18 months od) and 160k miles I replaced with a 1.4tsi petrol which does about 46mpg on the same journey, tyres are 205/55 R16 so are about £80 for Crossclimates and they last about 35k miles. When spending two-three hours a day behind the wheel on dodgy roads and sometimes awful weather you will find car comfort/refinement/stability will become key.

My wifes car is a Fiat Panda - great around town but if I use it to go to work it reminds me why I use a bigger car!

How about a size up - eg seems to be some reasonable Hyundai I30's in your price range?

Edited by Big John on 30/07/2020 at 16:07

small car mpg - Engineer Andy

Indeed - I had a Celerio for a day or two as a courtesy car (my car was in for a clutch change which was delayed at the last moment) and whilst it drive fine in town, down the local bypass it ran out of puff up the inclines, and was rather buffeted around on exposed sections of the road due to it being high-sided.

Very good on the jungle juice though. I personally didn't like the driving position - more that the handbrake was positioned rather low and I felt I needed to be 'perched' on the seat in order to reach both the steering wheel and pedals properly.

small car mpg - Engineer Andy

Hi, Im after a car the primary focus is great MPG. I do 60 plus miles a day (80%motorway).small/medium size hatchbacks are fine.

I am tempted by a celerio(60mpg i believe) id probably do 13k/14k a year.

My max budget is 3.5k but id prefer 2.5k(celerio not possible at this price)

Any other suggestions, I dont really want anything earlier than 2011, max 80k mileage and 50 plus mpg. Hopefully a reliable motor for 2.5k/3k is possible.

Thanks

I agree with other posters saying that a larger car would be a more comfortable drive on such journeys, without that much of an mpg penalty. What you need to find is a well looked after car that has been owned by one person since new, really looked after at a high quality garage (helpful if it's one you know / has a great local rep), whether main dealer or indie and is in great condition for a car of that age.

Quite a few of these older cars that have been much loved are PXed for a new version and the dealer is often keen to sell them on quickly.

I would worry far more about the condition of the car (bodyshell / underbody / mechanical / electrical / interior) and FSH / reliability than the its mpg capabilities (obviously not one that does 30mpg or less). You'll likely end up spending far more on a car that isn't reliable or is in poor condition that gives a good mpg than one uses more fuel but is very dependable.

Besides, the comfort side should be important, as would be safety - a larger car of the same NCAP rating is normally safer as well.

I agree that a C-sector car (Focus sized) or at worst a supermini would be more suitable, preferably not an MPV version either. Whatever you look at, I'd also take it on a test drive across a range of roads, including a motorway / dual carruageway to make sure it would be a decent fit for you.

You may find that buying privately - assuming you have either a reasonable amount of motoring knowledge or a friend / colleague / family member available to help (including inspecting the cars you see) to wheedle out the bad ones - may also be of benefit, as many people still sell on long-live (but well cared for) cars that way, especially retired people.

small car mpg - primus 1

When my sons gf was looking for a car, we looked at the celerio, whilst doing our research, just a point to note , only the top of the range gets more safety kit ( extra airbags I think) so just be aware if this is important to you, in the end she went for a Hyundai i10 and she loves it, although she’s done a few motorway trips it’s mainly used around town, where it excels

small car mpg - Terry W

I also used to commute 70 miles day (35 each way).

15000 miles pa for commuting at 60 mpg is 250 gallons, at 50 mpg is 300 gallons. About £300 extra pa for the higher consumption.

This sort of MPG difference could be down to driving style - simply 65 vs 75 mph on motorway. Tyres, servicing frequency, spares prices can easily negate any savings.

City and small cars are designed and specified accordingly - they may be less likely to last the course than a Focus or Golf sized car for this sort of use.

Finally, I found being behind the wheel for approx three hours per day + working a demanding job can leave you knackxxxed. There is a lot to be said for a vehicle that is more stable, quieter, more comfortable, less stressed.

My with has an Hyudai I10. Brilliant around town but I would not take it on a long journey.

small car mpg - badbusdriver

My with has an Hyudai I10. Brilliant around town but I would not take it on a long journey.

Assuming we are talking about a 2nd gen car, and assuming it was the 1.2, I'd be happy enough to take an i10 on a long journey, including motorway. Maybe wouldn't choose one if i was in the OP's position, but as far as city cars go, the i10 is probably the most refined and comfortable. Actually we used to have a Daihatsu Sirion 1.0 back in 2008 and i used it to travel from North East Scotland to visit relatives in Wigan and then Coventry. It was absolutely fine at motorway speeds only losing momentum heading North up Beattock on the way home!. Though again, i probably wouldn't choose one in the OP's position.

But for the OP, your budget could get you into an Astra 1.7 turbo diesel of up to around 2013. The Isuzu engine is the most reliable diesel lump you'll get in a Vauxhall of pretty much any age. They are comfortable, efficient, fairly refined, and (i think) all trim levels (for the diesel anyway) will have cruise control.

small car mpg - Xileno

I agree with the suggestions to look for something the next size up Astra/Focus size, more comfortable and refined plus safer just because there's more metal around you. We have a Focus, it's durable and reliable but I don't find the seats great.

My suggestion would be a MK3 Megane with the 1.5dCi engine (mentioned above), these engines are capable of high mileage and are very refined, economical and reliable. Renault seats and suspension are both excellent, the MK2 we had was a superbly comfortable car but the MK3 is better built and has robust reliability. Just keep it well serviced and have the cambelt changed at least on time and I recommend a bit before. There's no reason not to, it's an easy job on this engine. One of the best small diesels made in my view, even Mercedes have used it.

small car mpg - alan1302

My with has an Hyudai I10. Brilliant around town but I would not take it on a long journey.

What's wrong with it on the motorway? Have used mine for a lot of the 125,000 miles the car has done in just over 7 years and find it happy to sit and 65/70mph and don't have nay issues with comfort even on lon journeys down to Portsmouth or Glasgow from Yorkshire.

small car mpg - SLO76
At this money much depends on what’s available nearby. We could recommend cars all day long but if one isn’t for sale within range then it’s irrelevant. Where roughly do you live and I’ll take a look for suitable options?
small car mpg - Avant

Thank you so much, SLO, for coming back to us after a short break and being willing to help.

This isn't the first time that someone has been looking for a car that isn't too big yet can cover motorway miles in reasonable comfort. For me the priorities would be seat comfort, for obvious reasons, and gearing, more than the size of the car.

Around the turn of the century SWMBO had two Ford Kas in succession, then one of the first Honda Jazzes. The Kas were excellent both in town and - an unexpected bonus - also on a long motorway run. The Jazz was lower-geared and quite frenetic at 70 mph. And despite its small size, the Ka, with a wheel at each corner and no overhang, was very sure-footed and I can't remember ever feeling blown about in one.

That original Ford Ka was a hoot to drive and I have very fond memories of it.

Perhaps a post-2011 equivalent for Rog 46 might be a 1.3 Toyota Yaris. Some of these had 6-speed gearboxes and this would be relaxed and economical for his commute.

Edited by Avant on 30/07/2020 at 23:42

small car mpg - kiss (keep it simple)

Before I finished working in 2015 I would be given hire cars for journeys that were not practical by train. I usually booked Focus/Astra sized cars but pot luck would often result in me being up or down graded. These were mostly motorway trips of 100-150 miles. I was always pleasantly surprised how good the superminis were, and never complained. Examples were Corsa and Kia Venga, the latter being a diesel. Of course the bigger cars were better but these small vehicles have improved dramatically over the last decade or two.

small car mpg - Rog46

Thanks for all the advice, I have a civic 8th 1.8 and real mpg is around 35mpg(been serviced, use additives). So thats the reason for a better eco car.

So options are Astra 1.7, megane 1.5dci, focus(1.6 d).

small car mpg - JE

Just a few notes on the Celerio, although appreciate the thread has moved away from smaller cars. We bought one for my wife 3 years ago and it has been very good. Does a consistent 61mpg (measured brim to brim) even on motorways as long as you stick to an indicated 70-75mph, can get up to mid 60'smpg on 50-60mph roads. Reasonably long geared in 5th for 1.0 non turbo, 24-25mph/1000rpm, but it's light enough to cope with this especially one up. Very rarely need to change down on motorway hills. I've done a few long motorway journeys for work when my car has been out of action (or wife has needed the estate car), and it is comfortable, if slightly noisy (wind noise mainly), all season tyres have improved noise levels and ride comfort. With regards earlier comments on wind buffeting, yes this can be an issue, not so much an issue from lorries, but strong side winds can be hard work. The bluetooth phone connection gives very clear call quality, quite surprised given price point of car. The aircon is hopeless, uses the new refrigerant that costs £90/recharge, which lasted a week, needless to say we don't use it anymore. Drove the dualjet version as a courtesy car, which drives noticeably better, and is supposed to be more economical although didn't get a chance to measure.

small car mpg - Big John

Thanks for all the advice, I have a civic 8th 1.8 and real mpg is around 35mpg(been serviced, use additives). So thats the reason for a better eco car.

So options are Astra 1.7, megane 1.5dci, focus(1.6 d).

The Focus 1.6d has had a history of turbo problems relating to oil supply and if not properly repaired failing again shortly afterwards.

Be careful checking condition and service history - all diesels around the minimum age you are asking for will have a Diesel Particulate Filter . Some implementations around that time were better than others so check and check again - the potential bills could eclipse your fuel savings. Make sure you don't buy a car that has had a DPF delete otherwise you could be in for a lot of pain come MOT time. Also diesels of that age will be hit with charges for any city Ultra Low Emission Zones.

Fuel cost is important but don't get fixated on this and ignore other costs. My current car is a petrol that does a real life 46mpg, has a Single Mass Flywheel, an external clutch slave cylinder, water pump fed by seperate belt, simple suspension, not 4wd, cheaper tyres(was caught out in the past with tyres costing £250 each and lasted 10,000 miles!!). It's also quiet (I've had some real rattle buses before), comfortable and has good headlights (I've had candles in some cars before - my commute needs them!).

My own choice of cars is limited though - but that is because of my size - I just don't fit in some cars. Leg room can be limited, clutch foot rests in the wrong spot, my right knee hits trim in the wrong position for me, my right elbow hits be B pillar etc......

Edited by Big John on 01/08/2020 at 23:30

small car mpg - Geoff Dude
I have had a Celerio for 2.5 years now and have done just over 40,000 mile. Average 63 to the gallon and impeccably reliable. Great on the motorway especially when passing broken down Astra’s and other cars that might have been mentioned. I have put all season Goodyear’s on mine and that has made it feel a lot more secure on the road. Use to own a Focus and yes they are more secure and safer but got fed up with stupid things going wrong with it. This has saved me £2000 a year on fuel and servicing alone each year.
small car mpg - Rog46

Hi i still havent purchased a car yet, bit reluctant with the celerio due to price 3.5k plus, i want to stick to the £2/2.5k budget.

cars im considering are

Aygo(2012ish) / Hyundai i20 diesel

Any other suggestions with good reliabiity

Thanks

small car mpg - Alby Back

My son has a 2010 Aygo. He's had it 3.5 years since he was 17, and indeed he learned to drive in it.

He lived in during his first year at Uni, but last year he commuted daily in his car. I've driven it many times, and even with two mountain bikes on top it bowls along no problem on the motorway and is perfectly comfortable. He's getting just shy of 60mpg ( but he's 20 and thinks it's a McLaren ) ;-)

It has been utterly reliable and I'd have no hesitation in recommending one. Only real downside is the tiny boot, but if that isn't important to you then it'll be fine. Tyres and insurance are cheap too. £20 or £25 a year road tax as I recall.

Oh, and its actually great fun to drive too !

Edited by Alby Back on 27/08/2020 at 15:08

small car mpg - JonestHon

Yaris MK2, buy on condition and be prepare to drop the 2011 limit, plenty of good ones on 2010 - 2009 as well. These are indestructible, will do 50MPG easily with the 99BHP 1.33 N/A engine mated to a six speed manual gearbox.

These motors can go over 250k miles if you service it annually so don't be deterred to look at 100k+ examples. The interior is no nonsense rugged stuff, easy to clean and simple to live with.

The drive on motorways is relaxed in this model due to being heavier and steadier than similar sized rivals and the cabin is well insulated for road noise, with the sixth gear it is a very nice cruiser. TR and Tspirit are the top models and don't cost much more than other.

small car mpg - badbusdriver

Hi i still havent purchased a car yet, bit reluctant with the celerio due to price 3.5k plus, i want to stick to the £2/2.5k budget.

cars im considering are

Aygo(2012ish) / Hyundai i20 diesel

Any other suggestions with good reliabiity

Thanks

Yes, look up the thread, same situation + same requirements = same suggestions.

Also, you were asked to tell us where in the country you were, so suitable cars local to you could be looked for, you didn't answer.

 

Ask Honest John

Value my car