Ask the experts: Economic city cars


Question: I’m looking for a new car. I want a small, economic one as I’m moving near the city where I work and will just be doing short journeys. I can’t go electric as I will need it to visit family in the south. What do you recommend?

Our experts reply: Yes, the city car. A good choice for those short journeys to and fro, but any city car stands or falls on its ongoing costs. A lot of the more modern versions can cope easily with motorway traffic, as long as you can cope with less leg room. There are plenty to choose from, so spend some time looking around for deals. Here are three that score high for economy.


SEAT's Mii is a city car you can't ignore if you're in search of an efficient but sparky urban runabout. It has been heavily influenced by its Volkswagen and Skoda design stablemates, but the Spanish maker has added a thoughtful value proposition to a car that's undoubtedly spacious, frugal and clever.

A kerb weight of below 900kgs makes this hilariously economical, as does clever engineering of the sort you'll best appreciate with the economy champion of the line-up, the 60PS Ecomotive variant. When you add in battery regeneration to reduce alternator drag, ultra-low-friction ancillary components and, most importantly, a start-stop system to cut the engine when you're stuck in traffic, a Mii in this form can deliver 68.9mpg on the combined cycle and 96g/km of CO2.

This SEAT Mii ticks all the important city car boxes, that means for a brand that has waited long time for one, SEAT now has a class-leading city car.

  • Available from Bristol Street Motors in Carlisle, B&H Motors at Lillyhall in Workington and remember to check your local used car specialists.

Volkswagen up!

The up! is a proper Volkswagen – just a smaller one. This improved version sets a high standard for contenders in this class, adding in turbo 1.0-litre power at the top of the range. Frugal, fun, clever and competitively priced, the up! is a key model to consider.

With the 60PS engine variant you’ll get 62.8mpg and 105g/km. The BlueMotion Technology model, which features low-rolling-resistance tyres, a battery regeneration system and a stop-start system, will return an impressive 68.9mpg on the combined cycle and emit just 96g/km of carbon dioxide. The up! remains the very essence of a small, affordable Volkswagen, a high-quality class-less car very much in the mould of the original Beetle. All very clever and in execution, all very German – with enough character to make you like it as well as admire it.

  • Available from Lookers VW in Carlisle, Walkingshaw VW in Workington and local used specialists.

Skoda Citigo

The Citigo is Skoda's take on the most modern city car design in the market. It offers a smarter look, both inside and out, proving to be an impressive addition to the class. This Skoda is simply super-affordable to run. With a low kerb weight of only around 850kg, even the least efficient entry-level 60PS models will return a combined fuel economy figure of 64.2mpg, with emissions pegged at 101g/km – figures you can improve to 65.7mpg and 100g/km by opting for the efficient ASG automatic gearbox. And, for even greater economy, try the 'GreenTech' model which features low-rolling-resistance tyres, a battery regeneration system and a stop-start system. Then you will get 68.9mpg on the combined cycle and emit just 96g/km of carbon dioxide.

This car, according to Skoda, is "engineering excellence with a human touch" – a design someone's clearly thought very carefully about. It certainly delivers on the promise of two words that sum this Citigo up – simply clever.

  • Available from Telfords Skoda in Carlisle, Border Cars Skoda in Workington and check your local used specialists.

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