The Top 40 Fuel Efficient Used Cars For £5,000

What Are The Most Fuel Efficient Used Cars?

With the increase in prices at the pump on both petrol and diesel over the last few years it has become more financially beneficial than ever to invest in a fuel-efficient vehicle. Not only to be kinder to your wallet and save you money, but to reduce the amount of occasions you need to frequent the petrol pumps.

To help people out who are looking to purchase a fuel efficient car we have scoured the used car market to see what’s available and put together this list of vehicles which all meet the following requirements:

  • Cost around £5,000.
  • Return (on average), a minimum of 40 miles per gallon.
  • Have a speed of 0-60 mph under 10 seconds. A requirement we included to ensure an acceptable standard of performance across our selection.
*Any vehicle models marked with an asterisk represent models with petrol engines.
#CarAvg MPG0-60 MPHEngineYearMPG UrbanMPG Extra UrbanBHPDrive
1Vauxhall Corsa57.69.31.7 CDTi200744.868.9125FWD
The petrol 1.4 engine is slower with a 0-60 of 11.8 seconds and averages 46.3 mpg.
2Fiat Bravo55.48.22200942.267.3165FWD
Surprisingly the 2.0 liter is faster and more economic than the 150 bhp 1.9 litre engines.
3Honda Civic55.48.62.2 i-CTDi200642.865.7140FWD
The petrol 1.6 averages 42.8 mpg from 110 bhp doing 0-60 in 10.6 seconds.
4Skoda Fabia53.39.51.9 TDi200640.964.2130FWD
This would be the preferred option over the 1.4 diesel which only does 0-60 in a painfully slow 14.8 secs.
5Honda Accord52.39.52.2i CTDi200539.862.8140FWD
There is no point opting for the petrol engines as they have very similar performance and economy suffers.
6Peugeot 30752.39.82.0 HDi200539.862.8136FWD
The 1.6 diesel doesn’t meet the 0-60 doing it in 11.5 secs.
7Audi A351.49.52.0 TDi200439.261.4140FWD
In 2006 a faster 170 bhp version was released.
8Mazda 651.49.22.2201040.460.1163FWD
The 2.0 diesel variants are more common averaging 46.3 mpg from 143 bhp doing 0-60 in 9.8 secs.
9Ford Focus51.39.32.0 TDCi200840.362.7136FWD
This car is slightly out of the price range as the only example we found with this exact engine was £6,000 at the time of writing this article (January 2014).
10Smart ForFour51.19.81.5200639.262.4109FWD
There are not many of these around as they were only produced for 2 years between 2004 and 2006.
11Seat Leon50.49.32.0 TDi200538.261.4140FWD
This is the newer 2005 onwards model, the older 2004 shape is actually faster with a 0-60 of 8.9 secs and more economic with an average of 52.3 mpg.
12BMW 120d49.67.92200536.761.4163RWD
This is the original shape 1 series hatchback, not the newer coupe or saloon that was introduced in 2009. Look out for the 123d, currently out of this price range – the 2.3 litre diesel engine has a 0-60 of 6.9 secs from 204 bhp while still averaging 55.4 mpg.
13BMW 320 Cd49.68.82200435.862.8150RWD
There is also a faster 330 (3 litre) model that does 0-60 of 7.2 secs from 204 bhp that averages 42.8 mpg!
14Vauxhall Vectra49.69.81.9 CDTi200638.260.1150FWD
Ensure you get the 150 bhp engine and not the slower 120 bhp variant as both of them are apparently the same mpg wise.
15Saab 9-348.791.9 TiD200736.760.1150FWD
The 2.0 litre petrol variant is faster with 0-60 in 7.4 secs but suffers with only 34.9 average mpg, whereas the 1.8t is worse than the diesel in both aspects.
16Vauxhall Astra48.79.81.9 CDTi200838.257.6118FWD
The 1.7 CDTi engine averages 55.4 mpg doing 0-60 in 11.7 secs.
17Volvo V5048.79.62.0D200837.258.9136FWD
The 2.4 petrol engine is faster as expected averaging 33.2 mpg doing 0-60 in 8.3 secs.
18Alfa Romeo 14747.98.81.9 JTDm200735.358.9150FWD
The Q2 version has LSD (limited slip differential) and the Ducati Corse is the fastest version that does 0-60 in 7.7 seconds from 170 bhp which is also diesel and gets 47 mpg, however it is rare. Look out for it’s replacement, the Giulietta, in the next year for better looks and mpg.
19Alfa Romeo 15947.99.21.9 JTDm200635.858.9150FWD
The 159 also comes in a 2.4 litre diesel which does 0-60 in 8.4 seconds from 200 bhp and still gets 41.5 mpg!
20Audi A447.99.72.0 TDi200535.360.1140FWD
Also comes in cabriolet which would have slightly worse figures due to extra weight.
21Toyota Avensis47.99.32.2 D-4D200737.257.6148FWD
The 2.0 diesel variant does 0-60 in 10.3 secs averaging 51.4 mpg.
22VW Golf47.98.22.0 GT TDi200636.258.9170FWD
This is the 170 bhp variant. Watch out as there is a 140 bhp engine which is slower doing 0-60 in 9.3 secs but does average 51.4 mpg.
23Jaguar X-Type47.18.52.220053460.1152FWD
Alternatively there is a 2.0 diesel which averages 50.3 mpg from 128 bhp doing 0-60 in 9.5 secs.
24Renault Laguna47.19.52.0 Dci200736.255.4150FWD
The petrol variant is slower and averages 34.4 mpg.
25Skoda Octavia47.19.62.0 TDi200735.857.6140FWD
This newer model is slightly faster, but slightly less economical than the older model.
26*BMW 118i46.38.72200735.855.4143RWD
This petrol 2.0 version of the 120d had notable figures to add this 1 series model to the list twice, with similar mpg figures to the diesel this is something to think about, however it is marginally slower.
27Citroen C546.39.32.2 HDi200734.956.5173FWD
There is a smaller 2.0 litre version which is slightly slower with relative economy gains.
28Ford Mondeo ST46.38.72.2 TDCi200634.557.7155FWD
The 2.0 TDCi is also an option averaging 48.7 mpg from 130 bhp with 0-60 in 9.8 secs!
29Alfa Romeo GT45.69.61.9 JTDm200633.257.6150FWD
The Q2 model has LSD (limited slip differential).
30Toyota Auris45.68.12.2 D-4D200735.854.3177FWD
The 2.0 diesel variant does 0-60 in 10.3 secs averaging 52.3 mpg.
31Lexus IS 220d44.88.92.2200635.852.3175RWD
The petrol IS 250 (2.4 litre version) is only slightly faster but suffers from an average of 28.8 mpg.
32*Fiat Panda43.59.51.4201032.553.3100FWD
The 1.3 diesel version of this car did not make the list as the 0-60 is a slow 13 secs.
33Volvo S6042.89.22.4D200531.454.3163FWD
There is a 185 bhp diesel engine that does 0-60 in 8.7 secs however the economy suffers with an average 37.7 mpg.
34Mercedes E220 CDi42.29.72.120053153.3150RWD
Look at the BMW 320d instead, I have always wondered why Mercedes do not keep on par with BMW on paper.
35VW Passat42.28.82.0 TDi200732.849.6170FWD
This is the 170 bhp variant. Watch out as there is a 130 bhp engine doing 0-60 in 10.2 secs averaging 47.9 mpg.
36Alfa Romeo Brera41.58.12.4 JTDm200630.752.3200FWD
This looks like the brainchild of the 147 and GT models and is the fastest Alfa in this list but also the least fuel efficient.
37*Ford Fiesta Zetec S41.59.91.6200830.752.3100FWD
Also look at the ST version which averages 38.2 mpg from 150 bhp doing 0-60 in 7.9 secs.
38BMW 525d40.98.12.5200430.451.4177RWD
This is also known as the E39 and was known as the best in its class.
39*Mini Cooper (Petrol)
The Mini One is another option averaging 41.5 mpg from 90 bhp doing 0-60 in 10.9 secs.
40*Suzuki Swift40.48.91.6 VVT200732.547.1125FWD
This only just gets into the mpg requirement.

The results show that, with the exception of five, all of the vehicles have diesel engines.

It also shows that if you did the average of 12,000 miles per year, the difference in annual fuel costs between the least efficient Suzuki Swift (40.4mpg – £1,759 pa) and the most efficient Vauxhall Corsa (57.6mpg -£1,305 pa) is £454 per year. These figures were taken straight from the manufacturer’s however, as with anything we urge you to err on the side of caution when trusting their figures as many people never actually reach the high figures quoted by the manufacturers.


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