The best economical cars for less than £3,000


If you’re on a budget you’ve not doubt already be looking at second hand cars, but you might also want to think not just about the price of the car but also the cost of running it. Don’t worry though – because we’ve done some of this thinking for you. Listed below you’ll find a selection of the most economical cars available for less than £3,000.

Being economical not only means they won’t drink much fuel – important in an era of ever-increasing fuel prices – but also that because they don’t drink much fuel they’re also cheap to tax [ ]. Double bonus.

Here’s our selection

Fiat Panda MultiJet (2004-2011)

Fiat has built its entire reputation on making clever, spacious, small cars, and this generation of Fiat Panda is a perfect example. Combined with the long-serving – and thus generally highly reliable – 1.3-litre MultiJet turbodiesel, it also manages a claimed 65mpg. Tax and insurance is cheap as well.

Skoda Fabia TDI (2000-2007)

Skoda’s answer to the Volkswagen Polo uses much the same technology and componentry as the popular German supermini, meaning you’re getting VW quality for a less money. But the Fabia is also a more spacious car, so it’s better value that way too. The TDI engines are frugal and dependable.

Citroen C3 HDi (2002-2010)

This small, cheap Citroen doesn’t have much in the way of build quality going for it, and any example you find is likely to be tired inside. But the HDI engines offer excellent fuel economy and the low pricing means that it’s still worth a look if you want to make your money go as far as possible.

Renault Clio DCi (2001-2008)

With diesel engines that offer both enjoyment and economy, this era of Renault Clio offers low running costs and a fun driving experience. Heavy depreciation when new quickly made it a used bargain, so at this point it’s ridiculously cheap. Just make sure to shop around for a good one.

Vauxhall Corsa CDTi (2003-2006)

Used examples of the trusty Vauxhall Corsa have been a staple of small car bargain hunters for years. Standard equipment is good for the era, loads were sold so there should be plenty to choose from, they’re easy to drive, and the CDTi diesel engines can deliver good fuel economy.

Nissan Micra dCi (2003-2010)

The Nissan Micra might not be a cool car, but it should be a reliable one, and this version does at least have a characterful appearance. In fact, it set a high bar for small cars when it was new – with standard kit to rival cars from the class above. Light steering makes it easy around town, the diesel engines make it fuel efficient.

Toyota Yaris D-4D (1999-2005)

Another top choice for reliability is the Toyota Yaris. These will be tougher to find with a diesel engine – most were sold with small petrol engines, which should still return decent mpg – and being so well built they not only tend to last but also hold their value better than many rivals. Worth it, though.


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