Latest Leasing Offers

Most Economical Cars to Lease

posted on Aug 26 2013 by Jon Bardill

If you're looking to lease a car in order to benefit from fixed motoring costs and no depreciation worries, you've likely already decided whether you'd like a petrol, diesel, electric or hybrid model.

But have you properly considered the advantages - and disadvantages - of each of these categories? And do you know what the most economical cars in each category are? This article discusses both of these aspects to help you make a leasing choice that is kind to both your pocket, and the environment.

NOTE: As to not complicate the lists included in each category, cars have been rated based on the mpg each offers. However, in order to determine the most economic option in any category for you personally, it is important to look at the OTR (on the road) cost of each vehicle. Cars which are more expensive to buy are nearly always more expensive to lease too, and so some options may be beyond your budget despite their fantastic fuel economy.

Petrol cars

Petrol cars are a common leasing choice for a variety of reasons, the main two being the low monthly payments for, and cost of filling up, such. Other benefits of petrol cars include the fact they often require less maintenance than diesels, operate more quietly and provide higher acceleration.

However, it's well established that the worlds supply of petrol is quickly diminishing, ever-forcing the price per gallon to rise. This is why leasing a petrol car is much wiser than buying one - the obsoletion of these cars could arrive quicker than you think, depreciating any assets tied up in such motors.

The most economical petrol car leasing option:

#1: Fiat 500 0.9 TwinAir Colour Therapy

Fiat 500 0.9 TwinAir Colour Therapy

Image credit:

OTR price: £12,710

MPG: 72

The one millionth Fiat 500 rolled off of the production line in 2012, five years after the cars re-launch (the first iteration of the car was available to the market between 1957 and 1975), confirming the motors great popularity.

The new-and-improved 2007 lounge model not only welcomed more economical engineering (including Fiats two-cylinder turbocharged TwinAir engine and fuel-saving stop-start technology), responsible for the cars pleasing 72 mpg rating, though. It also introduced a vast number of colour, trim and decal options allowing more than 500,000 combinations for ultimate personalisation, making the car all the more desirable.

Fiat's small car range was already the lowest-polluting in Europe but this retro-inspired, aesthetically-italian affair established the great advances possible in this segment. The Fiat 500 is an affordable and fun option for anyone looking to lease a petrol car.

Runners up:

#2: Mitsubishi Mirage 1.2 MIVEC | OTR price: £11,054 | MPG: 69

#3: Skoda Citigo 1.0 MPI GreenTech | OTR price: £9,140 | MPG: 69

Diesel cars

Those that choose to lease a diesel car often do so because of the greater fuel economy they provide compared to their petrol counterparts (between 20-30% more). Paying a slightly higher monthly leasing charge for a diesel car can often be an investment which pays for itself then, especially considering such vehicles require lower tax. Other benefits of diesels include lower CO2 emissions and higher torque.

However there are a few downsides to diesels: they are not as fast a petrol-fuelled cars and servicing costs are a little higher when they apply. Operation is generally a little noisier than for petrol vehicles also.

The most economical diesel car leasing option:

#1: Kia Rio 1.1 CRDi EcoDynamics

Kia Rio 1.1 CRDi EcoDynamics

Image credit:

OTR price: £11,895

MPG: 88.3

Since all of the cars included in this list provide exactly the same miles per gallon - 88.3 - the Kia Rio 1.1 was chosen as the most economical for two reasons: its affordable OTR price and very generous warranty of seven years.

The first Rio was released at the start of the millenium, but it is this 2011 iteration of the hatchback which has seen the most maturation for both the cars interior and exterior. The contemporary, longer, shorter and wider body and environmentally-greener engine will help to ensure the cars long-standing competitive market presence will continue into the foreseeable future. Find out about a lease on a Kia Rio here.

It is worth noting that #2 and #3 in this list do emit less CO2 than the Rios 85g/km (84g/km and 83g/km respectively) but this difference is fairly nominal for those who arent obsessively dedicated to the reduction of their carbon footprint.

Runners up:

#2: Hyundai i20 1.1 CRDi Blue | OTR price: £11,895 | MPG: 88.3

#3: Renault Clio dCi 90 Expression Eco | OTR price: £14,545 | MPG: 88.3

Electric cars

Electric cars - both standard (EV) and plug-in (PEV) models - are an increasingly popular leasing choice, due to the significantly reduced fuel overheads they offer lessees. PEVs are the most economical option of the two, for their batteries can be charged more affordably, using the grid as opposed to the vehicle itself (as is the case for HEVs).

Choosing a pure electric car ensures the lowest CO2 emissions and associated footprint possible. UK Government is currently running an initiative - the government's Plug-in Car Grant Scheme - encouraging the uptake of (relatively more expensive) electric, plug-in electric and (rarer) hydrogen-fuelled cars. Grants up to the value of £5,000 are available for those that decide to purchase any valid vehicle. Even so, leasing an electric car is the most cost-effective option for those that like to upgrade their vehicle regularly.

The most economical electric car leasing option:

#1: Peugeot iOn Electric

Peugeot iOn Electric

Image credit:

OTR price: £21,216*

MPG: 194 (equivalent)

Peugeot's iOn is identical to the 2009 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: its simply rebadged for the European market, in which the car also makes another appearance as the Citroen C-Zero. The iOn - introduced in January 2011 - is the most economical of the three iterations however, providing efficiency equivalent to 194 miles per gallon.

Simple and undemanding to drive, Peugeot claims the engine-less iOn was specifically designed with local government, councils and green-conscious energy companies in mind. Admittedly, this is not the most exciting pitch for a motor but the two pence cost per mile is a thrilling prospect in itself! 

The Renault Zoe (#2) and Nissan Leaf (#3) with their much lower OTR prices, might be wiser (and, arguably, more fashionable) choices for average-mile drivers looking to keep their monthly leasing payments to an absolute minimum.

Runners up:

#2: Renault Zoe | OTR price: £13,995* (+70 per month for battery hire) | MPG: 169 (equivalent)

#3: Nissan Leaf | OTR price: £15,990* | MPG: 169 (equivalent)

HONORABLE MENTION: BMW i3 Electric | OTR price: £25,680* | MPG: 183 (equivalent) - AVAILABLE FROM NOVEMBER 2013.

*NOTE: All prices quoted in this category include the £5,000 UK OLEV plug-in car grant.


Hybrid cars

For many lessees, hybrid cars offer the best of both worlds: many models will allow the driver to choose between a number of driving modes, each prioritising either fuel economy or performance, or achieving a balancing of both. Other models meanwhile, automatically detect when to transfer between the available modes so that consumption, CO2 output and power is optimal in all circumstances.

Standard (HEV) and plug-in (PHEV) hybrid variants are available, with the latter the most economical fuel-wise. With PHEV models, it is possible to complete most short commute journeys using electric power only, equating zero fuel-burn and exhaust emissions. Hybrid cars are not cheap to buy, however.

The most economical hybrid car leasing option:

#1: Vauxhall Ampera

 Vauxhall Ampera

Image credit:

OTR price: £29,995*

MPG: 235.4

Also known as the Chevrolet Volt, Holden Volt and Opel Ampera elsewhere in the world, the Vauxhall Ampera was the first plug-in hybrid passenger car available to buy in the UK when it hit the market in 2011.

The Ampera/Volt family is currently the number-one-selling PHEV across the globe, which is hardly surprising given the cars flabbergasting fuel economy: 235.4mpg (combined). This figure is unrivaled, and it remains to be seen whether the record will only be broken once the second generation model of the Ampera is released (currently scheduled for 2015).

While this is not the cheapest PEV listed here, accepting a slightly higher monthly lease charge in exchange for the colossal mpg should be seriously considered by high mileage drivers.  Review current lease deals for the Vauxhall Ampera here.

Runners up:

#2: Volvo V60 | OTR price: £43,775* | MPG: 155.2

#3: Toyota Prius | OTR price: £28,245* | MPG: 13.4

*NOTE: All prices quoted in this category include the £5,000 UK OLEV plug-in car grant.

Need help choosing an economical vehicle to lease? Contact our friendly and experienced team today on 01273 789 900.