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The top 7 most economical family cars

The factors considered when buying a car differ based on the end-needs to be served. When buying a family car, sporty characteristics are subordinated for safety, space and reliability. Parents have more on their plate, and therefore, require a car that can offer great performance, technology and good mileage, all bundled up into one attractive price.

The industry has become more aware of family car needs. There is a plethora of options for would-be car buyers. It’s easy to celebrate this abundance of option, but it cannot hide the fact that it makes the decision that much more difficult. For those struggling with the choice, here is a compilation of those family cars that are ahead of the pack. Covering economy characteristics alone would have created a bias, so the list is based on the offerings from the different segments that also offer great mileage.

Most Economical Compact – Mazda 3

This little gem has a pleasant personality. Available in two configurations- saloon and four door hatchback- the Mazda 3 handles gently and accelerates quickly making it a pleasure to drive. It’s a refined piece of work with its stunning, pleasantly spacious interior that is very well designed. Mazda Connect will address all your entertainment and information needs, while its technology package will ensure you get adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring and collision mitigation. Direct-injection technology and SkyActiv tech helps this Mazda manage 55mpg.


Photo credit: Mario Lehmann / CC BY-SA 3.0

Most Economical Hybrid – Toyota Prius

The success of the Prius precedes it. For most new-age drivers, it is the exemplification of a hybrid car for the masses. It is synonymous with fuel efficiency with its combined economy of 72mpg. It has not won any accolades in the looks department. But its spacious cabin, high cargo capacity, practical safety features such as frontal collision warning system, and its technological amenities like keyless ignition and Bluetooth make it really compelling.

Toyota Prius

Photo credit: IFCAR (own work) via Wikimedia Commons

Most Economical Saloon – Honda Accord

The Accord has been a longtime favourite amongst families. The sales figures do not lie; this is one deeply loved mid-sized saloon car. It has a roomy interior and a trunk that can accommodate two large suitcases without a hustle. Cruise control and rear view camera are included as a standard. Its 2.2l i-DTEC diesel powertrain is the best as it offers a delicate balance between efficiency and economy. It starts quickly, and manages 53mpg. There’s a host of safety technologies in the EX trim, if you absolutely need that piece of mind that lane-departure and forward collision warning systems bring.

Honda Accord Euro R | CCW

Photo credit: Justin Wolfe via flickr.com / CC BY 2.0

Most Economical Hatchback – Skoda Octavia

Admittedly, this race is very tightly contested race with the likes of the Kia Cee’d, SEAT Leon, and the VW Golf. But the Skoda Octavia ticks all the right boxes and earns a recommendation. It shares a lot with the VW Golf, but with its bigger chassis, it offers a lot more space. It is a solidly-built car, practical, safe, well-equipped and fun to drive. Coupled with an economy of up to 74mpg and a starting price of £16,310 this is a hatch that is hard to turn down.

Skoda Octavia

Skoda Octavia by Ryan Brooks, on Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Most Economical 4×4 – Fiat Panda

The Fiat Panda may not have an intimidating stature, but what it lacks in size is more than compensated by its 4×4 capabilities. Where models in this class thirst for fuel, the Fiat Panda digresses by offering an economical 1.3l turbocharged diesel unit that squeezes out an impressive 67.3mpg. It grips the road confidently, and will not struggle when taken off-road that’s to its full-time all wheel drive system. It has a smallish cabin owing to its modest size, but it will sit three adults in the rear seat and still spare you a little room for cargo.

New Fiat Panda 4x4

Fiat Panda by Fife Flickr, on Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Most Economical Compact SUV – Skoda Yeti

Some may find the Nissan Qashqai’s 4×4 capabilities and sporty looks compelling, but the really discerning buyer will know to look the way of the Skoda Yeti. A compact SUV that has been received well by pretty much everyone, the Yeti boasts a 5 star Euro NCAP rating, has a roomy interior, sublime off-road handling for the 4×4 model and great economy. 61.4mpg is hard to expect in a compact, but the Yeti manages it without trying.

Most Economical SUV- Mitsubishi Outlander

The redesigned Outlander is making headlines, mostly because of its astonishing mileage of 53mpg highway, and this is just for the standard diesel. The plug-in hybrid increases that figure to 148mpg. Such figures are rare in this world of 3-row seats. It’s powered by a 2.2l engine with continuously variable transmission but. Its looks are stunning, the interior large and the seating sufficient for your entire family. The characteristics of the Outlander are hard to find amongst crossovers and with its aggressive pricing, it’s arguably the most economical mid-size SUV.

These are the most economical family cars currently available from any car supermarket. Honourable mentions include the Honda CRV, Ford Fiesta and Nissan Altima.


Economy is just one among the factors considered before buying any car. Parents lack the choice of exercising their full financial freedoms because of the inescapable costs of parenting. Thus it proves to be the biggest deciding characteristic when the topic of a car purchase comes up.

Before deciding on a car, ensure that it addresses the most pressing needs of your family. Those with smaller families (one or two children) have the luxury of casting a wider net, far wider than what our list encapsulates. Those with an entire brood should only consider those options that offer 3rd row seating, typically minivans and SUVs. Consider the resale value of each car before reaching your final decision.

This article is contributed by https://www.motordepot.co.uk/, the car supermarket for all types of cars and best car deals.

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