Ah, fuel economy, the headline stat among the wider “bang for your buck” question that arises every time you come to look at buying a new car. A bit boring, but very much essential to take into account before any purchase, unless you’re made of money that is.

Of course, when you come to look at economy stats, it’s easy to just pick out the highest mpg numbers in the market, but not everyone wants a one litre city compact (although spoiler – there are a couple mentioned here). You want to consider economy as an integral part of the debate rather than the defining reason for your purchase.

With that in mind, we’ve chosen four decidedly unthirsty models that are also quality operators overall, which we think makes them some of the best cars you can buy for reasons beyond their stellar economy figures.

Suzuki Ignis SHVS

A slightly off-radar name to begin with, the Ignis takes on a multi-faceted appeal thanks to channelling inspiration from two of the hottest formats on the market at present – the city car and the crossover SUV. Now, in SUV terms, it’s a tiny operator, but that makes it a nifty choice for urban life without feeling too claustrophobic.

The Ignis’s USP lies in its character. Offering a unique Suzuki build that you’ll likely love or hate (with general consensus leaning towards the former), this punchy 4×4 crossover offers a hybrid setup that will produce a healthy 50-55mpg.

Vauxhall Astra 1.6 CDTi 110 Ecoflex

The old faithful of the British car market and a perennial best seller of the last who knows how many years, the Astra has successfully maintained its reputation as a quality all-rounder through its various evolutions. The latest models boast more tech features than previous iterations while maintaining a simple drivability, while the 1.6 CDTi’s diesel engine boasts a rather staggering 85.6mpg.

Naturally, you won’t get that on the road, and the 110 Ecoflex offers a little less in driver experience terms against some less economical Astra models, but the efficiency alongside the reassurance of the Astra name makes it a more than worthy choice in this regard.

SEAT Leon 1.6 TDI 110 Ecomotive

SEAT has been part of the Volkswagen family for a while now, and that has only been a good thing in terms of injecting some ruthless German efficiency into the Spanish sporting formula that virtually every SEAT is built on. The Leon is SEAT’s version of Golf, built on the same platform with a similarly pleasing aesthetic, and performing to a similar level in terms of driveability, too. Again, all good things.

The difference maker lies with the Ecomotive’s real world economy figures of 60mpg, reducing to a highly respectable 50mpg in urban areas. A good choice for those looking for an essence of sporting performance with an underlying pocket-friendliness.

Volkswagen Up! 1.0 75

The aforementioned city car, in its truest form this time. The Up! has long been the dominant name in the world of mini urban movers, a fan favourite for its build quality, quirky looks and trusty engine. A typical VW in efficiency terms, just shrunk down for handy city driving, the Up! will typically produce around 60mpg, which is nice going around the city.

It’s also a dream for tight parking and won’t cost too much to insure, which furthers its credentials as a top running costs option. If a stress-free commute is all you’re really after from your car, the Up! will happily do the job.

Four cars then with their individual merits beyond their lack of time spent at petrol stations. All of which are cost effective on the whole, with no option mentioned starting beyond the £20,000 mark new. If you are considering a buy but struggling with poor credit, Go Car Credit are the go-to name to get an accessible finance plan that will make attaining any of the models mentioned accessible and manageable.