If low running costs are essential, here are your best bets.

For many new car buyers, one of the key deciding factors when looking at what to get will be running costs. With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of the most economical cars to help guide you - but it’s not as simple as merely listing the models with the highest official figures.

If that was the case, we’d end up with a long list of plug-in hybrids, with three-figure MPG data that isn’t all that relevant to the real world.

Instead, we’ve used our own experience testing behind the wheel, while also bringing together a variety of different fuel types and body styles so that whatever you’re looking for, there’s something in this list for youâ¦

1. Ford Fiesta

There’s a reason the Ford Fiesta regularly tops the list of bestselling cars in the UK, and that’s because it’s one of the best all-rounders on the market. It looks good, doesn’t cost too much, and is impressively practical for a supermini.

Its 1.0-litre petrol engine has mild hybrid assistance, with the end result being an achievable 55mpg.

2. Toyota Yaris

When it comes to fuel efficient hybrids, Toyota might be best-known for the Prius, but there’s another model that’s arguably a better bet.

The latest Yaris hatchback has smart looks and a decent interior, but its hybrid powertrain is of more interest to us here.

On a recent test of the Yaris Cross (the crossover version), we managed 74mpg without even trying to drive economically.

That’s considerably higher than its official figures of 58mpg. The hatchback version is said to be capable of up to 69mpg, which is hugely impressive.

3. Skoda Octavia

We mentioned that the Ford Fiesta was a great all-rounder, but if that’s what you’re looking for and consider the Fiesta too small, then perhaps the Skoda Octavia is the car for you.

It has the practicality of a car in the class above, as well as excellent build quality that’s well-suited to family life.

If you go to the UK and use the motorway a lot, the entry-level diesel is your best bet. It’s not particularly powerful but the trade off is that you should see more than 60mpg.

4. Mercedes-Benz C-Class

If you’re looking for a saloon or estate model but want something a bit more premium, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class could be your best bet. It’s tough to recommend plug-in hybrid models because their economy relies on the owner keeping the batteries topped up.

However, the C-Class is worth mentioning because assuming you do top the batteries up, it has a huge electric range of 68 miles. That means the average person could go days without even needing to engage the petrol engine at all.

5. Citroen C4

The latest Citroen C4 has quirky looks and a unique combination of hatchback and SUV looks, while the French firm has put a lot of focus on comfort, making it one of the nicest cars to drive over long distances. It represents pretty good value for money, too.

There are lower-powered petrol and diesel models available, which should see you getting more than 50mpg and 60mpg respectively.

6. Kia Sorento

If you’ve got a big family and need a seven-seater, you might be thinking that decent fuel economy isn’t something you’ll be blessed with. However, the Kia Sorento is one of only a select few seven-seaters to have a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

Again, this relies on you keeping the battery topped up at home between drives, but if you do this, fuel economy should be impressive on account of the battery’s 30ish miles of range.