Car ownership is an expensive business. From the price of fuel, to car insurance and making sure it’s serviced and passes its MOT every year – it all adds up.
So with that in mind, our pricing team has calculated the 10 cars which were, on average, cheapest to insure for drivers over the age of 25 between June and August 2020 – and there’s a real mix. We’ve only included cars where we have 50 or more examples on cover, and the figures don’t take into account other data that could affect the price.
The classic Rover Mini is an icon among small cars and the cheeky spirit of this car is alive and well even today, twenty years after production ceased.
Getting your hands on a classic Rover Mini can be difficult, especially given their cult status, but if you’re lucky enough to do so be prepared for a much harder ride than in modern small cars. The suspension is rock solid, but it comes with a nippy engine and lively, sharp steering that carries all the character and joy it did over twenty years ago.
You’ll never buy one of these vehicles for the boot or rear passenger space, but your front passengers will expect low-tech dashboards and an industrial-feeling gearbox that works with a satisfying clunk. The reputation of the classic Mini precedes it, and you’ll only need five minutes to fully appreciate why it earned its legendary status.
A classic in the word of roadsters, the Nissan Figaro holds something of a cult following. This is a vehicle that was designed in the 90s but with the styling of the 1950s – a classic exterior that hides a surprisingly modern engine.
The 1.0-litre four-cylinder engine comes with an automatic transmission that’s based on the same engine as the Nissan Micra. The unique styling of the Figaro isn’t recognisably Nissan, but it has sacrificed none of the reliability and robustness you can expect from the Nissan brand.
The Figaro clearly values style over substance, but the classic roadster still provides a pleasant driving experience. The 1.0-litre engine lacks in power in comparison to more modern roadsters, but the feedback you receive from the engine as you push the throttle makes it feel fast, even at lower speeds.
The Volkswagen California is a popular camper van, often associated with salty sea breezes, dramatic coastlines and surf culture (although it hasn’t actually been available in the US for some time).
It’s clear why it’s popular as it’s easy to drive and the running costs aren’t bad either. There’s plenty of space in the accommodation to make sure you stay comfortable.
As good as the California is, don’t expect to be overwhelmed with engine options. In the UK, this camper is available with a choice of two 2.0-litre diesel engines depending on the model you choose – a 148bhp entry-level engine and a 196bhp version.
The California is quite pricey to buy new, which may be off-putting for some, but the good news is there are some decent used options available if you do your research.
Developed alongside its close relatives, the Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo, the VW up! is one of the most entertaining small cars on the market. Add excellent build quality, plus low running costs, and this little cutie is sure to put a smile on your face. The up! is available with a punchy little 1.0-litre engine (59bhp, 74bhp or swift 89bhp).
Deceptively spacious and available as a three or five-door, there's just enough room for two adults in the back. Boot space is a decent 251 litres, or 951 with the back seats down. The up! was launched in 2011 and named World Car of the Year in 2012. Updated in 2016, it's won many other awards over the years including the 2017 Auto Express City Car of the Year.
The Ford Ka+ is a smaller city car than some in its class, with five doors and a cheaper price tag than many.
With softer springs and a smoother ride than you might expect in a smaller vehicle, the Ka+ doesn’t sacrifice too much feedback from the wheels on the road – but drivers who attempt the motorway will find themselves subject to an excess of road and wind noise.
The basic model manages around 55mpg according to Ford, with the diesel and more powerful models achieving more. The car itself will price under the similar Seat Ibiza and Skoda Fabia, making it a great step up for those looking to expand from a city-style hatchback.
First produced in 1989, the iconic MX-5 is now in its fourth generation and is still the world’s most popular roadster, winning World Car of the Year in 2016.
Stylish, well-built and boasting superb handling, you can either choose the convertible or distinctive RF (Retractable Fastback) variant which adds a little more comfort and coupe looks.
It's cosy inside, but overall the MX-5 is remarkable value and surprisingly easy to run as a daily driver.
Released first in 2012 and with only one major update in 2017, the Skoda Citigo is a nippy city car with a surprising amount of interior and boot space (251 litres!), making it a practical choice for city living.
The city is the best place for the Citigo – not only for its compact size, but also for the 60 and 75bhp engines. They’re enough to get away from the lights with pace, but will struggle if taken onto the motorway. Both engine sizes are exceptionally cheap to run, achieving over 65mpg.
The basic interior can feel a little sparse, but everything you’ll find feels robust and well made. The handling benefits from the lightweight style too – it’s a pleasure to drive. The Citigo is a car that aims to be the perfect city vehicle – a small but spacious car with a nippy engine and enjoyable steering.
In 2016 the last Land Rover Defender left the assembly line at Solihull. If you count the Defender alongside its predecessors, the Series I, II and III Land Rovers, it was in continuous production for 68 years.
The '90' reflects the length of the wheelbase. The 90 had three doors compared to its close relative the 110, which has five.
Highly collectable, arguably no other car matches the Land Rover in all-terrain capability and practicality. The reality is they can feel big and unwieldy compared to modern SUVs, and can be quite heavy to drive, especially in town.
That said, the Defender is an icon. Well looked after, it probably won't let you down and should increase in value.
Built to take on the Mazda MX-5, the MR2 is built to be the roadster for newcomers – it looks like a racer, but has a surprisingly economical engine that you might not expect from a roadster.
The five speed 1.8-litre engine provides enough oomph to enjoy the winding country roads with the roof down. This pairs with excellent responsive steering that really turns the MR2 into a pleasant driving experience.
The two seats may have given it away, but the MR2 isn’t a car built for practicality, with the convertible roof stealing a large chunk of the boot space. This is a car designed to enjoy the road with.
The headline of the Dacia Duster will always be the price – this is a family-sized SUV that costs significantly less than other vehicles in its class, such as the Skoda Karoq or the Renault Kadjar. This combines well with the fact the Dacia often delivers around 45mpg, and with some of the lowest average insurance prices, this is a vehicle for those with an eye for value.
Beyond the price, the basic Dacia model comes with a 98bhp 1.0-litre engine that does struggle when taken out of the suburbs and onto the motorway. The suspension will run into difficulty here too, as you’ll feel every sway at high speeds through the soft springs – although the same soft springs feel lovely around town.
Perfect for the school run and around town, the Dacia is a family car built for the suburbs. With a price point that comes below £12,000, it’s a perfectly suitable family SUV that won’t break the bank.