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Parker's forecourt focus: Enjoy cheap motoring

Just as it seems it can’t get anymore expensive, petrol shows every sign of bursting through the £1 per litre mark and hanging horribly close to it for some time.

But before motorists rush to buy electric cars, there are ways to enjoy low cost motoring without having to chop in their car for a milk float.

Obvious candidates are the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius with their electric motors and hybrid technology, but these aren’t exactly cheap compared to their conventional cousins.

An early 2000 X-reg Prius is priced up to £6,000 in the showroom. Given that these hybrid cars are congestion charge exempt, London is exerting a heavy pull on them, keeping residual values high in the south-east – good news for dealers and for consumers’ part-exchange prices.

Next port of call is diesels thanks to their frugal running costs. Choice is increasing all the time as more models make their way into the used market.

Pick of the best value oil burners at the moment includes the Seat Arosa 1.4 TDI – £3,450 secures a Y-plate and drive gently to enjoy 60mpg plus.

The other option for dealers to offer buyers that are interested in cheap motoring is a Smart Fortwo. Models are now on offer at just over £2,000 and they deliver high 50mpg fuel consumption. And if the need includes 4x4 capability, think Suzuki Jimny with 1998 versions changing hands for £2,200 in dealerships, and returning 34mpg.

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