Ford Fiesta1.5 TDCi is SA's most pocket-friendly car at the pumps. Picture SUPPLIED
Ford Fiesta1.5 TDCi is SA's most pocket-friendly car at the pumps. Picture SUPPLIED

One piece of good news during the Covid-19 lockdown is the plummeting fuel price as the cost of international crude oil has dropped even faster than the rand against the dollar.

The price of Brent crude is now at about $20 per barrel from $68 at the start of January, and down from $34 at the beginning of April.

It led to local petrol and diesel prices plunging dramatically at the beginning of April, and by the start of May they’re expected to experience another big reduction, with petrol set to cost R3.77 a litre less than before the imposed quarantine, and diesel R2.50 less.

But these prices won’t necessarily hold as demand for oil rises in a post-coronavirus world.

With the economy-ravaging lockdown putting many household budgets under severe strain, and potentially leading to more people considering buying down to more affordable vehicles, we take a look at the small cars that will put the least pressure on fuel costs.

Here is a list of the most fuel-efficient budget cars on sale in SA:

Ford Fiesta 1.5 TDCi

The Ford Fiesta is a compact hatch with usable space and decent specification. Opt for the 1.5 TDCi version with a 3.3l 100km quoted average and you add the title of most fuel efficient car in the land to its capabilities. The turbo diesel engine delivers a fairly peppy 175Nm of torque along with its 63kW of power, showing that power needn’t necessarily be sacrificed in the name of fuel efficiency.

Price: R329,300

Renault Captur dCi Dynamique

Renault’s Captur is the most fuel efficient crossover on the market. Picture SUPPLIED
Renault’s Captur is the most fuel efficient crossover on the market. Picture SUPPLIED

With its 3.6l/100km average the Captur provides frugal consumption with the high-riding position so liked by many motorists. This crossover is powered by a 1.5l turbo diesel four-cylinder engine producing 66kW and a hearty 220Nm.

 Price: R333,900

Fiat Tipo 1.3 Multijet Easy

Fiat Tipo sedan blends family space with excellent fuel consumption. Picture SUPPLIED
Fiat Tipo sedan blends family space with excellent fuel consumption. Picture SUPPLIED

At a generous 4.5m in length this Italian sedan blends real-world family space with excellent fuel consumption of 4.5l/100km. It’s more than just a city car and punchy outputs of 70kW and 200Nm make this 1.3l turbo diesel sedan quite an easy-going performer on the open road too.

Price: R287,936

Fiat Panda 0.9 TwinAir Easy

Endearingly styled Fiat Panda has low running costs. Picture SUPPLIED
Endearingly styled Fiat Panda has low running costs. Picture SUPPLIED

Fiat’s little Panda hatch is powered by  the smallest engine in the passenger car market. It’s a turbocharged, 875cc two-cylinder motor which drives the front wheels and claims to sip just 4.2l/100km on average. It also produces a useful 63kW/145Nm.

Price: R205,452

Fiat 500 TwinAir Star

Fiat 500 uses one of the smallest engines in the sector to great fuel-saving effect. Picture SUPPLIED
Fiat 500 uses one of the smallest engines in the sector to great fuel-saving effect. Picture SUPPLIED

Using the same sub-1.0l two cylinder TwinAir as found in the Panda but in the lighter and smaller 500 body has ensured this little engine occupies two spots on the list. The 500 is a chic city car in dimensions, ethos and frugality and it boasts 3.8l/100km average fuel consumption.

Price: R219,900

Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo

Toyota Aygo (pictured) and Peugeot 108 both use the same frugal three-cylinder engine. Picture SUPPLIED
Toyota Aygo (pictured) and Peugeot 108 both use the same frugal three-cylinder engine. Picture SUPPLIED

A French-Japanese partnership sees these two little tykes using the same 1.0l three-cylinder petrol engine, which provides 53kW and 93Nm of city-flitting outputs. A claimed consumption of 4.3l 100km on a combined town-freeway cycle makes them fuel sippers of note.

The Peugeot is available in a single 108 Active model selling for R184,900. The Aygo offers four derivatives ranging in price from R178,400 to R206,500.

* The listed fuel consumption figures are as claimed by the manufacturers but may not be achievable in real-world conditions. The list excludes electric and hybrid cars.