Top 5 signs of an economical car

Sam Bisby

By: Sam Bisby

In a world where more and more people are looking to save as much money as possible, the ability to rein in expenditure on one of life’s most costly purchases will always be welcomed.

Buying a car comes with some obvious costs, but some additions (or even withdrawals) that help you save money are perhaps not so apparent. There are numerous ways in which manufacturers are looking to assist drivers save money and here are a run down of five of the best:

Small engines

Although not a completely new concept, the production of smaller engines has caught on immensely in recent years, with some manufacturers stating some serious intent towards the idea.

Ford, for example, has taken its EcoBoost range very seriously and makes up a large part of the models it offers. Starting with placing three-cylinder engines in the Fiesta, Ford has announced that it plans to extend this past the popular Focus derivative and place a version in the brand new Mondeo set to hit showrooms next year.

Fiat took this one step further, offering its Twin-Air models with just two cylinders, the option becoming very popular with the 500, whilst others have implemented systems that shut down cylinders when they are not needed. By only running on three or two cylinders, this helps bring CO2 emissions down and therefore your tax costs, too.

Stop/Start

This is another device perfect for those who have become very conscience about their CO2 emissions, as well as those who hate the idea of being stationary in traffic with the engine running.

Having Stop/Start implemented on your car ensures your engine is turned off when the car comes to a halt and you have your foot on the brake pedal; as soon as you release the brakes, the car’s engine automatically comes back to life.

With this, cars are able to use less CO2 and fuel at the same time, and although just one instance of this isn’t enough to make a huge difference, just think of all the times you have to come to a stop and it will all begin to add up.

Weight saving

Many car manufacturers are aiming to reduce the weight of their model range in order to help reduce fuel usage and make the car more efficient as a whole. Some manufacturers have been able to shave tens, if not hundreds, of kilograms from their cars which can have dramatic effects on performance and economy.

Car makers have begun to create their models using lightweight body panels made from new composites, as well as lighter alloy metals, in order to achieve this and drivers are collecting the rewards as a result.

Brake energy regeneration

This is certainly one technology that few motorists will be accustomed to, mainly because it’s not something that has been rolled out on a mass basis. Brake energy regeneration is an upcoming implementation that has seen much success in the world of motor sport and is gradually making its way to our driveways.

The idea behind this is harnessing the kinetic energy a car produces when a car is in motion. When a car stops, the majority of this energy is lost under braking, but a regenerative system would help counter this and use the energy to charge the likes of on-board batteries or electric motors. This in turn extends the range of the power units free of charge.

Hybrid systems

Leaving the most obvious sign of an economical car till last, hybrid vehicles have been all the rage for a number of years now, and the technology is only going to get better. Hybrids started out as relatively big cars, but as the technology gets smaller and easier to package, the likes of superminis and other small hatchbacks are benefiting from these systems as well.

There are two types of hybrid cars: parallel hybrids and series hybrids. A parallel hybrid will use both the combustion engine and the battery or electric motor to power the wheels of the car, whilst a series hybrid will use a petrol or diesel engine to charge a battery or electric motor which in turn powers the car’s movement.

A parallel hybrid will use the combustion engine as the main power source and therefore burn more fuel, while a series equivalent can run on electric power alone when able and can find the most efficient solution to how the car’s power should be used.

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