Opting for a big, luxurious car no longer means you have to get a mortgage to pay your fuel bills, with strong but economical diesel engines now dominating the large car market. With refinement levels and official economy figures going up, you can now get the cachet and comfort of a large, upmarket saloon, along with the possibility of more than 60mpg, all for safely under £35,000.
We’ve rounded up some of the most economical, comfortable and top value options from upmarket brands including BMW, Mercedes and Audi that give you all the style of a luxury machine with the kind of fuel bills that you’d expect from a much smaller car.
Sleek and economical Jaguar: Jaguar XF 2.0 D 163 Prestige – £32,300
If you think that Jaguars only come with red-blooded gas-guzzling petrol engines under the bonnet, think again. Not only does the XF offer reasonably strong acceleration in 2.0-litre 161bhp diesel form – taking 8.2 seconds to sprint to 62mph – but it returns extremely impressive claimed fuel economy of 70.6mpg, meaning that you shouldn’t have to visit the petrol station often.
Meanwhile, an official CO2 emissions figure of 104g/km puts it into the second lowest car tax band – costing owners a mere £20 per year to tax. Throw in a price tag of just over £32,000 and the XF is pretty good value, too, whether or not your neighbours will realise when they see this sleek machine on the drive.
Comfortable and well-equipped saloon: Volvo S80 D4 SE Nav – £32,220
Volvo may not be the obvious choice when it comes to upmarket machines, but the Swedish brand produces some of the most comfortable, refined cars in the business. Now it has spruced up its diesel engine range, Volvo also boasts some of the most economical cars you can get in their respective classes.
Despite its large dimensions, the S80 D4 still returns very impressive claimed economy of 68.9mpg, placing it just behind the Jaguar XF above, while matching it for car tax bills. Performance also compares closely with the XF – as the S80 accelerates to 62mph in a brisk 8.4 seconds – and the price is comparable, too. The difference is that you can find savings of around £9,000 if you shop around, making the S80 extremely good value.
Frugal automatic large saloon: Audi A6 2.0 TDI ultra S tronic SE – £33,825
Opting for an automatic gearbox often comes with a fuel economy and emissions penalty, but in the case of the A6 it boosts economy and drops the A6 down a car tax band – albeit saving you just £10 per year.
Go for the punchy 187bhp diesel engine in the ultra eco model and you get an official economy figure of 67.3mpg, while CO2 emissions of 109g/km place it into the same £20 tax band as the models above. Thanks to a nought to 62mph time of 8.2 seconds, the A6 should also prove more than rapid enough for life on the outside lane of the motorway.
Speedy, sharp handling option: BMW 520d SE – £32,365
If you’re after impressive roadholding and class-leading performance without sacrificing on speedy acceleration, the BMW 5 Series is the car to go for. Even with a 2.0-litre diesel motor under the bonnet this BMW has the muscle to whizz to 62mph in 7.9 seconds.
Don’t think that this extra turn of speed over the other models here will cost you at the pumps, though, with an official figure of 65.7mpg likely to give it practically identical fuel consumption in the real world. You will have to shell out an extra £10 per year for annual car tax, however.
Smooth, automatic-only Mercedes E-Class E220 CDi SE 7G-TRONIC – £34,815
Mercedes has long been the name for luxury cars, but with the E-Class only available in automatic form, you will have to pay out extra for the privilege of owning an economical three-pointed star – at just under £35,000.
Economy also can’t quite match the other models, though a claimed figure of 64.2mpg means that it isn’t far behind. CO2 emissions of 114g/km, though, match the BMW, placing it into the £30 per tax band. With a nought to 62mph time of 8.4 seconds, performance is also comparable to the Volvo, and just behind the Jaguar and Audi.