February 20, 2024

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The Ultimate Driving Machines

Best car leasing deals 2021: Save money today

Car leasing, or Personal Contract Hire (PCH), is becoming increasingly popular for those wanting a brand new car. That’s because car leasing is an excellent option if you do not necessarily have the finances to buy one outright, or if you simply aren’t interested in buying the car at the end of the agreement. There are more and more options for those wanting to lease so, to help, we’ve rounded up the best car leasing deals available right now.

Car leasing deals work in the same way as the many Business Contract Hire (BCH) offers available, except VAT is included. You pay an advance rental payment or deposit, select your annual mileage and contract length, and then pay a flat monthly fee for the duration of your agreement. When your contract ends, you hand the car back.

Traditionally, leasing a new car is simpler and easier than a Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) and more importantly, it generally has lower monthly payments. For these reasons, lease deals are growing in popularity, with a large number of motorists simply handing back their cars at the end of the lease and signing for a new one straight away.

Best car leasing deals on the market now

  1. Fiat 500 – £106 per month
  2. Citroen C3 – £134 per month
  3. Renault Clio – £145 per month
  4. Skoda Kamiq – £150 per month
  5. Nissan Leaf – £186 per month
  6. Volkswagen T-Cross – £191 per month
  7. Cupra Formentor – £243 per month
  8. Audi A6 – £287 per month
  9. Range Rover Evoque – £317 per month
  10. BMW 7 Series – £544 per month

As popularity is growing so too is the competition between manufacturers, meaning as a buyer you have the freedom to choose from the cream of the crop. In addition to the cheaper monthly payments, car leasing often includes many other benefits, including car tax, breakdown cover, car maintenance and tyre repair and replacement. So if you’re thinking of heading down the car leasing route, we’re here to help.

We all know finance deals require a down payment up front, but here, for our daily price, we’re just focusing on what you’ll pay each month once the deal is running. This figure is multiplied by the number of months the deal runs for after your initial down payment. It’s then divided by the number of days in the deal to give you a figure for the daily leasing cost. Our figures were from Leasing.com, but you might even beat these prices with other brokers.

Car leasing: business benefits

If you’re a VAT-registered business user there could be more benefits financially when it comes to leasing your car. Many leasing companies quote two prices: a personal lease and a business lease. Our prices are all for the former, but business prices are without the 20 per cent VAT, which makes these deals even more affordable. Just remember, the contract has to be as a business or sole trader, though. 

Read on below for our list of the best leasing deals, or scroll down further for best car leasing deals provided by a range of brokers…

Best car leasing deals 2021

City car: Skoda Citigo e iV – £235.57 per month

Model: Skoda Citigo e iV
Engine:  Single electric motor
Power/torque:  81bhp/212Nm
0-62mph:  12.5 seconds
Top speed:  81mph
Battery/range: 36.8kWh/170mi
List price: N/A
Monthly payments: £235.57
Daily cost: £7.53

Electric city cars make perfect sense. Air quality in urban areas is often at a critical level, so where these small runarounds spend most of their time they’ll not add to the problem locally, because cars like the Skoda Citigo e iV emit no CO2.

Yet there are many more benefits to Skoda’s first full EV, not least the cost. Remember that you’ll spend less than £5 to fully charge the Citigo’s 36.8kWh battery from your home wallbox and, combined with a cost of £7.53 per day to lease one according to our working, this represents incredibly cheap motoring.

It’s worth mentioning that the SE-spec car we’ve picked out doesn’t have rapid charging as standard. It’s not the end of the world, though, because many people might use a Citigo as a second car, while few will likely be doing big miles in the small Skoda. So with a claimed range of 170 miles from a full battery and a top-up time of five hours and 30 minutes from a 7kW home supply, the Skoda still offers lots of flexibility when it comes to how far you can travel in the day and how fast you can charge overnight.

Compared with a petrol or diesel city car, it’s very refined, thanks to the relative lack of powertrain noise, while it’s quick as well; with an impressive 212Nm of torque, the 0-62mph sprint takes 12.5 seconds. But it’s around town darting between traffic lights and accelerating up to the urban speed limit where the iV is best, while smart packaging means space for four and a 250-litre boot, plus infotainment through your smartphone helps to keep costs down.

Supermini: Vauxhall Corsa – £144.25

Model: Vauxhall Corsa 1.2 SE Premium
Engine:  1.2-litre 3cyl
Power/torque:  74bhp/118Nm
0-62mph:  13.2 seconds
Top speed:  108mph
CO2/economy: 125g/km/53.6mpg
List price: £17,195
Monthly payments: £144.25
Daily cost: £4.61

The new Corsa is a big step on for Vauxhall’s most famous small car – and the buying public thinks so, too, because this supermini was Britain’s best seller in June and July as the motor industry found its feet again. That sales success is not surprising when you think you can pick up a 74bhp 1.2-litre Corsa in SE Premium trim for just £4.61 per day; this is incredibly good value.

Since Vauxhall was bought out by PSA Group, the Corsa uses the same CMP platform as the Peugeot 208, which means there’s enough room for four people, even if it’s a bit tight in the back, while the ride and handling are fundamentally sound.

In SE Premium trim you get plenty of kit, too. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included, so you can use your phone’s capability to supply nav on the car’s seven-inch touchscreen. Heated seats, automatic LED headlights, air-con, collision warning plus lane-departure warning and lane assist also feature.

The 74bhp 1.2-litre engine is enough, because there’s plenty of pull for a small car. This Corsa is up to 100kg lighter than its predecessor, which helps with performance and efficiency, so the car won’t cost a fortune to run either, with claimed economy of just over 50mpg. The 309-litre boot means there aren’t too many situations where the Corsa won’t manage, and once you return to that incredibly affordable daily price, this stalwart of the supermini class looks like a qualified bargain to us.

Compact Family Hatchback: Volkswagen Golf – £211.96 per month

Model: Volkswagen Golf 1.0 TSI Life
Engine:  1.0-litre 3cyl
Power/torque:  108bhp/200Nm
0-62mph:  10.2 seconds
Top speed:  126mph
CO2/economy: 121g/km/53.0mpg
List price: £23,300
Monthly payments: £211.96
Daily cost: £6.77

The VW Golf is a constant. For nearly half a century it’s represented the same for car buyers; it’s one of the best compact family hatchbacks you can buy, and the new eighth-generation model packs more tech and features into the same classless package.

There’s the same level of practicality on offer as in its predecessor, with a 381-litre boot that’s adequate, but the main focus is on the digitisation VW has added.

Even base-spec Life cars feature a 10-inch digital dashboard and 10-inch colour touchscreen with Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay, plus sat-nav. There is also adaptive cruise control with AEB and collision warning, climate control, front and rear parking sensors and the kind of premium refinement you’d expect from a Golf – except at £6.77 per day, the price is anything but premium.

VW’s 108bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder TSI engine offers enough grunt so that even this entry-level model feels fast enough. But despite more tech, given its incredible affordability, the Golf’s interior quality isn’t exactly premium in places, yet it feels solidly built, like it will easily shrug off the rigours of family life. The hatchback’s ride is comfortable, its steering is light, the gearchange is relaxed and the Volkswagen comes across as easy to drive.

The Golf has built its reputation on offering an incredible mix of qualities and, in the past, people have been prepared to pay extra for this compared with some of its close rivals. However, now, as we’ve seen with our lease deal, you simply don’t have to.

Family Car: Vauxhall Insignia – £242.26

Model: Vauxhall Insignia 1.5 Turbo D SRi VX-Line Nav
Engine:  1.5-litre 4cyl
Power/torque:  120bhp/285Nm
0-62mph:  10.7 seconds
Top speed:  127mph
CO2/economy: 121g/km/60.9mpg
List price: £28,655
Monthly payments: £242.26
Daily cost: £7.74

This is the second Vauxhall to feature in our list, showing just how good value for money the brand’s cars are. The Insignia is also our reigning champion in the Family car class at our New Car Awards, so to bag a facelifted version of this model for £7.74 per day is a cracking deal.

That gets you into a 1.5-litre turbodiesel in SRi VX-Line Nav trim. It has 120bhp, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but then the Insignia isn’t the heaviest car, so with the diesel’s 285Nm of torque – the thing that gives turbodiesel cars their strong pull – the Vauxhall offers just enough in the way of flexibility.

It’s matched by a chassis that offers comfort and fair handling, while the benefit of the lower-powered engine is that you’ll get up to 61mpg, according to Vauxhall, so it should be efficient and cost-effective to run. Clearly cost is important, and at £7.74 a day without the down payment factored in, the Insignia is one of the most affordable models on offer, so all across the board it should mean cheap motoring.

SRi VX-Line Nav is a sportier trim, but it’s also focused at business buyers, so it gets everything they’d want. This includes an eight-inch touchscreen with nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, cruise control and plenty of driver-assistance systems.

There are only two trim levels above this, so it’s not like you’re scrimping on kit given the price – and one of those is the high-powered petrol turbo-only GSi.

Estate Car: Toyota Corolla Touring Sports – £239.54

Model: Toyota Corolla Touring Sports 1.8 Hybrid Icon Tech
Engine:  1.8-litre 4cyl
Power/torque:  120bhp/142Nm (torque figure ICE only)
0-62mph:  11.1 seconds
Top speed:  112mph
CO2/economy: 103g/km/62.8mpg
List price: £26,505
Monthly payments: £239.54
Daily cost: £7.66

Hybrids use two power sources – in the case of the Toyota Corolla, a 1.8-litre petrol engine and an electric motor supplied by a small battery pack. This can make them expensive due to the tech and engineering involved, but not so here.

With huge efficiency potential, you could cut your motoring outgoings with a hybrid, and the Corolla Touring Sports estate means practicality isn’t compromised, either, especially with this 1.8 version rather than the more powerful 2.0-litre model.

There are 581 litres of boot space on offer, rising to 1,606 litres if you fold the rear seats down using handy levers in the boot. There’s loads of room inside for people, too, and the Corolla really rides sweetly, thanks to its sophisticated suspension layout that’s part of its TNGA platform. It’s surprisingly engaging to drive for a hybrid, too, while the CVT auto holds the engine at optimum revs for acceleration, so performance is good without sacrificing efficiency.

Icon Tech trim is the sweet spot in the range and benefits from Toyota’s advanced safety kit as part of the Safety Sense 2 pack (AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist and speed-limit recognition). The eight-inch touchscreen now features CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Corolla Touring Sports is one of the best estate cars out there and it just happens to be a hybrid. It’s comfortable, quick enough, nicely refined and efficient. The Toyota is so easy to drive and will be so easy to live with, especially at this price.

Compact Executive: Audi A4 – £277.64

Model: Audi A4 35 TDI Technik S tronic
Engine:  2.0-litre 4cyl
Power/torque:  161bhp/380Nm
0-62mph:  8.2 seconds
Top speed:  130mph
CO2/economy: 134g/km/55.4mpg
List price: £35,190
Monthly payments: £277.64
Daily cost: £8.87

Audi is known for the quality of its cabins, and despite the deal we’ve picked out on this A4 being the base-spec Technik model, it’s still a beautiful, high-quality and well built interior.

Premium cars – especially executive saloons – are hard to find at this price, but Technik trim still has Audi’s 10.1-inch MMI Nav Plus system, a 12.3-inch digital dash, heated seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also offers LED lights, all-round parking sensors, a rear-view camera and AEB. Basically, it’s superbly equipped for not all that much cash, at £8.87 per day (without initial rental, of course).

Audi’s engine-naming strategy means this 35 TDI car boasts 161bhp and 280Nm of torque, so combined with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, performance and refinement aren’t in question.

Front-wheel drive makes the A4 predictable and safe, with good steering response and grip. On Technik trim’s 17-inch alloys the ride should also be smooth. The 460-litre boot offers plenty of space, even if some more modern rivals have a little extra.

The four-cylinder diesel engine will be good for economy, with Audi claiming up to 55.4mpg under the WLTP cycle, and because many people might use the Audi as business transport, its refinement and tech will make it ideal in this role. Plus if you’re leasing as a VAT-registered business user, you’ll be able to claim this back, too, so your daily lease cost could be even cheaper than we’ve found here.

Affordable SUV: Renault Captur – £240.39 per month

Model: Renault Captur TCe 100 Iconic
Engine:  0.9-litre 3cyl
Power/torque:  99bhp/160Nm
0-62mph:  13.3 seconds
Top speed:  107mph
CO2/economy: 136g/km/47.1mpg
List price: £19,795
Monthly payments: £240.39
Daily cost: £7.68

Given the popularity of small SUVs at the moment, you might think manufacturers would be hiking prices heavily to capitalise on this trend, but shop wisely and you can pick up a compact SUV like the Renault Captur – the best car in its class, we think – for a very affordable price on a lease deal.

The model we’ve chosen is the pick of the range, too. It’s the TCe 100 in mid-spec Iconic trim, which is the best balance between price and equipment.

Small SUVs like these are often bought by growing families, so there’s safety kit included that means you’ll feel confident when strapping children in. Lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist and autonomous emergency braking are standard, along with LED headlights, keyless operation and rear parking sensors. Iconic trim brings a seven-inch touchscreen with nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so connectivity meets the required standard.

It might be small, but the Captur offers lots of room, with as much as 536 litres of boot space.

Quality is extremely good for a mainstream SUV, and this is where the Captur has moved the game on. It matches this with a soft, comfortable ride and lots of refinement from the quiet three-cylinder engine.

While it needs working a little to extract the performance, the motor rarely sounds strained. It’s also obvious the focus here is on comfort, because the Captur isn’t the best-handling car in the class. However, it’s safe and secure, so as a family machine, coupled with the refinement, it really works.

Premium SUV: Volvo XC40  £255.59

Model: Volvo XC40 T3 Momentum
Engine:  1.5-litre 3cyl
Power/torque:  161bhp/265Nm
0-62mph:  8.8 seconds
Top speed:  112mph
CO2/economy: 158g/km/40.4mpg
List price: £29,270
Monthly payments: £255.59
Daily cost: £8.17

A few years ago the Volvo XC40 was the new kid on the block, and while it might not be at the top of its class now, it’s not far away from it. The Swedish SUV offers a chunk of Scandi cool that few rivals can match – and most of them can’t match this T3 Momentum model’s price, either.

The T3 isn’t quite the entry-level engine, but with 161bhp and 265Nm of torque giving the Volvo an 8.8-second 0-62mph time, performance is good. The three-cylinder turbo engine even sounds characterful.

Momentum is the entry-level trim, but that’s a relative term here because this is a premium SUV. This means cruise control, auto high beam LED lights, parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, a 12.3-inch digital dash and a nine-inch portrait touchscreen, and 18-inch alloys are all included.

Of course, this is a family car, and Volvo is known for its safety, so the XC40 is well catered for in this department, too. There’s autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane- keep assist, and systems to protect against running off the edge of the road and avoiding oncoming cars. These features helped the XC40 score a full five-star rating in its Euro NCAP crash tests.

The ride is a little firm, but on 18-inch wheels should be easy to live with, while the XC40 also rolls noticeably in corners. But its beauty is that, for the money, it’s a nicely rounded package that offers lots in pretty much every area, so it’s a very attractive deal.

MPV: Citroen Berlingo XL – £281.40

Model: Citroen Berlingo XL 1.5 BlueHDI 100 Flair
Engine:  1.5-litre 4cyl
Power/torque:  99bhp/250Nm
0-62mph:  13.0 seconds
Top speed:  109mph
CO2/economy: 147g/km/50.6mpg
List price: £25,315
Monthly payments: £281.40
Daily cost: £8.99

MPVs might have fallen out of favour, with the fashion turning towards large SUVs if you need a seven-seater, but if you’re after a people mover with plenty of space at an affordable price, few cars offer as much flexibility and passenger-carrying capacity as the Citroen Berlingo. In XL trim there is simply an incredible level of room for seven people, and masses of flexibility, with each chair folding individually. The middle row even slides to maximise legroom or more space in the rear row if you need it.

Be prepared to take your time getting where you need to go, though, because with Citroen’s 99bhp 1.5-litre turbodiesel engine, the Berlingo XL isn’t fast. However, it is frugal, offering up to 50.6mpg.

Far from being a van with windows, the Berlingo is based on Citroen’s EMP2 chassis tech, so while its handling isn’t much to write home about given its size, the ride comfort is acceptable for such a big car. It is better with a full complement of passengers, though. It might not be in vogue, but Citroen still makes great diesel engines, so it’s relatively refined.

Flair is the mid-spec model and benefits from lots of safety kit fitted to the entry-level Feel car, as well as rear parking sensors – an important point in such a big car that’s not always easy to manoeuvre. There’s also nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as part of the eight-inch touchscreen infotainment, and air-con.

Fundamentally, if you want to maximise space and carrying capacity for the minimum outlay, the Citroen Berlingo XL is the way to go.

Best hot hatchback: Ford Fiesta ST – £292.24

Model: Ford Fiesta ST-2 5dr
Engine:  1.5-litre 3cyl
Power/torque:  197bhp/290Nm
0-62mph:  6.5 seconds
Top speed:  144mph
CO2/economy: 158g/km/40.4mpg
List price: £22,675
Monthly payments: £292.24
Daily cost: £9.34

The Ford Fiesta ST is one of the greatest hot hatchbacks of all time. It boasts a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo engine, which doesn’t sound a lot, but it kicks out 197bhp and 290Nm of torque, so the ST sprints from 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds.

However, it’s not the numbers that impress in the ST, it’s the way it delivers them. The grunty engine has a lovely deep bark and pulls hard. It tests the chassis, but it’s easily the motor’s equal.

Traction is great and so is the balance. The ST’s steering is very quick for a small car, so you flick the Fiesta through corners, trailing the brake into them to just bring the rear end into play. The adjustability on offer is incredibly fun and rewarding, and the car always inspires confidence and feels on your side.

This is a tenacious hot hatchback that loves to be thrown around and driven hard, yet if you go for the five-door bodystyle to make access to the rear seats easier, then the Ford is usefully practical, too.

That engine also features cylinder deactivation – a first for a three-pot – so when you’re not working it hard and exploiting the grip and engagement on offer, the Fiesta is relatively economical.

This makes it easy to live with and affordable to run, but the ride is always firm and the ST never quite settles down. However, that’s a small price to pay (quite literally, as well) for the amount of fun on offer given you can bag an ST-2 model for £9.34 a day without the initial rental.

Convertible: MINI Convertible – £237.79

Model: MINI Convertible Cooper Classic
Engine:  1.5-litre 3cyl
Power/torque:  134bhp/220Nm
0-62mph:  8.8 seconds
Top speed:  128mph
CO2/economy: 141g/km/45.6mpg
List price: £20,630
Monthly payments: £237.79
Daily cost: £7.60

Good cabriolets don’t always have to be big, luxurious machines; the MINI Convertible proves as much in its most affordable Cooper Classic guise. This is an honest open-top car that lets you enjoy wind-in-the-hair driving for not much money.

It’s still quite sophisticated, though, because the MINI’s roof electrically folds in 18 seconds at speeds of up to 19mph, while the car comes with a rain sensor.

Classic trim is the bottom rung of the ladder, but that’s no bad thing, because features such as a 6.5-inch infotainment screen, air-conditioning, rear parking sensors and LED headlights are all included.

 One feature that’s standard across the Cooper engine range is the fun you’ll have working the 134bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine. It really suits the character of the car, and even in Convertible guise MINI’s trademark pointy steering and sharp handling are present. The ride is on the firm side, but Classic trim also comes on 17-inch alloy wheels, which help to add just a little more comfort.

The manual gearshift is just as engaging as the steering; you still have to drive the MINI, but it isn’t a chore on a long journey either. The boot is a bit of an afterthought, with its bottom-hinged door, while the two rear seats are limited when it comes to legroom, but it’s nice to have them as an option.

Be prepared for a little wind whistle at higher speeds from around the door seals, but then for the cash, to bag a convertible with this much personality and one that serves up this much fun is rare.

Coupe: Audi TT – £297.66 per month

Model: Audi TT 40 TFSI Sport
Engine:  2.0-litre 4cyl
Power/torque:  194bhp/320Nm
0-62mph:  6.6 seconds
Top speed:  155mph
CO2/economy: 154g/km/41.5mpg
List price: £32,570
Monthly payments: £297.66
Daily cost: £9.51

There’s potential that the TT is not long for this world. When the current facelifted model comes to the end of its lifecycle, it’s unlikely Audi will replace it directly, so there’s never been a better time to bag this superbly stylish coupé, especially given the deals available on Audi’s icon.

The TT’s inherent style, with its sharp lines and attractive proportions, means Sport trim is all you’ll really need. All models feature a digital dashboard in lieu of a central infotainment screen; in fact, the TT was the first model to feature the German brand’s Virtual Cockpit digital dash technology.

It’s based on the brand’s MQB platform, which is similar to that underpinning the VW Golf earlier in our list, but Audi has worked its magic here so the TT steers and handles with the level of response you’d expect from a sporty coupé.

The 40 TFSI 2.0-litre turbo engine produces 194bhp, so in a compact 2+2 body it’s quick, hitting 62mph in 6.6 seconds. There’s enough traction with the front-wheel-drive model, while the engine makes a nice raspy sound and revs crisply. It’s fun.

The two small back seats are great for children or extra luggage, while the 305-litre boot means it’s extremely usable. You feel bumps in the road, but the Audi is still comfortable enough at higher speeds on smoother roads. If you want a stylish, sporty car, but don’t want to spend a fortune, then the TT should be top of your list with deals like this available.

Performance car: Toyota GT86 – £298.12

Model: Toyota GT86 D4-S Pro
Engine:  2.0-litre 4cyl
Power/torque:  197bhp/205Nm
0-62mph:  7.6 seconds
Top speed:  140mph
CO2/economy: 191g/km/33.2mpg
List price: £29,005
Monthly payments: £298.12
Daily cost: £9.60

A performance car doesn’t always have to be a supercar, as this deal shows, but the Toyota GT86 is without doubt one of the best driver’s cars around. That’s thanks to a number of factors, such as the relatively lightweight chassis, which means the model weighs just 1,236kg. Most of that mass is low down and balanced well between the front and rear of the car to produce sweet handling.

Unlike a lot of modern performance cars, the GT86 uses a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre flat-four ‘boxer’ engine that produces a fairly modest 197bhp, for a respectable 0-62mph time of 7.6 seconds. It’s linked to a six-speed manual gearbox that drives the rear wheels through a limited-slip differential.

The joy of the GT86 is working the car to exploit what it offers. The engine needs revs to come alive, with that flat-four growl then more audible in the cabin, making the Toyota feel quicker. Interacting with the six-speed manual is part of the joy, too. It’s a mechanical-feeling shift action that needs precision, but combined with the chassis balance and good but still-modest grip levels compared with some high-end performance cars, the GT86 feels fun at all speeds.

The steering has a great weight, but you can use the throttle and brakes to help the car turn as well. The whole experience is more old school, but today that’s a rarity, which is why the GT86 is such a good performance car. With two small rear seats, a decent level of kit in Pro trim and a 237-litre boot, it’s as usable – and will be as reliable – as you’d expect a Toyota to be.

Electric car: Renault Zoe – £199.00

Model: Renault Zoe R110 Iconic
Engine:  Single electric motor
Power/torque:  107bhp/225Nm
0-62mph:  11.4 seconds
Top speed:  84mph
CO2/economy: 52kWh/239 miles
List price: £27,995
Monthly payments: £199.00
Daily cost: £6.36

The Zoe is our favourite affordable EV, so the fact you can pick up Renault’s excellent electric supermini for this little daily outlay is incredibly attractive. That’s down to its impressive real-world range: 239 miles from its 52kWh battery in R110 trim. That also highlights the 107bhp motor’s power, and while there’s a more potent R135 model, the R110’s 11.4-second 0-62mph time is adequate for a small car.

Consider if you need the 50kW Rapid Charge model, which adds another £1,000 to the list price and will bump up your daily lease cost, but there’s headroom to do so here depending on how you’ll use the car (this deal is based on 8,000 miles per year). If it’ll be mostly for shorter journeys, the nine-hour 25-minute recharge time from a 7kW wallbox will be fine for a 100 per cent top-up overnight at home. Otherwise, if you’ll deplete the 239-mile predicted range while you’re out and about covering longer journeys, the one-hour 10-minute time for an 80 per cent recharge using a DC rapid charger could come in handy.

Every Zoe is superbly refined and the ride is comfortable, absorbing lumps and bumps around town and on more open roads equally well. Visibility is good and there’s space for four adults plus their luggage, thanks to a 338-litre boot. Iconic trim is the one to go for, since it best balances cost and kit, which includes a seven-inch touchscreen with nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless phone charging, a 10-inch digital dash, climate and cruise control.

Affordable hybrid: Hyundai Ioniq PHEV – £294.87 per month

Model: Hyundai Ioniq PHEV Premium
Engine:  1.6-litre 4cyl + e-motor
Power/torque:  139bhp/265Nm
0-62mph:  10.6 seconds
Top speed:  110mph
CO2/economy: 26g/km/256.8mpg
List price: £30,250
Monthly payments: £294.87
Daily cost: £9.49

If you’re thinking of dipping your toe in the water of electrified cars, then Hyundai’s Ioniq plug-in hybrid is a brilliant place to start.

The brand has made great PHEVs for years; they’re all about efficiency, and with a claimed 256.8mpg and 26g/km CO2 emissions – meaning reduced road tax – it’s hard to argue with the potential for low running costs. In fact, depending on your daily mileage, with an all-electric range of 32 miles thanks to its 8.9kWh battery, the Ioniq might not use much petrol at all.

That battery takes two hours and 15 minutes to charge from a 7kW wallbox, but even a three-pin plug will be fine for overnight boosts, taking up to six hours for a full charge. The Ioniq integrates its two power sources well, combining a 1.6-litre non-turbo petrol engine and an electric motor for a total of 139bhp. It’s a modest output, but this family car is designed to deliver economy, not speed. The six-speed dual-clutch transmission means it’s easy to drive, while the powertrain is relatively smooth.

The ride is not the most supple, with a slightly firm edge in its response to some bumps, but it’s not overly stiff, either, while the steering makes it easy to drive. The brake pedal feels solid and dead due to the regenerative braking, but at least it helps you gain back some electric range for free. Of course, being keen to run on electricity means it’s a quiet car, too.

Premium trim features everything you’d need – including heated seats and dual-zone climate control – so is the most affordable Ioniq PHEV model to buy.

Premium hybrid: Mercedes A 250 e – £303.00 per month

Model: Mercedes A 250 e AMG Line Exec
Engine:  1.3-litre 4cyl + e-motor
Power/torque:  215bhp/N/A
0-62mph:  6.6 seconds
Top speed:  146mph
CO2/economy: 24g/km/282.5mpg
List price: £34,480
Monthly payments: £303.00
Daily cost: £9.75

Why buy mainstream if you can buy premium for a similar price? This Mercedes A 250 e PHEV won’t cost too much more to lease than the Hyundai, yet its hybrid system offers more electric range, at up to 44 miles from its 10.6kWh lithium-ion battery pack, while it is also much more upmarket inside.

Its interior is the A-Class’s calling card. Quality is great and in AMG Line Executive trim you get the right level of kit, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which could be a deal-breaker for some people. This is on top of sat-nav as part of the 10.25-inch central screen (which runs Mercedes’ MBUX infotainment system), as well as a seven-inch digital dash, LED lights, a rear-view camera, heated seats, lots of safety tech and wireless charging.

The A 250 e uses the A 200’s 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and combines it with an electric motor for a total of 215bhp, which means it’ll hit 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds, which is quick. Yet with claimed fuel economy of 282.5mpg, the A 250 e means you should be able to have your cake and eat it.

It’s a great premium hatch that builds on the standard A-Class’s already impressive refinement, with electrical assistance helping take the load off the petrol engine for even quieter running. It’s smooth and serene in electric mode, but the extra weight of the battery dulls its dynamic ability. Yet the A 250 e is more about a premium feel with affordability, which is reinforced by this 48-month lease deal.

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Fiat 500: £106 per month

Fiat 500

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Citroen C3: £134 per month

Citroen C3 - front

  • Model: Citroen C3 1.2 PureTechn Flair
  • Monthly payments: £134.63
  • Initial rental: £1,211.67
  • No. of payments: 47
  • Annual mileage: 8,000 miles

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Renault Clio: £145 per month

Renault Clio

  • Model: Renault Clio 1.0 TCe 100 Iconic 
  • Monthly payments: £145.45
  • Initial rental: £1,309.05
  • No. of payments: 23
  • Annual mileage: 10,000 miles

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Skoda Kamiq: £150 per month

Skoda Kamiq tracking front

  • Model: Skoda Kamiq 1.0 TSI 95 S
  • Monthly payments: £150.11
  • Initial rental: £1,350.99
  • No. of payments: 47
  • Annual mileage: 10,000 miles

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Nissan Leaf: £186 per month

Nissan Leaf - front

  • Model: Nissan Leaf 100kW N-Connecta 40kWh
  • Monthly payments: £186.80
  • Initial rental: £1,681.24
  • No. of payments: 47
  • Annual mileage: 8,000 miles

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Volkswagen T-Cross: £191 per month

Volkswagen T-Cross - front cornering

  • Model: Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0 TSI 110 SE
  • Monthly payments: £191.41
  • Initial rental: £1,722.65
  • No. of payments: 47
  • Annual mileage: 10,000 miles