Ford B-Max 1.0T 125PS Zetec
£15,995, 57.7mpg, 114g/km
A school-run car has a tough life and must be able to take a battering. You won’t do much better than Ford’s B-Max, which has sliding side doors for easy access and a boot that can cope with even the biggest science project. The frugal 1-litre engine should manage short runs better than a diesel and keep you away from filling stations too.
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron
£34,950 (government grant pending), 176.6mpg, 37g/km
Ignore the high price and focus on the astounding fuel economy, made possible by plug-in hybrid technology. The car runs for about 30 miles on a full battery before the petrol engine starts up, so running costs are slashed and owners are still confident of completing journeys. Audi expects it to qualify for the £5,000 government plug-in grant in weeks.
£25,845 (after government grant), 99-mile range, 0g/km
With a range of 99 miles, the electric Golf is a match for any school run in the country. A well-finished cabin and smooth ride are a given, though it’s not as versatile as the B-Max.
Toyota Auris Icon Hybrid
£21,745, 76.3mpg , 85g/km
In theory this hybrid is perfect for the short, low-speed, stop-start journeys that are typical of the school run. However, the gearbox is unpleasant and the ride fidgety.
Peugeot 308 SW 1.6 BlueHDi
£20,195, 88.3mpg, 85g/km
The bad press that diesel is getting may make parents wary of taking this car anywhere near a school, but this comfortable and practical estate version of the 308 has an almost unbelievably frugal engine.