THERE was a time when buying a big car meant hefty running costs, but not any more.
A small family hatchback might ensure that you will be able to achieve more than 50 or even 60 miles per gallon.
But opt for one of the latest Audi Avants - a large car by any standards - and you will be able to outperform a host of superminis in the economy stakes.
The new Audi Avant Ultra is designed to be ultra frugal and promises to return more than 64 miles to the gallon while at the same time boasting low emission levels.
For company car drivers this means benefit-in-kind bills are kept down to a sensible level.
Okay the price on the windscreen is hardly small, but in this case £40,915 buys you a lot of car.
The Avant is spacious, refined, very easy to live with and is packed with a host of features which take away motoring stresses.
Parking, for example, is made easy thanks to a combination of front and rear parking sensors as well as a front and rear facing camera so you can be sure at all times how close you are to any obstacles.
If you have any doubts you can even switch the camera angle so you get a 360 degree outlook from above the car.
A nice touch is the powered tailgate so you can open up the luggage area in advance if you are approaching with an armful of parcels.
And when it comes to space the Avant is a winner with a massive 565 litres available with the seatbacks in position and 1,680 litres with them folded down.
Special models like the Black Edition come with heavily tinted side and rear windows as well as an upgraded sound system, although perhaps surprisingly you don‘t have to opt for black bodywork.
This model also came in S Line trim which means lowered suspension and plenty of stylish body kit giving the car an extra sporting dimension.
With Audi flexibility is the names of the game and the car offers a choice of set-ups to suit different driving styles or needs on the day. You can opt for efficient, comfort, auto or dynamic or even select the individual option which allows you personalise different aspects of the car's set up in different ways.
Despite the Ultra's frugal qualities it doesn't lack anything when it comes to performance, hitting 62 miles per hour in a sprightly 8.5 seconds on its way to a top speed of 140 miles per hour.
The seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch gearbox changes so smoothly you only know you have changed up or down when the indicator on the dashboard tells you.
But if you want a bit more zip you can slip the gear shift into Sport or even use the gearbox manually.
Just one minor criticism, there were no rear cupholders, as we found out during a stop at a motorway service.