What Car? True MPG – the best so far

  • What Car? True MPG winners
  • Most economical cars tested
  • Our top 10
Audi A1
Audi A1
What Car? True MPG was launched this week, to help car buyers find out what fuel economy they can really expect from their next car.

With escalating fuel costs, there’s never been a greater demand to discover which cars have the best mpg. What Car? True MPG, in association with Tesco Petrol Filling Stations, uses state-of-the-art testing equipment, on real roads, to tell you which cars will really save you money.

We’ve already tested many of the UK’s most popular cars and are rapidly building up our database. Here are our top 10 True MPG winners so far.

The Audi A1 was our 2011 Car of the Year and it remains hugely desirable. It’s fun to drive, affordable to own and has an interior that wouldn’t look out of place in Audi’s much more expensive models. The A1 1.4 TFSI 122 Sport averaged 46.9mpg in our True MPG tests, making it one of the most economical superminis we’ve tested.

It’s no surprise to see a BMW 3 Series here. BMW has been at the forefront of fuel-saving technology over the last few years, with a range of clever ‘Efficient Dynamics’ features that makes its models more efficient than many rivals. In our tests the BMW 320d Sport saloon averaged 54.8mpg – an impressive figure that adds to its sensational all-round appeal.

Big SUVs aren’t renowned for being especially economical, but the Land Rover Discovery was one of the success stories in our True MPG tests. The Discovery 3.0 SV6 HSE averaged 30.7mpg. That’s just 1.5mpg shy of the official figure and a remarkable achievement for such a big, heavy car.

A big part of any supermini’s appeal is low running costs, but not all deliver as thoroughly on their promise as the Ford Fiesta. Our the hands of our expert testers, the Fiesta 1.25 82 Zetec averaged 42.3mpg. That’s an achievable real-world figure that betters some city cars'.

The Volkswagen Passat Estate is the kind of car that covers huge mileages, so working out exactly how much you’re likely to spend on fuel is a key issue for buyers. The Passat 2.0 TDI 140 Bluemotion Tech SE did very well in our tests, with a 54.8mpg average that makes it very appealing for private and business users alike.

Good fuel economy and fun aren’t mutually exclusive, as the Mazda MX-5 emphatically proves. Pound-for-pound it remains one of the most enjoyable cars to drive for your money. It’s also comparatively cheap to buy, and our True MPG figures prove that its not as thirsty as you might think. The MX-5 1.8i SE averaged 35.1mpg in our tests, which is only 4.7mpg short of the official mpg figure.

If you need a big MPV, chances are you’ve got lots of mouths to feed and finances are tight. The good news is the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer is one of the stars of our True MPG tests so far. The Zafira Tourer 2.0 CDTi 165 SE S/S averaged 52.4mpg, making it the highest-scoring MPV by a considerable margin.

We’ve always been huge fans of the Volkswagen Golf, which has won the small family category in our Car of the Year awards for the last four years. Our favourite model is the 1.4 TSI 122 Match 5dr, which did particularly well in our True MPG tests, averaging 43.3mpg. That’s an impressive return for a petrol model with good performance.

Only a few years ago, the thought of a big, powerful executive saloon that returns over 50mpg in real-world use was unimaginable. The BMW 5 Series saloon does just that. In 520d Efficient Dynamics trim, it averaged a stunning 54.5mpg in our True MPG tests. That’s great news for the thousands of business users that demand a classy, roomy executive car, but want to keep fuel costs to a minimum.

Perhaps the biggest winner in our tests so far is the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. A range of efficiency-boosting measures have helped to make the S350L CDI Bluetec - a big, plush luxury saloon - as economical in our tests as some much smaller cars. More remarkable still, our True MPG average of 37.3mpg is 0.6mpg better than the official mpg figure.

Visit the True MPG website to find the True MPG figure for your car, how we conduct our tests and advice on how to save fuel.

Leo Wilkinson

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