What Car?’s technicians drive new cars every week to capture our True MPG fuel economy data. Unlike official Government figures generated by a laboratory test, the numbers we publish are gained from real-world conditions.
This week we’re taking a look at the most economical estates that get a What Car? rating of four or five stars out of five. That means they impress in most – or all – of the key areas, so should be on the shortlist of anyone looking for a practical family car that won’t cost a fortune to fuel. They all beat 55mpg in our test.
1. Honda Civic Tourer 1.6 i-DTEC – official 74.3mpg: True MPG 61.8mpg
If practicality is your number one priority for a family car, it doesn’t get much better than the Civic Tourer. The huge boot includes a large underfloor storage area for a couple of carry-on bags, and the clever rear seats let you flip up the bases or fold the backrests completely flat. Refinement and rear visibility leave a lot to be desired, though, and the cabin is cluttered with poorly labelled buttons.
2. Audi A4 Avant 2.0 TDIe – official 62.8mpg: True MPG 59.3mpg
The best A4 for business users is also the most fuel-efficient estate we've tested. It's a classy car, with a range of powerful engines – we'd recommend you avoid S line trim and its overly firm suspension, though.
3. Kia Ceed Sportswagon 1.6 CRDi – official 64.2mpg: True MPG 58.9mpg
The Ceed Sportswagon is our favourite estate car for less than £18,000. As with other Kias, it's good value for money, with lots of space and kit for a very competitive price. A 1.4 CRDi is also available, which is just as efficient.
4. Volkswagen Golf Estate 1.6 TDI 105 – official 72.4mpg: True MPG 56.2mpg
The Golf Estate’s load space is on par with that of the Skoda Octavia Estate, but the VW is classier inside and better to drive. Clever features, such as a height-adjustable boot floor and handles in the boot to drop the rear seats, mean it’s now one of the best family cars you can buy. In fact, it’s our 2014 Estate car of the Year.
5. BMW 320d Touring Efficient Dynamics – official 58.0mpg: True MPG 56.1mpg
The 320d Touring is the best-handling car on this list – as long as you add the optional adaptive suspension. There's a large, flat load bay and the cabin feels luxurious. A 320d GT is worth considering as an alternative.
6. Skoda Octavia Estate 1.6 TDI SE – official 74.3mpg: True MPG 55.5mpg
The Octavia Estate has a classy cabin and a cavernous boot. All models are predicted to hold their value well, but the 1.6 TDI is the one to go for if low buying and owning costs are a priority.
Want to find out what you can really expect to achieve on UK roads? Visit whatcar.com/truempg to see the full range of cars we’ve tested. We add new models to our True MPG database every week.