Real-world MPG: Most economical MPVs

  •  Five MPVs beat 55mpg in our test
  •  Citroen C4 Picasso returns nearly 60mpg
  •  Results indicate real-world fuel economy
  • Citroen C4 Picasso

    Citroen C4 Picasso

  • Fiat 500L

    Fiat 500L

  • Citroen C3 Picasso

    Citroen C3 Picasso

  • Renault Scenic

    Renault Scenic

  • Nissan Note

    Nissan Note


We want to find the most economical MPVs on the market. MPVs need to be practical transport, but for a lot of families the running costs of a car are of vital importance. 

Comparing the official fuel consumption figures is often not that useful, however. As many motorists know, official figures can be pretty misleading, and a car's real-world fuel economy can in fact be far poorer. 

That's what What Car's True MPG tests are for. 

Our 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 test of the best performing MPVs. If impressive fuel economy is high up on your shopping list, you’re looking for a practical family car that won’t cost a fortune to fuel, these five cars should be on your shortlist. All of them beat 55mpg in our test.

If you want to see a list of the most economical seven-seat cars, you can find it here

1. Citroen C4 Picasso 1.6 e-HDi – officially 70.6mpg, True MPG 59.4mpg

A roomy boot and seats that slide and fold independently mean the C4 Picasso is one of the most family-friendly new cars. The sleek, uncluttered dashboard is a seriously classy feature, too. The Citroen isn’t as good to drive as some rivals, but it’s far more spacious, stylish and economical.

2. Fiat 500L 1.6 Multijet II – officially 62.8mpg, True MPG 58.9mpg

The 500L has swathes of glass that flood the cabin with light, plus a roomy rear bench and boot, which mean that this is one of the most spacious and practical cars in the mini-MPV class. It has a fairly composed ride and reasonable body control, but it’s a real shame that this little Fiat isn’t more refined and slightly cheaper to buy.

3. Citroen C3 Picasso 1.6 HDi – officially 58.8mpg, True MPG 57.8mpg

We named the C3 Picasso as the best budget MPV in our 2013 and 2014 Car of the Year awards. It has an airy cabin and a large boot, plus most versions ride well on supple suspension. It might not be as good to drive as a Ford B-Max, but it’s still excellent value for money.

4. Renault Scenic 1.5 dCi – officially 68.9mpg, True MPG 56.6mpg

The Scenic remains a spacious family car that’s good to drive, with a well-built, well-equipped cabin. There’s a range of efficient engines, too, including this 1.5 diesel or a punchier 1.6 that uses barely any more fuel. A face-lift in 2013 kept this MPV looking fresh, but the space inside isn’t as flexible or user-friendly as the best rivals.

5. Nissan Note 1.5 dCi – officially 78.5mpg, True MPG 55.2mpg

The Note offers genuine space and practicality for a small family. If you’re considering a Citroen C3 Picasso, then this Nissan should also be on your shortlist. It rides well, it’s cheap to buy and is affordable to run. Refinement could be better, and the cabin isn’t quite as flexible as the Citroen’s, but it’s a worthy rival nonetheless.

We add new models to our True MPG database every week. Visit to see the full range of cars we’ve tested, and find out what you really can expect to achieve on UK roads.


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