Real-world MPG: most economical MPVs

We've tested a range of MPVs, including seven-seaters, to find the most economical people carriers on the market today. Here are the top 10 performers in the What Car? True MPG tests. 
  • Toyota Prius+

    Toyota Prius+

  • BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

    BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

  • Citroen C4 Picasso

    Citroen C4 Picasso

  • Citroen C3 Picasso

    Citroen C3 Picasso

  • Fiat 500L

    Fiat 500L

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What Car?’s dedicated team of True MPG testers has been testing MPVs to find how they perform out on the road.

All 10 of these MPVs return 50mpg or more, and the shortlist includes both seven-seaters and more compact, five-seater people carriers. Plus they're not all diesel-powered; a petrol-hybrid model makes the list as well.

1. Citroen C4 Picasso 1.6 e-HDi – official 70.6mpg; True MPG 59.4mpg

A roomy boot and seats that slide and fold independently mean that 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. Citroen C3 Picasso 1.6 HDi 90 – official 68.9mpg; True MPG 57.2mpg

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.

3. Toyota Prius+ 1.8 VVT-i – official 68.9mpg; True MPG 55.0mpg

The Prius+ is the first petrol-hybrid, seven-seat MPV and it is the only car on this list not powered by a diesel engine. It'll seat five in comfort, but the two rear-most seats are best left to children. Running costs are low, but it is expensive to buy.

4. Citroen Grand C4 Picasso 1.6 e-HDi – official 70.6mpg; True MPG 54.4mpg

The Grand C4 Picasso is a stylish, spacious seven-seat MPV with a very practical cabin, which makes carrying the whole family or large loads very easy. Although it’s not the most exciting car to drive, it makes up for this by having lots of neat design touches, and high equipment levels on most models.

5. Fiat 500L 1.6 Multijet II – official 62.8mpg; True MPG 54.2mpg

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.

6. Toyota Verso 1.6 D-4D – official 62.0mpg; True MPG 52.7mpg

The Verso isn’t the most dynamic MPV on offer, but if your priority is ease-of-use and comfort then it is worth taking a look at. Toyota also has a great reputation for reliability, and we’ve heard nothing to suggest that the Verso lets the side down, scoring above average in the JD Power survey. However, it lets itself down with an unrefined engine and reduced boot space with the smallish third row of seats in place.

7. BMW 218d Active Tourer – official 68.9mpg; True MPG 52.6mpg

It might not be the most practical MPV, but there is plenty of room for three children in the 2 Series Active Tourer's rear seats. It's also refined, good to drive and has a high-quality cabin. We've tested the 218d with the eight-speed automatic gearbox and it still returned an impressive 52.6mpg in real-world testing.

8. Peugeot 5008 2.0 HDi – official 51.3mpg; True MPG 51.5mpg

The Peugeot 5008 works very well as a family car, with a spacious, well-built cabin that offers flexible, user-friendly seating. On the road it’s refined, with a decent ride, while the dynamic ride control that comes as standard on the 2.0-litre means it handles well too.

9. Vauxhall Zafira 1.6 CDTi – official 68.9mpg; True MPG 51.5mpg

The Zafira is a mid-sized people carrier and should definitely be on your shortlist if you're looking for something that's good to drive. However, it is feeling its age in other areas, most notably refinement and the versatility of its seating. The availability of strong discounts helps to compensate for these deficiencies, though.

10. Kia Carens 1.7 CRDi 114 ISG – official 60.1mpg; True MPG 51.4mpg

The Carens offers seven seats and a seven-year warranty that will make it appealing to many families. It's not great to drive, but the diesel engine is smooth and economical, with a True MPG rating of 51.4mpg.

Visit whatcar.com/truempg 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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