Real-world MPG: petrol family cars that beat 40mpg

  • 2.0-litre engine in new Mazda 3 tested
  • Six petrol family hatchbacks beat 40mpg
  • Results indicate real-world fuel economy
  • Seat Leon

    Seat Leon

  • Mazda 3

    Mazda 3

  • Audi A3 Sportback

    Audi A3 Sportback


What Car?’s technicians drive new cars every week to bring you 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 looking at some of the most economical petrol family cars that we’ve tested so far, including the new Mazda 3 2.0 Skyactiv-G. The engines in these six hatchbacks produce between 104bhp and 138bhp, and all beat 40mpg in our test.

1. Seat Leon 1.2 TSI 105 – official 57.6mpg: True MPG 45.4mpg

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the smallest engine in this list is also the most efficient. Our favourite Leon is the sporty 1.4 FR, but this 1.2 keeps things cheap, especially if you stick with entry-level S trim. If you need a bigger car, consider the Skoda Octavia; it managed 44.2mpg with the same engine.

2. Mazda 3 2.0 Skyactiv-G 120 – official 55.4mpg: True MPG 42.8mpg

The new Mazda 3’s petrol engines aren’t turbocharged, so they need to be worked hard to make progress. It’s still a fun car to drive though, and even entry-level SE models get plenty of equipment. The new 3 might not be the best car in this class, but it’s not far off.

3. Audi A3 Sportback 1.4 TFSI 122 – official 54.3mpg: True MPG 42.5mpg

Our 2013 Car of the Year is an outstanding buy, especially with this engine. The 1.4 TFSI is punchy and smooth, and as our True MPG result shows, affordable to run as well. The A3 Sportback is refined and will seat four adults in comfort. It should be on the shortlist of anyone looking for this size of car.

4. Kia Ceed 1.6 GDi 133 – official 52.3mpg: True MPG 42.1mpg

The Kia’s 1.6 petrol engine might match the economy of its rivals, but the performance is a disappointment. We’d stick to the punchier 1.6 diesel. The Ceed is a spacious, great value family hatch that can compete with the best in a number of areas, so it’s well worth considering.

5. Mercedes A180 BlueEfficiency 122 – official 51.4mpg: True MPG 41.5mpg

The new A-Class will win plenty of fans on the basis of its sharp looks and smartly-styled cabin. However, while safety and equipment levels are up there with the best, most versions are disappointing to drive and the ride on all models is far too firm. Still, if you’re sold on the A-Class, this petrol engine is the one to go for.

6. Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI 140 – official 53.3mpg: True MPG 40.6mpg

The Octavia might not be the most stylish car of its type, but it’s still one of the best. The petrol engines are smooth and quiet, and the cabin is a comfortable and spacious place to sit. This 1.4 offers more punch, the 104bhp 1.2 is perfectly adequate.

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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