Real-world MPG: best MPVs that beat 50mpg

  • The four- and five-star MPVs that beat 50mpg
  • Economical people-carriers; great all-rounders
  • Results indicate real-world fuel economy
Words ByEd Callow

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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 take a look at the most economical MPVs that get a What Car? rating of four or five stars. That means they impress in most – or all – of the key areas, so should be on the shortlist of anyone looking for a practical people carrier that won’t cost a fortune to fuel.

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 the C4 Picasso is one of the most family-friendly new cars. The dashboard is sleek and uncluttered, 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. Nissan Note 1.5 dCi – official 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.

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

The brilliant new Grand C4 Picasso is so good that we named it our 2014 MPV of the Year. The 1.6 diesel is smooth and efficient, while the classy, minimalist dashboard and airy cabin make it a comfortable and relaxing place to spend time. Factor in easy-folding seats and generous standard kit and it’s easy to see why this is the best MPV you can buy.

The more powerful 2.0-litre diesel Grand C4 Picasso managed 50.1mpg in our test, but it doesn’t feel or sound any more refined than the 1.6, so we don’t think it’s worth the extra cost.

5. Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 1.6 CDTi Ecoflex – official 68.9mpg: True MPG 51.5mpg

The new 1.6 diesel Zafira Tourer is a big improvement over the 2.0-litre model it replaces. Power is delivered more smoothly and there’s hardly any of the clatter that you might expect from under the bonnet. It’s a tempting proposition for company car drivers, too, thanks to its sub-110g/km CO2 emissions. Add in the user-friendly flexible seating setup and this is a great value MPV.

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.