Real-world MPG: four-wheel-drive cars that beat 40mpg

  • Five four-wheel-drive cars beat 40mpg in our tests
  • Most are fitted with a 2.0-litre diesel engine
  • Results indicate real-world fuel economy
Words ByEd Callow

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Official Government fuel economy figures are generated by a laboratory test, but What Car?’s True MPG team drives new cars every week to bring you figures gained from real-world conditions.

This week we’re looking at the most economical four-wheel-drive cars that we’ve tested so far. All are diesels, and most have six-speed manual gearboxes. All beat 40mpg in our test, and two models achieved more than 45mpg.

1. Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI 4Motion DSG – official 47.1mpg: True MPG 46.7mpg

The Tiguan is classy and good to drive. This 138bhp model with the DSG automatic gearbox is the most economical four-wheel-drive SUV we’ve tested. The front-wheel-drive 109bhp version managed an even more impressive 51.7mpg.

2. Volkswagen Passat Alltrack 2.0 TDI – official 49.6mpg: True MPG 45.6mpg

If you’re after a four-wheel-drive estate car, then the Passat Alltrack is as good as it gets. It’s cheaper and better to drive than rivals from Audi and Subaru. A conventional SUV will hold its value better though, so the Alltrack has limited appeal.

3. BMW X3 xDrive20d – official 50.4mpg: True MPG 42.2mpg

We think this is the best compact four-wheel-drive car you can buy, which is why it’s our reigning SUV of the Year. This engine packs all the performance you’ll need, but we’d choose the optional adaptive suspension to get the right balance of comfort and agility.

4. Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi 4WD – official 41.5mpg: True MPG 41.1mpg

The Santa Fe’s engine is punchy and the car rides well, but the handling and refinement could be better. We tested our favourite model – the seven-seat automatic - which is a great alternative to a conventional MPV.

5. Audi Q5 2.0 TDI quattro – official 47.9mpg: True MPG 40.6mpg

The Q5 may trail the BMW X3 in quite a few areas, but that doesn't make it in any way a bad car. It's still great. This version is our pick of the range, thanks largely to its affordable running costs.

More new models are added 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.