Real-world MPG: hot hatches that beat 35mpg

  • We look at cars that do 0-62mph in less than 7.0sec
  • Four hot hatches beat 35mpg in our True MPG test
  • 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’re looking at hot hatches that can sprint from 0-62mph in less than 7.0 seconds. Four cars beat 35mpg in our test, which means that despite their impressive straight-line punch, none of them should cost a fortune to fuel.

1. Peugeot 208 GTi – official 47.9mpg: True MPG 39.3mpg

The 208 GTi’s punchy engine makes it seriously quick in a straight line, but it doesn’t handle anywhere near well enough to trouble our favourite hot hatches. Still, the lowered suspension makes the GTi more composed than cheaper 208s over bumps, and our True MPG test shows that it’s remarkably economical. Nevertheless, it isn’t as accomplished at the best rivals.

2. Mini Cooper S – official 49.6mpg: True MPG 38.0mpg

With 189bhp to call on from its turbocharged petrol engine, the Cooper S delivers proper hot-hatch pace. Stiff suspension means it feels bumpy over poor surfaces, but the optional adaptive dampers let you soften the ride when you want more comfort. Unfortunately, the steering feels slightly artificial, the gearbox is notchy, and the front end washes wide of your chosen line when cornering hard.

3. Ford Fiesta ST – official 47.9mpg: True MPG 36.9mpg

Fast Fords haven’t always been runaway successes, but the new Fiesta ST is brilliant. Aside from its pretty firm ride, we can’t fault any aspect of the way the ST drives. In fact, the sharp handling is about as good as it gets, at any price. Throw in a comfortable cabin, room for the kids in the back, plus a decent-sized boot, and it’s obvious to see why we rate it so highly.

4. Audi S3 Sportback – official 40.4mpg: True MPG 35.3mpg

The S3 Sportback handles superbly, yet offers a comfortable, composed ride. It’s seriously fast, too – 0-62mph takes just 5.2sec with the manual gearbox, or 4.8sec with the optional auto. The latter is quicker than a Porsche Cayman S. If you want the ultimate hot hatch, the only alternative we’d recommend is a BMW M135i.

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