In association with MotorEasy
Car of the Year Awards 2022: True MPG Award
What Car?’s True MPG fuel economy figures show the sort of efficiency you can really expect from a car. And our True MPG Award goes to the most efficient model we've ever tested...
Toyota Yaris Cross
If 2021 told us anything, it was that the age of the electric car is upon us, but hybrids will be part of the picture for a few years yet. And the Toyota Yaris Cross’s record-breaking fuel economy is one of the key reasons why.
Toyota’s new small SUV is powered by a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine combined with an electric motor and a battery big enough to allow it to cover longer distances on electric power alone than many older hybrids. The battery is replenished on the move by the regenerative braking system, which harvests energy when you slow down.
Because the petrol engine is dormant for much of the time in low-speed driving, the Yaris Cross achieved an astonishing
103.3mpg on our True MPG town cycle – easily trumping the 80.0mpg posted by last year’s winner, the Toyota Yaris hatchback, in the same environment.
The Yaris Cross can make meaningful use of the electrical assistance at higher speeds, too. In theory, you can stay in the zero-emissions EV mode at up to 81mph. It’s beaten for out-of-town fuel efficiency by the little Suzuki Ignis, but it’s only a few miles per gallon shy on faster B-roads and motorways. That’s not bad considering the Yaris Cross is a bigger and heavier vehicle.
Overall, the Yaris Cross managed a remarkable 60.1mpg – the best average figure we’ve ever seen and encouragingly
close to its official return of 62.7mpg.
There’s more good news, especially for company car drivers. Because good economy goes hand in hand with low CO2 emissions, the Yaris Cross will cost far less in benefit-in-kind tax than similar-priced rivals such as the Ford Puma and Skoda Kamiq.
Best for motorway driving - Suzuki Ignis 1.2 Dualjet Hybrid
What’s really impressive about the Suzuki Ignis isn’t just that it has the best MPG results of any vehicle on our rural and motorway routes. You also get that in a vehicle that costs much less than the next highest performer, the Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI.
Since the Ignis arrived in 2016, other mild hybrid small SUVs have come along, but none has surpassed it for efficiency. Its mild hybrid set-up doesn’t have the power to drive the Ignis on volts alone, which is why it’s nowhere near as impressive in town as the hybrid Yaris Cross. Still, it provides enough of a boost when accelerating to trim its thirst for petrol.
Bear in mind, though, that if you choose to have four-wheel drive, you’ll get slightly reduced economy; it achieved around 53mpg overall with that option in our test.
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here