Check True MPG before you buy

* True MPG figures make a difference * Don't decide on car without checking * You could 'upgrade' without paying more...

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Pete Barden
3 May 2012 11:19 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 0:3

Use What Car? True MPG figures when buying a car and you could upgrade your choice of vehicle and end up saving cash.

How much difference can our True MPG figures make on your decision to buy a car? We took three cars that all cost less than 8000, put them through the True MPG wringer and found out just how the results would differ compared with official figures.

We took three entry-level cars the Kia Picanto 1.0 1 3dr, the Peugeot 107 1.0 Access 3dr, and the Volkswagen Up 1.0 75 Take up! 3dr to see if our 'real-world' economy figures change the amount you'll pay to buy and run the cars. We've included fuel costs, road tax, percentage of value retained, and servicing bills accrued by the cars over a three-year, 36,000-mile period.

[Kia](https://www.whatcar.com/kia) Picanto 1.0 1 3dr
Target Price 7423
This entry-level Kia Picanto comes with a list price of 7795, but while its official mpg figure is an impressive 67.3mpg, our True MPG figure puts it at just 41.2mpg a deficit of 26 miles. So, how does that equate to the amount you'll pay to run it over a period of three years and 36,000 miles? The following figures include purchase price, road tax, servicing, retained value after three years, and fuel at current prices.

Kia Picanto
Official mpg-based three-year costs: 8236.11
True MPG-based three-year costs: 10,436.11
Difference: +2200

[Peugeot](https://www.whatcar.com/peugeot) 107 1.0 Access 3dr
Target Price 7217
Buying the Peugeot will cost you 7995, but how will its 13-mile drop from official- to True MPG economy dent its desirability? Here's how the figures will hit the amount you'll pay to run it over a period of three years and 36,000 miles. The following figures include purchase price, road tax, servicing, retained value after three years, and fuel at current prices.

Peugeot 107
Official mpg-based three-year costs: 7991.01
True MPG-based three-year costs: 8901.01
Difference: +910

[Volkswagen](https://www.whatcar.com/volkswagen) Up 1.0 75 Take up! 3dr
Target Price 7923
It's our 2012 Car of the Year, but will it look so attractive when the mpg figures revealed by True MPG are added in to the price? Here's how much you'll pay you'll pay to run it over a period of three years and 36,000 miles. The following figures include purchase price, road tax, servicing, retained value after three years, and fuel at current prices.

Volkswagen Up
Official mpg-based three-year costs: 8573.19
True MPG-based three-year costs: 9642.19
Difference: +1069

Despite the Kia Picanto's miniscule What Car? Target Price of 7423 and decent roster of standard equipment, our figures reveal the big catch. It might be the cheapest car to own at the point of purchase, but the costs incurred from there onwards make it the most expensive of our three options.

This is a good example of why buyers should look beyond the showroom pricetag, because What Car? True MPG figures reveal the full extent of how 2000 could be lost by not checking our real-world fuel figures.

The Peugeot 107 looks good at a True MPG-based three-year cost of 8901, and those looking for a great budget city car could do worse than the 107. Also, with the decent savings over the other two cars, you could even consider upgrading to the superior Active trim.

However, the VW Up looks like a great proposition here if you've got a little extra cash to spend. Once the True MPG figures have been put into the mix, it certainly doesn't seem so typically VW-expensive. A four-star, award-winning VW that will cost you less to run over three years than a Kia Picanto is not a bad deal.

*Price comparisons are based on the official price per litre of unleaded and diesel fuel for the week ending April 27, 2012

Pete Barden