Most efficient cars for town-driving in the real world

What Car?'s True MPG tests show what you can really expect from a car, and here we reveal those that score best for town driving. If you live in the city, these should be on your shopping list.....

The official MPG figures published in sales brochures can tempt you into buying a particular car, but those results are often misleading.

True MPG compilation image

Fortunately, What Car?'s True MPG tests reveal what sort of fuel economy you can expect in the real world.

To ensure accuracy and repeatability, we use strictly controlled laboratory conditions, but the tests are based on a real-world route that takes in town, rural and motorway driving.

No 'hypermiling' required

City cars image

The results reflect what's achievable if you’re driving gently and sticking to speed limits but aren’t resorting to any unrealistically slow acceleration or special 'hypermiling' techniques.

If you live in the city and mainly drive in town, you'll want a car that's highly efficient on tight urban streets. In the following slides, we'll tell you which cars scored highest for these type of roads.

The top 10 includes a hybrid, petrol cars and even models powered by diesel.

The 10 most efficient cars for driving in towns or cities

Nissan Qashqai

10: Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi 110

Town True MPG: 47.2mpg

Overall True MPG: 51.9mpg

You can't go far wrong with a Nissan Qashqai; indeed, it's consistently one of the best-selling family SUVs in the UK.

There's a range of efficient engines on offer, and the ride is comfortable if you stick with smaller wheels. You miss out on some of our recommended safety kit on lower trim levels, though.

9: Seat Ateca 1.6 TDI 115

Seat Ateca 1.6 TDI 115

Town True MPG: 47.3mpg

Overall True MPG: 50.2mpg

The Ateca may be Seat's first SUV, but it's also one of the best family SUVs around.

It's spacious inside, offers class-leading handling and is keenly priced – and that's before you factor generous discounts into the equation. All in all, it's a very impressive package.

8: Ford Mondeo 1.5 TDCi

Ford Mondeo 1.5 TDCi

Town True MPG: 47.7mpg

Overall True MPG: 53.7mpg

The Mondeo is spacious and good to drive, offering agile handling and a comfortable ride.

And because it doesn't wear a premium badge, big discounts are available to tempt buyers.

7: Volkswagen Up 1.0 75

Volkswagen Up 1.0 75

Town True MPG: 47.9mpg

Overall True MPG: 55.9mpg

The Up is fundamentally the same car underneath as the Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo but adds an extra dash of luxury inside.

It's good to drive, especially in town, and has an economical range of three-cylinder petrol engines.

6: Kia Niro Hybrid

Kia Niro Hybrid

Town True MPG: 49mpg

Overall True MPG: 50.1mpg

The electric Kia e-Niro is our 2019 Car of the Year, but this hybrid model mixes petrol and electric power, so it's ideal if you can't rely solely on electricity.

The engine and motor work together seamlessly, switching power sources so smoothly that it's almost imperceptible. The Niro also has a spacious interior and Kia's market-leading seven-year warranty.

5: Renault Kadjar 1.5 dCi 110

Renault Kadjar 1.5 dCi 110

Town True MPG: 50mpg

Overall True MPG: 55.2mpg

Renault's family SUV is spacious, generously equipped and cheap to buy – as well as run, thanks to excellent fuel economy from its 1.5-litre diesel engine.

4: Suzuki Ignis 1.2 SHVS

Suzuki Ignis 1.2 SHVS

Town True MPG: 50.6mpg

Overall True MPG: 59.6mpg

Don't be fooled by the Ignis's small size, because it's one seriously impressive SUV. It's deceptively spacious, offers a generous amount of equipment and is very cheap to buy and run.

In fact, as well as having a great score for town driving, the Ignis is the most frugal car we've ever put through our True MPG test overall.

3: Toyota RAV4 2.5

Toyota RAV4 2.5

Town True MPG: 53.3mpg

Overall True MPG: 37.1mpg

The RAV4 may have just been replaced, but the previous model is wonderfully efficient for town driving.

The 2.5-litre petrol-electric set-up switches between petrol and electric power smoothly, while there's plenty of space inside for both passengers and luggage. It should be a reliable choice, too.

2: Toyota Prius 1.9 VVTi

Toyota Prius 1.9 VVTi

Town True MPG: 60.3mpg

Overall True MPG: 50.5mpg

The Prius is one of the founding fathers of hybrid motoring, so it should come as no surprise to see it towards the top end of this list.

Driving primarily in town will allow you to make the most of its limited electric-only range, too. And the good news is that even when you're on the motorway, you'll still get very impressive fuel economy.

1: Toyota Yaris 1.5 Hybrid

Toyota Yaris 1.5 Hybrid

Town True MPG: 80mpg

Overall True MPG: 49.2mpg

There must be something in the water at Toyota, because the company has built three of the top 10 best-performing cars for driving in town. And heading our list is the Yaris, Toyota's Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa rival.

It's well equipped and offers a comfortable ride, and it won its price point in the hybrid cars category at this year's What Car? Car of the Year Awards.

If you're mainly going to be driving on urban roads and fuel economy is your top priority, this is the car to get.