Real-world MPG: best economical cars
These cars are not just fuel efficient, they're also good all-rounders that are definitely worth a look if you're buying a new car...
What Car?’s technicians drive new cars every week to capture our True MPG fuel economy data. Unlike official Government figures generated by laboratory tests, the numbers we publish are gained from real-world conditions.
This round-up features the most economical cars we’ve tested so far that get a What Car? rating of four or five stars out of five. If you want an impressive new car that should do around 60mpg in real-world driving, these 10 models are great buys.
1. Seat Leon 1.6 TDI 110 Ecomotive 5dr – official 85.6mpg; True MPG 63.2mpg
A few cars have returned better fuel economy figures than this Leon, but this is the most efficient car with four stars or more. The Leon is practical, stylish, good to drive and, with this diesel engine, it's pretty fuel efficient, even though it does fall significantly short of the official figure.
2. Suzuki Celerio 1.0 Dualjet - official 78.4mpg; True MPG 62.9mpg
The Suzuki Celerio is well equipped, spacious and cheap to buy, in fact, it’s one of the cheapest new cars on the market. On top of that, this Dualjet version promises to be cheap to run. In our real-world fuel economy tests it returned an impressive 62.9mpg.
3. Mini Cooper D 3dr – official 80.7mpg; True MPG 62.6mpg
Looking for the best small luxury diesel car you can buy? The Mini Cooper D is now a better buy than even the Audi A1. Ride comfort is impressive, although the small boot and prominent wind noise mean there are more practical and refined choices. Still, few are as cheap to run as a company car.
4. Audi A3 Sportback 1.6 TDI Ultra - official 83.1mpg; True MPG 62.3mpg
The Audi A3 is a former Car of the Year and it’s still a fantastic car. This 1.6-litre diesel is one of the most efficient models in the range. Its True MPG figure of 62.3mpg might be some way off the official figure, but it’s impressive nevertheless.
5. Skoda Octavia 1.6 TDI 110 Greenline – official 88.3mpg; True MPG 61.9mpg
If you’re after the roomiest and most economical family hatch you can get on a budget, this is it. Some eco-hatch rivals are cheaper, better to drive or have smarter cabins, but the Octavia Greenline strikes the best balance of costs, practicality and being a pleasant way to travel.
6. Seat Leon ST 1.6 TDI 110 Ecomotive – official 85.6mpg; True MPG 61.5mpg
The second Seat in the list is the Leon ST, the estate version of the top car in this round-up. It has the same engine as the hatchback version, but offers more load-lugging capability. That extra practicality won't cost you much more at the pumps; the estate is only slightly less economical than the hatchback.
7. Renault Clio 1.5 dCi 90 Eco – official 78.5mpg; True MPG 60.1mpg
This engine is our pick of the Clio range – it’s strong, smooth and economical. The 1.5 diesel is also very refined, which makes the Renault a decent choice for longer journeys. There are roomier superminis, and ones with plusher cabins, but the Clio really isn’t too far behind the class leaders. Go for Dynamique Media Nav trim to get the best value for money.
8. Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 CDTi 95 Ecoflex – official 87.8mpg; True MPG 60.0mpg
The Vauxhall Corsa is spacious, well equipped and cheap to run with this 1.3-litre diesel engine. It's some way off its official fuel figure, but still managed 60.0mpg in our real-world tests.
9. Citroën C4 Picasso 1.6 e-HDi 115 – official 70.6mpg; True MPG 59.4mpg
French manufacturers have done a great job of getting decent fuel economy out of diesel engines. The C4 Picasso is a stylish, comfortable MPV that has room for five and a big boot. The touchscreen infotainment system takes some getting used to, though.
10. Hyundai i20 1.4 CRDi - official 68.9mpg; True MPG 59.4mpg
Hyundai’s i20 is a rival to the Ford Fiesta and Skoda Fabia on price, but is more spacious than either of these rivals. It’s let down by a cheap feeling interior, but if you can look beyond that you’ll get a good value small family car with a long warranty that’s cheap to fuel.
Want to find out what you can really expect to achieve on UK roads? Visit whatcar.com/truempg to see the full range of cars we’ve tested. We add new models to our True MPG database every week.