The 10 best petrol cars of 2019

Whether you're looking for a sporty coupé, a practical hatchback or a seven-seat SUV, petrol power is now more appealing than ever before...

If you're buying a new car in 2019, chances are you're looking at one with a petrol engine.

Best petrol cars on sale compilation image

In fact, while sales of diesel-fuelled cars were down by almost a fifth across the first seven months of 2019, sales of petrols were up by 3.4% during the same period.

And the good news is that petrol engines are smoother, more powerful and more economical than ever before. So while you might have thought that you'd need to choose diesel power for a larger car, such as an SUV, that's now no longer the case, as our round-up of the best petrol-powered cars shows.

Whether you're in the market for a stylish coupé, a family hatchback or even a seven-seat SUV, we'll help you find a petrol car to suit your needs. 

Editor's note: Images used are purely illustrative and do not necessarily reflect mentioned trim levels

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10: Cupra Ateca 300

Cupra Ateca 300

Our reigning champion in the sports SUV market is the Cupra Ateca. This was Cupra's first product after being hived off from Seat as a standalone brand (think what AMG is to Mercedes or the M Division to BMW), but boy did it do well.

10: Cupra Ateca 300 - interior

Cupra Ateca 300 - interior

Power comes from a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine developing 296bhp – and that's enough to haul this family SUV from 0-60mph in just 4.7sec.

So it's definitely fast, but what impresses us most is how easy the Ateca is to live with, with a decent boot and a comfortable interior.

9: Citroën Berlingo Puretech 110 Feel M

Citroën Berlingo Puretech 110 Feel M

If you have seven people and their luggage to haul around but don't fancy an SUV, the Citroën Berlingo should be the next call on your shopping list.

It's incredibly spacious, represents great value for money and is economical – especially if you go for the turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol engine we recommend.

9: Citroën Berlingo Puretech 110 Feel M - interior

Citroën Berlingo Puretech 110 Feel M - interior

You might think such a small engine would struggle to haul a large MPV, but it's actually surprisingly sprightly.

8: Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

While the regular Alfa Romeo Giulia offers a more style-lead alternative to the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 executive saloons, the tuned-up Quadrifoglio version is a true performance car.

8: Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio - interior

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio - interior

With a roaring 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine under its bonnet, it's ferociously fast but also offers sweet handling and a pliant ride. No wonder it's our reigning Performance Car of the Year.

7: Honda Civic Type R 2.0 VTEC Turbo GT

Honda Civic Type R 2.0 VTEC Turbo GT

A hot hatchback is prime territory for a petrol engine, and the class-leading Honda Civic Type R has a potent 316bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre example under its bonnet.

7: Honda Civic Type R 2.0 VTEC Turbo GT - interior

Honda Civic Type R 2.0 VTEC Turbo GT - interior

It's capable of putting a big smile on your face at almost any speed – thanks largely to the intoxicating noise coming from its exhaust – but also offers a comfortable ride and is more practical than most of its rivals.

6: Audi TT 2.0 TFSI Sport

Audi TT 2.0 TFSI Sport

No other car has won as many What Car? Awards as the Audi TT – and every time we recommend this stylish and fun coupé, it's with a peppy petrol engine.

6: Audi TT 2.0 TFSI Sport - interior

Audi TT 2.0 TFSI Sport - interior

The latest version is sublime when paired with a turbocharged 2.0-litre motor and offers engaging handling and a fabulous interior design to go with its grin-inducing performance.

5: Kia Picanto 1.25 3

Kia Picanto 1.25 3

Our reigning city car champion offers tidy handling, a good-size boot by the standards of the class and excellent infotainment on pricier trim levels.

5: Kia Picanto 1.25 3 - interior

Kia Picanto 1.25 3 - interior

It's good to drive and reasonably practical, too, and the 1.25-litre petrol engine we recommend is pleasantly peppy.

4: Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0 TSI 95 SE

Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0 TSI 95 SE

Petrol power suits Volkswagen's smallest SUV very well, which is handy, since there are no diesel options.

We recommend the 94bhp turbocharged 1.0-litre engine, because it's the ideal choice for most people, especially if you'll mainly be driving in town.

4: Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0 TSI 95 SE - interior

Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0 TSI 95 SE - interior

Add in a spacious and flexible interior, an impressive array of safety equipment and a smooth ride and the T-Cross is the class-leader.

3: Skoda Octavia 1.5 TSI 150 SE L

Skoda Octavia 1.5 TSI 150 SE L

The Skoda Octavia is quite simply the best family hatchback you can buy, which is why it earns our maximum five-star rating.

There are more stylish options, but if your priorities are a comfortable ride, loads of space and generous standard equipment for a very affordable price, little gets close.

3: Skoda Octavia 1.5 TSI 150 SE L - interior

Skoda Octavia 1.5 TSI 150 SE L - interior

Go for the 148bhp turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine we recommend and you'll enjoy peppy performance yet also very reasonable running costs.

2: Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI 95 SE

Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI 95 SE

The Polo is our favourite small car, having ousted the still brilliant Seat Ibiza to claim the top spot at this year's What Car? Awards.

Again, it's a turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol that we recommend – the same engine as in in the T-Cross, in fact – which again is perfectly suited to the Polo's mostly urban nature.

2: Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI 95 SE - interior

Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI 95 SE - interior

As well as a supple ride, the Polo offers a generous amount of space inside.

1: Peugeot 5008 1.2 Puretech 130 Allure

Peugeot 5008 1.2 Puretech 130 Allure

This version of the Peugeot 5008 proves that you don't need to have a diesel engine in your seven-seat SUV, because even with the full family on board, the 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine in the big Peugeot never struggles for power.

1: Peugeot 5008 1.2 Puretech 130 Allure - interior

Peugeot 5008 1.2 Puretech 130 Allure - interior

It's economical, too, recording 36mpg on our True MPG tests. When you add the 5008's stylish interior, generous space and competitive CO2 emissions into the mix as well, the combination is one very brilliant car.

In fact, it's our favourite petrol-powered car.