The 10 best petrol cars on sale today

With petrols now more efficient, powerful, refined and appealing than ever before, we count down our top ten that drink from the green pump...

9 Dec 2019 17:11

f you're buying a new car, chances are you're considering one with a petrol engine.

Petrol car compilation image

In fact, while sales of diesel-fuelled cars were down by more than a fifth across the first ten months of 2019, sales of petrols were up by 2.2% 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 for a larger car, such as an SUV, that's now no longer the case, as our round-up of the best petrol cars shows.

Whether you're in the market for a performance saloon, a family hatchback or even a seven-seat SUV, we'll help you find a petrol car to suit your needs. And remember, as well as giving more detail about each model in our independent reviews, What Car? can help you secure one at a discount with our exclusive Target Price deals.

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

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10: Mazda CX-5 2.0 Skyactiv-G

Mazda CX-5 front and side

If you don't need space for seven but still want a larger car, the Mazda CX-5 is a prime choice. The 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G engine has plenty of grunt, although it isn't turbocharged like most modern petrols, so it needs to be worked a bit harder than you might be used to in order to make swift progress.

10: Mazda CX-5 2.0 Skyactiv-G - interior

Mazda CX-5 2.2d SE-L Nav+ - interior

Elsewhere, the CX-5 has a classy interior and comes well equipped.

9: Citroën Berlingo Puretech 110 M

Citroën Berlingo front three quarters

Need to haul around seven people and their luggage but don't fancy an SUV? If so, the Citroën Berlingo should be your next port of call. 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 M - interior

Citroën Berlingo - 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 front three quarters

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

With a roaring 2.9-litre V6 under its bonnet, it's ferociously fast, yet it also offers sweet handling and a pliant ride.

8: Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio - interior

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio (2016-present) - interior

No wonder it's our reigning Performance Car of the Year.

7: Honda Civic Type R 2.0 VTEC Turbo

Honda Civic Type R front three quarters

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 - interior

Honda Civic Type R - 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: Skoda Kamiq 1.0 TSI 95

Skoda Kamiq front

With remarkable practicality and a classier interior than most rivals, the new Skoda Kamiq could really shake up the small SUV market.

Key to that is its turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engine, which is perfectly adequate for most journeys and has a surprising amount of low-down pulling power.

6: Skoda Kamiq 1.0 TSI 95 - interior

2020 Skoda Kamiq interior

It also keeps running costs sensible, making it our pick of the range.

5: Audi TT 40 TFSI

Audi TT Coupé front

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.

5: Audi TT 40 TFSI - interior

Audi TT Roadster 40 TFSI Sport S tronic - 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.

4: Kia Picanto 1.25

Kia Picanto front

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.

4: Kia Picanto 1.25 - interior

Kia Picanto 1.25 2 auto - interior

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

3: Skoda Scala 1.0 TSI 115

Skoda Scala front

Think of the Scala as a cut-price version of the Volkswagen Golf and you won't go far wrong. Indeed, it has many of the same attributes we admire about Volkswagen's family hatchback, including a comfy ride and a spacious interior.

3: Skoda Scala 1.0 TSI 115 - interior

Skoda Scala interior

This 1.0-litre petrol engine is our recommended choice, because with 113bhp available it has enough power to execute swift overtakes when needed.

2: Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI 95

Volkswagen Polo front and side

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, and it's well suited to the Polo's mostly urban nature.

2: Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI 95 - interior

Volkswagen Polo - interior

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

1: Peugeot 5008 Puretech 130

Peugeot 5008 front and side

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, Peugeot's turbocharged 1.2-litre turbo engine never struggles for power.

1: Peugeot 5008 Puretech 130 - interior

Peugeot 5008 - 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 brilliant car.

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