The most economical cars to buy on Motability

Want a car Motability car that will be affordable to run? We reveal the models that were most economical in our True MPG tests...

Whether you’re spending all or part of your mobility allowance on a car on the Motability leasing scheme, you’ll want it to sip fuel gently so it doesn’t burn a hole in your bank balance. 

Woman re-fuelling Mini Cooper SD at petrol station

While car makers’ official fuel economy figures will give you an indication of the type of economy you can expect from a specific model, you’re unlikely to achieve them in real-world driving. 

To get a really good indication of how many miles a potential car will do to the gallon - and therefore how much it will cost you to run - we’ve used What Car’s True MPG fuel economy figures to find out which are the most economical cars you can lease on Motability. 

The most economical cars on the Motability scheme

Toyota IQ by a petrol pump

Our True MPG fuel economy tests are conducted in a laboratory to ensure repeatability within 1%, but they are based on a real-world route that takes in town, rural and motorway driving.

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.

Here we count down the 10 most economical cars we’ve tested so far that are available on Motability. 

You can find out more about the Motability Scheme by reading What Car?’s full guide or heading to the Scheme's website.

10. Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI 95

Volkswagen Polo

Our current Small Car of the Year, the latest VW Polo is bigger and better to drive than previous versions. It has a supple ride, plenty of passenger space and a classy interior.

Volkswagen Polo (cont.)

Volkswagen Polo - interior

The 1.0 95 is our pick of the engine line-up because it’s perky enough in and out of town and it’s very efficient. 

True MPG 51.8mpg

9. Nissan Qashqai 1.5 DCI 115

Nissan Qashqai

The Qashqai is the model credited with starting the trend for mainstream family SUVs back in 2012, and it’s come a long way since then. Although the latest version is due to be replaced in 2021, it’s still a sound proposition offering plenty of space and high levels of comfort as long as you choose the spec carefully.

Nissan Qashqai (cont.)

Nissan Qashqai - interior

It’s not as roomy or as good to drive as the Seat Ateca or Skoda Karoq, but the 1.5 diesel Qashqai offers superb fuel economy. 

True MPG 51.9mpg

8. Ford Focus 1.5 EcoBlue 120

Ford Focus front action

The Focus is a common sight on our roads, and with good reason - it’s a great family car to drive and it’s a quiet cruiser with a fairly compliant ride and plenty of space for passengers and all their clutter.

Ford Focus (cont.)

Ford Focus dashboard

And if you pick the 1.5 diesel you’ll get more than 50 miles to the gallon. If you prefer petrol power, we’d recommend the 1.0 Ecoboost 125, which returned an impressive 49.6mpg in our tests. 

True MPG 52.4mpg

7. Dacia Sandero 0.9 TCe

Used Dacia Sandero (13-present) long term test review

Don’t discount the Sandero because it’s the cheapest new car on the market, it’s surprisingly roomy and both the 0.9 and 1.0-litre petrol engines are impressively frugal.

Dacia Sandero (cont.)

Used Dacia Sandero (13-present)

Rather than opting for the lowest spec model, which is a bit spartan, we’d recommend a mid-range model that should come with most of the creature comforts you’d expect of a new car.

True MPG 52.8mpg

6. Seat Leon 1.0 TSI 115

Seat Leon 2020 RHD front right tracking

The Leon is a five-star What Car? family hatchback because it’s a great all-rounder. It’s great value for money, well-equipped, practical and fun to drive.

Seat Leon (cont.)

Seat Leon 2020 RHD dashboard

The 1.0-litre petrol engine doesn’t have the same turn of speed as the larger 1.5, but it’s no slouch, and the benefit is a more meagre thirst for fuel.

True MPG 53.1mpg

5. Kia Picanto 1.0 65

Kia Picanto front tracking - 69 plate

We voted the Picanto our City Car of the Year for 2020 because it’s a fine small car with a smart interior and tidy handling.

Kia Picanto (cont.)

Kia Picanto dashboard - 69-plate car

The least powerful 1.0-litre engine is the most economical; it’s well suited to urban driving, but needs to be worked pretty hard once you leave the city.

True MPG 53.3mpg

4. Seat Ibiza 1.0 TSI 95

Seat Ibiza front - 19 plate

A former What Car? Small Car of the Year, the Ibiza is still one of the best small cars on sale. It’s fun to drive and has a roomy, practical interior.

Seat Ibiza (cont.)

Seat Ibiza - interior

And the turbocharged 1.0 TSI 95 engine is surprisingly sprightly even though it has seriously impressive fuel economy. 

True MPG 54.0mpg

3. Renault Kadjar 1.5 dCi 110

Renault Kadjar front

The Kadjar is closely related to the hugely popular Nissan Qashqai family SUV, but if you pick one with the 1.5 diesel engine it’s a far more frugal choice.

Renault Kadjar (cont.)

Renault Kadjar - interior

It’s also more reliable than the Qashqai, and it comes with more standard equipment - aircon, cruise control and a 7.0in infotainment system are included on the cheapest Play trim level.

True MPG 55.2mpg

2. Volkswagen Up 1.0 75

Volkswagen Up 2020 RHD front tracking

The Up city car has been around for quite some time - in fact, it was crowned our overall Car of the Year in 2012. But it’s still well worth considering if you want a small, economical urban runabout that’s also capable of holding its own on faster A-roads and motorways, too.

Volkswagen Up (cont.)

Volkswagen Up 2020 RHD dashboard

This 74bhp engine is the most economical of the line-up, but the punchier 89bhp 1.0 turbo also achieved almost 54mpg in our tests.

True MPG 55.9mpg

1. Suzuki Ignis 1.2 Dualjet SHVS

Suzuki Ignis 2019 front

The SHVS version of the Ignis small SUV is front-wheel drive rather than four-wheel drive, which makes it gentler on fuel.

Suzuki Ignis (cont.)

Suzuki Ignis 2019 interior

And if you pick the mild hybrid version, which has a small electric motor working alongside the 1.2-litre petrol engine it’s the most frugal car we’ve tested. If you prefer the added grip of a four-wheel drive model, economy only dips to 53.3mpg. 

True MPG 59.6mpg

Related cars

Ford Focus

2019 - present

 The best driver’s car in the class and decent pract...

Spinner