True MPG: most and least efficient cars revealed
What Car?'s laboratory tests use a real-world driving route to show what fuel economy you can really expect from your car. So, what are the best and worst performers?...
What Car?’s True MPG real-world fuel economy figures show what sort of efficiency you can really expect from your car.
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.
True MPG is not only fully reflective of real-world performance, but much more realistic than the official government fuel economy figures that car manufacturers have to quote.
The True MPG tests are carried out under tightly controlled conditions: climate control is always set to 21deg and cars due to be tested are stored overnight at a set 23deg so they all start with exactly the same engine temperature and in the same ambient air temperature.
Below we reveal the 10 most efficient cars we've tested so far – and the 10 that used the most fuel.
The 10 most fuel-efficient cars tested:
10. Volkswagen Up 1.0 TSI 90
True MPG 53.7mpg
It's been around a while, but the Up remains one of the best city cars on sale, thanks to its smart interior and fun handling. This turbocharged version offers much punchier acceleration than the cheaper, non-turbo models, in addition to returning almost 54mpg in our True MPG test.
9. Seat Ibiza 1.0 TSI 95
True MPG 54.0mpg
The 1.0 TSI 95 Ibiza scooped our 2018 Small Car of the Year Award, thanks to its sharp handling, remarkably spacious interior and strong yet efficient petrol engine. It really has no significant weaknesses.
=6. Renault Kadjar 1.5 dCi 110
True MPG 55.2mpg
Renault's Kadjar SUV is closely related to the hugely popular Nissan Qashqai, but it’s a slightly more fuel efficient choice, being capable of more than 55mpg in real-world driving if you go for the 1.5-litre diesel engine.
=6. Skoda Citigo 1.0 60
True MPG 55.2mpg
The Citigo is the cheapest of the three city car siblings sold by the Volkswagen Group – the other two being the Up and the Seat Mii. What's more, it's just as good to drive as its sister models. Just bear in mind that this engine feels rather underpowered once you're outside the city limits.