True MPG: how close to reality are official fuel economy figures?
What Car?'s True MPG test reveals official fuel economy figures are closer to reality than ever… but still an average of 4.9% worse than claimed...
What Car?’s True MPG testing has revealed that new government fuel economy tests introduced late last year are providing more accurate results than ever before – with some cars even beating their official figures in the real world.
However, the average gap between the official claimed fuel economy and what we've found to be realistic in the real world remains close to 5%.
That's far better than the 23.5% average shortfall for cars tested before the new regulations came into effect, with the worst result ever recorded by What Car? being a 41% difference. But it highlights the fact that car buyers should remain wary of taking official figures for granted – especially given that some models are still falling more than 20% short.
In a 15-car sample that ranged from small hatchbacks to SUVs, petrols to diesels and automatic to manual gearboxes, the economy figures published in sales brochures were, on average, 4.9%, or 2.6mpg, higher than our testers achieved.
Below we take a look at all of the results, from the best to the worst.
Mazda MX-5 2.0
Engine 4cyl, petrol Gearbox manual
Official economy 40.9mpg True MPG 45.1mpg Difference +10.3%
Skoda Karoq 1.5 TSI 150
Engine 3cyl, turbo, petrol Gearbox Manual
Official economy 40.9mpg True MPG 44.2mpg Difference +8.1%
Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDI 150
Engine 4cyl, diesel Gearbox Automatic
Official economy 51.4mpg True MPG 54.8mpg Difference +6.6%
Seat Ateca 1.5 TSI 150
Engine 4cyl, turbo, petrol Gearbox Manual
Official economy 42.2mpg True MPG 44.5mpg Difference +5.5%