True MPG: most efficient MPVs and estate cars 2020
What Car?'s True MPG tests show what fuel economy you can really expect from a car. Here, we reveal the best and worst performing MPVs and estate cars we've ever tested...
The official government MPG figures published in sales brochures can tempt you into buying a particular car, but those results can be misleading. Fortunately, What Car?'s True MPG tests reveal what sort of fuel economy you can expect in the real world.
To ensure accuracy and repeatability, we use strictly controlled laboratory conditions, but the tests 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.
The 10 most fuel efficient MPVs and estate cars:
10. BMW 5 Series Touring 520d
True MPG 44.9mpg
BMW's 5 Series saloon is our reigning Luxury Car of the Year, and this estate version (or Touring in BMW speak) is every bit as appealing. It offers plenty of room for you, your family and all their luggage, plus it's classy, quiet and great to drive.
9. Skoda Fabia Estate 1.0 TSI 95
True MPG 46.0mpg
The Fabia is currently the only small car that's sold as an estate in the UK, which makes it a uniquely practical choice. And this 1.0-litre petrol-engined version means you can glide past the majority of fuel stations, too.
8. Skoda Fabia Estate 1.2 TSI 90
True MPG 46.6mpg
The most efficient Fabia Estate that we've tested, though, is the turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol, with this eking out slightly more miles per gallen from its tank than the 1.0-litre engine above. Plus, the 1.2 is the smoother of the two and, despite being down on power, offers all the performance you need. Sadly, this engine is no longer available in the Fabia range, but you can find used examples with it fitted.
7. Renault Grand Scenic 1.6 dCi 130
True MPG 47.3 mpg
Bigger than the regular Scenic model and with two extra seats, the Grand Scenic is a very practical choice for those with larger families, but it isn't as comfortable or spacious as some rivals, and the best of them are also slightly more efficient.
6. Citroen Grand C4 Spacetourer 1.6 Blue HDi 120
True MPG 48.0mpg
Its low-speed ride can be unsettled, but this is still a very capable family car, thanks to its spacious interior, which is packed with handy cubbies, and the fact its seats are a doddle to fold. Most versions come with plenty of equipment, too.
5. Toyota Corolla Touring Sport 2.0 Hybrid
True MPG 49.4mpg
Being a hybrid, the Corolla puts low running costs at the heart of its agenda. Indeed, the regular Corolla hatchback is our reigning hybrid champion, but this Touring Sports version adds a bigger boot into the mix, so you can load it to the rafters and still enjoy the benefits of frugality.
4. Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDI 150
True MPG 49.8
The Skoda Superb Estate is big – really big. Even with your entire family and all of their luggage on board, you'll find that everyone still has room to stretch out. And when you team that with the easy pulling power and top-notch economy of this 2.0-litre diesel engine, it's a winning combination. Little wonder, then, that the Superb is our reigning Estate Car of the Year. This engine has since been updated in the Superb, too, and you might notice it making a second appearance further down this list.
3. Peugeot Rifter 1.5 Blue HDi 130
True MPG 50.5mpg
While it's not as cheap as the very closely related Citroen Berlingo, the Rifter has a more upmarket feel inside and is the second most efficient MPV we've ever tested. It's even surprisingly good to drive. If you need to move a lot of people, it deserves a place on your shortlist.
2. Volkswagen Touran 1.6 TDI 115
True MPG 50.9mpg
Practical, extremely well built and good to drive, the Touran is a fantastic all-rounder. True, it's a bit more expensive than the Citroen C4 Grand Spacetourer, but it's worth the extra – especially when you factor in the huge discounts that are available and the fact that the 1.6-litre diesel version is the most fuel-efficient MPV we've ever tested.
1. Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDI 150
True MPG 54.8mpg
No, you're not merely seeing double. Although this is fundamentally the same 2.0-litre diesel engine we've already mentioned further up this list, this time it's even more efficient, thanks to a facelift the Superb received in 2018, which also brought tweaks to the car's engine range. So, in this version, you get the same pulling power we've always liked, but even better economy, making this the most frugal estate car we've ever tested.
And the least fuel efficient MPV or estate car...
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 1.4T
True MPG 37.1mpg
The Zafira Tourer is by no means a bad car; it handles well and has space for seven, even if the interior feels a little drab, plus its heavy depreciation makes it a very tempting secondhand buy. Just don't expect the turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol version to be particularly efficient. This car has since been discontinued, but you can still find used examples.