True MPG: most efficient petrol cars

What Car?'s True MPG tests show what fuel economy you can really expect from a car. Here, we reveal the best-performing petrol-powered cars we've ever tested...

23 April 2019
Seat Leon, Kia Picanto, Suzuki Ignis, Dacia Sandero

The official government MPG figures published in sales brochures can tempt you into buying a particular car, but those results are often 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.

Here, we're counting down the 10 most efficient petrol-engined cars we've tested to date. As more and more buyers choose petrol over diesel, getting the most efficient engine is going to be important – especially if you want to keep your running costs low. Our top 10 contains small and city cars as you might expect, but there are also family cars and even an SUV thrown into the mix too.


10. Dacia Sandero 0.9 TCe

Dacia Sandero

True MPG 52.8mpg

It might be the cheapest new car you can buy in the UK, but the Sandero is also one of the cheapest to run. It's 0.9-litre petrol engine isn't the last word in refinement or speed, but if you want to keep running costs as low as possible it's a good choice. The Sandero is also surprisingly spacious for a small hatchback.

Read our full Dacia Sandero review, or see our latest Sandero deals


9. Seat Leon 1.0

Seat Leon

True MPG 53.1mpg

The 1.0-litre petrol engine you get in this Leon is our recommended choice, because it's more powerful than the entry-level 1.2-litre engine, so you can get up to speed faster, but is also more frugal and cheaper on company car tax. The Leon offers tidy handling, and most versions come well equipped.

Read full Seat Leon review, or see our latest Leon deals


8. Kia Picanto 1.0

kia Picanto

True MPG 53.3mpg

Drive a Kia Picanto and you'll be driving a car which has won our City Car of the Year award for two years running, such is the breadth of its talents – of which frugality is only one. This 1.0-litre petrol version needs to be worked hard to perform at its best, but if you'll mainly be negotiating city streets it's a good choice.

Read our full Kia Picanto review, or see our latest Picanto deals


Next: the top 10 continued >

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