True MPG: most efficient small SUVs

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

Small SUVs with True MPG logo

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.

Below, we count down the most efficient small SUVs we've tested to date. And while these cars may focus on family friendly practicality, the best will also be kind to your wallet.

The most fuel-efficient small SUVs

10. Audi Q2 35 TFSI

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Audi Q2 2020 cornering

True MPG 39.2

The Audi Q2 is a small SUV that gives you plenty of premium touches, including a classy interior and excellent resale values. It should also be kind to your wallet, because if you opt for this 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine, you'll be getting close to 40mpg without trying too hard.

Read our full Audi Q2 review >>

9. Volkswagen T-Roc 1.0-TSI 115

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Volkswagen T-Roc front

True MPG 42.5

Volkswagen's small SUV is comfortable and boasts an impressive array of safety kit. Go for this 1.0-litre petrol engine and you'll have a peppy performer that's as home on the motorway as it is in the city, and that won't cost you a lot to run.

Read our full Volkswagen T-Roc review >>

8. Hyundai Kona 1.0 T-GDi

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Hyundai Kona Hybrid front three quarters

True MPG 44.0

Even though this 1.0-litre petrol engine is the entry point in the Kona range, it still has enough puff to tackle motorway journeys without feeling sluggish. Elsewhere, the Kona impresses with a generous array of standard kit, and a good infotainment system.

Read our full Hyundai Kona review >>

7. Ford Puma 1.0 EcoBoost mHEV

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True MPG 45.1

The Ford Puma is both our favourite small SUV and our overall Car of the Year for 2020. Why? Well, as well as offering all of the space and practicality that small SUV buyers are looking for, it also uses clever mild hybrid technology to lower your fuel bills. 

Read our full Ford Puma review >>

6. Seat Arona 1.0 TSI 95

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2020 Seat Arona - front tracking

True MPG 45.9

Tidy handling and a roomy interior are just two things we like about Seat's smallest SUV, but it's also pleasantly frugal. Indeed, our recommended 1.0-litre petrol engine returns upwards of 45mpg in real-world conditions.

Renault Captur 2020 front cornering

True MPG 46.0

With just 99bhp, you might think that this 1.0-litre petrol engine would struggle in a car the size of the Renault Captur, but in reality it should be fine for driving around town. There's little arguing with its fuel efficiency, either. If you do need more power, then step up to the peppier 1.3-litre petrol engine instead.

Read our full Renault Captur review >>

4. Skoda Kamiq 1.0 TSI 115

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Skoda Kamiq front panning - blue 69-plate car

True MPG 46.2

This 113bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine is considerably peppier than the Kamiq's 94bhp option, so you'll have no trouble getting up to speed. Don't think the extra speed means spending lots on fuel, either, because you'll get upwards of 46mpg from this engine.

Read our full Skoda Kamiq review >>

3. Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0 TSI 115

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Volkswagen T-Cross front

True MPG 46.6

We like the T-Cross for its spacious interior and impressive array of safety kit, but just as pleasing is the fact that our recommended 1.0-litre petrol engine is a frugal choice, returning just shy of 47mpg on our True MPG tests.

Read our full Volkswagen T-Cross review >>

2. Peugeot 2008 1.2 Puretech 130

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Peugeot 2008 front

True MPG 47.3

The Peugeot 2008's 1.2-litre petrol engine is a real peach, especially in 129bhp form. It offers flexible performance, meaning there's plenty of oomph from low down in the rev range, and it won't cost you a lot to run either. Elsewhere, the 2008 offers a classy interior and lots of equipment.

2019 hyundai kona hybrid blue driving front cornering

True MPG 47.4

Hybrid power helps the Hyundai Kona to take the top spot; its 139bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine is assisted by a small electric motor. Yes, it's not just gentle on petrol – it can tackle brief periods of driving without using any fuel at all. 

Read our full Hyundai Kona review >>

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