With the price of fuel rocketing over the last ten years by almost 30 pence per litre for petrol and even more for diesel, fuel efficiency is sure to be in the forefront of anybody’s mind when in the market to buy a new car. Choosing an economical car will not only keep your wallet happy when filling up your tank, but cars with higher MPG will have lower CO2 emissions, meaning lower car tax too. Good news for your bank balance all round!
When it comes to fuel efficiency, electric cars and hybrids have been holding the headlines lately but the majority of us are still loyal to our petrol-powered engines, which is what we’re featuring in our countdown. Our Top 10 fuel efficient cars have been chosen with MPG in mind, but without compromising fun, style or convenience.
Citroen C4 Cactus PureTech 82
Citroen have gone back to basics with the C4 Cactus, stripping out several irrelevant ‘luxuries’ it doesn’t think buyers are bothered about, for example – the rear windows don’t wind down, they pop out. Small changes like this means this spacious and unique SUV weighs 200kg less than the standard C4, keeping fuel consumption and CO2 emissions down.
The most efficient model is the 81-bhp PureTech 82 version which promises to return 65.7 mpg. It also has CO2 emissions of 100g/km which ensures free road tax. If this isn’t quite the model for you, don’t worry – all the other petrol models have low CO2 emissions too, which keeps them at just £20 per year to tax, and still return around 60 mpg. If you mostly make shorter journeys and don’t cover too many miles at a time, a petrol model is definitely the car for you.
Peugeot 308 1.6 Blue HDi
The Peugeot 308 1.6 Blue HDi offers a jawdropping fuel economy of 91.1 mpg – the highest on our list, and claims to emit just 82g/km emissions which means no road tax to pay. This impressive 308 has been compared in looks and performance to the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf, but manages to out-do them both in fuel efficiency, as they only offer 83.1 and 88.3 mpg respectively. If you’re looking for a slightly more powerful engine, Peugeot offer a 2.0 litre diesel option which still returns 72.4 mpg and costs only £20 per year to tax.
Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion
This latest version of the VW Golf is not necessarily the cheapest of its kind but reviews say it’s more fun to drive than ever before. The below-average depreciation (especially with diesel models) means you get more for your money than you would with any of its competitors. Its strong efficiency is one of its best selling points, as the 108-bhp 1.6 TDi engine offers an impressive 88.3 mpg. It has a six speed manual gear box and comes in either a 3-door or 5-door model. It also emits just 85g/km of CO2 emissions ensuring that, like its competitors, road tax is free. Alternatively, VW offer a 148-bhp version with a 2.0 litre engine which still returns 68 mpg for those looking for a more even balance of economy and performance.
Kia Rio 1.1 CRDi
Next up we have the attractive and well made Kia Rio CRDi, with its 1.1 litre diesel engine and spacious interior. This model is the most economical offering 88.3 mpg, which puts it on par with the VW Golf and Vauxhall Corsa. It’s diesel engine has 85g/km of CO2 emissions which means again it rivals it’s more expensive competitors with its exemption from road tax. Kia have also released a petrol equivalent with a 1.25 litre engine which still offers 56.5 mpg and 114g/km emissions. The only downside to this car is it lacks speed, but for those drivers not seeking an adrenaline rush it is a comfortable and well put together car.
Ford Fiesta hatchback
The ever-stylish Ford Fiesta. Need we say more? It’s fun, it’s attractive, and it’s economical. For higher mileage drivers, the 1.6 ECOnetic TDCi is the one to go for, with its 85g/km of CO2 emissions and Ford’s promise of an 85 mpg return. If you cover less miles, perhaps the lively 1.0 Ecoboost would be more suitable for you. Both models offer Stop/Start engine technology, which means the engine automatically shuts off when you roll to a stop, improving fuel economy and reducing CO2 emissions. This feature is essential for drivers in urban areas, commuting to work etc. This stunning vehicle has the whole package – maximum fuel economy, power, and aesthetics.
Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 CDTi
Another strong candidate for the most efficient car, without compromising on style or comfort is the sleek Corsa CDTi. It features Stop/Start technology which keeps fuel and emissions low and, creeping up behind the Rio and the Golf, offers 85.6 mpg with just 87g/km in CO2 emissions. This diesel supermini is ideal if you’re a motorway driver and rack up a lot of mileage!
SEAT Leon Ecomotive
This stunning SEAT is one of the best looking hatchbacks of its kind on the market. As the Cupra’s frugal alter-ego, its tailgate spoiler and 15mm lowered suspension mean improved aerodynamic performance, and what a performance it gives. Featuring a six speed manual gearbox, it is powered by the same 1.6 TDi engine as the Golf Bluemotion, but if you ask us – it beats the Golf on looks. This super efficient Leon offers 85.6 mpg, better fuel economy than a Prius, and it’s low on emissions, at 87g/km, so you’ll avoid paying road tax.
Skoda Octavia Greenline
This Skoda may not be the most economical in our list but it is definitely the biggest! Whilst being compared to Fiestas and Corsas in performance and economy, it rivals the likes of the Ford Mondeo and VW Passat for space. Its 590 litre boot is ample, and expands to 1,580 with the rear seats down! Whilst we say it’s not the most economical, it’s certainly not the least either. Alongside the Kia Rio, Skoda commit to a return of 88.3 mpg which is not disappointing by any means, and also just 85g/km in CO2 emissions. For a good balance between cost and practicality, the Greenline is the one to go for.
Renault Clio 1.5 DCi
The Renault Clio’s curvaceous lines set it apart from its rivals such as the Fiesta or Polo. It’s smooth to drive and is certainly affordable to run. The design is unique with hidden rear door handles, giving it the appearance of a 3-door hatchback. Another stylish new feature is the colourful 7-inch touchscreen display on the dash, which albeit not essential, adds to the list of quirky interior features. All models in this new Clio range promise low fuel consumption, but the 1.5 litre diesel grabs our attention especially. It delivers an impressive 88 mpg and the low CO2 emissions of 83g/km mean it is also exempt from road tax. For a smaller engine, the 900cc TCe is our second choice, with the £250 ECO pack. This brings low rolling resistance tyres and longer gear ratios, and returns 62.8mpg.
Fiat Punto Multijet 1.3 Dynamic
With fantastic build-quality and a punchy, economical engine the Punto Multijet is an impressively stable drive and has a sleek, eyecatching exterior. It offers 81 mpg with CO2 emissions of 90g/km and has a spacious interior, but the boot capacity is slightly inferior to others in its class. It is compact with light steering and sharp brakes which make it easy to manoeuvre and park in tight spaces. It is an ideal city run-around, but we must admit – it’s much less fun than some of the others we’ve featured!