The UK inflation rate is rising at 7 percent, most are predicting it to get even higher. The rising costs of living are already having a significant impact on our wallets, and sometimes that feels most apparent as we replace the pumps after filling up our cars at the petrol station. And each time you do that, you can’t help but think it’s time to get a more economical car. This list should help you make that decision! Fuel economy figures are based on combined economy cycles.
Top 5 Most Economical Petrol Cars
Petrol cars are more efficient than ever, but it’s the tiny and thrummy little three-cylinder 1.0-litre engines that seem to achieve the impossible. The high mpg figures they present were previously the domain only of diesel cars.
1. Kia Picanto 1.0 – 60.1mpg
The Kia Picanto is happy to scamper around town with barely any feeding required. It sips fuel at a staggeringly efficient rate – for a petrol car - of just over 60mpg. Plus, it’s a fun little car to peddle about in.
2. Peugeot 108 1.0 – 58.9mpg (& Citroen C1)
The little French cousins from Peugeot and Citroen offer chic style and sip fuel at a rate of 58.9mpg thanks to both being the same car beneath the badging and the unique designs.
3. Toyota Aygo 1.0 VVT – 57.6mpg
The Toyota Aygo is also a relative of the French cars and is essentially as good when it comes to being one of the most economical cars you can buy today – not to mention its utter reliability.
4. Volkswagen UP 1.0 – 55.4mpg (Skoda Citigo & SEAT Mii)
The Volkswagen UP 1.0 (along with its rebadged cousins, the Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii), is not only VW’s smallest offering, but also its most economical achieving an astonishing 55.4mpg.
5. Jointly: Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost & Nissan Micra 1.0 – 53.3mpg
Fifth position in this line-up goes jointly to the Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost and Nissan Micra 1.0 which both achieve an impressive 53.3mpg
Top 5 Most Economical Diesel Cars
Diesel is on the decline. Despite the fact that diesel engines just reached peak efficiency and cleanliness in terms of engineering development, they’ve been demonised over the last few years, and the lack of interest and demand has seen many manufacturers remove them from their line-ups, particularly for smaller cars. Nonetheless, consider getting these while you still can.
1. Peugeot 208 1.5 BlueHDI – 73.6mpg
As with the petrol list above, little French cars feature highly in this list too. Clearly they are averse to filling up, particularly as the Peugeot 208 1.5 BlueHDI achieves an incredible 73.6mpg.
2. Citroen C3 1.5 Blue HDI – 70.6mpg
If you want the same drivetrain in a slightly larger package, check out this family-friendly car accomplishing a nearly-as-efficient 70.6mpg.
3. Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI – 68.5mpg
Ideal for those chomping up motorways, and looking for a traditional saloon-style car, the Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI will return 68.5mpg.
4. Vauxhall Astra 1.5 Turbo D – 67.3mpg
The hugely popular UK seller, Vauxhall’s Astra also offers a diesel, even in its newest sharp-suited guise. Opt for the 1.5 Turbo and you’ll see as much as 67.3mpg.
5. Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDI – 62.8mpg
As the adverts always told us, there are few things in life more dependable than a Golf, and for those sticking with the fabled VW brand, choosing the 2.0 TDI will return 62.8mpg.
Top 5 Most Economical Hybrid Cars
The cars listed below are regular hybrid and mild hybrid models. Plug-in hybrids have the potential to return far higher mpg depending on how they are used. Many will have an electric-only range of up to 40 miles with the latest models achieving even more. However the fuel economy figures are skewed depending on how you use them – often being shown in the hundreds of mpg.
This is because if you keep them charged at home and your daily commute is less than the electric range (the UK’s average daily commute is said to be just 23 miles per day), then you’ll hardly ever use the fuel in the tank. If those are your circumstances, think of getting a Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) as it could be your best solution. Alternatively, here are the best performing self-charging hybrids.
1. Honda Jazz 1.5 Hybrid – 62.8mpg
The Honda is frankly like a small SUV due to its big-car practicality, space and comfort, and yet in hybrid form it’s also one of the most efficient in existence, achieving 62.8mpg.
2. Toyota Yaris 1.5 Hybrid – 60mpg
Toyota is known for hybrids, indeed say ‘Hybrid’ and most people think of the Prius, the car of choice for Uber drivers. However, that doesn’t even feature on this list, falling just outside at about 50mpg. So the Yaris takes second place at 60mpg (also consider Yaris Cross).
3. Suzuki Swift 1.2 Mild Hybrid – 59.7mpg
The first of three mild-hybrid technology cars to feature on this list. With mild hybrids, the electric motive power doesn’t so much drive, as assist the main petrol engine. It kicks in when accelerating and enables quick engine start for more efficient stop-start fuel-saving. They can be more fun to drive too, as they retain the qualities of a regular petrol car, including being available with manual gearboxes. The Suzuki, offers 59.7mpg, is great value and an enjoyable steer.
4. Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost Mild Hybrid – 56.5mpg
Another little car that is very well sorted and hence appealing to the keen driver, yet incredibly thrifty, achieving 56.5mpg.
5. Fiat Panda Cross Mild Hybrdi – 53.3mpg
A mini crossover SUV type vehicle, giving you height, practicality and usability, as well as, of course, great economy with 53.3mpg.
Top 5 Most Economical Electric Cars
Electric cars aren’t measured in mpg, but in several different metrics, although miles per kWh (kilowatt-hour) is becoming the most common way to judge how many miles you can travel per unit of electricity. Get used to this, as a few years from now, we’ll be talking about this more than mpg, as internal combustion engine cars come off sale in 2030.
1. Renault Twizy – 8.36 mi/kWh
Admittedly the Renault Twizy is a bit of an oddball. It’s a tandem two-seater with optional doors and classed as a Quadricycle rather than a car. But it does have four-wheels and can be fully enclosed so it’s being included here. Plus, the 8.36 mi/kWh figure is extraordinary. These are priced from just under £11,000.
2. Citroen Ami – 8 mi/kWh
Another quirky little French Quadricyle, that provides more of a car-like cabin and comfort, but is designed to achieve the lowest production costs and hence gets a price tag of around £6000. It achieves 8 mi/kWh, but be aware that with a top speed of less than 30mph, these are restricted from use on motorways.
3. Hyundai Ioniq – 5.11 mi/kWh
First of the ‘regular’ cars on this list, and while this is not the glamorous new Ioniq 5 from Hyundai that is winning all the plaudits for its design and engineering, it’s the more conventional Ioniq EV that is more efficient. Achieving 5.11 mi/kWh compared to the Ioniq 5’s 3.7 mi/kWh.
4. Mini Electric – 5.02 mi/kWh
The often-overlooked Mini Electric is not only remarkably practical and extremely engaging and entertaining to drive, it’s also one of the most electric-bill-friendly cars out there achieving 5.02 mi/kWh.
5. Jointly: Citroen e-C4 & Peugeot E-208 – 4.82 mi/kWh
With similar drivetrains, the French cousins, Citroen e-C4 and Peugeot E-208 take joint fifth position at 4.82 mi/kWh.
It should be added that this EV list in particularly is a fast-changing one as more and more manufacturers introduce electric-only cars, and keeping in mind the furious and frenetic pace of development and innovation that is happening in the EV arena. But remember, the next time you’re looking at electric cars, in addition to asking about power and electric driving range, enquire about miles per kilowatt-hour and refer back to this list for comparison.
Should you have an EV make sure you get it protected with a MotorEasy ev/hybrid warranty, the UK's first direct EV extended warranty to include drive battery protection.