Top 8 Most Fuel Efficient Cars
A vehicle’s Miles Per Gallon (MPG) stat (how far a car travels on a gallon of fuel) is something many drivers place high importance on when considering which car to buy. However, until recently this figure was calculated in lab tests, which doesn’t accurately represent real-world driving.
The purpose of the test was to make each car comparable in terms of individual fuel-efficiency. But it often leads to a less impressive return when you get behind the wheel.
For this reason we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 most fuel-efficient cars. Each one features the more accurate Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) MPG figure.
8. Hyundai Ioniq (hybrid)
Hyundai’s flagship petrol-hybrid, which is a relatively new addition to the range, having been released in 2016.
Available as a standard hybrid or plug-in, it uses a 1.6-litre petrol engine, backed up by a 43bhp electric motor. The engine itself has 40% thermal efficiency and is still able to provide 105bhp. Combination of the two results in a comfortable ride which is aided by the dual clutch transmission.
You can expect 61.9mpg for the standard hybrid model. Aluminium in the tailgate and bonnet has saved 12kg on the car, and it has a compact build with low centre of gravity, which play a big part in its fuel efficiency.
7. Renault Clio
A supermini favourite among UK drivers, the Renault Clio flies the flag high for little efficient motors.
The diesel guise for the entry-level Play model will give you 67mpg. Emissions are great too (94g/km of CO2), meaning insurance will also be affordable – it lands itself in insurance group 3.
Anyone who has ever had a Clio will be familiar with how well-equipped they are from the off. The entry-level Play has DAB radio with Bluetooth, cruise control, hill-start assist and emergency brake assistance.
6. Suzuki Celerio
Although Suzuki claim the 1.0-litre DualJet petrol engine in its Celerio can return 78.4mpg, this is more like 71mpg in real-world driving. The standard 1.0-litre engine is available with a manual and automatic gearbox, the latter of which returns 65 mpg (4 more than the former) which is still very good.
The tiny engine only produces 67bhp but around town it feels vigorous, especially in town. We wouldn’t advise taking the Celerio on the motorway often, but its top speed of 96mph will allow for it. The DualJet version doesn’t need pushing as hard too, which is why it’s more fuel-efficient than the standard one.
5. Toyota Prius
One of the most renowned hybrids on the market, the Toyota Prius may get some stick for being completely unlike the GT86, but it’s spacious, rides wonderfully smooth and is the brand’s most fuel-efficient vehicle in the range. It does 73mpg and has emissions as low as 70g/km of CO2.
Its electric motor delivers 67bhp, but couples with a 76bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine which is made up of lightweight materials for better efficiency.
4. Hyundai Ioniq (PHEV)
Topping our list is the plug-in version of the Ioniq already featured. But in fact it’s one of three (there’s also a pure-electric version available), which is a world’s first for any model. Well done, Hyundai!
The fact that the brand quoted the mpg for the Ioniq as a gargantuan 256.8mpg reflects highlights the issues of the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) lab tests we referred to earlier. Real world tests show that this figure is more like 82.1mpg, which still points towards a vast improvement on longstanding heavyweight hybrids such as the Prius.
Not only this, but it’s been designed in a way that brings back the fun in driving. For example, it uses a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, as opposed to the dreary single-speed CVT gearbox. It’s not the quickest off the mark, but once you build up speed it’s very responsive to shift up the gears, which it does logically and smoothly too.
3. Kia Niro PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle)
Kia’s impressive 7-year warranty isn’t the only evidence of them having a high level of quality in its products. It’s a great compromise to the all-electric e-Niro, which has a rather long waiting list that means you probably won’t get one until 2021/2022.
Easy driving and low running costs are plus points of the Niro PHEV, plus it’s a very good-looking family SUV. Although they do say beauty is within the eyes of the beholder, it’s unlikely there will be many complaints from motorists here.
Helping the Niro’s efficiency is the 36-mile range available when electric mode is selected, which is recommended for local commutes in order to conserve fuel. As such, it has an incredible 144mpg. It uses a 1.6-litre GDi diesel engine as the main unit, while the battery is an 8.9kWh and just 31g/km of CO2 emissions. Not bad at all!
2. BMW 3 Series 330e
Until this plug-in hybrid model of the usually thirsty 3 Series saloon came about, Bimmer fans were used to regular fuelling. Unless you have an i3 or an i8, in which case charging will be your thing.
However, the award-winning 330e has managed to capture the powerful elegance which this iconic vehicle has become renowned for. Not only that, but it’s done it while adding 111 more horsepower on top of the standard 181bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine and managing an astonishing 138mpg fuel economy.
BMW has added an XtraBoost system to deliver this surge of oomph, provided you drop it into Sport mode before flooring it.
1. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has put the brand ‘on the map’ in the UK, becoming one of the best hybrid SUVs on the market. It’s also made it to the top of our list of the most fuel-efficient cars you’ll find out there.
Not many vehicles that weigh nearly two tonnes and are nearly two metres long can return 139mpg. However, the brand’s clever engineering for the 2.4-litre petrol engine and backup twin-electric motors make it as comfortable as a standard high-riding SUV.
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