Best MPG cars 2023
Unless you drive an electric car, fuel is one of the unavoidable costs of motoring. The more you drive, the more often you visit a petrol station, which will put a significant dent in your household budget. Which is why you need a car with the best MPG.
In case you didn't know, MPG stands for Miles Per Gallon, and although the cost of petrol and diesel is measured in litres, a higher number is better for your wallet. Cars with the best MPG tend to be small hatchbacks, but this doesn't mean you'll need to crowbar yourself in a city car. On the contrary, as our list of cars with the best MPG shows, there are lots of family cars that'll deliver impressive fuel economy. Indeed, a few on our list can achieve 70+mpg.
We're focusing on petrol and diesel cars, including self-charging hybrids. Full electric and plug-in hybrids deliver lower running costs but tend to be more expensive to buy. Our guide is based on the official figures, but don't forget to check out the real-world economy of cars with the Honest John Real MPG.
Best MPG cars
The Peugeot 208 returns an extraordinary 71.4mpg in 1.5-litre BlueHDi 100 guise. It’s the most economical diesel on sale by some margin, continuing a long Peugeot tradition of making ultra-thrifty small cars. However, this isn’t some sort of basic eco-special. It’s still available with smart-looking alloy wheels, has air conditioning as standard, and doesn’t demand drivers interact with any eco gadgetry. It’s simply a really fuel-efficient supermini-sized diesel car, and is currently one of Britain’s most economical cars. Proof that modern diesel cars can be green? We reckon so.
The Citroen C3 is the smoother-riding, more laid-back alternative to the sportier Peugeot 208, with styling that’s closer to a crossover. Using the same 1.5-litre BlueHDi engine as the Peugeot, it averages 70.6mpg, an excellent figure for such a roomy small car. You’ll be able to drive for hundreds of miles between diesel fill-ups – and each mile will be super-comfy, thanks to the C3’s focus on a soft ride and soothing driver comfort. Citroen has enhanced the C3’s value for money in recent months, increasing the amount of standard equipment. Some C3 models have lower list prices as well.
Manufacturers are increasingly turning away from offering diesel models after the downturn in popularity following the Volkswagen dieselgate scandal. But the fact remains that diesel engines can offer really impressive MPG figures, which could be particularly attractive if you do lots of long journeys – although diesel costs more to buy at the pump, the efficiency gains can make up for it. The Skoda Octavia is a great choice. It’s a brilliant car in all forms – very comfortable and with loads of interior space – and with a 2.0-litre TDI engine it promises up to 64.2mpg.
Toyota Yaris Hybrid
The Toyota Yaris Hybrid is one of the most fuel-efficient non-plug-in petrol cars on sale in Britain right now. It achieves impressive economy of 68.8mpg courtesy of a hybrid drivetrain. This combines an electric motor and automatic gearbox with a super-efficient 1.5-litre petrol engine and ‘self-charging’ battery. The engine is able to automatically shut down when not required, meaning more than half a city-centre trip can be driven in pure electric mode. This doesn't just deliver a good official fuel economy figure, it also helps the Yaris Hybrid achieve money-saving MPG in the real world.
The Citroen C4 isn't an easy car to pigeonhole. On the one hand, it's a rival to family hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra. On the other hand, it feels like a 'coupe-SUV', with styling that won't appeal to everyone. Almost everybody will appreciate the C4's ride comfort, with Citroen using a combination of 'Advanced Comfort' seats and Progressive Hydraulic Cushion Suspension to create one of the most comfortable cars at this end of the market. It's also, ahem, comfortably one of the most economical cars you can buy, with the BlueHDi diesel engine delivering up to 64.5mpg.
If you opt for a Kia Niro Hybrid '2' with 16-inch alloy wheels, you can expect to achieve up to 64.2mpg according to official data. The figure drops to 60.1mpg if you choose the high-spec '4' trim and its fancy 18-inch wheels, which is a small price to pay for the improved specification and more appealing aesthetics. The second-generation Niro is more desirable than the old one, with better styling, a well-equipped interior and some genuine premium touches on the top trim levels. And, of course, you get Kia's famous seven-year warranty.
Mazda 2 Hybrid
If the Mazda 2 Hybrid looks familiar, it's because it's essentially a rebadged Toyota Yaris Hybrid. This means you get the same combination of a 1.5-litre 93PS three-cylinder petrol engine and 59kW electric motor for a total system output of 116PS. Of greater interest here is the fact that the Mazda could achieve a remarkable 74.3mpg, making it Britain's most economical non-plug-in petrol car on sale in Britain right now. What's the catch? Aside from the fact that you'll be forever telling people that it's not a Toyota, there isn't one.
Renault Clio E-Tech
The latest Renault Clio has sharp looks and a great interior, as well as a spacious boot. And for the first time, it offers a hybrid option, called the “Clio E-Tech full hybrid 145 auto”. It’s a bit of a mouthful, but it promises up to 64.2mpg, which is very impressive. Perhaps the only downside is that it’s quite a bit more expensive than an equivalent petrol model – some £3,000. That said, you do get an extra 55PS in the hybrid for much more peppy performance, and an automatic gearbox for more relaxed progress.
The SEAT Leon is derived from the Volkswagen Golf and offers a broad range of engines, including a couple of plug-in hybrid petrol-electric versions. However, if you want a Leon you can get great economy from without having to plug in, you need the 2.0-litre TDI 115 diesel engine. This is capable of averaging an impressive 65.7mpg, which is a great figure for a family-sized car such as this. The unstressed 2.0 engine is better able to deliver this figure regularly too, compared to smaller and harder-worked alternatives. It’s easy to see why the diesel SEAT remains so popular with company car fleets.
The Volkswagen Golf is proof that you can have your cake and eat it. Over five decades and eight generations, the Golf has been one of the most desirable family hatchbacks you can buy, with this latest version remaining classy and refined. There's a range of quiet and efficient engines, including a 2.0-litre diesel capable of delivering up to 67.3mpg in entry-level Life trim. Not that there's anything 'entry-level' about a Volkswagen with 16-inch alloy wheels and an impressive 10.25 digital instrument panel.
Which car gets 70mpg?
Achieving an average of 70mpg is very impressive – yet there are currently three new, non-plug-in cars able to do it. The Mazda 2 Hybrid is out ahead with 74.3mpg, while the Peugeot 208 and Citroen C3 also crack the magic 70mpg figure. The French cars use a fuel-efficient diesel engines to return such impressive economy, while the Mazda relies on a petrol-electric hybrid system.
Which car gets 60mpg?
There are both diesel- and petrol-engined cars capable of returning more than 60mpg. The most fuel-efficient petrol car is the Mazda 2 Hybrid, which doesn’t require plugging in and is more economical than many diesels, with average economy of 74.3mpg. It is, however, worth underlining that every single car in our guide to the 10 best MPG cars is capable of averaging well over 60mpg.
Which car has the greatest MPG?
The greatest MPG on paper is achieved by plug-in hybrid cars. These are a challenge, though. If you drive short distances and always plug them in, their MPG figures will be off the chart, because they won’t use any fuel whatsoever. However, if you drive long distances and never plug them in, they won’t be very fuel-efficient and certainly won’t give you the sort of MPG detailed here. This is why you need to consider the type of motoring you do, and which car will be best suited to it. That way you’ll find a car that will deliver the best MPG for you.