Ninety-eight per cent of hybrid cars can’t match their advertised MPG


Analysis of 148,000 Real MPG fuel reports by has shown hybrids to be the most misleading when it comes to on-the-road economy, with just one in 39 cars achieving their advertised MPG.

The research found that 98 per cent of hybrids in the UK are unable to return their claimed economy, with some models missing their advertised rating by as much as 80mpg

>>> The 10 worst hybrids for Real MPG

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class C350e is the UK’s worst cars for Real MPG, delivering just 37 per cent of its official fuel economy, while the BMW 3 Series 330e and Volkswagen Golf GTE are the second and third worst with a respective 37 and 38 per cent. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (42 per cent) and BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 225xe (56 per cent) complete the bottom five.

Promoted as eco-friendly and efficient, found that a typical hybrid returns 70 per cent of its advertised MPG. The gap between advertised and on-the-road MPG is made all the more profound by the fact that fuel prices have risen every day since the end of March, adding more than 8p to a litre of fuel, according to RAC Fuel Watch data from 26 March to 23 May.

The Lexus GS450h is the best hybrid in the UK for Real MPG returning an average of 84 per cent of its advertised economy. 

The Lexus GS450h is the best hybrid for Real MPG with a typical model returning 84 per cent of its advertised economy. In second place is the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 2WD (79 per cent) followed closely by the Toyota Yaris 1.5 VVT-I Hybrid (78 per cent). The final entries in the top five are the hybrid versions of the Kia Niro and Toyota C-HR with both returning 77 per cent.

One of the reasons new cars have performed increasingly poorly is because, since 2015, car manufacturers have been fined if the corporate average CO2 emissions of their cars exceeds 130g/km according to MPG and CO2 laboratory tests. To avoid the fines, vehicles are increasingly optimised for the laboratory test at the expense of reality.

The NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) test for new cars was replaced by the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) in 2017. However, while WLTP should be more reflective of real world driving conditions and involve longer distances and higher speeds than the old NEDC system, it will not apply to the majority of new car registrations until September 2018.

Top 5 Real MPG cars


Lexus GS450h

84% official economy



Stylish and efficient, the Lexus GS450h is the UK’s best hybrid for Real MPG with an impressive average of 84 per cent. Refined and spacious, the large Lexus returns almost 40mpg, which is just a handful of miles short of the official 45–46mpg. Factor in the luxurious interior and low CO2 emissions and it’s easy to see why the GS450h is such a hit with family buyers and company car drivers.

See Real MPG for the Lexus GS450h


Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 2WD

79% official economy



The Toyota RAV4 is a comfortable and practical long distance cruiser. It is also honest when it comes to Real MPG, with the Hybrid 2WD version returning at least 79 per cent of its advertised 57mpg. That makes the RAV4 Hybrid one of the most efficient cars in its class, while its large cabin, high equipment levels and comprehensive warranty also make it ones of the very best for value.

See Real MPG for the Toyota RAV4


Toyota Yaris 1.5 VVT-I Hybrid

78% official economy



Averaging at 58mpg in real world driving conditions, the little and likeable Toyota Yaris has lots to offer money savvy drivers. Admittedly, the cabin isn’t as plush as those found in the Fiesta or Ibiza, but the Yaris trumps its rivals on value and build quality. The hybrid powertrain is also silky smooth, which makes this little Toyota a relaxing place to while away an hour or two on the motorway or in town.

See Real MPG for the Toyota Yaris


Kia Niro 1.6 GDI Hybrid

77% official economy



With a name like Kia Niro you’d be forgiven for thinking this car majors on performance rather than economy, but in reality nothing could be further from the truth with the Niro hybrid delivering family-friendly economy and practicality. Indeed, for those who prioritise running costs over performance, the Kia Niro should be the default choice with Real MPG drivers getting almost 54mpg. 

See Real MPG for the Kia Niro


Toyota C-HR 1.8 Hybrid

77% official economy



The quirky and economical Toyota C-HR 1.8 Hybrid petrol returns more than 57mpg on-the-road – a figure that puts it on par with cars half its size. Admittedly, it’s expensive to buy, but the angular crossover is great to drive and backed by Toyota’s comprehensive five year warranty and steadfast reputation for build quality.

See Real MPG for the Toyota C-HR