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Data Bank – Most economical

With the current high cost of fuel many drivers simply can’t afford to drive as much as they used to. The Government may be debating whether or not to increase fuel duty, but duty rise or not, better fuel economy is always beneficial.

Those lucky enough to be in the market for a new car will almost certainly be highlighting MPG figures as a priority, and so to make your selection easier we’ve rounded up the ten most fuel efficient cars on sale today – and they all have one thing in common: they run on diesel.

Fiesta Graphic

Ford Fiesta 1.6 Econetic - £13,895

The Fiesta is always near the top of sales charts. It’s the best selling car of 2011 so far, and it’s not by chance – it offers sharp styling, a wide range of engines, reasonable prices and a well styled and well built interior. The most economical model in the range is the Econetic, which has a claimed fuel economy figure of 78.5mpg. That means, like the rest of the cars in this list, it’s free to tax and congestion charge exempt.

DS3 Graphic

Citroen DS3 1.6 e-HDi Airdream - £14,800

Matching the Fiesta for fuel economy is the DS3, Citroen’s stylish three door hatch. It’s the first model in the DS sub-brand, and has now been joined by the bigger DS4 and DS5 models. Distinctively styled, the DS3 is available with a wealth of customisation options, allowing buyers to decide on everything from the colour of the roof to the trim of the seats. Entertaining to drive, the 156bhp petrol version is probably the most fun, but the e-HDi airdream is the most economical, covering a claimed 78.5mpg.

Mi To Graphic

Alfa Romeo MiTo 1.3 JTDm-2 - £14,450

Another stylish entry, and another with a claimed economy figure of 78.5mpg. The MiTo is Alfa Romeo’s smallest offering. Alfa Romeos are renowned for the sporty character and the range includes a powerful 170bhp model. Those who’d rather save money on fuel, though, should go for the 1.3 JTDm-2 engine, which is still a sprightly car thanks to its low down torque.

POLO Graphic

Volkswagen Polo 1.2 BlueMotion - £14,860

Powered by a three-cylinder diesel rather than a four, you might expect the Polo BlueMotion to lose some of its punch, but it produces more torque than the 1.4-litre petrol model. Granted, the 1.4 is quicker to 60mph and cheaper to buy, but it’ll only cover 47.9mpg, the BlueMotion can get almost twice as far on a gallon of fuel.

Corsa Graphic

Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 CDTi ecoFlex - £14,340

The Corsa is one of the most popular cars on sale, and is available in such a wide array of configurations that finding the ideal model is something of a minefield. There’re sporty versions, poorly equipped entry spec models and everything in between – but the most economical is the 95PS version of the 1.3-litre ecoFlex diesel. Despite being cheaper than the Polo BlueMotion above, the Corsa EcoFlex is more powerful, produces more torque and is bigger, yet it’s capable of the same fuel economy, at 80.7mpg.

Ibiza Graphic

SEAT Ibiza 1.2 TDI  Ecomotive- £13,050

The Ibiza shares a lot with the Polo BlueMotion above, including the three cylinder diesel engine. Torque and power figures are identical, and so is fuel economy. It’s offered in ‘Copa’ trim, which provides the benefits of a generous level of standard equipment, including cruise control.

Fabia Graphic

Skoda Fabia 1.2 TDI Greenline - £13,805

The ever practical Fabia offers a decent sized boot, five doors and good equipment levels. The most economical Greenline II has the same engine as the Ibiza and Polo models above, but thanks to a few tweaks here and there it has a slightly better fuel economy figure of 83.1mpg, with no reduction in torque or power output – making it the most sensible choice of the three.

C3 Graphic

Citroen C3 1.6 e-HDi Airdream - £15,290

The C3 Airdream has been around for a while, and it’s always been an economical choice. The latest version is the best yet, though, offering combined cycle economy of 83.1mpg. The impressive figure is owed in part to a micro-hybrid stop start system. A 68PS engine may not be the most powerful, but it’s made up for by some nice touches, like a panoramic windscreen.

For Two Graphic

Smart Fortwo CDI - £10,400

Two doors, two seats, three cylinders and 54bhp. It doesn’t sound like the best recipe, but in a car like the Smart it ought to work – the short wheel base and length mean it’s easy to thread through city traffic, and it can be squeezed into the smallest of spaces, so for buyers seeking a vehicle to nip to the shops, it’s not a bad proposition, especially when you consider the combined cycle fuel economy figure of 85.6mpg.

Rio Graphic

Kia Rio 1.1 CRDi EcoDynamics - £11,895

Impressive though the Smart may be, the Rio is astounding. The three cylinder 1.1-litre engine produces a useable 74bhp and a decent 169Nm of torque, and then there's the five-door, five seat practicality. Importantly, though, it records a claimed fuel economy of 88.3mpg. It may not be as well equipped as some models in this list, but at £11,895 it’s still very affordable, although if you want air conditioning you’ll have to fork out £800 and forfeit almost 10mpg.

Even so, for drivers who want fuel economy to rank at the very top of their list, the Rio is a very wise choice, especially when you consider the seven year warranty.


Of course, these are the official fuel consumption figures. For an idea of what you can expect in everyday driving, click below for our Real Life Fuel Consumption Register.

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For more Data Bank features on everything from emissions to boot space, visit the specs section


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