The UK’s cars with the best fuel economy - from city cars to family hatchbacks and SUVs
For motorists looking for a new vehicle, an electric car with its lower per-mile running costs might be a tempting solution for some but for others an EV isn’t the right car.
On paper, plug-in hybrids should dominate, with claimed economies running into 200+mpg. However, those figures are massively reliant on the cars being charged at every opportunity - not something every driver is able to do.
Instead, we’ve focused on regular combustion engined cars and “full” hybrids where economy is determined by driving style rather than the ability to charge regularly.
The ranking is based on the official WLTP combined consumption data - obtained using the same testing for every car. While these are still often higher than you’ll get in day-to-day use they are far closer to reality than the previous NEDC system and offer a straight comparison between models.
1. Peugeot 208 1.5 BlueHDI 100 Active Premium - 73.6mpg (from £22,590)
Car makers are increasingly abandoning diesel power in their smaller models, with the focus on small-capacity turbocharged petrols to offer decent power and economy. But like other Stellantis models on this list, Peugeot perseveres with a single diesel unit in its sharp-looking supermini. Here the 1.5-litre unit paired with a six-speed manual gearbox offers more than 73mpg. As well as its bold design, the latest 208 is packed with the latest technology and is a decent driving alternative to the Ford Fiesta.
2. Vauxhall Corsa 1.5 Turbo D 102 SE Edition - 70.6mpg (From £19,370)
As part of the same parent group as Peugeot, the Corsa shares an awful lot with the 208. From their basic underpinnings to their smart modern technology, the two cars are virtually identical, and that goes for the engine too. The Corsa isn’t quite as bold looking as the 208 but in it the 1.5-litre diesel offers a touch more power (101bhp v 99bhp) and a parsimonious 70.6mpg.
3. Toyota Yaris Hybrid Icon - 68.8mpg (From £21,880)
Toyota has invested a huge amount of time and money into its hybrid drivetrains and the current generation of Yaris is one of the latest cars to benefit from those decades of development. The supermini is now only available as a self-charging hybrid with a 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor offering a total of 114bhp. In entry-level Icon spec with the smaller wheels, that’s good for just under 70mpg.
4. Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI 115 SE - 68.5mpg (From £24,795)
The Octavia is hands-down one of the best family cars you can buy. For a start it’s huge - how about 600 litres of boot space and enough passenger space for five adults? It’s also no longer the budget also-ran of the VW Group, with the looks, feel and tech to compete with the Golf or Leon. And, in this guise, it’s one of the most fuel efficient cars on sale. The payoff is that a relatively lowly 114bhp that will show when it’s fully laden. Astonishingly, for an extra £1,000 you can upgrade to the 148bhp version, which still achieves 68mpg.