5 most fuel-efficient cars UK

With petrol prices exceeding £100 to fill up a typical family car, searching for the most fuel-efficient cars has become somewhat of a national priority.  

We know that the constant messaging of ‘go electric’ ‘save the planet’ ‘enjoy fuel savings’ and pushing motorists to go electric can be tiring when it is all you hear. But… if we’re talking about efficiency, then electric vehicles (EVs) truly are the most fuel-efficient cars on the market.  

However, we know there is tight resistance within the motorist community with the majority primarily against electrifying their driving. So, with this in mind, this article today will investigate the most fuel-efficient cars with an internal combustion engine (ICE).  

If you are interested in going electric and would like to receive a list of the top plug-in hybrid and electric fuel-efficient cars, then sign up for our newsletter to access it straight from your inbox. 

Are cars more fuel-efficient today? 

So, are cars more fuel-efficient today? The answer is, yes, they are. Today’s vehicles, by default, are much more developed than previous models in the past.  

New cars today are 20% more fuel-efficient than models in previous years.  

Cars in the past were much heavier in weight due to models sporting thicker metal and weighty materials. Thankfully, cars today are lighter meaning there is less weight to move and pull along, and less work for the engine to do. 

On top of this, today’s engines (generally) are smaller and more efficient. A few reasons are that they are less expensive to make compared to larger engines, they’re lighter (another big plus), and they offer the same power as large engines from back in the day. Most importantly, they are significantly more efficient compared to bigger engines.  

Are fuel-efficient cars more expensive? 

So, you have decided your priority in a car is for it to be fuel-efficient. Perhaps if you need a fuel-efficient car, it’s likely that budgeting overall is a top priority. What about how much they cost to buy, are fuel-efficient cars, in general, more expensive? 

Get ready for your favourite answer: it depends. 

It depends on the engine type you go for whether it’s a plug-in hybrid, electric, petrol or diesel engine car.  

If you go down a plug-in hybrid route then yes, this will cost you more initially. You not only need to account for the purchase price, insurance, MOT, servicing and more.  

You must also buy and install a home charger in your home which can cost between £800 to £1,500.  

Which does sound like a hell of a lot initially.  

However, although you do now need to account for the fuel costs of both a conventional ICE and electric engine, over time you would make back the money you spent on this due to a huge reduction in fuel costs. 

Similarly, with electric cars, once you have made the rather hefty upfront initial cost of everything you need, over time the cost-benefits of going electric will become evident as you begin to enjoy your imminently low daily costs. 

With an ICE car, the only upfront cost you will need to worry about is the deposit if you decide to finance or lease your vehicle.  

What are the most fuel-efficient cars? 

Before we investigate and dive into the nitty-gritty of what each of the most fuel-efficient cars offers, we’ll first establish some of the industry jargon for a clearer quick understanding of what we’re talking about: 

WLTP – An abbreviation of Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test, this refers to the ‘real world’ miles per gallon that you are likely to get from your vehicle once you take into consideration weather conditions, driving style, road environment and anything that can physically affect your vehicle’s miles per gallon. 

MPG – Miles per gallon, which essentially tells you how much it costs to fill your car per mile. Let’s say your car offers 40mpg, this means that on average you can drive for 40 miles on every gallon of petrol you fill your car up with. 

Ford Focus 

Green Ford focus

The Ford Focus is a well-loved, well-equipped hatchback in the family sector. You can expect to have an enjoyable driving experience with a smooth quiet ride and a comfortable interior. 

What else does the Focus provide? 

  • WLTP figures state up to 67.3 miles per gallon with a diesel engine 
  • 9p/mile when fuel costs are 196.76p/litre for diesel 
  • 131g/km of CO² Emissions (diesel) and 134g/km (petrol) 
  • WLTP figures state up to 47.9 miles per gallon with a petrol engine 
  • 17p/mile when fuel costs are 187.65p/litre for petrol 
  • Great for long journeys due to its diesel engine  
  • Excellent rear space for passengers, including enough room for those that are 6 feet tall! 
  • 5-star Euro NCAP Safety rating 

Peugeot 208 

Yellow Peugeot 208

The Peugeot 208 is an ideal hatchback for those looking for something small and striking to drive whilst still being able to travel long distances.  

What can you expect from this smart mini model? 

  • WLTP figures state up to 71.4 miles per gallon (diesel) 
  • 9p/mile when fuel costs are 196.76p/litre for diesel 
  • 104g/km of CO² Emissions (diesel) and 127g/km (petrol) 
  • WLTP figures state up to 50.3 miles per gallon (petrol) 
  • 17p/mile when fuel costs are 187.65p/litre for petrol 
  • Great for longer journeys if you opt for the diesel engine 
  • Excellent infotainment system featuring a 3D digital display showing information including miles per gallon 
  • Expect a phenomenal ride in terms of comfort, especially for longer journeys on the motorway 
  • Impeccable quality interior, you’ll notice this especially if you upgrade to a GT or GT Premium trim 

Vauxhall Corsa

Orange Vauxhall Corsa

Vauxhall offers a nifty, reliable small hatchback. This well-equipped model provides an efficient engine with a great boot. So, how fuel-efficient is the Corsa? Let’s find out… 

What makes the Corsa a great fuel-efficient hatchback? 

  • WLTP figures state up to 70.6 miles per gallon with the diesel engine 
  • 9p/mile when fuel costs are 196.76p/litre for diesel 
  • 105g/km of CO² Emissions (diesel) and 118g/km (petrol) 
  • WLTP figures state up to 53.3 miles per gallon (petrol) 
  • 17p/mile when fuel costs are 187.65p/litre for petrol 
  • Fantastic for long journeys if going for the diesel option 
  • Great usability and accessibility for those with disabilities, the 309-litre boot can take a folded wheelchair 

If you are looking for a small car to get you around the town rather than using it for longer journeys, and still want to enjoy fuel efficiency, we would recommend going for the petrol engine.  

Volkswagen Golf 

Yellow Volkswagen Golf

The Volkswagen Golf is a renowned reliable hatchback that is highly recommended in the family car class. It is available in a range of engines such as petrol, mild-hybrid, plug-in hybrid and diesel. If fuel efficiency is at the top of your priority list, then the diesel engine will deliver.  

What does the Golf offer? 

  • WLTP figures state 68.9 miles per gallon when choosing diesel 
  • 9p/mile when fuel costs are 196.76p/litre for diesel 
  • 117g/km of CO² Emissions (diesel) and 123g/km (petrol) 
  • WLTP figures state up to 52.3 miles per gallon (petrol) 
  • 17p/mile when fuel costs are 187.65p/litre for petrol 
  • Offers a strong and frugal 1.5 TSI 150 engine if you opt for a petrol 
  • Exceptionably comfortable driving experience with a smooth ride 
  • Generous boot space for a hatchback, with enough room for 5 carry-on suitcases, a set of golf clubs or a fold-up baby buggy 
  • 5-star Euro NCAP Safety rating 

Skoda Octavia  

Blue Skoda Octavia

Skoda offers an outstanding choice for a reliable, smart and well-equipped hatchback. Expect a generously spacious, plush interior with a HUGE boot. How huge? Give or take 1,555 litres… 

What does Octavia offer? 

  • WLTP figures state up to 64.2 miles per gallon (diesel)  
  • 18p/mile when fuel costs are 196.76p/litre for diesel 
  • 114g/km of CO² Emissions (diesel) and 95g/km (petrol) 
  • WLTP figures state 65.7 miles per gallon with the petrol engine 
  • 17p/mile when fuel costs are 187.65p/litre for petrol 
  • A fantastic choice for a family on the go  
  • Spectacular boot space of 600 litres with the seats up, and 1,555 litres with them folded down 
  • 5-star Euro NCAP Safety rating 

We’ve established that new cars on the market today are the most fuel-efficient they have ever been. What does that mean for you? This means that there has never been a better time to get a fuel-efficient car than now.  

Generally speaking, diesel will provide better miles per gallon than a petrol engine. You should, however, consider whether you are regularly travelling on longer journeys, as a diesel engine won’t serve sufficiently on shorter journeys. 

We hope this article on the most fuel-efficient cars has helped you move at least one step closer to securing your ideal vehicle. Is there a model you spotted from this list that is just speaking to your soul? Let us know in the comments below! 

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