18/04/2014 12:15 | By Richard Aucock

Top 10 most economical cars

The most economical new cars on sale based on low emissions and best fuel economy

The most economical cars you can buy (© Smart)

Fuel economy is a hot topic and car firms are responding by making their cars ever-more efficient. It is now common to see new cars returning more than 80mpg: even mainstream family cars regularly average more than 65mpg. On paper, at least.

Low CO2 emissions go hand in hand with good fuel economy, so there is a double bonus to buying an economical car – you'll pay less in tax. Both road fund licence and company car tax are based on CO2 emissions: the lower they are, the less you pay.

So which are the most economical cars in Britain? MSN Cars is committed to bringing you details of the cars with the best fuel economy on sale in the UK. This is our guide to the most efficient and cheapest new cars money can buy.

We have gathered all the free road tax diesel and petrol cars on sale in Britain here, to show you just how broad and far-reaching the low-emissions choice now is in the UK.

Buy many of the cars here and you’ll even be able to drive into Central London for free: the cars emitting less than 75g/km of CO2 are so green, they are exempt from the Congestion Charge.

Read on to discover the most economical new cars on sale. You'll save a fortune on your fuel bills by choosing one of these fuel misers!

Green Car Guide
Most economical cars in each class
Most economical used cars under £3,000
Most economical used cars under £5,000
Most economical petrol cars 
How to avoid London's Congestion Charge: the cars exempt from new 75g/km limit

1. Vauxhall Ampera/Chevrolet Volt - 27g/km

Chevrolet Volt (© Chevrolet)

The current European Car of the Year is the Chevrolet Volt and Vauxhall Ampera - and with economy this good, it's easy to see why.

Thanks to an ingenuous combination of electric-drive and petrol-powered electricity generator for when the circa-40 mile range is exhausted, they give EV motoring without the range restrictions, and a staggering official combined economy figure of 235.4mpg.

Review - Chevrolet Volt
Review - Vauxhall Ampera

2. Toyota Prius Plug-in - 49g/km

Toyota Prius (© Toyota)

The Toyota Prius Plug-in is just that - a regular Toyota Prius with additional batteries that can be charged by 'plugging them in' to the mains electricity supply.

Because they can store more electricity, they allow an all-electric range of up to 15 miles before the petrol engine kicks in. Thanks to this, the official combined consumption figure shoots up, to 134.5mpg.

3. Fisker Karma – 53g/km, 62.4mpg

Fisker Karma

The Fisker Karma combines two unlikely bedfellows – jaw dropping good looks and tree-hugging emissions. Designed by Henrik Fisker – who had a hand in penning the Aston Martin DB9 – the Karma is a series hybrid which employs a 2.0-litre turbo engine as a generator to re-charge its lithium-ion battery pack.

With a powertrain that produces 397hp it isn’t slow – 0-60mph taking just 6.3 seconds. A claimed 62.4mpg and emissions of just 53g/km make this one guilt-free luxury saloon.

4. Toyota Yaris Hybrid – 79g/km, 80.7mpg

Toyota Yaris Hybrid (© Toyota)

Toyota has smartly combined the 1.5-litre engine and electric motor drivetrain of the Prius and Auris HSD with the lighter and more compact body of the Yaris. Result? The Yaris Hybrid.

Because it's so much lighter than its bigger siblings, it's even more fuel-efficient, averaging up to 81mpg and emitting just 79g/km CO2 - Toyota's lowest-ever figure. It can even travel for around a mile using electric power alone.

5. Renault Clio 1.5 dCi 90 ECO – 83g/km, 88.3mpg

Renault Clio

Eco by name, eco by nature – the newest version of Nicole’s runabout has a 1.5-litre diesel engine that’s capable of 88.3mpg and puffs out just 83g/km CO2.

Wrapped in the brand new Clio’s clothes it’s a stylish and contemporary option for the budget-conscious supermini buyer. It also trumps the VW Polo BlueMotion and Ford Fiesta ECOnetic when it comes to green credentials.

Find a used Renault Clio on Auto Trader
Review: Renault Clio

6. Hyundai i20 1.1 CRDi Blue – 84g/km, 88.3mpg

Hyundai has recently facelifted the i20 supermini and part of the revisions include the launch of a super-efficient diesel model, using the firm's excellent 1.1-litre three-cylinder engine.

In eco-orientated Blue trim, it emits just 84g/km and averages an impressive 88.3mpg. Combined with great value prices, Hyundai has a compelling deal - the greenest regular-engine road car, for one of the best-value prices on the road.

7. Kia Rio 1.1 Ecodynamics - 85g/km, 88.3mpg

Kia Rio (© Kia)

The roomy and practical Kia Rio five-door, five-seat supermini is a star when it comes to economy. With 88.3mpg and 85g/km CO2, Kia said it was the most economical conventional-engine car on sale anywhere in the world at launch.

Well, it was until Hyundai rolled out the i20 sister car with CO2 emissions that beat it - by 1g/km...

Find a used Kia Rio on Auto Trader
Review: Kia Rio

8. Smart Fortwo cdi - 86g/km, 85.6mpg

Smart Fortwo (© Smart)

The Smart Fortwo cdi diesel's long reign as most economical car on sale in Britain is over. Despite this, it still averages an impressive 85.6mpg.

It only seats two, and the clattery diesel engine is not the fastest or most refined on sale. It is still economical enough to only now have been unseated as the UK's most fuel-efficient car, though.

Find a used Smart Fortwo cdi on Auto Trader
Long-term test: Smart Fortwo cdi

9= Peugeot 208 1.4 e-HDi 70 EGC – 87g/km, 83.1mpg

Peugeot 208 1.4 e-HDi 70 EGC (© Peugeot)

With the 208, Peugeot has made its prettiest supermini since the classic 205. But it's not just a pretty face: the super-efficient 1.4-litre e-HDi engine is also very fuel-efficient too.

It is capable of returning up to 83.1mpg and emits just 87g/km, with a clever and seamless stop-start system cutting inner city exhaust emissions too. The new top dog in the supermini sector?

Review - Peugeot 208 (2012 onwards)

9= Citroen C3 1.4 e-HDi 70 Airdream EGS – 87g/km, 83.1mpg

Not to be outdone by its parent firm Peugeot, Citroen has also made its most fuel-efficient supermini yet. The Citroen C3 in 2012 Airdream guise emits just 87g/km CO2.

This equates to diesel fuel economy of 83.1mpg, with all the easy-driving advantages of EGS automatic gearshifts too. As Citroen dealers love to do a deal, it's a green supermini that's well worth checking out.

Review - Citroen C3 (2009 onwards)

That's the top 10 most economical cars taken care of. Below are the models that just miss out...

11. Lexus CT200h S – 87g/km

Lexus CT200h

Bringing hybrid power to the premium compact sector is the petrol-electric Lexus CT200h’s raison d’etre. The appeal of this car lies in the marriage of smooth hybrid drive powertrain and the lure of fantastic Lexus customer service. Oh, and astonishing economy.

Thanks to smaller wheels and a larger spoiler than the standard CT200h, the S model emits just 87g/km of CO2 and manages a pretty startling 76.3mpg. Low benefit-in-kind company car tax liability and road tax exemption, are the icing on the cake for this premium eco choice.

Review: Lexus CT200h

12. Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 CDTi 95 EcoFlex S/S – 88g/km

The Vauxhall Corsa is one of the nation’s best selling cars and the range extremely large and varied.

It keeps on getting greener with every passing month too. Right now, it can be bought with stop-start which, on the punchy 95hp 1.3-litre diesel, provides 88g/km CO2 emissions and average fuel economy of 85.6mpg.

Find a used Vauxhall Corsa on Auto Trader
Review: Vauxhall Corsa Stop/Start

13= Toyota Prius T3 - 89g/km

Toyota Prius (© Toyota)

The world-famous Toyota Prius was the first mainstream eco car to gain cult appeal. It has now sold in its millions.

The greenest is the entry-level T3 trim. With its smaller, lower-drag wheels, it averages 72.4mpg and emits just 89g/km CO2.

Find a used Toyota Prius on Auto Trader
Review: Toyota Prius

13= Toyota Auris Hybrid - 89g/km

Toyota Auris (© Toyota)

The Toyota Auris HSD is a British-built alternative to the Toyota Prius, although it shares the petrol-electric driveline.

It averages 74.3mpg, and is better than the Prius in town for economy, although the smoother Prius wins on a run. Which is best for you?

Find a used Toyota Auris Hybrid on Auto Trader
Review: Toyota Auris Hybrid

13= Skoda Fabia Greenline - 89g/km

Skoda Fabia Greenline (© Skoda)

Skoda's super-practical supermini averages 83.1mpg and emits 89g/km CO2, making it the greenest supermini on sale.

We rate the Fabia highly here at MSN Cars and would happily trade 2.5mpg over the Smart for five-seat flexibility.

Find a used Skoda Fabia Greenline on Auto Trader
Review: Skoda Fabia Greenline

16= Renault Megane 1.5 dCi 110 Stop and Start – 90g/km

Renault Megane 1.5 dCi 110 Stop and Start (© Renault)

Renault has always known how to build competitive diesel cars: the facelifted 2012 Megane shows it's at the top of its game, with average fuel economy of 80.7mpg.

This is achieved without resorting to expensive electric-assist drivetrains or pricey bodywork additions. That all Megane dCi 110 Stop and Start models return such impressive fuel economy really is a top result for Renault.

Renault Megane (2012 onwards)

16= Fiat Punto 1.3 MultiJet 85 – 90g/km

Fiat Punto

The 1.3-litre MultiJet diesel unit in the Punto is arguably the pick of the range –refined and torquey, it provides excellent in-gear grunt. The Punto’s eco-credentials are strong, too – 80.7mpg and CO2 output of 90g/km.

The Punto is a spacious and economical choice – if not at the top of the class dynamically speaking.

Find a used Fiat Punto on Auto Trader

17= Volkswagen Polo Bluemotion - 91g/km

VW Polo Bluemotion (© Volkswagen)

Volkswagen's mini-Golf Polo is offered in green-focused BlueMotion guise, using the same 1.2 TDI diesel engine as the Skoda.

It's not quite as eco, but 80.7mpg is still impressive, and 91g/km CO2 is among the lowest on sale.

Find a used Polo BlueMotion on Auto Trader
Review: Volkswagen Polo

17= Citroen DS5 DSign Hybrid4 200 Airdream – 91g/km

Citroen DS5

Citroen’s stylish DS5 is something of a return to form for the French maker. Stylish and individual – it makes a strong case for itself when combined with the 200hp Hybrid4 diesel-electric powertrain.

The vital numbers are 80.7mpg and 91g/km of CO2 – which makes this stylish Citroen a compelling fleet choice.

Find a used Citroen DS5 on Auto Trader
Review: Citroen DS5

17= Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 Allure – 91g/km

The Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 mates a 2.0-litre diesel HDi engine with a rear axle electric motor, creating the world’s first diesel hybrid.

It works well on paper, with recent updates cutting it further: the base car with smaller wheels now emits just 91g/km CO2. Pity it doesn’t perform quite as well in the real world…

Find a used Peugeot 3008 on Auto Trader
Review: Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4

20. SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive - 92g/km

SEAT Ibiza E Ecomotive (© SEAT)

SEAT's VW Polo-based Ibiza returns the same 80.7mpg as the VW - the smallest of differences account for the extra 1g/km CO2.

The SEAT is, however, the cheaper car to buy new, making it the smarter green buy of the two.

Find a used SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive on Auto Trader
Review: SEAT Ibiza

21= Volvo V40 1.6 D2 115 – 94g/km, 78.5mpg

Volvo V40 1.6 D2 115 (© Volvo)

The new Volvo V40 is a vital new family-sized five-door hatchback for Volvo, one that's gunning straight for the Volkswagen Golf.

Right away, it's 1-0 to Volvo, thanks to an excellent average economy figure of 78.5mpg. Emitting just 94g/km CO2, it's more economical than any other Golf on sale. A good-looking Volvo to watch...

21= Renault Clio 1.5 dCi 88 FAP Eco - 94g/km

Renault Clio (© Renault)

The Renault Clio is due for replacement in 2012 but this doesn't stop the current model scoring very impressive economy figures.

The affordable Eco pack can be added to Expression models, improving average fuel economy to a healthy 78.5mpg.

Buy a Renault Clio on Auto Trader
Review: Renault Clio

21= Volvo C30 DRIVe - 94g/km

The stylish Volvo C30 DRIVe was one of the first 'super-eco' cars on sale. Volvo refreshed the diesel engine for 2011 - it now produces 115hp.

It's still very economical, though. 78.5mpg is great and stop-start cuts CO2 emissions to 94g/km.

24= Alfa Romeo MiTo 1.3 JTDM-2 85  - 95g/km

Alfa Romeo MiTo (© Alfa Romeo)

Alfa Romeo is an evocative name and its affordable MiTo supermini means the famous brand is accessible by more people than ever.

Efficiency is better than ever too. The smooth 1.3-litre diesel can average 78.5mpg, making it the most economical Alfa Romeo there has ever been.

Review: Alfa Romeo MiTo
Find a used Alfa Romeo MiTo on Auto Trader

24= Chevrolet Aveo 1.3 VCDi 95 eco – 95g/km

Chevrolet Aveo (© Chevrolet)

Chevrolet has not previously offered a diesel supermini, but the latest 1.3-litre VCDi model has brought it straight into the top league for economy.

The engine is familiar from Vauxhall and Fiat models: here, it averages 78.4mpg and emits 95g/km CO2.

Review: Chevrolet Aveo
Buy a Chevrolet Aveo on Auto Trader

24= Fiat 500 0.9 TwinAir - 95g/km

Fiat 500 TwinAir (© Fiat)

The revolutionary two-cylinder turbocharged TwinAir petrol engine in the Fiat 500 is cutting-edge technology that is both powerful and fuel efficient.

Take it easy and it returns 68.9mpg; CO2 emissions are just 95g/km and it benefits from lower exhaust particulates than a comparable diesel engine.

Find a used Fiat 500 TwinAir on Auto Trader
Review: Fiat 500 TwinAir

24= Citroen DS3 1.6 e-HDi 90 Airdream - 95g/km

Citroen DS3 (© Citroen)

The Citroen DS3 is a real hit for Citroen. Well over 10,000 have been sold in the UK thus far, and its popularity continues to grow.

It's now an even greener choice as well. The clever e-HDi drivetrain has been fitted, dropping already-low 99g/km CO2 emissions to a highly creditable 95g/km. Fuel economy also improves, from 74.3mpg to 78.5mpg.

Find a used Citroën DS3 Dstyle on Auto Trader
Review: Citroën DS3

24= Ford Fiesta Econetic - 95g/km

Ford Fiesta Econetic (© Ford)

Ford has expanded its range of Econetic models. Now, the Econetic 'pack' features on all 1.6 TDCi trims - Edge, Zetec and Titanium.

All these variants can now average 78.5mpg, meaning the best supermini to drive now has strong eco credentials too.

Find a used Fiesta Econetic on Auto Trader
Review: Ford Fiesta

24= Nissan Micra 1.2 DIG-S – 95g/km

Nissan Micra (© Nissan)

Nissan's latest Micra may be dull but the tiny supercharged 1.2-litre petrol DIG-S engine is a really impressive motor hiding behind the boring design.

Despite being petrol-powered, it can average a remarkable 68.9mpg and emits just 95g/km CO2.

Review: Nissan Micra DIG-S
Find a used Nissan Micra on Auto Trader

30= Volkswagen Up 1.0 60 Bluemotion Technology – 96g/km

Volkswagen Up! (© Volkswagen)

The Volkswagen Up is the smartest, most intelligent city car on sale, which means good economy credentials come as no surprise.

In the most fuel efficient Bluemotion Technology guise, the punchy 1.0-litre engine is capable of returning 68.9mpg.

Review: Volkswagen Up

30= Skoda Citigo GreenTech – 96g/km

Skoda Citigo

Skoda’s city car – its version of the VW Up! and Seat Mii – is an excellent, frugal urban choice.

The GreenTech version with a 73hp 1.0-litre engine, is just about zippy enough for town and motorway use, and returns an average 68.9mpg along with a tax-busting CO2 rating of 96g/km.

Find a used Skoda Citigo on Auto Trader
Review: Skoda Citigo

30= SEAT Mii Ecomotive – 96g/km


Another one from the VW Up! and Skoda Citigo family, the little SEAT shares all the attributes of its VW Group stablemates – peppy performance, solid build and a decent drive.

Economy on the 59hp 1.0-litre version is a competitive 68.9mpg, whilst the CO2 emissions help it limbo under the magic 100g/km barrier – emitting just 96g/km.

Find a used SEAT Mii on Auto Trader
Review: SEAT Mii

30= Toyota Prius Plus – 96g/km, 68.9mpg

Toyota Prius Plus

The Prius Plus has a clear USP – it’s currently the cleanest seven-seater on the market. With CO2 emissions that fall below the vital barrier – Toyota’s small MPV puffs out just 96g/km and manages a highly credible 68.9mpg.

However, performance from 134hp the petrol-electric hybrid powertrain is hardly spectacular – and the Prius is an expensive buy new – at £26,195 for the entry-level model.

Find a used Toyota Prius on Auto Trader
Review: Toyota Prius Plus

34= Hyundai i30 1.6 CRDi 110 Blue Drive – 97g/km, 76.3mpg

Hyundai i30

Hyundai has come on leaps and bounds in recent years and this 1.6-litre diesel-engined version of the i30 makes a very solid eco choice.

Performance is brisk enough, the gearchange is slick and the economy figures speak for themselves – 97g/km CO2 and combined fuel economy of 76.3mpg.

Find a used Hyundai i30 on Auto Trader
Review: Hyundai i30

34= Kia Cee’d 1.6 CRDi 126 ISG– 97g/km, 76.3mpg

Kia Cee'd

Top Gear’s reasonably priced car may be climbing the price lists a touch these days, but the eco-friendly 1.6-litre diesel CRDi 126 model is not going to break the bank when it comes to running costs.

The powertrain is smooth and punchy whilst being relaxed at motorway speeds, and 74.3mpg combined with a low CO2 output of 97g/km make it hard not to recommend the Kia.

Find a used Kia Cee’d on Auto Trader
Review: Kia Cee’d

36= Peugeot 308 1.6 e-HDi EGC - 98g/km

Peugeot 308 (© Peugeot)

The Peugeot 308 isn't the most popular family hatchback but it does pack a broad range of fuel-efficient engines.

The greenest of all is the 1.6-litre e-HDi engine though. This helps the 308 average more than 70mpg in Oxygo guise: free road tax is the icing on the cake.

Find a used Peugeot 308 on Auto Trader
Review: Peugeot 308

36= Mercedes A 180 CDI BlueEfficiency – 98g/km, 74.3mpg

Mercedes A-Class

The all-new A-Class has already won plaudits for its dynamic looks – and the A180 CDI BlueEfficiency adds strong eco-credentials to the popular new Mercedes’ lengthy list of attributes.

It features a Renault-derived 1.5-litre diesel engine which is just about smooth and refined enough to sit under the bonnet of this three-pointed star. Fuel economy of 74.3mpg and emissions of 98g/km also ensure the new A 180 plays to the fleet market’s CO2-driven agenda.

Find a used Mercedes-Benz A-Class on Auto Trader
Review: Mercedes-Benz A-Class

38= Chrysler Ypsilon 1.3 M-Jet/0.9 TwinAir - 99g/km

Chrysler Ypsilon (© Chrysler)

The Chrysler Ypsilon is a new supermini entrant that's a complete unknown in the UK. Chrysler hopes great fuel economy will help it stand out.

Both the 0.9 TwinAir petrol and 1.3 MultiJet diesel emit 99g/km: the petrol averages 67.3mpg and the diesel returns 74.3mpg.

Review: Chrysler Ypsilon

38= Citroen C1 - 99g/km

Citroen C1 (© Citroen)

Facelifted for 2012, the Citroen C1 becomes the first ever Citroen petrol model to emit less than 100g/km CO2, earning it a place in our list.

The 1.0-litre petrol engine also now averages 65.7mpg - without needing to use a stop-start system.

Review: Citroen C1
Find a used Citroen C1 on Auto Trader

38= Kia Picanto 1.0 - 99g/km

Kia Picanto (© Kia)

The latest Kia Picanto, like its Hyundai i10 Blue sister car, shows you don't need high-tech diesel to achieve really low CO2 figures.

Thanks to standard stop-start, the little 1.0-litre petrol drops beneath the benchmark barrier: fine economy for less than £10,000 makes it a great green new car deal.

Review: Kia Picanto
Find a used Kia Picanto on Auto Trader

38= Toyota IQ 1.0 - 99g/km

Toyota iQ (© Toyota)

The fuel-efficient micro car alternative to a Smart that CAN seat more than two people is the Toyota IQ. With sub-100g/km CO2 emissions, it really does justify its name.

The Toyota is getting even more attention now, as Aston Martin launches its IQ-derived Cygnet. Will Aston, in time, launch a similarly green version using the same 1.0-litre petrol engine as this?

Find a used Toyota iQ on Auto Trader
Review: Toyota IQ

38= Audi A1 1.6 TDI - 99g/km

Audi A1 (© Audi)

The fact a larger family hatchback Audi, the A3, was more fuel efficient than the supermini A1 was something of an anomaly.

That's been rectified now, with the A1 1.6 TDI now boasting sub-100g/km CO2 emissions, plus 74.3mpg economy potential to match.

Review: Audi A1

38= Peugeot 107 - 99g/km

Peugeot 107 (© Peugeot)

The refreshed Peugeot 107 gets a new look for 2012 with a restyled front end featuring LED daytime running lights.

It's tweaks to the 1.0-litre petrol engine that will please new car buyers though. It's now Congestion Charge exempt and economy is up to 65.7mpg.

Find a used Peugeot 107 on Auto Trader

38= Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 99g - 99g/km

Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 (© Peugeot)

The presence of Peugeot's crossover 3008 may be a surprise here but that's to overlook its clever diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain.

In becoming the first diesel hybrid to go on sale, Peugeot has helped the smart SUV-style 3008 average an impressive 74.3mpg. It's the only car with four-wheel drive capability in this list too.

Review: Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4
Find a used Peugeot 3008 on Auto Trader

38= SEAT Leon 1.6 TDI 105 Ecomotive - 99g/km

SEAT Leon Ecomotive (© SEAT)

The SEAT Leon is another ageing family hatchback but in latest Copa guise it is particularly good value for money.

This VW Golf Bluemotion in disguise also matches the 74.3mpg average fuel economy of its famous German sibling too...

Review: SEAT Leon Ecomotive
Find a used SEAT Leon on Auto Trader

38= Skoda Octavia 1.6 TDI 105 Greenline - 99g/km

Skoda Octavia (© Skoda)

The Skoda Octavia is getting on a bit now but it remains a superb all-rounder and also one of the most practical family hatchbacks on sale.

Despite being affordable yet massively roomy, the Greenline can average 74.3mpg and emits just 99g/km CO2 too.

Review: Skoda Octavia
Find a used Skoda Octavia on Auto Trader

38= Toyota Aygo - 99g/km

Toyota Aygo (© Toyota)

The latest Toyota Aygo can be bought in a colour similar to the racy new GT 86 coupe but fuel economy remains city car rather than sports car.

Improvements to the little three-cylinder engine mean it averages a healthy 65.7mpg.

Review: Toyoyta Aygo
Find a used Toyota Aygo on Auto Trader

38= Vauxhall Astra 1.7 CDTi 110/130 ecoFlex S/S - 99g/km

Vauxhall Astra (© Vauxhall)

Vauxhall now offers the 1.7-litre Astra diesel with Ford Focus-beating fuel economy of 76.3mpg, coupled with sub-100g/km CO2 emissions.

It's a noteworthy result, particularly as the family hatch even offers the green motor in two power outputs, depending on your budget.

Review: Vauxhall Astra
Find a used Vauxhall Astra on Auto Trader

38= MINI Cooper D 112 99g/km

MINI Cooper D 112 (© MINI)

MINI diesels just keep on getting greener. The latest 1.6-litre diesel variant to star is the 112hp Cooper D, which averages 74.3mpg.

The 1.6-litre BMW engine also performs with vigour yet emits just 99g/km. The greenest 'Mini Cooper' ever, then!

Find a used MINI diesel on Auto Trader
Review: MINI Hatch

38= Hyundai i10 Blue - 99g/km

Hyundai i10 Blue (© Hyundai)

Hyundai's green fuel-saving cars are called 'Blue', and the latest one to join the range is the little Hyundai i10 Blue city car.

The petrol engine averages 67.3mpg and comes in with 99g/km CO2 emissions, making it the cheapest five-door car with free road tax you can buy.

Find a used Hyundai i10 on Auto Trader
Review: Hyundai i10

38=  BMW 116d EfficientDynamics – 99g/km, 74.3mpg

BMW 1 Series

The 116d EfficientDynamics is what’s technically known as a no-brainer if you’re a company car driver. The suspension is 10mm lower than a standard 116d to aid aerodynamics and combined with various other tweaks, it helps the ED sit four tax bands lower than the standard 116d.

The fact it’s a hoot to drive, with sharp steering and playful handling – only adds to the appeal. It’s still no looker though.

Find a used BMW 1 Series on Auto Trader
Review: BMW 1 Series

38= Suzuki Alto – 99g/km, 67.3mpg

Suzuki Alto

Suzuki’s Indian-built supermini has a 1.0-litre 68hp engine which is smooth and revvy – and thanks the Alto’s light weight, provides reasonably sprightly progress.

Combined with sharp handling and 67mpg, it’s a cost-effective and relatively fun supermini choice, although it’s sister car, the Nissan Pixo, is a cheaper alternative.

Find a used Suzuki Alto on Auto Trader
Review: Suzuki Alto

38= Fiat Panda 0.9 85 TwinAir – 99g/km, 67.3mpg

Fiat Panda

The pairing of Fiat’s likeable Panda with the characterful TwinAir two-cylinder turbocharged engine is an appealing one.

It’s a car that encourages you to take it by the scruff of the neck, such is the draw of that peppy TwinAir motor – although drive it as such and the 67.3mpg economy might suffer. Add a few options and the Panda starts to look pricey too.

Find a used Fiat Panda on Auto Trader
Review: Fiat Panda

38= Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI – 99g/km, 74,3mpg

Volkswagen Golf

The excellent new seventh generation VW Golf has been on a diet – which helps the frugal 1.6-litre TDI model dip under 100g/km and return a very competitive 74.3mpg.

All cars come with BlueMotion Technology – meaning energy recuperation systems and stop/start – as standard. There’s little not to like here - it’s a class-leader and has more standard kit than before too.

Find a used Volkswagen Golf on Auto Trader
Review: Volkswagen Golf

More from MSN Cars

20/01/2012 19:06

I wish you lazy motoring journos would get in and test the damn cars you write so positively about!. I bought a Fiat Twinair on the strength of these sorts of reviews a year ago. I have never got it to do more than 50.5 mpg combined and I drive very carefully. So carefully that my colleagues findit funny, that's how carefully.


14/12/2011 00:46

Running costs go much further than fuel economy, for example I find it far more cost effective to run an older car (astrq 1.7td) which although isnt as economical as newer cars, the fact that I have no finance on it makes running costs much lower than having a new car on finance. The fact that the astra has no street cred doesnt bother me, but it has now done 205k miles and has only one not started due to the (original) battery being killed off by last winter, no great shame there......... Still does 55mpg too.


I'm no luddite, I know the world has moved on, and if I had the money to buy a new economical car....... I'd still keep the astra, buy something interesting for nice days, and keep using the astra day to day.


, I'm paying my house off much faster...........

25/10/2011 12:12
I understood there was a problem with the manufacture and disposal of the Toyota Prius Batteries ? All very economical just not very eco friendly. So what exactly is it we are expected to be doing - Economical or Eco friendly ?
10/10/2012 12:48

A friend of mine  bought a Toyata IQ   under  the government  scrapage scheme on the basis that the IQ did over 70 mpg .   The diesel car he scrapped did 55mpg .He is lucky if he gets 44mpg out of the IQ
The garage has been really skillful in putting him off , like you have to run in more miles. well after 10,000 miles it is still no better.
What it needs is for all owners of new cars that do not  get the advertised mileage to complain to trading standards, and or a class action in the courts against a manufacturer. .
If enough people do it , then they will change the way they test new cars  and stop  misleading selling  on  imaginary  unachievable mileage figures.

20/01/2012 13:01
Bought a 94 Rover 214sei previous January for £370 including five months tax and eight months mot. Clean and tidy car with reasonable power and economy. Running costs in past year - front brake pads for £18, part worn tyre £15, 40 quids worth of welding for mot. Plus cheap road tax and insurance. Still going strong 7,000 miles after purchase. That's what I call economy. If it terminally junks, I'll get £100-£120 from scrappy!
17/08/2012 19:45
I drive a Fiesta Econetic 2011 model, it only averages 63mpg, I did get it to 66mpg at one time, but then it didn't keep to that figure, so 78mpg is just pie in the sky, it might get that figure on a bench but not in real life driving, which is what should be used not a bench test.
20/01/2012 22:14

The problem is with diesel/petrol that, although diesel is cheaper to produce that petrol, the tax on it is a lot higher, so that it costs more.  This needs to be taken into account when comparing running costs. Not just the m.p.g. 

17/04/2013 11:44
Official mpg figures given by motor manufacturers are misleading. They do not come anywhere near the stated figures. Why has the office of fair trading not got involved. Car makers can quote what they like so why are they getting away with it.
21/04/2011 11:03
So where's the Fiat Panda JTD (or F500, similar)? They have the exact same engine as in the Corsa. My dad's had one for a couple years now and, having never reset the trip computer, has a "lifetime" average of 68mpg over a wide variety of use. This in a previous generation model, which cost about 7 grand brand new. I can't see the current one not making the list if they've given it the same updates as the Punto & etc.

Also, "Top 10 most economical"? With a long list of joint 11ths and joint 13ths, some with noticably different MPG figures? Did you actually mean "Top 20 low-CO2 cars" or "Top 20 cars under 100g/km CO2"? I mean, it's an impressive list - there's now a lot fewer practical reasons NOT to buy something with such low emissions it gets free road tax (...for now), never mind the EU target of 120g average... but it's not entirely "most economical" is it?

I do wonder, finally, what the deal with all those different cars having 74.3mpg is. Is there some kind of euro directive that has similar tax breaks to our zero-road-fund-license thing which is pegged at 3.8L/100km or lower fuel consumption? (That's what the suspiciously precise 74.3 works out to... like a tenth of an MPG makes any realistic difference when your economy is that good, even with fuel so expensive? Hit a bad headwind and you lose 2-3 MPG anyway, never mind 0.2)

Let's see if anyone makes the mental leap of putting a small multiair-ish diesel as the powerplant in a plug-in hybrid with a slightly larger battery (maybe not to Chevy Volt / Vaux Ampera levels, but good for maybe 15ish miles at faster citybound speeds) and see the figures really tumble. Sub-80g/km and 100+ mpg equivalent in a Golf-class vehicle with decent (~1.4L previous gen petrol) performance would be doable for not much more money than these lot cost, not to mention pretty amazing.

21/01/2012 01:20

Chris Mitchell


You are doing well Top Gear got the MPG down to an average of 30 mpg Yes that's right THIRTY MPG you see the motor companies use a rolling road and a simulation on a laptop to make the test repeatable on all cars so that comparisons can be made without too many variations this means that wind resistance does not seem to be taken into account

The vauxhall courser and new ford KA are also under achievers

11/11/2012 22:02

The most economical car I have owned was an Audi A2 1.4TDI 


13/05/2012 22:04
I own a 1.5 dci 2001 Clio, it easily averages 65mpg without trying. This is by far the best car I have ever owned and I would highly recommend it. Mine has now done 140k and is still running smooth and with only £30 a year road tax and low insurance it really is cheap in every way. I've recently had a company car with one of the new Eco petrol engines and they are a complete joke, struggling to average 30mpg when really trying. Always stick with diesel for Eco in my opinion!!
13/12/2012 16:34
Republishing an old article without doing your homework.  Poor effort MSN.  The latest Fiesta has a claimed 85.6MPG and produces 87gms of CO2, so should've made the top ten.  Obviously those figures remain unacheivable in the real world, but that doesn't stop any of the other manufacturers claiming equally fantastical numbers.
27/01/2011 17:51
Interesting the new Ford Fiesta 1.6 diesel econetic isn't mentioned - 76.3 MPG
05/06/2013 11:13
the title is top 10 most economical cars, however you have orderedby co2 emmisions???? Complete rubbish.
29/12/2012 01:09

Bought a Astra 1.7cdti (125) and poor mpg a big problem I find is a.. the on board computer is always 4 to 7 mpg incorrect as you think you are doing well but only way is brim fill it up and work out mpg over miles yourself.

b... The car makers give you extra gears i.e 6th so that you can run at faster speeds at lower rpm to give better mpg but if you drive keeping revs under 2000 you seem to fill this diesel particulate filter filling up and it goes onto a cleaning recycle knocking the fuel consuption down, this happens every other week,  I drive the car normaly over 4 weeks 4 fill ups 750 miles ave 43.9 my rover 45 2.0 was getting 50+ mpg doing same speeds and roads etc, the overall mpg on this model says 62 mpg and these figures are no were near to true mpg

21/01/2012 02:04

citroen c1 scores well compared to the cheaper suzuki alto road tax is £20 a year for both and insurance is cheaper for me in the citroen than the suzuki alto the mpg is about the same for both but the citroen has a better build quality as it is a toyota aygo in disguise they are both  city cars but the suzuki has a bit more room thay are capable on the motorway the citroen can be a bit sluggish on hills with more than one occupant  and both cars are a bit short on boot space so a split fold rear seat may prove its worth.

 the only problem occasionally reported in the citroen being a stiff clutch

incidentally the suzuki alto interior plastics are poor the engine mounts can become noisy and the rear wash  tube regularly detaches from the pump resulting in a wet foot (the alto is made in india and to a price) The citroen is made in the czek republic again to a price

I hope this helps in your decision when buying your next petrol sipper

09/01/2013 07:01
Fisker Karma lovely, fast .economical, modern and the inside is amazing.
Ok so those are the upsides now for the downsides 0  thats Zero UK dealers nearest one is in France and a UK price conversion of £87.000 to buy means you will have to be very light footed indeed to make the money back. Not so economical then.

10/10/2012 17:25
I am loving my Ampera.
I know it is not cheap to buy and I know it is not the complete answer yet. Nevertheless, I would be buying a car in the £30k price bracket anyway and the bonus is that the Ampera just happens to deliver about 50 miles of electric driving for £1, before switching to petrol.
It is also well equipped, smooth, quiet and yet surprisingly quick.

27/08/2013 19:53

I just got a Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 diesel ecoflex as it should get better economy and should save me as much in fuel as it costs on finance, plus being a new car is less likely to break down on my 120mile round trip to work every day.

However, I haven't been able to get it above 50mpg so it is not saving me any money and is in fact costing more when the finance cost is added!! It is also less comfortable, and considering that my previous car was a Honda Civic, 2003, petrol! I still wish that I had kept this car. My Honda had over 160K on the clock and still managed about 40mpg - which was increasing slightly since I changed the oil! Therefore, i wish I had kept the old car!!! (Plus the gearstick was in a much better position, very roomy and lots of floor space!)

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