We know manufacturer-claimed mpg (miles per gallon) figures don’t always reflect everyday driving. That’s why every car that passes through our Test Lab goes through a robust, more realistic, mpg test.
We’ve rounded up the top 10 most fuel-efficient superminis from our tests to help you make an informed decision when looking for a frugal runabout.
1. VW Polo 1.2 TDI BlueMotion – 74.3mpg
Launched in 2009, the latest Volkswagen Polo has a similar look and feel to the popular Golf.
We were very impressed with the economical 1.2 diesel BlueMotion, which returned 74.3mpg. Although this is lower than Volkswagen’s claimed 80.7mpg, it’s still high enough for us to crown it the most fuel-efficient supermini tested.
2. Smart ForTwo Coupé 0.8 CDI – 70.6mpg
A true city car produced by a division of Mercedes-Benz, we found the Smart ForTwo Coupé not only efficient, but surprisingly spacious for occupants. Low annual car tax (VED), combined with impressive fuel economy figures, make this a model to consider as a city companion. Just make sure you can live with just two seats…
3. Audi A1 1.6 TDI – 67.3mpg
One of the better models in the supermini class for refinement and cabin quality, the Audi A1 1.6 TDI offers a notable 67.3mpg. Although pricier to buy than many competitors, those looking for a trendy hatchback can at least look forward to affordable running costs.
4. Peugeot 207 1.6 HDi – 65.7mpg
The Peugeot 207 offers a safe and secure drive with good road-holding and plenty of interior space.
The diesel line-up is strong and, of those we’ve tested, the 1.6 HDi 90bhp comes out top in terms of fuel economy, achieving more than 65mpg. CO2 emissions are also low, measuring at 114g/km in our tests.
5. Citroën DS3 1.6 e-HDi 90 Airdream – 64.2mpg
The Citroën DS3’s rakish looks are sure to make it stand out from the numerous superminis filling our streets – it’s clear Citroën is looking to take on the likes of the Mini Cooper, Audi A1 and Fiat 500.
It’s fun to drive, comfortable inside and returned 64.2mpg in our tests – some way off the claimed 74.3mpg, but still fairly impressive.
6. VW Polo 1.6 TDI BlueMotion – 64.2mpg
A second VW Polo makes the list, once again in BlueMotion guise, but this time with a 1.6 diesel engine. Built for economy, not speed, the 90bhp engine reaches 62mph from standstill in a workaday 11.5 seconds. However, with 64.2mpg on offer, it’s a compromise many buyers will be willing to make.
7. Ford Fiesta Econetic 1.6 TDCi – 62.8mpg
The Ford Fiesta is the most popular new car in the UK with more than 96,000 registrations in 2011. If you’re looking to join the masses and are after an economical model then head for the Econetic 1.6 TDCi. This model achieved 62.8mpg in our tests and only 115g/km CO2 emissions.
8. Citroën C3 1.6 HDi – 62.8mpg
Ride quality in the latest C3 is good and the car is generally very smooth – however there are many rivals which offer the same level of comfort and excel in other areas, too. One thing the C3 1.6 HDi does have in its favour is the efficient engine – recording 62.8 mpg in our tests.
9. Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 CDTi EcoFlex – 61.4mpg
The Vauxhall Corsa is larger than most superminis, so one to consider for taller occupants. Although falling well short of the claimed 76.3 mpg, we still measured 61.4mpg in the 1.3 CDTi EcoFlex – not bad for a car of this size.
Beware heavy depreciation if you’re buying a new Corsa – but go second-hand and this could prove very cheap to buy and run.
10. Mazda 2 1.6 D Sport – 58.9mpg
This fun-to-drive supermini will appeal to many as it has a very attractive price tag – this specific model starts at £14,795, however petrol models can be found for under £10,000.
It’s worth noting that the petrol engine doesn’t come close to this diesel for fuel consumption – the 1.6 litre diesel achieves 58.9mpg whereas the 1.5 litre petrol model measured in at just 39.8mpg.