We’ve rounded up some of the most appealing and fuel-efficient petrol cars across a number of classes to prove that opting for a petrol doesn’t have to mean big fuel bills. You can also potentially save money when buying a petrol car in the first place too – diesels are typically £1,000–£1,500 more expensive when bought new, so unless you drive lots and lots of miles, there’s no reason to avoid petrol models anymore.

And don’t think that petrol vehicles always come with a big economy penalty. Some of the best petrol cars have fuel economy figures that top 60mpg. Even if you opt for a mid-size 4×4 you can still find models that offer a return over 45mpg, providing you with low running costs.

Why buy a petrol car?

Today, modern petrol cars benefit from advanced fuel saving technologies, putting them up there with diesel alternatives for fuel economy. But it’s not just about the miles per gallon. There are other reasons to buy a petrol car over a diesel. Compared to diesels:

  • Petrol tends to be cheaper at the fuel pumps
  • Petrol cars often have cheaper starting prices
  • Petrol engines are usually quieter and smoother

The Top Most Economical Petrol Cars

Below you’ll see our top picks for the most economical petrol cars by class. These are our podium winners, but if you keep reading, you’ll get more info on the vehicles, as well as a handy Top 3 in each division.

  1. Most economical petrol city car: Peugeot 108
  2. Most efficient petrol small car: Mazda 2
  3. Most efficient petrol family car: Peugeot 308
  4. Most efficient petrol crossovers: Citroen C4
  5. Most efficient petrol SUVs: Ford Kuga
  6. Most efficient saloons: Peugeot 508
  7. Most efficient petrol estate car: Skoda Fabia

Most economical petrol city cars

Small and lightweight, drivers expect low running costs with city cars. But if you’re after the best of the best, you’ve come to the right place. Below are the top 3 most economical petrol city cars.

1. PEUGEOT 108 – Official fuel economy: 68.9mpg

In terms of the most economical petrol city cars, the Peugeot 108 really shares this top spot with its siblings, the Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo. You see, these 3 cars share the same platform, many of the same mechanical parts, and a 72hp 1.0-litre petrol engine. It’s mainly the styling that’s different. And in that department, we prefer the Peugeot 108.

Best Features
  • Stylish looks
  • Cheap to run
  • Good equipment levels
  • Official fuel economy: 68.9mpg
  • Real-world fuel consumption: 59mpg
  • CO2: 109g/km

2. KIA PICANTO – Official fuel economy: 59mpg

The Kia Picanto is another cheap to run city car that offers an excellent return. And when bought new it offers an excellent 7-years/100,000 miles warranty too, as well as class-leading boot space at 255 litres. Plus, it has a choice of petrol engines to choose from: a naturally-aspirated 66bhp 1.0-litre engine, an 83bhp 1.25-litre engine, and a 99bhp turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol engine.

Best Features
  • Good value for money
  • Lots of standard equipment
  • 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine
  • Official fuel economy: 59mpg
  • Real-world fuel consumption: 53mpg
  • CO2: 110g/km

3. HYUNDAI I10 – Official fuel economy: 60mpg

The Hyundai i10 has constantly moved with the times, improving with each generation. It’s come a long way since it first launched, and now it’s a rather impressive and stylish car that is surprisingly very practical despite its seemingly dinky dimensions. There are 3 engines to pick from, which are all economical, including the punchy N-Line model with the 99bhp turbocharged 1.0-litre engine – it can do 0-60mph in 10.3 seconds and still offers a good return of 52mpg.

Best Features
  • Stylish design
  • Impressive tech
  • Very practical
  • Official fuel economy: 60mpg
  • Real-world fuel consumption: 57mpg
  • CO2: 114g/km

Most efficient petrol small cars

If you need more space than a city car, but you still want to keep the dimensions on the smaller size, then check out small cars. They’re equally friendly on the budget and running costs front. Plus, the best models can offer up to 60mpg. Without further ado, here’s our top 3 most efficient petrol small cars:

1. MAZDA 2 – Official fuel economy: 60mpg

Fun to drive with accurate steering, the Mazda 2 is our pick for the most efficient petrol small car. All Mazda 2 models are fitted with different versions of the same 1.5-litre engine, in varying states of tune – from the 75bhp entry-level engine, to the range-topping 115bhp engine fitted to Sport + and GT Models, which offer a 0-60mph in 9 seconds. The entry-level engine is the most efficient, but even the 115bhp engine provides a good return.

Best Features
  • Lively engines
  • Excellent handling
  • Sporty cabin
  • Official fuel economy: 60mpg
  • Real-world fuel consumption: 55mpg
  • CO2: 107g/km

2. FORD FIESTA – Official fuel economy: 57mpg

A front runner in many a top 10 list, and for good reason too, the Ford Fiesta also makes it in our top 3 best small cars for fuel economy. It’s fun to drive and has brilliant handling too. Plus, Fiestas are known as reliable cars and there’s always an excellent range of fantastic used deals available as well. For the best return as a petrol, opt for the turbocharged 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine.

Best Features
  • Brilliant handling
  • Reliable
  • Great spec options
  • Official fuel economy: 57mpg
  • Real-world fuel consumption: 44mpg
  • CO2: 112g/km

3. SUZUKI BALENO– Official fuel economy: 62.7mpg

Coming well-equipped as standard, the Suzuki Baleno is a very practical small car with a spacious interior. The 1.0-litre petrol engine is also more efficient in the real world than Ford Fiesta. So, you can swap the two cars if you’re purely after the best fuel economy. We’ve only ranked the Fiesta higher because we value its fun driving characteristics.

Best Features
  • Well-equipped
  • Very practical
  • Spacious interior
  • Official fuel economy: 62.7mpg
  • Real-world fuel consumption: 55.2mpg
  • CO2: 105g/km

Most efficient petrol family cars

You might think as we move to the bigger family cars, there’s a bigger drop in fuel efficiency. But as you’ll soon see, these top 3 petrol family cars can hold their own in that department.

1. PEUGEOT 308 – Official fuel economy: 55mpg

With 110hp and 130hp versions of a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine available, the Peugeot 308 manages a very respectable 55mpg on paper. In reality, it’ll return around 45mpg driving in the city, which is still impressive fuel economy. Especially, when coupled with its excellent practicality for families.

Best Features
  • Economical engines
  • Lots of boot space
  • Great looking interior
  • Official fuel economy: 55mpg
  • Real-world fuel consumption: 45mpg
  • CO2: 116/km

2. MAZDA 3 – Official fuel economy: 56mpg

The Mazda 3 is a car that’s easy to love. It looks fantastic, it has a high-quality interior, and it’s great to drive too. Plus, it has a comfortable cabin and a refined ride experience. And importantly, it’ll help keep running costs down for families as well, offering a fantastic real-world return around 45mpg when driven carefully.

Best Features
  • High-quality interior
  • Looks fantastic
  • Great to drive
  • Official fuel economy: 56mpg
  • Real-world fuel consumption: 45mpg
  • CO2: 118g/km

3. KIA CEED– Official fuel economy: 58mpg

Another offering by Kia makes this list, meaning if you buy it new you get Kia’s fantastic 7-years/100,000 miles warranty. And if you buy a second-hand Kia Ceed, you still get a car that is very practical and spacious, with a good choice of economical engines. It’s also nice to drive, which is always a welcomed aspect in any car.

Best Features
  • Nice to drive
  • Practical and spacious
  • Good engines
  • Official fuel economy: 58mpg
  • Real-world fuel consumption: 45mpg
  • CO2: 119g/km

Most efficient petrol crossovers

Ever-popular, crossovers are all the rage right now, blending the practicality of an SUV with smaller dimensions for even better fuel efficiency. The top 3 most fuel-efficient petrol crossovers below certainly offer a fantastic return.

1. CITROEN C4 – True MPG: 50mpg

Older incarnations of the Citroen C4 were hatchbacks like the Ford Focus, but the ‘new’ C4 (introduced in 2010) has been given a makeover to become a stylish looking crossover. It comes with lots of standard equipment, and rockets into first place in our top 3 most efficient petrol crossovers, offering up to 55mpg. There’s also a new electric model if you want even lower running costs.

Best Features
  • Stylish exterior
  • Great standard equipment
  • Economical engines
  • Official fuel economy: 55mpg
  • Real-world fuel consumption: 50mpg
  • CO2: 117g/km

2. SUZUKI IGNIS – True MPG: 53mpg

The Suzuki Ignis blends the usefulness of a city car, with smaller dimensions and excellent fuel economy, as well as the practicality and styling of an SUV. It’s a charming crossover that’s brimming with character. It’s lightweight, great around town, and packed with lots of equipment too. It’s also cheap to buy and run. Again, if it’s pure fuel efficiency you’re after, you can pop the Ignis into first place.

Best Features
  • Practical
  • Cheap to run
  • Efficient engines
  • Official fuel economy: 54mpg
  • Real-world fuel consumption: 53mpg
  • CO2: 98g/km

3. SEAT ARONA – True MPG: 46mpg

Sharing parts with the Volkswagen T-Cross, the Seat Arona is built on the MQB A0 platform, which underpins all new small Volkswagen Group cars. The Arona is a modern looking crossover that is good to drive, with a spacious boot and lots of standard equipment and safety features. It also provides efficient engines, with the 1.0 TSI 110hp petrol engine offering the best return.

Best Features
  • Modern looks
  • Good to drive
  • Efficient engines
  • Official fuel economy: 53mpg
  • Real-world fuel consumption: 46mpg
  • CO2: 121g/km

Most efficient petrol SUVs

Are you after a practical SUV, but still want to keep costs low? Then look no further. These are three of the most economical petrol SUVs available.

1. FORD KUGA – True MPG: 36mpg

The Ford Kuga not only offers good fuel efficiency for a petrol SUV, it also offers a good driving experience too. It has a stylish exterior and a spacious interior as well, ticking the all-important box of being a practical family SUV. There are also two efficient petrol hybrid models available that boost the fuel efficiency even further than the figures listed here.

Best Features
  • Good to drive
  • Good value
  • Spacious interior
  • Official fuel economy: 42.6mpg
  • Real-world fuel consumption: 36mpg
  • CO2: 149g/km

2. PEUGEOT 5008 –True MPG: 36mpg

The Peugeot 5008 is a well-built, practical SUV with a stylish exterior and a modern interior. It’s a big, chunky looking car, yet its 1.2 PureTech 130hp petrol engine provides all the kick you need, with a 0-62mph around 10 seconds – impressive for a car this size.

Best Features
  • Stylish exterior
  • Modern interior
  • Well built
  • Official fuel economy: 48mpg
  • Real-world fuel consumption: 36mpg
  • CO2: 133g/km

3. RENAULT KADJAR – True MPG: 38mpg

Representing good value for money, the Renault Kadjar drives into third place as one of our most economical petrol SUVs. It’s very practical, it drives well, and it looks great too. The Kadjar also shares a platform with the ever-popular Nissan Qashqai for those who like to know such details. For fuel efficiency, the Kadjar offers up to 45mpg thanks to a turbocharged 1.3 TCe 140hp petrol engine. In the real-world, you can expect a return around 38mpg.

Best Features
  • Good value for money
  • Looks and drives well
  • Very practical
  • Official fuel economy: 45mpg
  • Real-world fuel consumption: 38mpg
  • CO2: 142g/km

Most efficient saloon cars

If you’re after something a bit more on the sleek and stylish side, instead of a chunky SUV, then take a look at our top 3 saloon cars. They offer an involved driving experience, bucket loads of style, and great fuel economy too.

1. PEUGEOT 508 – True MPG: 44mpg

The Peugeot 508 offers a refined interior and a nice driving experience, offering excellent levels of practicality. What more could you ask for in a saloon car? Great fuel efficiency? It offers that too, with the 1.2 PureTech 130hp petrol engine. Of course, for even greater fuel efficiency there are diesel and hybrid models, but nonetheless, the miles per gallon on the petrol is still impressive.

Best Features
  • Excellent practicality
  • Nice driving experience
  • Refined interior
  • Official fuel economy: 49mpg
  • Real-world fuel consumption: 44mpg
  • CO2: 129g/km

2. AUDI A4 – True MPG: 38mpg

If you’re looking for a stylish saloon then the Audi A4 is well worth a look, with its classy styling and high-quality interior. It’s very refined too, and offers a roomy cabin. Plus, it comes with lots of standard kit too. In addition, the petrol engine provides good fuel efficiency for a car of this type and calibre.

Best Features
  • Roomy, high-quality interior
  • Very refined
  • Classy styling
  • Official fuel economy: 46mpg
  • Real-world fuel consumption: 38mpg
  • CO2: 139g/km

3. MERCEDES-BENZ C CLASS – True MPG: 38mpg

Fun to drive, the Mercedes-Benz C Class is a stylish car that enjoys the strong brand image you expect of the prestigious marque. The C Class comes with an excellent level of technology, and a good range of petrol and diesel engines too, some of which can be remarkably fast. However, we’re not about speed today, but efficiency! And in terms of the petrol offerings, for the best return you’ll want to look at the 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine used in the newer C200 models.

Best Features
  • Sporty to drive
  • Strong brand image
  • Excellent tech levels
  • Official fuel economy: 44mpg
  • Real-world fuel consumption: 38mpg
  • CO2: 140g/km

Most efficient petrol estate cars

Finally, we have our most efficient petrol estate cars. Whilst estates might not currently be as popular as SUVs and crossovers, they still offer superb practicality and lots of space. And our top estate cars also offer excellent fuel efficiency too.

1. SKODA FABIA – True MPG: 50mpg

With an ergonomic cabin, the Skoda Fabia Estate is a practical car that’s also comfortable to drive and great value for money. For the best return, you’ll want to opt for the entry-level 74bhp 1.0-litre MPI petrol engine, which just so happens to be the same one used in the chirpy Skoda Citigo. However, this engine does have to work a tad harder with the Fabia’s larger estate frame, so you may want to consider trying a slightly more powerful engine as well.

Best Features
  • Comfortable to drive
  • Practical cabin
  • Great value
  • Official fuel economy: 53mpg
  • Real-world fuel consumption: 50mpg
  • CO2: 111g/km

2. FIAT TIPO STATION WAGON– True MPG: 50mpg

In second place in our top 3 efficient petrol estate cars is the Fiat Tipo Station Wagon. The Tipo nameplate first began life in 1988, with the car in its current guise brought back to life and into production in 2015. It’s also available as a hatchback, and offers an impressive real-world return around 50mpg.

Best Features
  • Lots of trim options
  • Spacious and practical
  • Good standard kit
  • Official fuel economy: 52mpg
  • Real-world fuel consumption: 50mpg
  • CO2: 123g/km

3. PEUGEOT 308 SW – True MPG: 44mpg

Like the hatchback model, the Peugeot 308 SW estate car offers a 1.2 PureTech 130hp petrol engine for an official fuel economy figure of 55mpg. With the longer frame and extra weight, the real-world figure will be a little lower around 44mpg. Nevertheless, that’s still a really good return for an estate.

Best Features
  • Lovely interior
  • Large boot space
  • Efficient engines
  • Official fuel economy: 55mpg
  • Real-world fuel consumption: 44mpg
  • CO2: 116g/km

From SUVs to city cars, petrol vehicles can still offer excellent fuel economy. And with self-charging petrol hybrids and plug-in petrol hybrids, you can increase the miles per gallon even further.

A point to remember though, under current UK plans, the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK is set to be banned from 2030. However, some hybrids will get to remain on sale until 2035. Nonetheless, perhaps now is the time to consider switching to a full electric vehicle.

Search Less. Live More. And if you’re thinking of making the switch to an efficient and environmentally friendly EV, then check out our Electric Car Guide – you’ll find lots of useful info to help you make your decision.