Most Fuel-Efficient Cars in 2024

Here’s a look at the most economical cars you should buy in 2024.

As gas prices have increased a lot over the last year and have generally shown a steady incline over the last few years, one thing that’s important for motorists is the fuel efficiency of their cars. 

Being fuel efficient means the vehicle goes through petrol or diesel slowly, meaning it can last a long distance on the road before needing to be refused. This makes driving and owning the car more convenient and also cheaper, as you won’t need to go refuel as often. 

There are plenty of great fuel-efficient cars on the market of various body shapes. Here’s a look at some of the best, most fuel-efficient vehicles that are also practical and desirable in other ways. 

Most economical cars for 2024

These are the top 10 most fuel-efficient cars:

  1. Peugeot 208 
  2. Citroen C3
  3. Skoda Octavia 
  4. Volkswagen Golf
  5. Seat Leon
  6. Honda Jazz
  7. Toyota Corolla
  8. Suzuki Ignis
  9. Dacia Sandero 
  10. Vauxhall Astra
In this guide

How to choose a fuel-efficient car?

There are many things to consider when getting a fuel-efficient car, as it’s not just as simple as picking a vehicle with the most mileage per gallon. Although you can go that route and use that metric as the leading indicator of a car’s quality, you should also consider other factors to ensure it’s a good car overall.

For example, you don’t want a vehicle that can last long if it’s miserable to drive and cramped and offers no practicality. 

Weight significantly influences a car’s fuel efficiency; the less mass the engine needs to propel, the less fuel and power are required.

You’ll find that the most fuel-efficient cars in the UK are small, either being hatchbacks or city cars. This is because these cars are some of the lightest on the market.

A hatchback or city car will do the job for most people, especially if you’re nipping around town at lower speeds and don’t need to transport many people. However, you may need a larger car to suit your needs; in that case, you may have to sacrifice some mileage. That said, plenty of SUVs have good fuel economy that you can read more about here on Car Adviser.  

Another thing that can influence the efficiency of your vehicle that you may want to add to your list of considerations is the bodywork and aerodynamic design of the car. Boxy and tall cars will have poor aerodynamics, creating drag that adds friction to the vehicle, meaning it needs more fuel to power through.

A slim, well-designed car will pierce through the wind and not create as much. That’s why you should check out the look of a vehicle to see if it’s got the characteristics that make it fuel efficient. 

Additionally, you’ll want to pay attention to the fuel type used in these cars. Most people want a fuel-efficient vehicle because it will save them money. As a result, you may want to choose a petrol option over a diesel one, even if the diesel provides better miles per gallon.

This is because diesel can be around 20p a litre more expensive, which can add up when refuelling a tank. Of course, if the diesel car completely outclasses the petrol in terms of miles per gallon, then go with that one, but if there are only a couple of miles per gallon difference, you could find that the petrol option is cheaper overall. 

With these critical factors detailed, the criteria should clarify what makes a good fuel-efficient car. Here’s a look at the top ten options you should consider in 2024:

Peugeot 208

Peugeot 208

The Peugeot 208 is a great option if you’re looking for good fuel economy, providing that you pick up a diesel option. If you do, you’ll experience a range of 650 miles per full tank, thanks to its crazy high 72.2mpg. This will have you fueling up very infrequently, even though the car has a small 41-litre fuel tank. 

The 208 is a comfortable hatchback that is well-refined and pretty fun to ride as well. It has a great interior, making it feel up-market and luxurious, although space can be a mixed bag. The front seats have plenty of room; however, the rear will likely not be comfortable for adults. 

As a smaller car, the 208 is excellent in towns, able to weave in and out of traffic really well. It has good steering and excellent visibility to the front, thanks to a slightly raised driving position, but its styling does create some blind spots to the rear and back of the car.

The 208 is also good on motorways, dealing with bumps well, providing you’re going fast; however, it is average around corners. 

Peugeot 208 Pros and Cons

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Citroen C3

Citroen is a premier French car manufacturer fond of diesel engines, which helps them create some of the most fuel-efficient, small cars on the market.

Thanks to its diesel engine and small weight and size, the C3 offers a range of around 70-75mpg, meaning that you’ll be saving a lot of money on refuelling, as you won’t have to do it that often. 

The C3 is more of a sensible car than one that will excite you, as it’s less fun to drive than some staple hatchbacks. It is a pretty stylish car to look at, sporting its signature side door bumpers that give it an iconic and recognisable look. The interior is equally stylish and pretty comfortable to sit in unless you’re a tall rear passenger.

The Citroen C3 has fantastic suspension, allowing for a comfortable drive at various speeds as long as you’re cruising at a solid pace. It is also pretty quiet, keeping exterior noise to a minimum.

The Citroen does suffer from clunky gears, which can affect the smoothness of the ride as you go up them, but it should be alright once you’ve settled at a speed. 

Citroen C3 Pros and Cons

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Skoda Octavia

Skoda Octavia

The Skoda Octavia offers a great range when opting for the diesel version, providing around 70mpg, making it a pretty efficient option. In addition to that fuel efficiency, you’ll also get a practical car when you opt for the Skoda, as it feels pleasant and refined when cursing at high speeds and drives nicely when cornering and making sharp turns. 

Taking influence from other saloon cars, the Octavia offers a lot more rear legroom than some of the other options on this list, making it practical in fuel efficiency and space, making it a perfect option for families

Despite being bigger than other cars on this list, the Skoda still works in the city, thanks to its tight turning circle. It’s also easy to park, helping it to become a versatile option. The car can be loud on the motorway, which can get annoying after long drives, and it also struggles on super bumpy roads like country lanes. 

Regardless, this is still an excellent choice if you’re looking for a fuel-efficient family car.

Skoda Octavia Pros and Cons

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Volkswagen Golf

Comparatively, the Volkswagen Golf is pretty similar to the Skoda Octavia, with both of these cars offering around 70mpg officially, making them pretty fuel efficient. However, when comparing these cars exclusively, you’ll see that the Golf comes out on top. 

What makes the Golf a great option, in addition to its fuel efficiency, is that it’s a fantastic all-rounder, able to slot into multiple situations, thanks to its size, space, driving performance, and safety features. 

The car is very smooth on well-maintained roads, gliding over them with minimal rumble. It also handles bumps much better than other options, allowing you to enjoy a comfortable trip no matter where you’re going. It is a divisive car in terms of looks, especially the newer versions, but this will be a grand option if it suits your tastes. 

The biggest issue with the Golf is that there have been persistent tech issues with its infotainment system. Although this has been fixed with software updates, you need to make sure the model you buy has had these updates applied to minimise risks.

To get the best mileage, the diesel engine is the best option. That said, the Golf also offers good petrol options too, boasting a fantastic 50mpg range.

Volkswagen Golf Pros and Cons

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Seat Leon

Seat Leon

Right off the bat, the SEAT Leon isn’t as economical as some of the other fuel-efficient cars on this list, although it can still provide a very respectable 65.7mpg, which still outclasses many other diesel cars.

It uses the same engine as the Skoda Octavia, another very efficient option; however, its weight and size mean it’s not as efficient when comparing the two. 

The Leon makes up for this tiny shortcoming in other ways, making it a great option if you’re looking for a fuel-efficient car. Unlike many other options, the SEAT is punchy, offering a high amount of torque that offers good acceleration, making it a fun car to drive. It also goes through the gears well, helping it to be a smooth and enjoyable vehicle when behind the wheel. 

The SEAT Leon offers a good amount of size and bulk, making it suit families and longer distances. However, it may not be best suited in the city, especially as it has a pretty wide turning circle that can make manoeuvring tough, especially when things are highly congested. 

Seat Leon Pros and Cons

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Honda Jazz

Honda Jazz

The Honda Jazz is a tiny city car, best suited for short trips around town for a single person and a passenger. Unlike many other options on this list, the Honda Jazz is a hybrid petrol and electric car, which combines to give it a good quality range that can compete with these other engine types.

As petrol is cheaper than diesel when filling up, not only will this car stop you from having to refuel as often, but it will also allow you to save money, making it economical and efficient. 

As long as you can fit in it, the Jazz is a very comfortable car, with excellent seats and good legroom for passengers in the front seats. It also offers a good amount of storage space, especially in the boot, which is impressive for its size. You can also fold the rear seats to create even more room for larger items. 

Despite being cheap to fuel, the Honda Jazz is a bit more expensive than some other small cars, which is something to be wary about. In addition, the ride quality of the Jazz can be detrimental, as it is bumpy at low speeds. As it’s designed to be a city car driving at low speeds, this lack of driving comfort can be a pretty big negative. 

Honda Jazz Pros and Cons

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Toyota Corolla

Toyota Corolla

If you are looking for a petrol-electric hybrid which a fantastic range, consider the Toyota Corolla. With a range of 435 miles with a full tank, this car is brilliant for cross-country trips or for simply nipping around towns and cities.

In addition to having a fantastic range, the Corolla has plenty of other features and perks going for it, making it an excellent option if you want a sensible and reliable car.

To start, Toyota offers an insane 10-year warranty if you get the vehicle served within their dealer network, and this warranty is valid for 100,000 miles too. In addition, the Corolla is objectively a stylish and nice-looking car, boasting a good build quality, which means it’s also something that’s super reliable. 

What can be seen as a drawback is that the Corolla has an automatic gearbox, which isn’t always the best and can be clunky.

It also lacks the required space in the back to be suitable for larger passengers and is also pretty expensive to buy compared to some of the other alternatives. 

Toyota Corolla Pros and Cons

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Suzuki Ignis

Suzuki Ignis

The Suzuki Ignis is a small car with a lot of character, thanks to it shrinking the characteristics of an SUV into a small hatchback.

As a result, this car offers a higher driving position, giving the driver better control and good views of the road ahead. It’s also a much taller car than most hatchbacks, meaning that roof height shouldn’t be an issue, making it great for transporting larger passengers in the back. Its practicality is also good, offering a nice amount of boot space for luggage. 

All of this comes together in a vehicle that can boast 58mpg, which is a respectable amount and makes it reasonably economical to run and operate. 

Although it sounds like the perfect small car, be aware that it can struggle to perform on the motorway due to its weaker engine. It’s best suited to shorter journeys around town, and many of the other micro-SUV alternatives are comfier and better in other departments.

Suzuki Ignis Pros and Cons

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Dacia Sandero

New Dacia Sandero Stepway Bi-Fuel-6

If you’re looking for a cheap car to insure, buy and run, there are not many better brands than Dacia. Dominating the cheap car field, you can pick up a Sandero for a fraction of many of the other options on this list. 

The Sandero is far from being as economical as the other cars on this list, offering a maximum of 53mpg. However, it makes up for this by being one of the few cars that can be run on petrol and liquified petroleum gas, which is much cheaper than the other fuel options, helping you save money when you fuel up. 

In addition to being cheap in almost every way, the Dacia is quality and offers good value for money. The interior is spacious and practical and holds it’s value well, allowing you to sell it later without making a massive loss. It also has a decent driving performance that’s better than it should be at this price, and it also has a soft suspension that deals well with rough road surfaces. 

The Dacia’s biggest issue is its poor safety rating, which may worry you if you’re scared of getting into accidents when on the motorway. This makes the car best suited to town driving, where high-impact collisions are less likely. It also lacks a few quality-of-life features, such as USB charging ports. 

Dacia Sandero Pros and Cons

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Vauxhall Astra

Vauxhall Astra

The Astra is well known as being a reliable car that sips fuel slowly, offering an advertised 65.7mpg, making it a great option if you’re looking to save money on fuel. Although efficient, the engine on the Astra is pretty good, offering 104bhp, meaning that it can accelerate well and get up to speed quickly, helping it to maintain pace on the motorway. 

In terms of appearance, the Astra has changed over the years, with modern versions being much sharper and eye-catching, using angles and straight lines to evoke elegance and reliability. This look has been a hit with many motorists, meaning it’s a car you should feel stylish driving. 

As a hatchback, it’s one of the smaller car body types on the market, meaning that it may be a bit of a squeeze when trying to fit in a family of four, especially if the rear passengers are fully grown. It does handle well, taking bends and corners in its stride, and offers a big boot, helping it to be a convenient option. 

Vauxhall Astra Pros and Cons

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Fuel Efficient Cars FAQS

On average, you'll find that the cars with the biggest range are diesel cars. The reason for this is the chemical makeup of the diesel liquid. In basic terms, when you compare the same volume of diesel and petrol, the diesel will have more energy within it, meaning that less is required for the chemical combustions within the engine. 

The difference between diesel and petrol fuel efficiency can be large, as on average, you'll get 20 more miles per gallon with a diesel version of a car than you will with the petrol model.  

The heavier a car is, the more fuel it will need to propel it forward, as the engine must work harder and be more powerful to shift the weight. This is why most fuel-efficient cars are typically lighter cars, such as hatchbacks and superminis. 

A smaller engine needs less fuel to complete each revolution and push the car forward. This means that vehicles with smaller engines will usually burn through less fuel than a car with a larger engine size.

Of course, with a smaller engine, you'll have worse driving performance, which for some is a worthy payoff for better fuel efficiency. 

When a car drives at speed, the wind around it is affected by the shape of the car. If the vehicle is bulky and boxy, it will find it harder to push through the air and wind, and in some cases, the shape of a car could create additional resistance that requires fuel for the vehicle to get through. 

Known as drag, cars that are fuel efficient will have been designed to minimise this wind resistance, being aerodynamically designed to push the wind away from the vehicle so that it can pierce through it easier.  

To better illustrate the effects of good aerodynamics, think of a diver jumping into a pool. They create a smaller splash by diving headfirst with their arms pointed in front of them than if they bellyflopped. This is because they have a higher surface area that creates resistance, and cars are designed to limit this for better fuel efficiency. 

Smaller, lighter cars are typically the most fuel-efficient, as they have less weight for the engine to propel. This means that some of the smaller body types, such as hatchbacks, superminis, and city cars, will typically have the best fuel efficiency. 

In addition, hybrid cars are also starting to get a massive range, as electric technology can help provide an additional boost that can help the car reach longer distances before needing to be refuelled.

If you want to get the most mileage out of your car, consider how you drive it. This is because certain things can drain the fuel quicker than other actions. 

For example, braking sharply exerts more energy, wasting more fuel. Accelerating quickly can also waste fuel, meaning you'll burn through a full tank quicker if you drive aggressively. 

Instead, try to be smoother in your acceleration and braking to save fuel and conserve it. Try to stick to a single speed, too, as cruising is also great for fuel efficiency. 

As fuel prices fluctuate a lot over the months and years, it's tough to work out a definitive amount you can save with a fuel-efficient car. However, over a year, you will see significant savings depending on how often you use the car. 

Generally, a car that gives you ten more miles per gallon than another will cost you around £600 less a year than that car. Over five years, which is the average lifespan of a vehicle before it's sold, you'll be able to save around £3,000, which can be put towards other car costs or be saved for a rainy day.

Because fuel-efficient cars have smaller engines and less horsepower, they'll likely be a lot slower at acceleration and may have a lower top speed than others. This should be fine if you're using the vehicle to dart around town, as you won't need much speed anyway, but some cars can feel a little sluggish when on the motorway, so it's worth considering when assessing fuel-efficient cars.

As fuel efficiency is a significant benefit and selling point of a car, many vehicles with good gas mileage are usually sold at a higher price than cars that guzzle through petrol and diesel. 

Although this may put some people off buying these cars, there's a big chance you'll still save money in the long run, as you'll have lower running costs. When purchasing a more expensive fuel-efficient car, consider it an investment that should pay you back the longer you drive and own it. 

The less fuel a car needs to go through to travel a certain distance will be a more environmentally friendly option, especially when compared to a vehicle that needs more fuel to reach that distance. 

It's said that fuel-efficient cars can help reduce pollution and smog in our atmosphere by as much as 50%, which can have a massive effect on our ecosystem and the health of our local habitat. 

As cars are powered by finite fossil fuels, needing less of this fuel is always a good thing for the environment.

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