Fuel economy figures provided by car manufacturers have traditionally been taken with a grain of salt by many. Often, car owners never manage to come close to the “miles per gallon” promised by marketing materials.

This is the purpose of “Real MPG,” which is a system HonestJohn.co.uk use to compile real life fuel economy figures from car owners. These realistic figures make it possible to compare real-life fuel economy with what’s promised by the manufacturers.

In a moment we’ll run through the vehicles that have recently performed best in Real MPG terms. First, however, it’s worth pointing out the surprising fact that several cars actually outperform the figures promised by the car makers. This is a true case of “under promise and over deliver,” which is very pleasing to see.

So, without further ado, here’s a run-down of the ten best vehicles for Real MPG; five diesels and five petrol models. All of these surpass the promises made by their manufacturers – some by more than 20%.

The Best Diesels for Real MPG

1) Land Rover Defender 110 SW (1984 – 2015) – 114.0% of official average MPG

The trusty Land Rover Defender has topped Real MPG tables for years. Owing to its age, the Defender precedes the EC laboratory tests that so many modern cars are designed to excel in. As a result the Land Rover exceeds its official claims by 14 per cent. On average it is the 110 SW that provides the best economy, with a Real MPG score of 29.2mpg, which is almost 5mpg more than Land Rover originally advertised.

2) Mitsubishi Lancer 2.0 DI-D (2008 – 2014) – 111.5% of official average

The Mitsubishi Lancer was a car that struggled against the superior Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra. Both were better to drive and more comfortable. That said, the Lancer diesel trumps both when it comes to real world fuel economy, with Real MPG drivers averaging an impressive 49.2mpg.

3) Volkswagen T5 Caravelle 2.5 TDI (2003 – 2015) – 107.2% of official average

We’re big fans of the big and comfortable Caravelle. Not only was it one of the few Volkswagens to emerge from the emissions scandal unscathed, but Real MPG figures show it to be one of the best MPVs for real world economy. On average, the T5 Caravelle will return 33.8mpg, but some Real MPG drivers have reported as much as 41.5mpg, which makes the large people carrier ideal for large families and taxi drivers alike.

4) Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.6 DDiS (2013 – ) – 100.6% of official average

The Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is great value and cheap to run, with the 1.6 DDiS providing 60mpg+. Real MPG drivers back up Suzuki’s fuel economy claims, with the SX4 S-Cross scoring a commendable 100.6 per cent of its official average.

5) Skoda Octavia 1.9 TDI (2004 – 2013) – 103.7% of official average

It might be the old model, but the 2004 – 2014 Skoda Octavia continues to impress Real MPG drivers with an average of 54.7mpg. The Octavia’s low fuel costs are made all the more attractive when you consider how large and comfortable it is inside, while its keen handling characteristics make it surprisingly capable on a demanding B road.

Real MPG: The Best Petrol Vehicles

1) Jaguar XF 3.0 V6 (2008-2015) – 120.0% of official average MPG

Admittedly, most XFs on the road are diesel powered, but in the hands of Real MPG drivers the 3.0-litre V6 petrol manages to better its official fuel economy by an impressive rate. According to Jaguar the V6 should average at 26.8mpg, but the true figure is closer to 32mpg.

2) Nissan X-Trail 2.0 (2007-2014) – 119.5% of official average MPG

With an official economy figure of 32.5mpg and a Real MPG average of 38.8mpg, the petrol-powered X-Trail is a surprisingly strong performer. In fact, all variants of the previous X-Trail do well in Real MPG, coming close to or bettering their official figures in real world driving. If you want a practical and well-built family car, the X-Trail is a sensible used buy.

3) Maserati Coupe 4.2 V8 (2001-2007) – 117.8% of official average MPG

Don’t read into this one too much – this exotic Italian car is only officially capable of 15.2mpg, so the fact it beats its official figures by 18 per cent means very little. You can’t really call 17.9mpg a good figure, although if you’re buying a Maserati of this vintage, fuel economy is unlikely to be top of your priority list.

4) Vauxhall Monaro 5.7 V8 (2004-2007) – 117.2% official average MPG

The average Real MPG figure for the slightly bonkers V8-powered Monaro is 21.7mpg so it’s not an economical car – but Vauxhall officially claimed it was capable of just 18.5mpg, meaning owners typically beat the official figures. Based on a Holden, the Monaro is not a car for the shy or retiring type, but you get plenty of power for your money.

5) Honda Legend 3.5 i-VTEC (2006-2009) – 116.9% of official average MPG

Luxurious, plush and packed with technology, the 2006 Honda Legend was ahead of its time in many ways – but its official economy figure of just over 20mpg felt distinctly twentieth century. In the real world it manages nearer 30mpg, but even so it’s hardly wallet-friendly at the pumps.

Clearly, some of these cars are more practical choices than others! However, these Real MPG figures offer a fascinating insight into how realistic (or otherwise) some manufacturer’s figures can prove. We thank HonestJohn.co.uk for sharing this with us and our readers.

This post was created in association with motoring website HonestJohn.co.uk who provide “Real MPG” figures that truly allow motorists to choose vehicles based on a realistic fuel economy prediction.

IMAGE CREDIT: Flickr

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