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
My Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI Petrol Hatchback regularly gets to over 50 miles to the gallon,when I drive longer distances at lower speeds ( under 60mph) keeping my foot off the accelerator in situations where I will need to brake
I have a Honda Civic diesel that has averaged about 64mpg over 10,000 miles with no in town driving and 70% of the journeys over 200 miles. This is way below the manufactures figures, and there is usually 6mpg discrepancy below the average shown on the instrument panel and the fuel used for each trip. Why is it necessary for manufacturers to mislead us?
How does the Nissan Micra compare?
what planet do you think 90% of us live on?
MY NEW FORD KRUGA 2.00 LTR AUTOMATIC ONLY DOES 35 MPG EVEN DRIVEN LIGHTLY ON A RUN ——
HOW DOES THIS COMPARE TO OTHER SAME KRUGA’ S
MY OLD CAR A PEUGEOT 307 SPORT I.6 LTR MANUAL DRIVEN THE SAME GAVE 56 MPG AROUND TOWN
I be interested to find out if my KRUGA performing
I’m not interested in the %age of official average MPG. I am only interested in the actual MPG.
It would be good to see more user figures, particularly for the more common cars. I can give you mine. I have a 2011 Honda CR-V diesel manual and I average 38.8 mpg. My usage is mainly hilly suburban and fast motorway driving. I think the manufacturer’s combined figure is just over 43 mpg and I can achieve this on a long steady motorway journey.
From my old-generation Saab 9-5 1.9 diesel estate I get 46 mpg, from my new-generation Saab 9-5 2.0 diesel saloon I get 48 mpg,
My BMW520D M Sport 2014
I use shall V Power Diesel and I get almost 690 miles from a full tank Good pull away and sounds quite
If I use just Standard Diesel I get about 560 miles from a full tank and the car sounds bit ruff
So all in all you get what you pay for
I run a 2011 Toyota Auris, 1300 cc engine, which returns 42-44 mpg locally, rising to 46 mpg on longer runs. Not up to the maker’s claims ( which I think was about 48-50 mpg combined), but I am still fairly pleased with its economy overall.
It would be best if all figures were related to litres as we cannot buy petrol in gallons any more and this would be a consistent figure across the EU while we are still members.
Although we are very unlikely to ever return to gallons.
Great idea, but the vehicles in the two ‘top fives’ are mostly high cost and high fuel usage.
I have never trusted the manufacturer’s figures instead I accept around 75% of their top figure to be about the max you could get.
Real mpg is a nice idea. But it’s flawed because people are not very good at measuring their cars’ fuel consumption. Some rely on the trip computer, others only measure the occasional long journey, nearly all rely on their cars’ odometer being correct. And who knows, Ferrari drivers may drive faster than Ford drivers, so it’s not a like for like comparison. Really what’s being measured is “perceived economy”.
I am surprised the figures shown above are so good. I run a one year old petrol Vauxhall Corsa 1.4 SE which has a fuel computer and I mostly drive on the motorway and with careful driving for good fuel economy. I get just over 49 mpg which I thought was good.
Would like to see figures from other owners of Vauxhall Corsas like mine.
My partner also drives a Vauxhall Corsa 1.4 SE but gets a lower mpg than me, but that probably is subject to her travel and driving care. I think her figure is more like 44 mpg.
Does anyone rate the Vauxhall Corsa 1.4 SE as a good economy car to drive?
This list might confuse some. Whilst it is good to see that some vehicles actually are more economical than they advertise, what purchasers will actually be interested in is what are the most economical vehicles in the vehicle types they are interested in. Some might be confused into thinking the Land Rover and the Jag are the most economical diesel and petrol vehicles respectively. A tank offering 1 mpg but achieving 1.5 mpg would top either of those lists.
Real MPG is very sensitive to the quality of maintenance or lack of. It is also directly affected by air conditioning usage, which can increase consumption by around 10%.
This would have been more useful had you looked at the popular models most people are driving
Official consumption figures are definitely rubbish. My Fiesta 1.0/123 Ecoboost had nothing about it to support the ECO label. It was expensive to buy and managed a miserable 43-44 mpg.
The best vehicle we have owned for economy is a 2006 Skoda Fabia 1.9 Tdi estate with 5-speed manual gearbox. I passed it on to my son in 2012 and he is still driving it: it still looks terrific when it’s had a wash & polish. It comfortably returns 55 mpg and frequently exceeds 60 mpg on a long run.
The second best is our current 2015 Yeti Outdoor 2.0 Tdi 4×4 with 6-speed DSG gearbox. It returns in the lower end of the 40s in local driving (about the same as the Fiesta Ecoboost) and around 50 mpg on a decent journey.
Our 2014 A5 2.0 tdi auto gets around 42mpg with sensible A road driving. Not bad for a big car, but nowhere near the manufacturer claimed 58.9!
The only way to find true MPG is to fill the tank…set the trip meter to zero…then use the car until the fuel is nearly gone.
Fill up again checking how much you put in and see how many miles of normal driving you did on that amount of fuel…..
How about a real car the ones that 95% off us buy. Get Real
These cars you have chosen don’t represent the popular vehicles that most people drive.Most of these cars are for rather better off drivers, the only really everyday popular car is the Skoda.
My Volvo S80 D3 with a capacity of 1998 cc, does only 35 mpg, that is if my conversion of Liters to Gallons is correct. Took it up with my Dealer who assures me that it is owing to the environmental attachments which causes lower mpg than my previous S80 which was a 2.5 Litre Engine with Turbo, which returned anything from 49 mpg to an average of 52 mpg.
Have a start/stop Kia 1.1l with manufacturer’s claim of 74 mpg. A sick joke! Have never bettered 47 mpg, even on long runs. Have confirmed similar performance with other owners. My previous Mitsubishi Colt (not stop-start) regularly achieved 52 mpg. Also have a Jazz Honda that gives up to 58 mpg on long journeys and 45 mpg on local trips. KIA are seriously in breach of true representation. When querying the 74 mpg claim KIA avoid addressing the issue. Time that they were challenged in court for serious misrepresentation!
Most of these vehicles are larger engine, higher power vehicles and I guess a slight change in driving style will have a high difference in fuel consumption – Again I guess manufacturers are playing safe in not assuming all drivers will drive with a light right foot – I have driven several electric cars and am amazed how little you need the brake, (hardly ever), if driven for maximum economy (range). This is how all petrol/diesel cars should be driven but, who does ?
The official figures for my 2004 Ford Focus TDCI were circa 55 mpg (extra urban) but on trips which included mostly motorways the on board computer reported between 61and 68 mpg.
My Ford Fiesta 1.6 TDCi returns an average 63 mpg, averaged over summer and winter. Mostly urban and mid-distance driving, mostly 45-55 mph when cruising, rarely over 65 mph, aiming to keep at 1500 – 2000 rpm when possible, with a light accelerator foot, avoiding heavy acceleration and braking.
Anything similar on vans? Esp campers?
I have had a 2013 Toyota Yaris Hybrid for a nearly 2 years now and whilst I do not receive anything like the figures quoted by Toyota I am quite happy receiving just over 60 m.p.g. which is considerably better than the Vauxhall Corsa
I had previously. My Yaris has a 1500 cc engine as well as the electric motor and this charges the battery for improved economy. The Corsa was a 1200 cc engine which I had from new for 7 years and averaged around 40 to the gallon rising to around 50 on a good run if not being thrashed.
I get 60+ out of my Dacia Sandero stepway. (diesel)
I have a 15 year old VW Gold TDI 1.9 which returns 40 around town and 55 on long journeys.
I run a Hyundai iX35 1.6 Petrol, the way I get my MPG is by resetting my trip meter to zero then fill up the tank, after about 250 miles driving around town or long trips I fill up again, note the mileage and work out the MPG. I do this every time and it gives me a very good idea.
Manufacturers do these “test” in ” laboratory” conditions, warm environment, keep in top gear, at optimum speed , ” 56mph” , this does prove that it can be done, and it could be possible to replicate in the ideal conditions,whereas the car owners expect these achievements while driving, erratically, fast, etc., and complain when the figures do not match manufacturers claims. There are lots of websites giving advice on how to drive economically because of the increasing price of fuel, so as to make drivers costs go further literally. I have been buying a Nissan Qashqai 1.5dci since 2008, currently on my six , as each time to change, I cannot find a such vehicle cheaper to run. Nissan claimed to get 60mpg with the old shape, J10, I regularly achieved these figures with previous cars, and my last and current, the latest shape, J11, have achieved the 72mpg on each car, I always get a reading of over 60mpg when tripping to the supermarket, on longer journeys, regular 200 miles round trip, and 100 +mile round trip, the reading is nearer the 70mpg, with a readout of 72,3 mpg achieved , then updated to a 73.2mpg, then recently, on a warm evening, I left my daughters house at 10 o’clock at night, 21degrees temp readout, drove the 52 miles home, it updated to 75.2 MPG, this car is a 1.5dci NConnecta driven at 65 mph, constant in cruise control, only the Renault Kadjar, ( Qashqai in another skin) will achieve this, Nissan’s figures are good, drivers will get them if they drive economically
To calculate mpg when fuel pumps deliver in litres is not easy for many drivers. The conversion factor for litres to gallons is 4.546092. This is an awkward number to deal and takes time even when you have a calculator (use phone).
For most purposes it’s easier to use mental arithmetic and simply divide the total number of litres by 4.5.
While the result is an approximation, provided that the fuel tank is fully topped up at each filling the mpg figure will be close to actual.
btw My 1.6 petrol Ford Fusion varies from 42.7 – 45.8 mpg month by month (Rural environment).
Unaware of ‘official’ figures for my Clio 1.5 dci when new (51 plate), I bought at 2 years old & got 60 m.p.g initially & still getting that now. I have always done mileage count for every refill in over 40 years of driving whatever vehicle owned.
I have run a 51 plate 1.5 DCi Clio since ’03 & been getting 60 m.p.g since purchase, why would I want to change – unless the newer models actually get 80 m.p.g. But then I don’t like the modern shape – what has happened to ‘small cars’???
I have a Honda Civic, 1996, in last 13 years of ownership, 44MPG (1600cc)
Also a Golf Ryder, 1994, in last 15 years 38MPG. (1400cc)
2012 2.2 diesel S Max. 30 k
What car say 42 mpg real world. In the the real real world 30 mpg at best.
New cars with the same 200 bhp claiming 60+ mpg is just plain misselling.
2012 2.2 diesel S Max. 30 k
What car say 42 mpg real world. In the the real real world 30 mpg at best.
New cars with the same 200 bhp claiming 60+ mpg is just fantasy.
Why not post the ‘how to’ calculations so people can calculate their own mpg. Then perhaps have a chart per model of car showing what real drivers get from each make and model. (I calculate and record my own every time I fill up with petrol – just like to know how the cars performing).
This could be produced in-depth, or as just a guide to help drivers when looking at the economics of choosing a new car.
Wow, we even though I absolutely loved my Honda Legend to driver, I never ever once got 30mpg.
Average was about 20mpg normally and 25mpg on a run, best I ever got was 27.5mpg driving with a feature touch.
Having said that I would certainly buy another, very reliable, very quick (forget the figures, this car handles like a dream for a big car and gets you from A to B safely and fast) and cheap to buy considering the spec sheet.
I wish Honda would bring the new hybrid Legend over to the UK. Might have to import my own if they don’t
Best Car ever owned (yes and I had many, including the leading Germany over prices unreliable rubbish)
I have an Audi A5 convertible 2l diesel,used to do 40-45 before emissions reset now does 37mpg
Audi says it’s nothing to do with emissions! Pure coincidence?
I have a Mercedes CDI 3200 cc diesel – registered in 2002, mileage 110,000 miles. Manufacturer’s mpg 35. Some time ago I realised that by pressing the red button to shut off the cooler part of the Climate control, I could get 39 mpg on an open run. Once I made the mistake of putting a fer gallons of petrol into my tank. The filling sation were very helpful in helping me to push the car to one side and calling the AA for me. The AA arrived within about half an hour and charged me about £100 to empty the tank, which I then had to fill again for a further £100 or so. Amid dire warnings of all the destruction that would be caused if I started the engine before I had filled the tank fully I went on my way. My wife bought me a gadget which fitted to the filler and prevented me from inserting the diesel nozzle into the filler tube – but it kept on falling off.
Then a few years later I made the mistake again, except that I had put about a third of a tankful of petrol in. I was short of cash and time with 150 miles ahead of me. I decided to take a chance on it and see what happened. Well I started off gingerly at first with no terrible symptoms. But all seemed okay so I allowed the car to speed up but keep the revs down to about 2500 rpm. Then I noticed that the mpg had gone up to 41 mpg. I grew less cautious and continued on my way to Devon. I then let the speed build up on the open roads, and the mpg continued to rise.
On the return journey, driven with less caution , I achieved 46 mpg, that’s a 31per cent improvement over the manufacturer’s figures. Later I searched on the internet to find out what damage I may have done. Lots of warnings about terrible unspecified damage until I found one site that explained that using petrol in a diesel engine caused the petrol to wash the oil out of the fuel pump causing premature failure. How much does a replacement fuel pump cost against 31 per cent fuel saving?
To what extent is it worth dosing diesel fuel with petrol?
Why not try the Fiat Doblo 1.6 Multijet.
I average 45-46 Mpg
How do they know. Most of us use the mpg instrument in the car. Unless they empty the tank , fill up, then run the car until empty, we are all prey to car manufacturers software !!
Nissan Note ntec 1400 petrol, I get 46 mpg any day of the week,around town and short shopping trips.On a long run A class and motorway roads at a consistent 70mph i can get 50 with cruise control I can get regularly 56mpg.
To work out a more realistic figure for your vehicle just deduct 20% from the manufacturers claimed figure. Of course how you drive is the biggest factor for fuel consumption. Take it easy away from the traffic lights and see the difference it makes.
I have a 1.6 diesel Kia Venga that gives me 51mpg when teaching and about 55 mpg when driving normally. this is the venga 4 and the venga 3 nav with the same diesel engine was about the same.
If you drive well, conservatively, and with care for your motorcar, ANYONE can get much better mileage out of their car. I have a Honda Accord Aerodeck that I bought from new, it was one year old with 58 delivery miles on the clock…2 Ltr,
and from the outset I drove it as my Dad, an ex-police driver, told me….easy does it on everything….speedup, brakes, turning (for tyres). When I need it, my old bus will give me the lot….passing speed, braking, and all the other activities that a car will give….I get at least 60 M.P.G. out of her and she runs as smooth as cream…She’s 19 now, and I wouldn’t sell her for the best at this time. I can load her up and run from Yorkshire down to Devon with no problems whatsoever…All it takes is care, both of your car, and the other drivers and people around you….I’m 81 in November, and have been driving all sorts all my working life, RAF heavies, Hgv’s and vehicles of all types, and I’m still going. Just care for your car and it will care for you….I check her twice a week, POWER, Petrol, Oil, Water, Electrics, and Rubber !!! Good driving…