What is the most fuel efficient car available?

What is the most fuel efficient car available?

According to Moneysupermarket, an increasing number of car owners are being forced to alter their driving habits as a result of the increasing price of fuel. This is a situation which won’t sort itself, with the government planning on increasing tax again in January and the predicted explosion in fuel prices as supplies dwindle.

The simplest way to reduce your fuel usage is to change the car that you drive. The following is a list of the five most fuel efficient cars currently available on the UK marketplace which would be a massive help to anyone struggling to cope with the fuel price hikes. One interesting thing to note is that the Toyota Prius is not on this list, which can be considered proof that Hollywood celebrities are more concerned with being seen driving a Prius which is perceived as environmental than helping out the environment.

5. Citroen C3 1.4 Diesel

The C3 isn’t the prettiest car on the road, but with a combined mpg of 67.3 it is one of the cheapest to run. One of the features which help the car achieve this impressive statistic is the ‘stop and start’ function, which cuts power when you are in traffic. The power from the engine is adequate and the visibility for the driver is good.

Citroen C3:
Citroen C3

However, the interior is flimsy and uncomfortable, while leg room in the back is rather poor. The biggest criticism that can be levied at the C3 though is that is it a Citroen, which obviously means poor reliability. The car has been subject to numerous electric gremlins (central locking, stereo and windows have all been mentioned by owners) and the car is also known to rust as it gets older. However, a number of the higher mileage models are available on Autotrader for a good price now (generally around 2,000-3,000 on the pre 2005 plate cars with high mileage) and the new model can be bought for about £13,000.

4. Renault Clio 1.5 Diesel

One thing which can be said about the Renault Clio is that it is a very pretty little car. The 1.5 DCi model is also very fuel efficient, achieving a combined mpg of 67.3 putting it on the same level as the C3. This is without the aid of the ‘stop and start’ feature, which probably means that the Clio is actually more fuel efficient than the C3 on longer journeys. The interior is a massive improvement on the Clio’s of old that were very plastic and flimsy. Despite the weight increase with the Diesel model, Renault has also managed to maintain the Clio’s good handling and solid power.

Renault Clio:
Renault Clio

There is very little bad points about this model. The only criticism is again to do with reliability, with Renault’s known to break more than some other manufacturers. Things have improved a lot in the past few years and it is far better than the C3, but there are still some small electrical issues and the now famous ‘Clio rattle’ (i.e. a very annoying rattle somewhere in the car when you are driving, but you can’t work out where its coming from). Older models are available on Autotrader with prices starting at £1,500 making the C3 a much better deal than the C3. The new model is also slightly cheaper, with prices starting at £12,690.

3. Citroen C1 1.4 Diesel

This car was a joint effort between Peugoet, Citroen and Toyota who aimed to create a fuel efficient and cheap car. It appears they have succeeded with the car capable of 68.9 mpg and very decent used versions being available from £4,000-5,000 on Autotrader. The 1.4 diesel engine isn’t available on the new cars however, and the reason for this is that it was rather heavy and under powered.

Citroen C1:
Citroen C1

There are other problems with the car, such as a very flimsy interior which makes the C3 look brilliant. On top of this, the car is built to be as light as possible, so additional features are at minimum and the doors are so thin that it is terrifying. The car is also noisy and the exhaust rattles so much that it looks like it might fall off. On the plus side, the reliability is slightly better than on a normal Citroen/Peugeot thanks to Toyota’s input.

2. Citroen C2 1.4 Diesel

The C2 isn’t quite as good looking as the Clio, but is probably the best looking Citroen on the three mentioned here. Like the C3 it comes with the ‘stop and start’ feature and suffers from flimsy interior. The engine and handling are both solid, but the space available in the car isn’t quite as good, as it should ideally only fit two people in it with boot space also at a minimum. The reliability of the C2 is slightly better than the C3 though, with only minor engine management and suspension issues reported.

Citroen C2:
Citroen C2

With the car being smaller than the C3 it is also slightly more fuel efficient, with it being capable of 68.9 mpg. However it does cost about £1000 more than the C3 when bought second hand. This extra 1.6 mpg fuel saving is therefore rather a big price to pay given the extra cost and reduced space.

1. Honda Insight Petrol Hybrid

Amazingly the Insight is the only hybrid petrol car on this list, and it is capable of a frankly stunning 83.1 mpg. It is therefore by far the most fuel efficient car you could possibly buy at the moment. The car also has better storage space than any of the other cars and the reliability and interior also benefit from the Honda treatment.

Honda Insight Petrol Hybrid:
Honda Insight Petrol Hybrid

However it’s not all good. The car isn’t very good looking and it costs significantly more than the other fuel efficient cars. You can buy it from new for about £16,000 from Honda or get a good second hand one for between £11,000 and £12,000 on Autotrader. However, the icing on the cake is engine which is awfully. It is underpowered, and since the car is using two different engines the switch over is obvious and unpleasant. Jeremy Clarkson described the car as being worse than finding a hole in your parachute. While this is a bit of an exaggeration, it’s not far off.


The Insight Hybrid is a remarkable achievement from Honda, and the fuel efficiency is frankly amazing. However, the extra money used to buy it will take a long time to recoup and the engine is dreadful. Perhaps the reason why so many people have left it this long to make the switch to environmental cars is the performance of them. Maybe Hollywood celebrities aren’t that stupid and vain after all.

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