While fuel efficiency might not be the most exciting aspect about purchasing a car – it’s certainly one of the most important – both from an emissions and cost perspective. While the most fuel efficient cars tend not to be as stylish as gas-guzzling 4x4s and and sporty speedsters – their greener, cheaper peers have lower running costs and greater fuel efficiency meaning you can hit the highway – without hitting your wallet.
1. Fiat 500 0.9 TwinAir (2011)
Combined Fuel Economy: 68.9 mpg
A favourite amongst city dwellers for its stop-start function, zippy maneuverability and adorable retro aesthetic, the Fiat 500 0.9’s tiny 900cc TwinAir engine is (according to manufacturers), the “greenest petrol engine in the world” – making use of just two cylinders (the same as some motorbikes) – while producing 95g/km CO2 and claiming 68.9mpg. The TwinAir also scores additional green points for its Eco button (which allows the car to adjust engine mapping to maximise efficiency), its weight (being 13kg lighter than the FIRE 1.4 unit) and its capacity to run minus the throttle – lessening losses from pumping by an eco-friendly 10%. While it might be small (23% shorter than earlier models), the TwinAir boasts a pleasingly roomy, Tardis-esque interior – and while you can’t travel across space and time in it, you can definitely get where you need to go – reaching 0-62mph in a nippy 11 seconds, with top speeds of 107mph.
2. Toyota Yaris 1.5 Hybrid (2017)
Combined Fuel Economy: 85.6 – 78.47 mpg
With excellent fuel economy and reliability, what the Yaris Hybrid lacks in va-va-voom it makes up for in value – emitting less than 100g/km of Co2. The 1.5 litre three-cylinder engine gains a powerful boost from a battery that somehow manages to be lighter and smaller – yet stronger than its predecessors – and while its time of 0-60mph in 9.0 seconds isn’t exactly nimble, the Yaris is still streets ahead of most fuel efficient cars in terms of reliability – with Toyota’s Safety Sense package coming as standard equipment on all Yaris models. The relatively no-frills interior might seem lacklustre to some – the new bi-tone trim adds a touch of pizzazz. That said, with safety features including a variety of driver aids, the main draw for family motorists will undoubtedly be a winning combination of efficiency, durability and peace of mind.
3. Ford Fiesta Hatchback (2022)
Combined Fuel Economy: 42.16 – 41.54 UK mpg
Ford must have known they were already onto something when the last Ford Fiesta Hatchback came out back in 2017, because since then, there haven’t been many discernible changes in appearance to the Fiesta – bar from a few style mods and a tech upgrade (including vertical fog lights). Even the prices have remained static, helping to keep costs down for drivers seeking comfort and reliability. Slightly longer than the 2017 model – and with a little extra room in the back, the new Fiesta (due out in 2022) is great value for money, promising more of the same (albeit with a few added extras) – not that it’s loyal fanbase of drivers will have much to complain about. The new Fiesta is as fun to drive as ever, with speeds of 0-62mph in 6.5sec, reaching a top speed of 143mph. Even the bumper itself seems pretty pleased – a feature Ford’s European design boss Murat Gueler intended to look friendly and “more optimistic”, making it the happiest hot-hatch around.
4. Toyota Prius Hatchback (2021)
Combined Fuel Economy: 55.39 mpg
While competitors like the Hyundai Iconiq are slightly cheaper at first glance, the Toyota Prius remains unrivalled for good fuel economy, claiming over 60mpg with CO2 emissions of up to 107g/km, making it a popular choice for many motorists (particularly company car drivers able to enjoy the low benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax costs). Now in its fourth generation, it’s still a car that motorists have something of a love-hate relationship with, owing to the unique, slightly boxy exterior – but for comfort and value, the Prius manages to be a hybrid in more ways than one: merging both in one spacious, easygoing package. For SUV-lovers, there’s even the option of a four-wheel-drive version boasting lower upkeep than traditional SUVs, with all models taking around 11 seconds to reach 0-62mph. That said, it’s not the fastest of cars and requires a little coaxing in order to get up to 70mph – but if you’re looking for a reliable hybrid offering a safe, smooth drive, the Prius is still the frontrunner in the race.
If you’re looking to keep that new-car smell a little longer, why not choose from a range of promotional motoring accessories, including air freshener spray and even a personalised leather-loop keyring to ensure your customer won’t forget their keys – or your brand.