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What are the ten most fuel-efficient new cars?

What Car magazine tests more than 400 cars to find out the least thirsty new cars on the market.

Car manufacturers provide you with fuel economy figures so you know what sort of fuel bills to expect when the car is yours. Unfortunately the testing methods are less than perfect, leading to over-inflated figures. Luckily for you consumer magazine What Car decided to sort the wheat from the chaff.

More than 400 cars were tested by What Car over the last couple of years, giving you what it deems a more realistic miles-per-gallon (MPG) figure than those offered by car manufacturers. The results were then whittled down into a top ten most fuel-efficient list.

Tenth place goes to the 90bhp Renault Clio 1.5dCI 90, which returned 60.1mpg during testing ─ 18.4mpg less than advertised. The Fiat Panda 1.3-litre Multijet claimed ninth place, with 61mpg achieved. That’s 11.4mpg less than touted by Fiat, making it cheaper to run compared with the Panda TwinAir.

Hyundai claims the eight-place i20 with a 1.1-litre CRDi is capable of 74.3mpg, but real-world testing showed 61.1mpg. This put it narrowly ahead of the Vauxhall Corsa 1.3-litre CDTi EcoFLEX, which achieved 61.4mpg. The Corsa lays claim to the biggest discrepancy, with Vauxhall’s figure at 85.6mpg.

The Dacia Sandero may use the same engine as the newer Renault Clio listed above, but it managed to score an impressive 61.7mpg. As the cheapest new car in the UK, the Sandero really is a wise choice for families on a budget.

The Honda Civic Tourer estate and its 1.6-litre i-DTEC just nudged the Sandero out of fifth place by scoring 61.8mpg during testing, a mere 10.6mpg less than the official figure. Another 1.6-litre, this time the 1.6 TDCi ECOnetic in the Ford Fiesta, managed 62.1mpg for fourth place.

A bronze medal was awarded to the Honda Civic 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel. It scored 66.4mpg, beating the estate version listed earlier by 4.6mpg and the quoted figure by 12.1mpg.

So who were the top dogs in all of this? Second was awarded to the Citroen C3 1.4 e-HDi AirDream EGS. The city car managed 70.3mpg, letting the Kia Rio 1.1 CRDi EcoDynamics wear the crown as the most fuel efficient new car on sale. It scored 70.6mpg compared with its touted 88.3mpg.

The official manufacturers figures are evidently optimistic, especially when you realise only two cars in the top ten managed to break the 70 miles per gallon barrier ─ even though every car in the list claimed at least 78.5mpg.

Looking to save fuel in your existing car? You should check out our Top 10 best ways to save money on fuel guide.

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