Most economical family cars on sale

Carting your family around is one of the most common parenting duties. With over-energised kids and grumpy commuters, transporting the family can be fairly stressful. If your family motor uses lots of fuel, your wallet won’t appreciate it much, either…

We’ve been combing through the facts and stats to bring you the most fuel efficient family cars on the market.

Renault Megane

Renault’s Megane may be well-known among enthusiasts for spanking round the Nurburgring, but it’s also something of a fuel efficiency champion.

Eqiupped with the 110 dCi diesel engine, the Megane claims an 80.7mpg average and critics suggest this engine’s smooth torque delivery makes it a pleasure to drive. Petrol users can look forward to 53.3mpg if they pick the 115hp TCe engine with stop/start.

Put the Renault Megane in our car configurator to see the discounts available.

Nissan Pulsar

The roomy Nissan Pulsar breaks into the top ten for both diesel and petrol offerings thanks to engines borrowed from the brand’s alliance with Renault.

Again, it’s the 110hp diesel and 115hp petrol returning 78.5mpg and 56.5mpg respectively. It has some of the largest rear seats in the class so, if you have small kids, it’ll help when fitting child seats.

Spec up your ideal Nissan Pulsar in our car configurator to see the deals on offer.

BMW 1 Series

It might be a surprise to see a premium brand in the top ten – German marques were notorious for their hefty monthly bills – but BMW has been making great strides in its pursuit of efficiency. As a result, the BMW 1 Series performs well at the pumps.

The recently updated 118i petrol manages the same 56.5mpg as the Pulsar above in both three- and five-door forms. The headline grabber, however, is the 116d Efficient Dynamics Plus, with an 83.1mpg average.

Choose your perfect BMW 1 Series in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save.

Audi A3

Not to be outdone by its Bavarian rival, Audi offers some extremely efficient engines in the A3 range.

Like the BMW, you can buy an 83.1mpg diesel or, for petrol fans, a 60.1mpg turbo is available. This 1.4 TFSI unit also offers 140hp and a 0-60mph time of 8.1 seconds – an impressive set of stats.

Spec up an Audi A3 in our car configurator to start receiving offers from approved Audi dealers.

Citroen C4

The petrol Citroen C4 matches the 60.1mpg offered by the BMW 1 Series though, with a three-cylinder engine packing 110hp, it’s a little more sedate.

It’s the diesel engine that puts the C4 ahead though. The BlueHDI 100 with stop/start manages a pretty lofty 85.6mpg combined. Your local petrol station attendant will be left wondering what he said…

Put the Citroen C4 in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save.


Another Volkswagen Group model – the SEAT Leon matches the Citroen C4’s headline efficiency figures. It’s a considerably faster car though – using a 150hp version of the same 1.4 petrol in the Audi, it’ll crack 60mph from rest in under eight seconds yet still return 60.1mpg. The diesel – branded “ecomotive” – is rated at 85.6mpg.

Unlike the Citroen, the Leon is available in three-door SC or five-door ST estate bodystyles alongside the five-door hatchback, which may give it an edge for some buyers.

Spec up a SEAT Leon in our car configurator to see how much you could save.

Skoda Octavia

The Skoda Octavia shares a platform and engines with the Leon but, although it has slightly poorer petrol fuel economy, the diesel economy is better by a larger margin.

That means the 1.4 TFSI petrol will average 58.9mpg and cost you £30 in road tax, but the 1.6 TDI GreenLine model posts an amazing 88.3mpg. That’s the equal best of any car in this class.

Choose your ideal Skoda Octavia in our car configurator to see the discounts on offer.

Ford Focus

The Ford Focus sits on our podium as it offers petrol and diesel models that will cost you nothing to tax – one of only two options here to achieve that. The 1.5-litre diesel offers a 83.1mpg average and the petrol returns 65.7mpg.

It’s also one of the most engaging cars to drive on this list so, if you need to save fuel but aren’t ready to stop having fun, this might be the one to pick. A recent facelift de-cluttered the interior making it more user-friendly.

Pick your ideal Ford Focus in our car configurator to see what offers are available.

Peugeot 308

Sneaking past the Focus into the second spot is the Peugeot 308. It equals the best diesel economy here with the 88.3mpg BlueHDI stop/start model and the e-THP 1.2 litre petrol is the third best in the class at 61.4mpg.

It has a classy cabin, a smooth ride and is quiet in the move. The infotainment and rear legroom leave a little to be desired but, as an overall package, it’s a comfortable and efficient family workhorse.

Pop the Peugeot 308 in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save.

Volkswagen Golf

The VW Golf – the car that aims to offer all things to all buyers. Its blend of comfort, refinement, composure, quality and practicality make it an impossible force to argue against.

The 1.6-litre BlueMotion diesel equals the best fuel economy of any car here – returning 88.3mpg – while the three-cylinder BlueMotion TSI petrol equals the very best petrol fuel economy at 65.7mpg. This means, like the Focus, you needn’t pay any road tax regardless of which fuel you prefer.

Specify your perfect VW Golf in our car configurator to see how much you could save.

What next?

Still want to save money? Read our list of the best road tax-free cars. If you know what car you want, head over to our car configurator to see what discounts carwow could help you get. For more options, check out our deals page.

Ford Focus

A family hatchback that's fun to drive
£19,095 - £31,395
Read review Compare offers

Peugeot 308

Classy small hatchback with some premium touches
£16,375 - £27,325
Read review Compare offers

Volkswagen Golf

Proven family hatchback with a classy interior
£17,625 - £27,785
Read review Compare offers
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