Delicate drinkers: the greatest range for the least cash

Anything that helps you avoid topping up your fuel tank regularly can only be a good thing – even if fuel prices are dropping.

Handing over hard-earned cash at the filling station just to keep you on the road for an extra few miles is something of a necessary evil, but there are ways to help avoid it for as long as possible. Either buy a car with a large fuel tank, improving the range, or buying something that offers excellent fuel economy. Or why not both? We take a look at the cars which offer the greatest fuel range in each class, so you can save money.


Volkswagen Polo 1.4 TDI Bluemotion

Range: 822.7 miles
Fuel cost per mile: 6.7p

Not only is the Volkswagen Polo one of our favourite (and indeed, many critics’ favourite) superminis, but fitted with the 1.4-litre turbodiesel it is one of the most efficient, too. A claimed 83.1mpg, combined with a 45-litre fuel tank means that a range of 822.7 miles is possible. Assuming you drive the current average annual mileage of 7,900 per year (RAC Data) then you could drive for over five weeks between trips to the pumps!

Family car

Peugeot 308 1.6 BlueHDi 120

Range: 1,062.2 miles
Fuel cost per mile: 6.1p

Peugeot made a big push for efficiency when designing its latest family hatchback. On average, the 308 is 140 kilos lighter than its predecessor, and combined with an ultra-efficient 1.6 turbodiesel engine, is capable of returning a claimed 91.1mpg. You won’t even need to sacrifice performance for these figures either –120hp is on tap, which is more than adequate for moving you and the family along the road at a pleasant rate.

Large Family car

Volkswagen Passat 1.6 TDI

Range: 1,087 miles
Fuel cost per mile: 7.3p

The recently-released Volkswagen Passat combines a 70-litre fuel tank with a 70.6mpg-rated diesel engine to offer a potential range of 1,087 miles – a best in class figure. When equipped with the seven-speed twin clutch DSG automatic gearbox, the 1.6-litre TDI emits just 103g/km of carbon dioxide.


Renault Grand Scenic 1.6DCi

Range: 909 miles
Fuel cost per mile: 8.1p

It’s tough to make a heavy, boxy MPV return competitive fuel efficiency figures, but thanks to the small diesel engine in the Renault Grand Scenic, Renault has produced the most economical MPV on the market. A range of 909 miles is possible, though this total will significantly reduce once all seven seats are filled.

Executive car

Mercedes E300 Hybrid

Range: 1,212.64 miles
Fuel cost per mile: 8.1p

In this class, a spacious luxurious cabin and strong performance are a given. Unfortunately, both of these things normally come a the cost of efficiency, so manufactures need to be clever if they want to eek out every final mile of fuel. The electric motor fitted to the Mercedes E300 Hybrid compliments a 2.1-litre turbo diesel, and in the hands of Autocar magazine was able to drive from North Africa to the South of England on one tank of fuel – 1,223 miles!

The car which achieved this figure was fitted with a larger 80-litre fuel tank (available as a £100 option), but it is a remarkable achievement for a car which can still deliver a total power output of 233hp.


Volkswagen XL1

Range: 699 miles
Fuel cost per mile: 1.7p

By some margin, the most expensive car on our list, but also the cheapest to run. The Volkswagen XL1 makes use of space age materials in its construction to achieve a kerb weight of just 795kg, despite the added weight of the battery of cells that power the 27hp electric motor. When the electric power is combined with an ultra-efficient 800cc diesel engine, the slippery shape of the XL1 can make its tiny 10-litre fuel tank last for nearly 700 miles. As a result, each mile will cost you just over a penny of diesel.

If you can afford the huge price that you must pay for this technology, you’ll also receive the added bonus of driving something that looks like it was designed 100 years in the future. What isn’t to like?

The small print

Our figures are based on the current UK average cost of diesel from, which on December 15th stood at 122.23p per litre.

Want to know more?

Take a look at our investigation into UK fuel prices to learn some surprising statistics about the price of fuel over the years. Then take a look at our lists of the most fuel efficient city cars and most frugal SUVs.

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