Compare the most economical family cars

High quality economical family cars from rated and reviewed dealers

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silver skoda superb estate driving

Best economical family cars of 2024

With petrol and diesel prices spiking and showing no signs of coming down, it’s more important than ever to buy the most economical family car you can find. Helpfully, car makers are now offering plenty of plug-in hybrid models that, if driven the right way, can return astonishing economy levels. Here’s our list of the best, most economical family cars around.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon

1. Mercedes C-Class PHEV (470.8mpg)

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon review
Volvo V60

2. Volvo V60 PHEV (353.1mpg)

Volvo V60 review
Battery range up to 31 miles
Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV

3. Mercedes GLE PHEV (353.1mpg)

Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV review
Battery range up to 57 miles

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Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

4. Toyota RAV4 PHEV (282.4mpg)

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid review
Peugeot 308

5. Peugeot 308 PHEV (281.1mpg)

Peugeot 308 review
Battery range up to 35 miles
Skoda Octavia Estate

6. Skoda Octavia Estate PHEV (273.2mpg)

Skoda Octavia Estate review
Battery range up to 46 miles
Audi A3 Sportback

7. Audi A3 PHEV (256.8mpg)

Audi A3 Sportback review
Kia Sportage

8. Kia Sportage PHEV (252mpg)

Kia Sportage review
Skoda Superb Estate (2019-2023)

9. Skoda Superb Estate PHEV (244.9mpg)

Skoda Superb Estate (2019-2023) review
Battery range up to 44 miles
Citroen C5 X
Comfortable Cruiser Award
Highly Commended

10. Citroen C5 X PHEV (236.2mpg)

Citroen C5 X review

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Advice about economical family cars

Most economical family cars FAQs

On-paper, it’s the Mercedes C-Class C300e plug-in hybrid, which can hit an official 470mpg. That’s assuming you make as much use of its generous electric range as possible. If you don’t want to plug-in, then your best bet is probably the Toyota Corolla Hybrid, which can manage 62mpg in real-world conditions.

Again on paper, the answer here is the Mercedes GLE 350de, which mixes diesel and electric power to impressive effect. As ever, you’ll need to maximise your electric drive to get the best economy. Don’t want to do that? A 2.0 Volkswagen Golf TDI 115hp can do a claimed 67mpg…

The short answer here is the Toyota Corolla — it returns 89mpg on the official fuel economy test, and it’s pretty easy to squeeze 62mpg out of it in real daily driving. The hatchback is a bit small in the boot, so go for the much roomier estate instead if you’re hauling lots of stuff around.

Slowing down helps, although creeping along at low speed isn’t necessarily the answer. What you need to do is to drive as sensibly as you can, accelerating gently and trying to use as much anticipation as you can to minimise braking and keep your momentum. Making sure your car is serviced and has fresh oil and air filters is a good idea, as is checking that your tyres are in good condition and inflated to the correct pressure. Remove roof racks and roof boxes to improve aerodynamic performance, and switch off the air conditioning around town (it’s more efficient to have a window open below 50mph, more efficient to have the air-con going above that speed). Finally, take any excess weight out of the car (clean out the boot, in other words).