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The most fuel-efficient petrol cars to buy in 2022

Turbocharger and electric technology are helping to make petrols more efficient than ever, as these five cars demonstrate

The most fuel-efficient petrol cars on sale

When we talk about fuel efficiency, we’re talking about the good old MPG – or, miles per gallon, in full. It measures how far can you get in a car on just a single gallon of fuel (that’s around 4.5 litres). This can be anywhere from just 11 miles to, well, that’d give the game of this article away.

Most petrol-engine cars have to play second fiddle to diesel cars when it comes to economy, because diesels are the best at sipping fuel. But most British buyers prefer petrol cars these days, so we run through the best cars out there capable of offering the best of both worlds.

What are the most economical petrol cars?

A car’s fuel economy will vary depending on who’s behind the steering wheel, because we all have different driving styles. However, the following petrol cars are listed by their official average fuel economy rating, which is now measured using the Worldwide harmonised light-duty vehicles test procedure (WLTP):

1. BMW 330e – 217.3mpg

Here’s proof that economical cars don’t have to be boring - the 330e uses a 2.0-litre petrol engine and an electric motor that give it powerful acceleration and impressive economy – it can cover 37 miles on electric power but you’ll need to plug it in regularly for that to happen. As with the rest of the BMW 3 Series range, the interior is high quality and is filled with tech.

2. Toyota Prius­– 67.0mpg

Toyota offers both self-charging and plug-in hybrid versions of its Prius, with the latter providing the better official economy of 235.4mpg, so long as you can keep the battery topped up. The self charging Prius, which doesn’t use a plug, is cheaper as a used buy and returns close to 70mpg – and you should be able to get close to that in the real world. The plug-in Prius can run for up to short distances on electric power alone and it has a roomy, well equipped interior.

3. Suzuki Swift – 64.0mpg

Every version of the current Swift supermini uses Suzuki's ‘Boosterjet’ hybrid engine. In this case it’s a mild hybrid, which helps to take some of the electrical strain off the petrol engine. Since its electric power is 'mild', the car can’t run on pure electric power alone, but you still get better economy over a standard petrol engine with the added shove.

4. Toyota Corolla Touring Sports 1.8 Hybrid – 63.8mpg

The Corolla disappeared from the UK for a few years, but now it’s back and better than ever. This is the estate version and both it and the hatchback are good to drive, with nicely-judged suspension and handling. Every version is well equipped, there’s a choice of two petrol-hybrid engines, and it makes a cracking used buy.

5. Hyundai IONIQ – 60.0mpg

As with the Toyota Prius, there’s a self-charging hybrid version of the IONIQ, but the plug-in hybrid version is better value as a used buy. It also has lots of standard equipment, has a larger boot than the Prius, and official economy is still good, even if not quite as good as the Toyota’s.

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