Most Economical Family Cars in the UK

The Beating Spirit to the most economical and lowest emission family cars on sale in the UK today. We list, road-test and compare the best eco-friendly family cars in diesel, petrol, hybrid and extended-range electric vehicle categories, with full spec reviews and fuel efficiency data.

The list is updated on a monthly basis as new models are released and following our regular road tests where we give the vehicles a full work-out under realistic driving conditions.

Diesel and Hybrid Family Cars

First place

l-family-cars-diesel-skoda-octavia-80x53-2.jpg Skoda Octavia 1.6 TDI CR  88.3 mpg

The Skoda Octavia range now includes a Greenline model which has an official combined economy figure of 88.3mpg along with emissions of 85g/km CO2.

Second place

Citroen DS5 HYbrid4 200 Airdream EGS6 DSign Citroen DS5 HYbrid4 200 Airdream EGS6 DSign  85.6 mpg

The DS5 is the first Citroen to use the Hybrid4 system. It is deceptively simple, combining a highly efficient 2-litre diesel engine driving the front wheels with a compact electric motor which drives the rear.

Third place

peugeot-508-hybrid4.png Peugeot 508 HYbrid4  80.7 mpg

The Peugeot 508 HYbrid4 achieves an incredible 78.5 mpg. It has a 2-litre diesel engine mated to a battery and electric motor which results in low emissions and high fuel economy in the official European test cycle.

Fourth place

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Mercedes-Benz C-Class 68.9 mpg

The new C-Class is more efficient than the last model, however you have to be careful about your wheel and tyre choice to achieve low emissions and correspondingly low Benefit in Kind rates.

Fifth place

BMW 320d EfficientDynamics BMW 320d ED 68.9 mpg

The 3 Series blends fun with environmental responsibility better than any rival. When combined with one of the most communicative and adjustable chassis in any saloon car and excellent fuel economy it is going to take a lot to topple the 3 Series from the top of the tree.

Petrol and Hybrid Family Cars

First place

Toyota Prius 1.8 litre Review Toyota Prius 1.8 litre VVT-i  72.4 mpg

The 3rd generation Prius delivers more performance and outstanding CO2 emissions. It is a very persuasive package. The engine size increases to 1.8 litres to deliver better high speed fuel consumption and better performance. The electric motor is 20% more powerful too.

Second place

l-family-cars-petrol-lexus-is300h-80x53.jpg Lexus IS 300h  65.7 mpg

The Lexus IS 300h is one of the best sub-100 g/km CO2 cars to drive, with rear-wheel drive, a 2.5-litre petrol engine, and of course an electric motor.

Third place

l-family-cars-petrol-skoda-rapid-80x53-2.jpg Skoda Rapid 1.2 TSI 86 ps S  55.4 mpg

Yes the Skoda Rapid has remarkable similarities with the SEAT Toledo, because there is much development- and parts-sharing going on, but 55.4mpg is not to be sniffed at.

Fourth place

l-family-cars-petrol-seat-toledo.jpg SEAT Toledo 1.2 TSI 105 ps S  56.5 mpg

56.5mpg is impressive from a petrol engine, even if the SEAT Toledo is a somewhat predictable Volkswagen Group derivative.

Extended-Range Electric Family Cars

The Vauxhall Ampera, otherwise known as the Chevrolet Volt Vauxhall Ampera 235.4 mpg

The Ampera – or Chevrolet Volt – is a landmark car. Vauxhall doesn’t like it to be called a hybrid because it is an extended-range electric vehicle. Practically this means that there is no mechanical connection between the petrol engine and the wheels, instead it is always powered by an electric motor.

Plug-in Hybrid

Toyota Prius Plug-In Toyota Prius Plug-in  134.5 mpg

With the Prius Plug-in thanks to the Prius mechanicals, fuel economy is also excellent when you run out of electric range.