Small Family Cars
The Green Car Guide to the most economical and lowest emission small family cars on sale in the UK today. We list our best most fuel-efficent small family vehicles in diesel, petrol, hybrid and electric car categories.
Diesel Small Family Cars
Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion 88.3 mpg
88.3mpg from any small family car is pretty amazing, but this is a Volkswagen Golf, so it also comes with all the quality and reliability that you’d expect from a Golf.
Volvo V40 1.6 D2 ES 83.1 mpg
The V40 gets a 1.6 litre turbodiesel which has a modest power output but a healthy 199 lb.ft. of torque available from 1,750 – 2,500 rpm.
The first key to success in this class is to have an efficient diesel option, and here the Megane delivers in spades. The 1.5-litre turbodiesel engine blends decent performance with excellent fuel economy.
Honda Civic 78.5 mpg
The Honda Civic gains a new 1.6-litre diesel engine which makes it one of the most fuel efficient cars in class.
A Mercedes-Benz with an average fuel economy figure of 78.5mpg would have been unheard of a few years ago, but that’s what the A-Class is capable of today.
Petrol and Hybrid Small Family Cars
Toyota Auris HSD 74.3 mpg
The new Toyota Auris is lower, lighter and longer, and as efficient as ever, however it still can’t match the driving experience of a Volkswagen Golf.
Lexus CT200h 74.3 mpg
The hybrid powertrain from the Toyota Prius is dropped into a Lexus body. So it’s efficient and has a Lexus badge, but we’re not wild about the way it looks.
Honda Insight 1.3 IMA SE hybrid 68.9mpg
The Honda Insight was recently revised, with a key improvement being that its emissions dropped from 101g/km CO2 to 96g/km CO2, however it still doesn’t have the solid, refined feeling of cars such as the Volkswagen Golf.
Audi A3 SE 1.4 TFSI CoD 60.1mpg
The Audi A3 1.4 TFSI CoD has cylinder deactivation technology, meaning that although it’s normally a four-cylinder engine, it can run as just a two-cylinder if needed.
The new Volkswagen Golf is, predictably, evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but it is still sufficiently improved in all areas, including efficiency, to keep it at the top of the class overall.
Electric Small Family Cars
Yes it’s an all-electric BMW, going under the name of the i3. Designed from the ground up as an electric car, it’s lightweight and extremely innovative.
Nissan is pinning a lot on the electric car taking off, and with their partners Renault they are fully committed. This means that the LEAF is a thoroughly engineered car.
Whereas the BMW i3 is a new electric car from the ground up, the Ford Focus Electric is a Ford Focus with an electric powertrain replacing the petrol or diesel engine.
The Fluence Z.E. is impressively efficient. The 22 kWh battery pack provides an official range of 116 miles. To save the batteries, top speed is limited to 84 mph whilst 0-62 mph is dispatched in a respectable 13.7 seconds.
Extended-Range Electric Small Family Cars
The new BMW i3 is available as either a pure electric car, or with a range-extender, to provide extra range for occasional longer journeys.