With fuel prices on the rise, and increasing concerns about global warming, more and more motorists are looking for cars that can go further on a tank of petrol. Car manufacturers have responded to this demand by producing more fuel-efficient cars that make use of new technologies such as hybrid drive electric/petrol engines or more efficient conventional engines inside lightweight bodies.
These two GM-made motors are effectively the same car with only minor cosmetic differences. The class-leading fuel economy of these Extended-Range Electric Vehicles is the main reason why they were voted European Car of the Year last year. The battery is good for around 40 miles on a full charge, after which a petrol generator takes over to power the electric motor.
The Toyota Prius was the first mass-market hybrid drive car and remains one of the most popular of the type. The Plug-in Prius is the most efficient of the Prius range and, as its name suggests, it comes with additional batteries that can be charged by plugging them into the mains electric supply.
The Yaris is a fair bit smaller and lighter than the Prius. Using the same engine and drivetrain, it can achieve much better fuel efficiency than most of the cars in its class.
This small car is the most fuel efficient in the Hyundai range. It makes use of a modern three-cylinder diesel engine, which gives a fuel economy that is competitive with some of the best hybrid drive engines. The lack of an expensive hybrid drive engine helps to make it one of the cheapest eco-cars on the market.
This five-door, five-seat supermini is both roomy and practical. Like the Hyundai, it uses a fuel-efficient conventional engine rather than a hybrid drive motor and was the most economical conventional engine car in the world until the Hyundai i20 came out.
This extremely small car was once the most economical car in the UK and is still one of the most fuel-efficient around. It only has two seats, which makes it unsuitable as a family car, but on the plus side, its small size makes it easy to park in a crowded city.
This vehicle turns in an impressive fuel economy performance and uses a small electric motor for stopping and starting to reduce fuel consumption while idling.
Similar in many ways to the 208, which is made by Citroen’s parent company Peugeot, the C3 combines excellent fuel efficiency with the easy-driving advantages of Citroen’s EGS automatic gearshift.
This UK-made car shares an engine and driveline with the Toyota Prius and outperforms the Prius for town driving, although the Prius is more efficient on a country drive.
Once a running joke among motorists, the Volkswagen-owned Skoda brand is now a byword for reliability and value. Its Fabia Greenline is the most economical car made by the VW Group, combining legendary build quality with impressive fuel economy.