Top City Cars for Fuel Efficiency and Low Emissions

The Beating Spirit to the lowest emission and most economical city cars on sale in the UK today. We list our top fuel-efficient city cars in diesel, petrol and electric categories, updating the rankings on a quarterly basis. Each car is road-tested by the GCG team and the reviews contain complete fuel economy specifications and engine details.

Diesel City Cars

First place

The new 500 is essentially a shortened Fiat Panda at a higher price Fiat 500 1.3 16v Multijet Lounge S/S  76.3 mpg

Fiat has nailed the styling by combining key features of the original with a modern twist which allows the 500 to look uniquely retro and yet bang up to date all at the same time.

Second place

Fiat Panda - City Cars reviews Fiat Panda 1.3 MultiJet Pop  72.4 mpg

The Panda shares the 1.3-litre diesel engine with the 500. As a result, fuel economy is terrific but the extra weight of the larger Panda means that it is slightly slower.

Petrol City Cars

First place

Suzuki Celerio 80x53 Suzuki Celerio 78.3 mpg

The Suzuki Celerio is very economical with 78.3mpg, and not bad to drive – it’s just somewhat behind rivals in terms of styling.

Second place

peugeot-108-001-80x53 Citroen C1, Peugeot 108 74.3 mpg

The new Citroen C1/Peugeot 108/Toyota Aygo (all based on the same platform) move things on from the last generation car in a number of areas including exterior and interior design, and fuel economy – although the Aygo can’t match the economy of the French cars due to having no stop/start.

Third place

The new 500 is essentially a shortened Fiat Panda at a higher price Fiat 500 TwinAir  70.6 mpg

Fiat has been working on its TwinAir concept for some time and the fuel-saving results are excellent. You may be thinking at this point that all this efficiency will come at the cost of performance, but you would be wrong.

Third place

Fiat Panda - City Cars reviews Fiat Panda 0.9 TwinAir Easy Dualogic  68.9 mpg

The award winning TwinAir engine is once again the key to excellent fuel economy. You do have to drive very, very carefully to get near the official figures but if you are willing to make the effort the rewards at the pump are worth it.


toyota aygo 80x53 Toyota Aygo X 1.0 VVT-i 3 dr 68.9 mpg

The Toyota Aygo is recognisable by a large ‘X’ on its front, and it’s economical, but not as economical as the Citroen C1 or Peugeot 108 due to having no stop/start.

The up! may have comedy model names but this is a serious little car Volkswagen up! Move up! 1.0 BlueMotion Technology  68.9 mpg

The new 3-cylinder engine is key to the up!’s excellent fuel economy and packaging. Its diminutive size allows the engine bay to be shortened leaving more room for people and luggage and keeping the overall weight admirably low.


Electric City Cars

First place

volkswagen e-up!Volkswagen e-up!

The Volkswagen e-up! is a conventional up! with an electric powertrain. It’s better to drive than the regular up! in our opinion, and one really good feature is the ability adjust the level of braking regeneration.

Second place

We think that Renault should be applauded for putting the Twizy into production Renault Twizy

The Twizy is electric, rear-wheel drive, has two seats and not much else. Even doors are on the options list and if you specify them you don’t get any windows, so weather protection is minimal.

Third place

Mitsubishi i-MiEV/Peugeot iOn/Citroen C-Zero Mitsubishi i-MiEV/Peugeot iOn/Citroen C-Zero

The Mitsubishi/Peugeot/Citroen trio are a welcome addition to the electric market. They feel solid and the clever design means that they are practical too, with no loss of interior space and a genuine four adult capacity.