The 5 Most Fuel Efficient Cars That Aren't Hybrids *


If you’re an avid reader of Gas 2, then you already know that the highest MPG car that’s not a hybrid is the Mitsubishi Mirage CVT … or, is it? The trouble with any claims of biggest, fastest, or bestest is that there’s almost always an asterisk involved. In the case of the Mitsubishi, it’s that there are a number of cars sold globally that, either because they don’t pass US emissions or safety standards, aren’t sold here.

So, how do the cars in- say- the UK stack up to the little Mirage? How do they stack up to their own EU-market hybrids? Here’s the 5 most fuel efficient cars that aren’t hybrids- for Europe and the UK. Enjoy!

Fiat 500

5 most fuel efficient cars

Small cars will typically burn less fuel than larger cars so it’s no surprise that the Fiat 500 rates as one of the greenest petrol cars on the market today. While the fuel consumption is very low (achieving over 70 mpg with the smallest Fiat engines), the engine is a good deal more powerful than it was in the original Fiat 500s.

Second-hand Fiat 500 cars represent great value for money in the UK, and a step towards a cleaner environment.


Renault Clio dCi 90 Eco

Renault Clio 90

This one will really hurt the American readers, because the sharp-handling, sharp-looking Renault Clio is one of the most popular cars on the road- and not without good reason! The Clio is and has always been an affordable vehicle, and the French cars’ low running costs allow the economy to continue.

As well as achieving very low fuel consumption, the Clio’s extra-clean engines mean its emissions come in at about 80g/km. That’s good enough to put you well within the UK’s greenest tax bracket.


Smart ForTwo

5 most fuel efficient cars

In addition to an efficient engine, what makes a car economical is a reduction in inertia. This is where the tiny Smart ForTwo- a perennial favorite of the Gas 2 staff– comes in. If you don’t need to cart round a lot of people or luggage, just needing to get from A to B, the Smart ForTwo is the perfect option.


Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta Ecoboost

Another Gas 2 favorite, Ford’s newest Fiesta model is another one of the most popular cars in the UK. As with the others on this list, it offers fantastically low emissions without using a hybrid engine. This Ecoboost technology ensures that you get great performance at the same time as saving the environment.


Kia Rio

5 Most Fuel efficient Cars

If you’re looking for something a little less common which still ticks the eco-friendly box, it could be worth looking into a Kia. The Rio offers over 80mpg without compromising on the power from its 1.1-litre engine.


Content partially sponsored by VCars, UK.

About the Author

Gas2 and Important Media (our parent company) choose to work with select clients for paid promotion on our network sites. This is the account for all paid content. For information about paid outreach, please contact our Accounts Manager Andrea Bertoli.
  • JJ

    I though the Fiat 500 was only 31MPG??? And, it also doesn’t mention the manufacturer recommend super fuel at a higher cost than regular gas. Same with Smart car. In addition, the price of these new cars are way above reason for a low income consumer. I think we are given lots of bad and conflicting information to confuse us into gullible choices.

    • First, the US Fiat 500 models get 31 City, 30 Hwy, and combine for 34 MPG, per the EPA. That said, the TwinAir models sold in Italy have less power, but also get much better MPG.

      • Tim Cleland

        I think you meant 31 City, 40 Hwy.

        Are these mpg ratings using imperial gallons (1.00 imperial gal = 1.20 U.S. gallons)? Ratings of 70 mpg and 80 mpg, even for smaller engines with fewer emissions restrictions, seem a bit exaggerated.

        • Yes, to both. Again, it’s a UK company sponsoring the post, so it’s written to a UK market.

          • Tim Cleland

            Still, even 1.20 x 40 mpg Hwy = 48 mpg Hwy

            70 mpg is a 46% improvement over 48 mpg. Something tells me that the UK mpg evaluation method is much more generous than the U.S. one.

    • Forgot to mention: most “Premium Only” fueled cars require higher octane because of higher compression in the engines, either because of the compression ratios inside the cylinder caused by the engine’s geometry or because of turbo/supercharging. Often, these engines offer superior thermal efficiency, meaning that more of the gas’ available BTUs are converted into energy for moving the car forward, rather than wasted as unburnt fuel/harmful emissions. In most cases, the added cost at the pump is offset by gains in horsepower and, yes, fuel economy. Whatever bad information you’re referring to seems to be more of the “lack of” type rather than the “confusing” kind.

      Stick with me, kiddo. I’ll teach you right.

      • Jason Carpp

        I respectfully disagree. Naturally, you cannot live on diesel alone, you have to offer more than one type of car for those who need it or want it. Diesel may not be for everyone, but I believe that if you need it, want it, and can afford it, you should be allowed to own it.

        • I agree … as long as it doesn’t hurt others. Since you seem to like libertarian ideals, I’ll give you a good Ayn Rand quote (she was quoting someone else, not sure who): “Your right to swing your fists ends at the bridge of my nose.”

          What that means is that if you want it, can afford it, and it doesn’t hurt others, then, yes, you should be allowed to own it.

          • Jason Carpp

            Thank you. I couldn’t agree more. I’m not the violent type of person anyway. Unless someone literally physically tries to hit me, I don’t hit other people. 🙂

  • Jason Carpp

    Would it kill the American market if a diesel powered vehicle were offered? Is diesel for everyone? Maybe not, but I believe that if a car or small truck were offered with a diesel engine, maybe even a hybrid/diesel engine, there are people who would buy it. I know I would.

  • JJ

    What does “…much better MPG.” mean? Does one need to go to Italy to get better mileage? I was going to buy one of these new Fiats but, instead got a used 95′ Civic ($2,300) and get 32MPG average.

    Premium, regular gas, yatti yatta… I don’t care if they use rubber band to power the car, “…31 City, 30
    Hwy, and combine for 34 MPG, per the EPA….” now a days this is a joke coming from auto manufacturers. Efficiency, fuel efficient, etc. should have been here long ago. Car manufacturers have only given us what they want with all kind of fancy jargon to confuse us.

    • You’re 100% wrong. You may be too young to remember the 51 MPG Geo Metro or the days when almost ALL Honda offerings had a near 40 MPG fuel economy rating. What happened was that more consumers started demanding power, rather than fuel efficiency- largely due to cheap gas in the US throughout the 80s, 90s, and most of the 00s (even today, we enjoy super-cheap gas compared to most developed countries).

      When Honda introduced its first 90’s Accord, it was 4 cyl. only, while you could get a 6 cyl. in a Camry and Maxima … and Honda got WHOMPED in sales, doing a hasty redesign and adding several inches to the front overhang to rush a V6 to market to compete.

      That wasn’t the car manufacturers giving us what THEY want, it was the car manufacturers giving the people what the PEOPLE wanted.

      I can’t tell if you’re a troll or just a bad student of history. Either way, you’re 100% dead wrong about your stance re: car makers, it seems. Turn that anger 180 degrees and direct it at the new-car buying public. They are the customers, and they are the only ones that matter to the car makers (and RIGHTLY SO!).

      • shecky vegas

        Jo – Somewhere in the cob-webbed corners of my mind, I recall a Honda back in the very early 80’s touting 60 Mpg. I think it was called Sienna or Viola, or something like that, and the design was larger than a standard sedan. Like a smaller, or early model, SUV.
        Does that ring any bells for you? I was smitten by the simpleness of design and excellent mileage, but was before I could afford my own vehicle.
        I’d sure like to find out what that vehicle was. Any ideas?

        • Honda Ballade Sienna, yeah. You could get it in an SUV-sorta look. Not sure if Viola was another version … gets about 50 MPG on the current EPA model, about like an old Chevy Sprint, except not a shitbox.

  • t_

    Take a look at the Renault Clio. The new range of 0,9 lt engines are so efficient, they are almost as good as the ecoboost(at least the one in the euro fiesta). And fuel efficiency is impressive – 37 MPG gasoline and over 55 MPG diesel. Those are city driving figures.
    And the design is good.