Most fuel-efficient cars on test

Most efficient - the Fiat Tipo 1.6 Multijet 120 Lounge

Most efficient - the Fiat Tipo 1.6 Multijet 120 Lounge

Here’s a turn up for the books: cars are actually doing more miles per gallon than the official figures say they should.

Following up on owner complaints that most modern cars weren’t getting anywhere near their official economy figures, What Car? magazine established its own strictly controlled laboratory fuel testing process based on a real route that takes in town, rural and motorway driving.

The majority of cars What Car? tests still fail to hit their official mpg figures, but this month three models tested by the magazine managed to improve on them.

And more surprising still, the three in question are all sporty numbers.

Fiat’s 124 Spider 1.4 Multiair Lusso scored a 0.3% improvement on its official 44.1mpg figure by achieving a True MPG figure of 44.2mpg.

That put it in 9th place overall. In 8th overall, posting a True MPG figure of 45.2mpg – 2.5% better than the official figure of 44.1mpg – was Suzuki’s Swift Sport.

The best real-world performance, relative to its official mpg figure, was put in by Mazda’s MX-5 2.0 Sport Nav. Its True MPG score of 47.9mpg made it the third most economical car tested by What Car? during the month, and was a massive 17.1% better than the official claim of 40.9mpg.

The full table of What Car?’s most economical cars:

1. Fiat Tipo 1.6 Multijet 120 Lounge Official MPG 64.2, True MPG 49.1mpg (23.5% shortfall)

2. Mazda CX-5 2.2 Skyactiv-D 150 SE-L Nav Official MPG 61.4, True MPG 48.3 (21.4% shortfall)

3. Mazda MX-5 2.0 Sport Nav Official MPG 40.9mpg, True mpg (-17.1% shortfall)

4. Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Premium SE Official MPG 70.6, True MPG 46.9 (33.6% shortfall)

5. Skoda Fabia Estate 1.2 TSI 90 SE Official MPG 60.1, True MPG 46.6 (22.5% shortfall)

6. Seat Leon 1.4 TSI 150 FR Tech Official MPG 57.6, True MPG 46.1 (20.0% shortfall)

7. Audi Q2 1.4 TFSI 150 Sport Official MPG 51.4, True MPG 45.3 (11.8% shortfall)

8. Suzuki Swift Sport Official MPG 44.1mpg, True MPG 45.2mpg (-2.5% shortfall)

9. Fiat 124 Spider 1.4 Multiair Lusso Official MPG 44.1, True MPG 44.2 (-0.3% shortfall)

10. Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 Xcellence Official MPG 52.3, True MPG 42.8 (18.1% shortfall)

11. DS 4 Crossback 1.2 Puretech 190 Prestige Official MPG 54.3, True MPG 42.6 (21.6% shortfall)

12. Mercedes E 220 d Estate AMG Line 9G-Tronic Official MPG 67.3, True MPG 41.2 (38.9% shortfall)

13. Audi A6 Avant 2.0 TDI 190 Ultra Black Edition auto Official MPG 62.8, True MPG 40.7 (35.2% shortfall)

14. Volvo V90 D4 190 Inscription Geartronic Official MPG 62.8, True MPG 40.2 (35.9% shortfall)