Cars that can do more than 30mpg

Fancy something fast, upmarket or even a big, petrol SUV – but don't want mammoth fuel bills? Check out the most desirable 30mpg cars

James Wilson
Jul 19, 2022

With fuel prices rocketing, no one wants to burn through more petrol or diesel than they need to. Thankfully, whether you're after a fast and exciting sports car, a large, heavy off-roader or a high-performance large car, there are plenty of appealing cars that are capable of more than 30mpg. There should be barely any compromises needed when it comes to power levels with sporty models or the amount of space offered by more practical options.

With the above in mind, BuyaCar has rounded up eight of the best cars that can do more than 30mpg. Since a large proportion of modern cars are more economical than this, we've focused on high-performance cars with big engines plus large off-roaders and upmarket models with plenty of power and equipment, since historically most of these wouldn't be able to achieve this economy level.

The 30mpg+ fuel economy figures for each car below come from the official test, as these are the most comparable figures available. Be aware, though, that official lab tests result in fuel economy figures that are quite optimistic - as they inevitably don't take into account traffic, hills and other factors encountered on real roads, that can increase how much fuel you use.

There are two main types of fuel economy figure quoted - those sourced from the 'WLTP' test and those from the 'NEDC' one. WLTP replaced NEDC and has been used for cars sold since mid-2017, giving a much more accurate impression of what a typical driver will achieve in everyday driving.

How you drive has a significant impact on your car's fuel economy; accelerating gently and trying to minimise braking - by looking at the road ahead and judging when you can roll to a stop instead of applying the brakes unnecessarily - should help you to use less fuel. Meanwhile, regular harsh acceleration and stamping hard on the brakes every time you approach an obstacle, is likely to cause you to burn more fuel than you need to.

Is 30mpg good? The best cars that can do 30mpg

1. BMW M240i

Our pick BMW M240i
Used deals from £20,000
Monthly finance from £313*

There is nothing quite like the BMW M240i. It is a relatively compact, rear-wheel-drive sports coupe with a large six-cylinder 3.0-litre petrol engine, which makes a tuneful growl when worked hard and powers the car along much faster than most cars of this type. Having rear-wheel-drive gives the car greater traction when accelerating than in rivals that power the front wheels and means that the steering wheel never tugs in your hand when picking up speed. Overall, the M240i offers a comfortable but satisfyingly sporty drive.

As with all rear-wheel-drive cars, the 2 Series is likely to struggle in the snow unless winter tyres are fitted, but that is one of the very few downsides to this car, which is practical for such a small and sporty model and good value for such a speedy machine. Alternatives include the Audi TT - which is more stylish but less practical for rear-seat passengers - and the Peugeot RCZ, which looks striking but can't match the BMW's quality feel.

There is a closely-related M140i hatchback available, too, which is largely the same car albeit more practical in some ways thanks to an easier-to-access boot and the greater amount of space in the back for passengers.


2. Jaguar F-Pace

Our pick Jaguar F-Pace 3.0 V6 S
Used deals from £30,000
Monthly finance from £446*

The Jaguar F-Pace looks great, it drives very well and the interior is both classy and spacious. Good news all-round? Well, not quite as there are some drawbacks. New models can be rather pricey in higher specifications and some of the media systems used in older models aren’t as sharp and responsive as alternatives from BMW or Mercedes. Opting for a second-hand model can help with getting more car for your money, while cars made from late 2020 onwards can have a new media system, called 'Pivi Pro', which is much improved.

The F-Pace is very comfortable and is both a desirable SUV to have and a practical family workhorse to live with - so it should appeal to both head and heart. Models with the 3.0-litre petrol and diesel engines make light work of long motorway hauls, while the automatic gearboxes mean that getting stuck in traffic needn't be overly stressful.


3. Mercedes-AMG E43

Our pick Mercedes-AMG E43 4Matic
Used deals from £29,999
Monthly finance from £512*

Mercedes offers a number of high-performance versions of the E-Class. These are the E43, E53 and E63 - listed in order of how powerful and fast they are. They are also ordered by how economical they are and if you want a car that can return more than 30mpg, the E43 is the one to go for. Not that this is any hardship, as the E43 saloon can accelerate from 0 to 62mph in a pretty rapid 4.6 seconds, which is faster than the overwhelming majority of cars on the road.

The E43 is also better suited to UK life than the more powerful versions in several ways, too, partly thanks to its slightly more comfortable suspension setup. It also comes with four-wheel-drive - as is the case with the E53 and E63 - so you needn't feel short changed in this department.

Having four-wheel-drive is useful in such a powerful car, as it enables you to accelerate quickly without unduly spinning the wheels and should offer more grip in wet and wild winter conditions. There is an estate model, too, which is almost identical in terms of performance but comes with a larger boot and a hatchback opening for easier loading of bigger items, making it a good option even for those with large pets to transport.


4. Kia Stinger

Our pick Kia Stinger 2.0 T-GDi
Used deals from £22,499
Monthly finance from £406*

The Kia Stinger is something of a hidden gem for anyone wanting a sleek, sporty car with four passenger doors and a hatchback. These kinds of cars are a great middle-ground between high-performance and family-friendly models. It is the 2.0-litre petrol version that can do more than 30mpg - there is a speedy 3.3-litre petrol also available, but its official fuel economy figure is in the 20s. There is also a diesel model, but this is less common and less refined, though it balances that with a better economy figure of more than 40mpg.

Although the Stinger looks sporty, it is remarkably comfortable to drive and the suspension manages to soak up all but the very worst potholes without fuss. All Stinger models are well equipped with features such as sat-nav, an electric driver’s seat and relatively large 18-inch alloy wheels. Another feature of all Kias is the seven-year warranty. Aside from Toyota and Lexus, this length of cover is as good as it gets, so even if you go for a four-year-old Stinger, you'll get as much manufacturer warranty cover as with most new cars.


5. Land Rover Defender

Land Rover Defender 110 front three quarters view

Our pick Land Rover Defender 110 D250 SE
Used deals from £53,995
Monthly finance from £794*

If it is space and practicality you need, then there is little that comes close to the Land Rover Defender 110. This comes with seven seats, a rugged four-wheel-drive system and plenty of tech, such as heated seats, which is a must in winter for more and more drivers. These elements combine to make the Defender a formidable family car. If you plan on using a Defender as your main family car, feel reassured that it achieved one of the highest scores for child occupant protection from crash test authority Euro NCAP in 2020.

One of the downsides of the Defender is the running costs, but by looking for a model with the D200 or D250 diesel engine, fuel bills should be far better than you'll get from the equivalent petrol versions. To help drivers cope with the sheer size of the Defender there is plenty of useful equipment on offer, including a clever 360-degree camera system that shows the area surrounding the car - incredibly helpful when parking in tight spots.


6. Porsche Boxster

Our pick Porsche Boxster 2.5
Used deals from £39,000
Monthly finance from £662*

Porsche puts the engine of the Boxster in the middle of the car, so it sits just behind the front seats. This is unlike most other cars where the engine is under the bonnet at the front of the car. Why would Porsche do this crazy thing? To make the Boxster one of the best driving cars on the planet. Having the engine closer to the centre of gravity of the rest of the car means the Boxster always feels very stable and loves to zip around corners without the front or rear end of the car sliding out.

Porsche doesn’t merely make cars that are great to drive, though. It also makes cars with high-quality interiors and the option of plenty of desirable equipment. You often have to pay extra for the equipment when specifying a new model but opting for a second-hand Boxster can mitigate this somewhat - especially as models with lots of optional extras typically don't cost that much more than more basic versions.

The cherry on the top is that Porsche was voted the best car brand by people questioned in the Auto Express Driver Power survey. This survey asks real-life drivers to comment on everything from ride and handling to reliability, so if you like the sound of the Boxster, chances are that you'll enjoy living with it.

7. Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Our pick Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2.0T Veloce
Used deals from £21,000
Monthly finance from £380*

Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the Stelvio is undoubtedly a handsome SUV, offering a high driving position and imposing style without looking like a boxy tank. The styling is backed up by agile handling around corners, which can often be the downfall of tall SUVs like the Stelvio, many of which wallow from side to side when cornering. If you want a model that can achieve more than 30mpg, we’d recommend hunting down a 2.0T version, as this offers a good mix of performance and economy.

When it comes to specification levels, Veloce is the best option for those who like their car to look sporty, and Speciale trim is better for anyone who wants to fly under the radar. If you are willing to trade some speed and power for better fuel economy, then there is always the Sprint version. This has a less powerful version of the 2.0-litre petrol engine, though it has only been available since 2020, so can be relatively expensive in purchase cost terms.


8. Honda Civic Type R

Our pick Honda Civic Type R GT
Used deals from £29,295
Monthly finance from £503*

Take a moment to really soak up the styling of the Honda Civic Type R, as this is a car that some drivers will love and others will hate. There is also no escaping the fact that with the sporty Civic, Honda has created one of the best high performance hatchbacks ever.

Hot hatchbacks are very popular in the UK as they offer enough practicality to be used every day - with larger models like the Civic having a spacious boot and plenty of space for adults in the rear seats - but they also sound sporty and are specifically designed to be able to fly along twisty roads, with plenty of power and good agility.

Most of the Honda’s magic is down to its powerful petrol engine and excellent suspension setup. The fuel economy is also good for the performance level, as more than 30mpg should be achievable, provided you don’t drive everywhere like you are in an F1 race. There are some compromises that Type R drivers have to contend with, including firm suspension that can prove uncomfortable over bumpy roads and higher insurance than for less powerful alternatives - both of which are standard compromises that come with most hot hatchbacks.


*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.


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