Economy cars, those that can be bought for a list price of around €20,000 (approx. £17,500), are very popular in Europe, especially in times of high inflation and rising living costs.

And if these economy cars are also fuel-efficient, then the advantage extends beyond the time of purchase, as savings can be made on all journeys, regardless of whether they run on diesel, petrol or LPG.

To offer a little help at the time of purchase, we have decided to list the most fuel-efficient economy cars, at least those sold in most European countries with a price tag of just over €20,000.

Renault Clio - 4.1 l/100 km

At the top of this particular ranking is one of the latest diesel cars on the market, the Renault Clio, which boasts a combined WLTP fuel consumption of just 4.1 litres per 100 kilometres (68.9 mpg UK).

Renault Clio 2023

The Clio dCi 100's ultra-efficient engine is the 1.5 Blue dCi four-cylinder with 100 PS (98 bhp) and 260 Nm which, combined with the six-speed manual gearbox, allows it to reach 188 km/h and accelerate from 0-60 in 11.4 seconds. With its 39-litre fuel tank, it can achieve a theoretical range of 951 km (591 miles).

Citroen C3 - 4.5 l/100 km

In second place is another diesel car and once again it comes from France. This is the Citroën C3 in basic version, with a fuel consumption of 4.5 litres per 100 km (62.8 mpg UK).

Citroën C3 2020

In this case, efficiency comes from the 1.5 BlueHDi 100 engine, with 102 PS (101 bhp) and 250 Nm, connected to a six-speed manual gearbox. Top speed is 188 km/h, 0-100 km/h is completed in 11.4 seconds and the 42-litre fuel tank guarantees a theoretical range of 933 km (580 mi).

Fiat 500 - 4.6 l/100 km

Third place on the podium goes to the Fiat 500 which, in its light hybrid petrol variant, boasts an excellent combined fuel consumption of 4.6 litres per 100 km (61.4 mpg UK).

Fiat 500 Hybrid

The Italian city car uses a naturally aspirated 1.0-litre three-cylinder block with 70 PS (69 bhp) and 92 Nm to reach 167 km/h (104 mph) and accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 13.8 seconds. The gearbox is a six-speed manual and the 35-litre fuel tank offers a theoretical range of 760 km (472 mi). This car carries the DGT Eco label. 

Toyota Aygo X - 4.8 l/100 km

Transformed into a crossover, the Toyota Aygo X Cross has earned a place in this ranking thanks to its average WLTP fuel consumption of 4.8 litres per 100 km (58.9 mpg UK).

Prueba Toyota Aygo X CVT 2022

The petrol engine is the familiar 1.0 VVT-i, a non-turbocharged three-cylinder with 72 PS (71 bhp) and 93 Nm that is linked to a five-speed manual gearbox. The car's top speed is 158 km/h (98 mph) and 0-100 km/h in 14.9 seconds. The 35-litre tank provides a theoretical range of 729 km (453 mi).

Fiat Panda - 4.8 l/100 km

Another Fiat deserves a place in this list of economical and efficient cars. We are talking about the Panda, which claims 4.8 litres per 100 km (58.9 mpg UK) with the same mechanical layout as the 500.

Fiat Panda Hybrid

So, we are talking about the 1.0-litre petrol Hybrid with three cylinders, 70 PS (69 bhp) and 92 Nm, which works together with a six-speed manual gearbox. The car reaches 164 km/h (102 mph) and reaches 100 km/h from a standstill in 13.9 seconds. The 38-litre fuel tank generates a theoretical range of 791 km (492 mi).

Mazda2 - 4.8 l/100 km

The petrol Mazda2 with six-speed manual gearbox closes this brief review with a fuel consumption of 4.8 litres per 100 km (58.9 mpg UK).

Mazda 2 2022

The petrol engine is the 1.5-litre SKYACTIV-G, with four cylinders and no turbocharging, which develops 75 PS (74 bhp) and 143 Nm. With this powertrain, the Japanese car reaches 171 km/h (106 mi) and accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 11.3 seconds. With a generous 44-litre fuel tank, it can theoretically cover 916 km (569 mi).


There are also other economical cars in several European markets which, while not boasting the low fuel consumption seen above, can save a lot of money on the road: these are LPG-powered cars. The choice varies from country to country and is particularly rich in historically LPG-friendly markets such as Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Poland, Switzerland and the UK.

As a result, some European motorists may consider buying bifuel petrol/LPG cars with relatively low fuel consumption and prices in the region of €20,000.

The European market, on the other hand, does not offer any electric cars with a list price below €20,000, and only with the state incentives offered in some countries is it possible to put a really affordable 'battery' car in the garage. Among the cheapest electric cars, the following is a list of the most fuel-efficient.


  • Fiat 500 - 13.0 kWh/100 km
  • Dacia Spring - 13.9 kWh/100 km
  • smart EQ fortwo - 15.7 kWh/100 km
  • Renault Twingo - 16.0 kWh/100 km
Fiat 500e