Australia’s top ten most fuel efficient vehicles

You’ve been there before, staring at the pumps with the price going higher and higher all the while thinking to yourself; “wasn’t I here just yesterday”? Just this week warnings have rippled all around Australia on the subject of fuel prices. In this environment the statistic of litres per 100km has been getting a lot more air time at the water cooler. With this, and a healthy curiosity towards the subject, we set out to discover what cars were capable of running on a mildly oily post-it note.

The trends

From the heady days of the model T when 18.7 litres per 100 km was considered a miracle of physics, things have come a long way. This said things didn’t always improve. Vehicles like the statement screaming Hummer H1 is a case in point with a fuel economy of 22 litres per 100km. Despite this and other slight tangents, the general trend is one of improvement. Even bigger vehicles are now getting much more per litre with everything from mini hatches to the huge SUV/Utes posting big improvements. While big vehicles have seen improvements the real premier league of fuel efficiency is now made up of small sedan hybrids, micro sized electrics and diesel hatches.

The top 10

We created the top 10 list based on independently verified claims on litres per 100km. While this area is difficult to manage due to differing driving styles and needs, we have made every attempt to ensure fairness. As would be predicted the two electric cars came out on top. Both saved over a full litre of fuel more than their nearest competitors. While the two don’t use conventional fuel, the research was based on equivalent testing from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The rest of the field shows how competitive things are becoming in the space. A number of hybrids are now struggling to stay in the mix. Along with this there is only one supplier (Honda) which has more than one vehicle in the top 10.

Rank Model Litres per 100km
1. Mitsubishi i-MiEV 2.1
2. Nissan Leaf 2.4
3. Ford WS Fiesta Econetic 3.7
4. Toyota Prius 3.9
5. Volvo C30 Drive 3.9
6. Mini Cooper D Hardtop 3.9
7. Fiat 500 4.0
8. Lexus CT 200h 4.1
9. Honda Insight 4.4
10. Honda Civic Hybrid 4.6

Find out more

Find out more


It’s obvious that the most efficient cars available in Australia today are getting more and more out of a litre of fuel. This however, does not always translate into sales on the forecourt. The simple and undeniable fact is that the top ten do not sell very well in Australia. Not one car in this top ten has hit even the top 20 sellers in the Australian market. The reason remains straightforward. Australian drivers, on the whole, still prefer mid and large sized sedans and SUV/Utes. Add to that the fact that the cutting edge fuel technology adds a premium price tag to all ten of the above vehicles. From a sales perspective the end result is very marginal products which will take a long time to break into the mainstream.

Check out the least fuel efficinet cars on the Australian market.

What do you think of the top ten?

See the top ten selling cars of 2011.

Do you think these trends will continue?

Have you thought of one of these cars on a Novated Lease?

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