Our annual efficiency list is up for renewal now as we look at the most fuel efficient vehicles currently on sale in South Africa. Having written last year’s article it’s interesting to see how it has evolved with new entrants and an increase in electric vehicles joining the fray.
Last year in order to make the top 10 list the magic number you needed to beat was 4.1L/100km. This year the bar has been set even lower with all cars on the list coming in at 3.8L/100km or under.
BMW has made a huge thud on the list with the introduction of its electric models and hybrids such as the i3 and i8 are claiming excellent fuel economy numbers.
Two SUV’s make the list this year – last year the only SUV on the list was the Cayenne Hybrid.
Again, the most fuel efficient cars are either small turbo diesels or hybrid petrol units. The real winners though are the electric cars that don’t use any fuel but can be charged via a plug socket. Even when the electricity cost is added in to charge an electric car they prove more efficient than the internal combustion engine.
Top 10 Most Fuel Efficient Cars in SA 2015
1. Nissan Leaf
The Nissan Leaf maintains its top spot for the second year running although it is equalled by its fellow all-electric offering from BMW. It’s getting easier to own an electric car in SA as charging stations across South Africa are springing up and you can charge your car at another manufacturer’s fast charging pod. The price however is still hard to believe as the Leaf is now R457 400. Each drive has a maximum length of 190km before the battery requires charge.
1. BMW i3
The BMW i3 is a new entrant to the top 10 with both the all-electric version and the range extender. The all-electric as the name suggests doesn’t use any fuel but the range extender model is fitted with a tiny two-cylinder petrol motor and a nine-litre fuel tank. It works as a generator for the battery giving the i3 nearly double the range capability and claiming 300km and just 0.6L/100km. The i3 is still a costly vehicle though at R525 000 for the all-electric and R595 000 for the range extender.
3. BMW i8
The sportscar hybrid from BMW snaps up third spot in the efficiency list. Equipped with a three-cylinder Mini engine that does the work at the top end of the power range and an electric engine that does the work at the lower end, the i8 puts out a total of 266 kW and 320 Nm. Also it only uses 2.1L/100km if you drive it in full eco mode. It does cost quite a lot at R1 755 000.
3. Volvo XC90 T8
Volvo’s all-new XC90 is packed with loads of Swedish technology, safety and style. Volvo has also started producing and designing its own engines and the XC90 is the first vehicle to showcase this T8 derivative. It’s powered by a 2-Litre petrol engine and then gets a turbo and supercharger and an electric motor to deliver 295 kW and 630 Nm of torque. The crazy thing is that in full eco run it claims 2.1L/100km. Again it’s not the cheapest car at R993 100.
5. Porsche Panamera S e-hybrid and Cayenne S e-hybrid
Porsche slips down from last year’s number two to the number five spot but thanks to the BMW i8 is no longer the most expensive vehicle in this top 10. The Panamera S e-hybrid can manage 35km in pure electric mode and will use just 3.1L/100km. The Cayenne uses similar technology to use 3.4L/100km. All this efficiency combined with a supercharged V6 on call when you need it equals guilt-free driving. R1 322 000 for the Panamera and R1 147 000 for the Cayenne.
6. Volkswagen Polo 1.2TDI Bluemotion
As of the time of writing this the 1.2TDI Bluemotion Polo is soon to be replaced (new Polo diesel lands in August 2015). The current 1.2 turbodiesel claims 3.4L/100km where the upcoming 1.4-Litre turbodiesel will use just 3.1L/100km. The Polo is a smart little hatchback with a diesel engine that will save you buck at the pumps. Pricing for the 1.2 TDI Bluemotion is R233 500.
7. Volvo V40 D4 and D2
Volvo seems particularly good at delivering efficient engines. Both its D4 (2-Litre turbodiesel) and its D2 (1.6-Litre turbodiesel) make the list with the larger unit (D4) being ever so slightly more economical at 3.5L/100km with the D2 at 3.6L/100km. The V40 hatchback is a good looking alternative to the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series. Base price for a D2 is R320 400 and a D4 is R409 700.
8. Ford Fiesta 1.6TDCI
The Ford Fiesta stays in our top 10 this year albeit down from fifth place last year. Ford has recently reassessed the pricing of the Fiesta range since the introduction of the Focus in 2015. However the Fiesta seems to have been hit by escalating exchange rates as its pricing has changed from R194 900 last year to R210 030 in 2015. You’ll need every cent you save then at the pumps with the 1.6TDCI using just 3.6L/100km.
9. Toyota Yaris Hybrid
The new Yaris hybrid uses the same hybrid as the previous generation except in the new model the fuel efficiency is slightly better. Toyota improved the Yaris’ official figure from 3.8L/100km to 3.6L/100km. After all it’s about marginal gains. The Yaris HSD has also been hit with a price increase and costs R20k more than last year at R277 000.
10. Peugeot 208 1.6HDI
Another new entrant to the fuel efficiency gang, the Peugeot 208 makes use of a 1.6-Litre turbodiesel to sip just 3.8L/100km. The 208 is a fun little French hatchback that competes in a similar arena to the Fiesta and Polo above. Pricing for the 208 turbodiesel comes in at R223 000.