7 most fuel-efficient non-hybrid petrol cars in SA

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Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion, one of the most fuel-efficient cars in SA.
The Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion makes it on the list in seventh.

If we were to list the most fuel-efficient vehicles currently on sale in South Africa, the top ten would be made up mostly of posh hybrids, each with a price-tag on the wrong side of R1-million.

So, in an attempt to make the list more relevant to the everyday consumer, we decided to cut hybrids out of the picture altogether. And, to narrow things down even further, the resulting list comprises petrol-powered models only (find the equivalent list of diesels here).

Take note, of course, that this list is based on claimed combined fuel consumption figures from the manufacturers themselves (we’ve already written about the most frugal vehicles we’ve tested as well as the biggest gas-guzzlers out there).

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So, take a look at the seven most fuel-efficient, non-hybrid, petrol-powered vehicles currently on the local new car market…

1. Fiat 500 0,9 TwinAir Pop: 3,8 L/100 km

With a claimed average consumption of just 3,8 L/100 km, this little Fiat takes tiny sips from its 35-litre tank. Oomph comes from a 0.9-litre turbocharged two-cylinder mill, with peak figures of 63 kW and 145 N.m. Fast it most certainly is not.
Price: R179 900

2. Citroën C1 VTi 51kW Feel: 4,1 L/100 km

Tugged along by a naturally aspirated 1,0-litre three-pot, the Citroën C1 emits just 95 g of CO2 per km. With outputs of 51 kW and 96 N.m, however, it takes all of 14,3 seconds to hit 100 km/h from standstill. But, hey, it’s the cheapest on this list…
Price: R149 900

3. Smart ForTwo: 4,1 L/100 km

The latest version of the Smart ForTwo uses a similar engine to that found in the C1 above, but with 52 kW and 91 N.m on tap. Claimed consumption, meanwhile, comes in at the same 4,1 L/100 km, although it takes one-tenth of second longer to labour to three figures. And, of course, the ForTwo has just two seats.
Price: R174 900

4. Audi A1 1,0T S: 4,2 L/100 km

Available in either three-door or Sportback flavour, the A1 fitted with a 70 kW 1,0-litre turbo-triple sips at a claimed 4,2 L/100 km. And, thanks to the 45-litre tank, this translates into a theoretical range of more than 1 000 km. And there’s plenty of low-down torque on tap, too (160 N.m from 1 500 to 3 500 r/min, to be exact).
Price: R286 000

5. Fiat 500 0,9 TwinAir Lounge: 4,2 L/100 km

What? Another Fiat 500? Yes, although this version boasts a little more power from its 0,9-litre two-cylinder turbo engine, with 77 kW available at 5 500 r/min (peak torque is unchanged). This means that claimed consumption climbs to 4,2 L/100 km while the sprint to 100 km/h falls from 11,0 to 10,0 seconds.
Price: R227 900

6. Smart ForFour: 4,2 L/100 km

Using the same mill as the ForTwo detailed above, the Smart ForFour is a smidgen less frugal, thanks mostly to the extra weight added by the larger body and two extra doors (and seats). That also makes it even slower, with the leisurely amble from standstill to 100 km/h taking some 15,9 seconds.
Price: R179 900

7. Volkswagen Polo 1,0 TSI BlueMotion: 4,2 L/100 km

Employing the same 1,0-litre turbo triple as the A1 above, the BlueMotion-badged Polo matches the Audi on claimed fuel consumption, too. It is, however, around four-tenths quicker in the dash to three figures, which takes a claimed 10,5 seconds. And the Polo is a little cheaper, too.
Price: R256 150

  • Yes,

    Let’s put the VW on the main picture even though Fiat is No. 1!

    And journalists and websites wonder why we as the common consumers often think they R bought off or sponsored to sell German brands.

    • Sean French

      And other car have no retail value cause they only promote these cars what about the other cars like Renault, Citroen, hyundai and there are a lot to mention. See the spec on these German and Japan cars like Toyota over priced and lack of specs.

    • Ekke Kan

      Seems like CAR cannot survive without the sponsorship of VW for using it as the article main picture.

  • Ronald Koenis

    Interestingly (and obviously) one does not see Bakkies, SUV or Cross-overs in the list? It is perplexing that a lot of complaints are overheard on the price of fuel, yet when it comes to buying a vehicle apparently the list above does not enter people’s mind, judging by the popularity of fuel inefficient SUV, cross-overs and Bakkies.

  • quidditas

    What a useless article. The title should be changed to “as claimed by manufacturers ….”