Of course, this list will discount electric vehicles, as technically they consume no petrol, diesel or LPG. And if we don’t segment the market into different body shapes, the list would likely be all small cars, so we’ve broken it up into hatchbacks, sedans, four-wheel drives, wagons and more.

We’ve analysed Redbook data on 2021 car models and fuel efficiency for combined fuel usage (highway and urban economy).

In the market for a new car? The table below features car loans with some of the lowest interest rates on the market.

Lender

VariableNew1 year
More details
  • Available for purchasing new and demo vehicles
  • $5,000 to $150,000 loan amount
  • Redraw facility available up to $5000/day
  • Required: Good credit history, stable employment history. Aus citizenship or PR.

New Car Loan - Home Owner Special

  • Available for purchasing new and demo vehicles
  • $5,000 to $150,000 loan amount
  • Redraw facility available up to $5000/day
  • Required: Good credit history, stable employment history. Aus citizenship or PR.
FixedNew99 years
More details
Loan amounts from $2k to $75k
  • Available for any new motorised vehicle
  • No ongoing or early exit fees
  • 1-7 years loan terms. Pay monthly, fortnightly, or weekly
  • Get quick decision. Funds in 24 hrs if approved
Loan amounts from $2k to $75k

New Car Loan

  • Available for any new motorised vehicle
  • No ongoing or early exit fees
  • 1-7 years loan terms. Pay monthly, fortnightly, or weekly
  • Get quick decision. Funds in 24 hrs if approved
FixedNew1 year
More details
Approval within 24 hoursEarly payout available
  • Required: Good credit history, stable employment history. Aus citizenship or PR.
Approval within 24 hoursEarly payout available

New Car Loan - Special (Fixed)

  • Required: Good credit history, stable employment history. Aus citizenship or PR.
Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

All products with a link to a product provider’s website have a commercial marketing relationship between us and these providers. These products may appear prominently and first within the search tables regardless of their attributes and may include products marked as promoted, featured or sponsored. The link to a product provider’s website will allow you to get more information or apply for the product. By de-selecting “Show online partners only” additional non-commercialised products may be displayed and re-sorted at the top of the table. For more information on how we’ve selected these “Sponsored”, “Featured” and “Promoted” products, the products we compare, how we make money, and other important information about our service, please click here.

The comparison rates in this table are based on a loan of $30,000 and a term of 5 years unless indicated otherwise. The comparison rates for car loans and secured personal loans for the relevant amounts and terms are for secured loans unless indicated otherwise. The comparison rates for unsecured personal loans are applicable for unsecured loans only. WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. Comparison rates are not calculated for revolving credit products.

Monthly repayment figures are estimates only, exclude fees and are based on the advertised rate for the term and for the loan amount entered. Actual repayments will depend on your individual circumstances and interest rate changes. Rates correct as of April 14, 2024. View disclaimer.

What are the top fuel efficient vehicles in 2021?

We’ve looked at ten market segments to determine the top fuel efficient vehicle in each category. Note that there’s every chance some niche automaker has a car that is the ‘most fuel efficient’, but we’ve largely stuck to the bigger name brands.

1. Fuel efficient hatchback

This segment belongs to the Hyundai IONIQ, which is a hybrid vehicle and has a combined fuel economy as low as 1.1L/100km. It comes with a 1.6-litre petrol engine with a 32kW electric motor. The battery pack is 1.56kWh, said to give about a 63km range. Prices start at around $35,000 before on-road costs.

2. Fuel efficient sedan

This one might surprise you - the BMW 3 Series 330e, which consumes just 2.2L/100km combined. It’s another hybrid, this type with a 2L turbo engine and an 83kW electric motor. It comes with a 12kWh battery pack but range figures are disputed. It starts at about $80,000 before any on-road costs.

3. Fuel efficient crossover

Crossovers don’t necessarily have four-wheel drive drivetrains, which can help in fuel economy. This segment belongs to the BMW X2 xDrive20d, which is an AWD diesel consuming just 5.1L/100km combined. Prices start at about $62,000 before on-road costs.

4. Fuel efficient four-wheel drive

Hybrids are dominating the list, this time with the Mitsubishi Outlander, which consumes just 1.9L/100km combined. It comes with a 2.4L petrol motor and a 60kW electric plug-in motor. The battery pack is said to have a range of around 80-100km, and prices start at about $56,000 before on-roads.

5. Fuel efficient wagon

Wagons seem to be a bit of a dying breed, and this is the first in our list to not be a hybrid - the Skoda Fabia 1.0L petrol at a combined fuel cycle of 4.5L/100km. It has a 3 cylinder petrol turbo engine putting out about 7kW, and prices start at under $20,000 drive away.

6. Fuel efficient 7-seater

If you’re a soccer mum, class-leading fuel economy comes from the Land Rover Discovery Sport, which consumes 5.7L/100km combined. It comes with a 2L turbo diesel engine, outputting 100kW power and 380Nm torque to make the kids in the back spill their ice cream. Prices start at about $62,000 before on-roads.

7. Fuel efficient convertible

Feel the wind in your hair with the BMW i8, which consumes just 2.4L/100km combined. It’s a hybrid model with a 1.5L engine and a 105kW electrical output, with a 11.6kWh battery, with a range of around 40km. Prepare your wallet, the i8 attracts a starting price of around $319,000 before on-roads.

8. Fuel efficient coupe

A coupe is a car with two doors, not four (cough cough Mercedes-Benz). BMW once again features, this time with the 220i. Combined fuel use is just 5.9L/100km from a 2L petrol engine outputting 135kW. Prices start at about $57,000 before on-roads.

9. Fuel efficient ute

This segment belongs to the Mitsubishi Triton GLX turbo diesel, which consumes 7.9L/100km combined. Note that to get the best fuel economy, you’ll need to get the manual - the auto consumes 8.4L/100km. Prices for the Triton start at around $36,000 before on-roads.

10. Fuel efficient van

Vans aren’t really lighting the world on fire with innovation, but the more frugal in this class is the Volkswagen Caddy TDI250, which consumes 5.3L/100km combined. It comes with a 2L turbo diesel engine and starts at about $36,000 before on-roads.

How much does fuel hit the budget?

Fuel is probably going to be your most regular ongoing car expense. The Australian Automotive Association (AAA) estimates the average weekly fuel cost to be just under $69 a week, amounting to $3500 a year.

However, items such as servicing, insurance and car loan repayments may be bigger total expenses. Don’t forget about depreciation either, as some cars can depreciate 40% or more in as little as three years.

Buying a miserly car is tempting for more than just budget reasons - they often output fewer carbon emissions, which is kinder to the environment. Many of the more fuel efficient cars are also hybrids, which help transition us to electric cars as they can be both impractical and expensive to own currently.

Savings.com.au's two cents

Buying a new car just for its fuel economy to replace your old clunker might not be the most financially sound decision, but if you’re in the market for a new car, its fuel economy might be a big factor. You’ll see from above, the market-leaders these days are often hybrids, sipping as little as 2L per 100km.

The difference between a gas guzzler and a miser could mean the difference in many thousands of dollars over a car’s lifespan. That, and the environmental concerns may also be noteworthy to you. It’s an exciting time in the car industry.

Photo by Vincent Ghilione on Unsplash