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Looking to buy a fuel efficient car? Here is a formula you need to know to help you choose your vehicle

A look at how to determine whether a vehicle is fuel-efficient. File Image: IOL

A look at how to determine whether a vehicle is fuel-efficient. File Image: IOL

Published Jun 25, 2022


With the seemingly never-ending fuel price increases, consumers continue to search for ways to minimise monthly costs.

In a research note, Investec chief economist Annabel Bishop, said that “high commodity prices are flowing through rapidly to consumers in SA via higher transport and food prices, and another petrol price hike is currently building for July of R1.92/litre.”

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“The frequency of fuel price increases are a real pain-point for consumers, and although we currently have little control over the situation, people may be able to better manage monthly budgeting by driving a fuel-efficient vehicle and there are many to consider across several vehicle categories,” says Rikus Blomerus, GM Marketing at WeBuyCars.

How to determine whether a vehicle is fuel-efficient

It’s useful to understand how to assess the fuel efficiency of a vehicle. The formula most often used to calculate fuel consumption in litres/ 100kms is:

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(Litres used X 100) ÷ km travelled = litres per 100km

A vehicle is considered to have good fuel efficiency when it uses around five to eight litres per 100km. A vehicle using eight to 12 litres per 100km is considered to have average consumption and anything over than 12 litres per 100km is considered as poor fuel efficiency.

Choosing the most fuel-efficient companion

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Based on this formula, the following vehicles are considered to have excellent fuel efficiency:


  • Toyota Aygo 1.0 (4.3 litres per 100km)
  • Renault Kwid Dynamique Automatic (4.4 litres per 100km)
  • Volkswagen Polo Vivo 1.0TSI GT (4.6 litres per 100km)
  • Kia Picanto 1.0L (5.1 litres per 100km)
  • BMW X3 20D (5.4 litres per 100km)


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  • Ford EcoSport 1.5 TDCi Ambiente (4.6 litres per 100km)
  • Renault Duster 1.5dCi Zen Automatic (4.8 litres per 100km)
  • Volkswagen T-Cross 1.0TSi 70kW Comfortline (4.8 litres per 100km)
  • Kia Seltos 1.5 CRDi EX (5.1 litres per 100km)
  • Suzuki Ignis 1.2 GL (5.1 litres per 100km)


  • Ford Ranger 2.2 DCI Double Cab (6.5 litres per 100km)
  • Nissan Navara (6.8 litres per 100km)
  • Toyota Hilux 2.4GD-6 Double Cab (7.1 litres per 100km)
  • Mitsubishi Triton (6.7 litres per 100km)
  • Isuzu D-Max 250 Double Cab (7.7 litres per 100km)

“Ultimately, it all comes down to finding the balance between your own unique vehicle needs and the most fuel-efficient companion. A fuel-efficient hatchback might not fit your current lifestyle, leading you to rather consider a fuel-efficient SUV or bakkie,” says Blomerus.

“It’s about marrying your needs with economy and budgeting. Fuel prices are likely to remain high for the foreseeable future, and it makes sense to manage fuel costs and efficiency.”