Thinking of buying a new green car? Before you place that order, take a look at this. These are the top ten green cars coming in 2009 that you need to know about.
Honda Insight hybrid
Price from £15,490 for SE
On sale April 2009
The Insight is an ‘affordable’ hybrid family saloon with five doors and five seats and an evolved version of the current ‘IMA’ hybrid system current in the 1.4 litre petrol Civic, with nickel metal hydride batteries. The aim is to be significantly cheaper than the Prius in order to get more people into low CO2 cars, although the CO2 levels won’t be as low as the next Prius – expect around 100g/km CO2 and 65mpg. Honda has focused on making the hybrid system cheaper to manufacture, in order to pass the cost saving on to the customer. The image is of a US spec car, however the UK version will be very similar. It’s a shame that the production car isn’t as bold as the original concept.
Price £18-£20,000 (estimated)
On sale June 2009
Toyota is developing its hybrid system to the new level, with CO2 emissions expected to be around the 90g/km mark – if so, this almost matches the CO2 of the Smart diesel, so this is very impressive for a family saloon. Both Toyota and Honda have decided to stick with nickel-metal hydride batteries rather than the mobile phone style lithium-ion batteries as they don’t have sufficient faith in them. Other body versions based on the hybrid powerplant such as people carriers are to follow this time round, along with a plug-in Prius in due course, which will dramatically improve its green credentials. Note from this official, but leaked, photograph that the Honda Insight and the new Prius have ended up with very similar aerodynamically-driven shapes.
Price from £9,495
On sale January 2009
Innovative interior packaging design means that you can fit three adults and one child (a ‘3 plus 1’ seating layout) into a car that is less than 3 metres long. This makes the iQ the world’s smallest four seater. The main engine on offer will be the 998cc 3 cylinder unit from the Aygo, with resulting emissions of 99g/km CO2, and 65.7mpg. The iQ comes with a manual or a CVT transmission, the manual being recommended, and the more economical choice. The iQ is relatively expensive for a car of this size, and although described by Toyota as a premium car, the interior is hardly the lap of luxury.
Ford Ka ECOnetic
Price £8500 (estimated)
On sale January
Eco version of Ford’s already economical Fiat 500-based city car. We’re still waiting for details of emissions and economy for the ECOnetic version, but if the Fiesta ECOnetic with a 1.6 litre engine is emitting just 98g/km CO2, we’re hoping that the smaller Ka with its 1.3 diesel as used in the Fiat 500 will surprise us with even more impressive figures.
VW Golf BlueMotion
On sale September 2009
The new Mk6 Golf BlueMotion is promising CO2 emissions that match the current Polo, at 99g/km CO2, with 74mpg. It has a smaller engine, at 1.6 litres rather than the current 1.9 unit. The current Golf BlueMotion emits 119g/km, so a drop of 20g/km CO2 is huge news. Expect the solidity of the current Golf.
Price £16,000 (estimated)
On sale December 2009
The great looking CR-Z concept is now being built, with a hybrid version definitely on the cards. A sexy hybrid sports coupe will create a great image for Honda. Even a non-hybrid version of this front-wheel drive, 2 plus 2 sports coupe should still be efficient due to its small size and light weight.
94% of Lexus RX models that are sold in the UK are hybrids, so it’s perhaps no surprise that the petrol-only version is disappearing and the new model is being sold as a hybrid only in the UK. The new model should improve on the current 35mpg, which is currently beaten by many diesel 4x4s. The exterior doesn’t look much different, although it has gained a slightly American bloated look, but the interior is much improved.
Price £20,000+ (estimated)
Out of all the electric cars we’ve driven, the iMIEV, with its lithium-ion batteries, is the best to drive by a huge margin. It feels a like a real car, it’s very well put together, extremely smooth, with well weighted steering and good handling. However this pioneering car may come with a price that reflects this previously unseen quality in this segment.
On sale May 2009
The car that made electric cars sexy. Available in the US already, and in Europe in 2009. Based on a Lotus Elise, but full of mobile phone batteries instead of a petrol engine, giving the Tesla excellent acceleration of 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds, a top speed of 125 mph, and a potential range of 225 miles. Recharging time is around 8 hours. Best of all it can claim tailpipe emissions of just 0g/km CO2.
It’s a MINI, but an electric one. The vital statistics of the MINI E include an electronically-limited top speed of 95 mph, 62 mph in 8.5 seconds, a 150 mile range and, crucially, a full recharge time of just two and a half hours. Based on the current MINI Hatch, the car will initially be available as a two-seater; a lithium-ion battery will go where the rear seats are on a standard MINI. Before you get too excited, the electric MINI will only be available in America in 2009, where 500 of them will be leased, and there’s no word on cost at the moment.